It’s a common workplace problem: the person who mans the reception desk is away, busy with other tasks. Or maybe the office doesn’t have a dedicated receptionist. Either way, visitors can find themselves lost in the lobby with no one to greet them, and that makes for a less-than-optimal client experience.
TEECOM wanted to find a solution to this problem that was a little more high-tech (and less noisy) than the old fashioned customer call bell. Our TEECOMlab research staff decided to tackle this challenge during a weeklong hackathon.
“There used to be a doorbell that would ring — an actual doorbell,” says TEECOM Software Developer Ellen Phillips. “It was noisy and disrupted people’s work, and it was hard to know if anyone was going to answer it.”
Instead, Phillips envisioned an iPad app integrated with Slack. The iPad sits on the reception desk, alerting staff internally when activated via a Slack notification. Once she and TEECOMlab colleague Tommy Schaefer decided on the basic outline, the next steps were to make the iPad app communicate with Slack and to get the user interface right.
Schaefer wrote the code that acts as a mediator between the app and Slack, while Phillips perfected the interface and doorbell animation. The TEECOM logo, which is circular, made an intuitive button. Phillips programmed it to “pulse” when pressed so that users know it’s been activated.
When pressed, the TEECOMdoorbell sends a notice to Slack users subscribed to an internal “Doorbell” channel. Users can choose to answer the doorbell, or say, “I’m busy.”
“There are tons and tons of use cases for Slack and this is a good way to show off what Slack can do, how it can solve problems,” says Phillips.
Plus, adds Schaefer, “It’s a fun experience for the person pressing the button. It brings a little lightness to the work experience!”
Watch our video to see TEECOMdoorbell in action.