Azure Communication Services is increasingly used by companies in various industries to add voice, video, chat and SMS to their applications, meeting business needs and improving the customer experience. Laerdal Medical uses the platform to broadcast video calls during their training to provide feedback on performance, reducing errors and saving lives. LinkedIn added Azure Communication Services to provide members with an easy way to create video meetings on their websites and mobile apps. Many other organizations in the healthcare, banking and public service sectors are developing experiences to connect with their customers usingAzure Communication Services.
LinkedIn offers members fast, convenient video conferencing optimized by Azure Communication Services
In recent months, Microsoft has responded to customer feedback and market demand by releasing the open source Azure Communication Services Software Development Kit (SDK ) and a Figma Design Kit, both of which allow developers to design and create applications that help users communicate the way they want to, from any device.
This week at Microsoft Build, Microsoft announced the interoperability ofAzure Communication Services for Microsoft Teams. With this added functionality, you can create a fully customized application that joins Teams meetings, Teams threads and uses Teams Phone.
Today, Microsoft is announcing new capabilities and tools:
- Public preview of the new REST API and SDK for email delivery
- Azure Communication Services Sample Builder, a new tool in the Azure portal supported by open source samples that helps you configure and deploy a sample virtual tour application. This combines with a new feature in Microsoft 365 Bookings to schedule virtual tours and launch end users into your custom Azure Communication Services application.
- General availability of the ACS Mobile UI SDK for native iOS and Android applications, joining the existing UI SDK for React web applications and the Figma Design Kit.
- Phone numbers can be obtained directly fromAzure in Canada, Ireland, Italy and Sweden.
- Public pre-release of the new Power Virtual Agent feature to run voice bots using phone numbers and the Azure Communication Services phone channel.
- Availability of voice, video calling and messaging features Azure Communication Services in the U.S. Government cloud .
Below, we have shared a little more information about these versions.
Reach more customers on any device or platform.
Azure Communication Services already provides SDKs and APIs for voice, video, chat and SMS, in several regions at cloud Azure . But we're working hard to add new types of communication and broader global availability of our services so you know that your Azure Communication Services-based applications will reach your customers, no matter where they are or how they communicate.
Azure Communication Service now has new messaging APIs in public pre-release that enable application-to-person (A2P) communication. These emails can be a reminder email for an upcoming virtual visit with a healthcare provider, or notifications to customers of a sales promotion, or any other event that uses email as a communication channel. Like other Azure Communication Service APIs, the email functionality is self-scalable, multi-regional, and you only pay for what you use. Key email features include:
- Simple REST APIs and SDKs with quick-starts and examples for easy integration.
- Supports high volume sending for A2P (Application to Person) use cases such as appointment reminders, alerts and notifications for multi-factor authentication or password resets.
- Support for custom domains to allow email to be sent from email domains verified by your domain providers.
- Reliable delivery status of emails sent from your application in near real time.
- Security and compliance features to meet your data handling and privacy requirements.
Telephone numbers in new regions - Canada, Ireland, Italy and Sweden
Voice calls via the traditional telephone network (Public Telephony Switched Network or PSTN) are essential for many businesses that interact with their customers: answering questions about products and services, providing technical support or resolving billing issues. If you need phone numbers, you can acquire U.S. phone numbers directly fromAzure Communication Services (direct offerings), or you can bring your own numbers from your own telephony provider with Azure Communication Services Direct Routing.
Today we announce that Azure Communication Services direct offerings will soon be available for preview in Canada, Ireland, Italy and Sweden. You will be able to purchase toll-free and geographic phone numbers in these countries, which will help you create compelling communication experiences to connect with telephony users around the world. In addition, the ability to send and receive SMS messages in Canada will also be available in public pre-release, enabling important customer scenarios such as appointment reminders, multi-factor authentication, etc.
Mobile User Interface SDK
Earlier this year, we released a Web UI SDK and a Figma design library. These open source tools help developers quickly design and deliver beautiful end user experiences. Of course, many developers create native mobile experiences, so we released our first GA version of the Mobile UI SDK. Whether you're shipping web, Android, or iOS apps: we have the tools and services to help you succeed.
Take advantage of Microsoft 365 to quickly create virtual tours
Virtual tours are a common scenario in which a company arranges a meeting for an external client or partner via a personalised application experience offering video, audio and chat communications. Virtual tours occur in all industries, but popular examples include a healthcare provider serving patients or a banking company helping customers with a mortgage. As an example, Degussa Bank AG now offers this value to its customers:
"Azure Communication Services (ACS) and other Microsoft 365 components inspired us to develop our Digital Bank-Shop. Our partner uses ACS to provide an endpoint Teams in our Digital Bank-Shop: our customers across the country can see the presence status of their bank advisor and initiate a video or voice call."
Axel Schardt, Lead Skill & Service Level Management at Degussa Bank AG
To speed up the design and deployment of a sample application for virtual tours, Microsoft has released the Azure Communication Services sample application builder: a visual assistant in the Azure portal that allows you to customize and deploy a virtual tour solution in just a few minutes.
Example of a wizard for creating an application Azure Communication Services on the portal Azure
The solution provides a customer experience, so that customers can schedule and join virtual appointments via a web application, with suppliers joining via Microsoft Teams. The configured web application is seamlessly deployed on a Azure subscription and is fully open source.
Planning virtual tours with Microsoft Bookings
The sample application builder creates a virtual tour prototype that leverages Microsoft Bookings to schedule appointments. Bookings and Teams address many critical use cases: configuring staff availability, deploying a calendar to end users, and managing appointment reminders. While you can create custom scheduling experiences, by leveraging Bookings and Teams, you can greatly reduce the complexity of developing your custom application.
You can now configure Bookings to launch external consumers in your own custom application created with Azure Communication Services. This gives you additional freedom to choose which parts of Microsoft 365 you want to keep and which you want to replace with custom Azure components.
The sample application provides Microsoft Bookings integration and calling capabilities to join meetings with users Teams from a custom web application.
Below is the overall flow of a virtual tour application that combines reservations with a customized Azure application for end users.