A big step in the Azure Communications Services journey, Microsoft’s CPaaS (Communication Platform as a Service) platform that is also the platform that powers Microsoft Teams, it has now reached general availability, which means it’s now under support and has a formal SLA (though some elements are still in preview).
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Azure Communication Services provides libraries for mobile apps, desktop, and web, allowing developers to add the following their applications.
- Voice and Video Calling – Make and receive voice and video calls over IP including interop to Microsoft Teams (Teams interop still in preview)
- Chat – Enable One-to-One or Group Chat functionality
- SMS – Add SMS to applications and connect with users that prefer mobile communication. US only right now
- PSTN Telephony Voice Calling – Allow for users to interact with a traditional telephone number, facilitated by PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) for voice calling. US only right now.
Example scenarios include:
- SMS reminders for appointments and follow up surveys
- Web Chat
- B2C VoIP and Video calling from websites and apps, for example, patient to doctor in healthcare or buyer to the retailer, in these scenarios the “B” users could be using Microsoft Teams
PSTN Coverage and SIP interface
Currently, SMS and PSTN Phone numbers availability is restricted to paid Azure subscriptions that have a billing address in the United States and Communication Services resources that have a US data location, much less than many other CPAAS players. I hope this is expanded too. Microsoft covers 24 countries directly for PSTN Calling plans for Microsoft Teams, I hope the same coverages comes to ACS.
ACS does support a “SIP Interface” in private preview. This allows you to connect, via a certified SBC, PBXs, Analog Telephony Adapters or another PSTN carrier. Certification of supported SBC’s is in progress. Meanwhile, in the preview, you can use any of the many Teams Certified Session Border Controllers.
I’m excited to see what comes to Azure Communication Services, stay tuned for all the news.
Reference / Further Information:
Microsoft GA blog here
ACS overview sessions from Microsoft Ignite
- Microsoft Mechanics: Azure Communication Services Updates
- Ignite On-Demand: Accelerating digital customer engagement with Azure Communication Services
- Ignite Ask the Experts: Accelerating digital customer engagement with Azure Communication Services