VERSA talks Azure Communication Services
Seamlessly integrate and collaborate communication channels with Azure Communication Services
As the world’s leading Conversational AI Agency, we’ve seen big changes in technology in recent weeks as our partners at Microsoft unveiled Azure Communication Services (ACS), a new utility aimed to help organisations serve richer and more in-depth communication.
Video calling, SMS, telephony and web-chat are now all in easy to use API’s; Azure Communications Services.
Features we use every day on platforms like Microsoft Teams are now our own to personalise for workflows that fit our unique needs. You can use ACS alongside your existing services, websites or apps, without requiring deep technical integrations into existing systems…
As customer service continues to move online, the major technology providers are competing to provide seamless, useful and available communication channels. As customers in this digital-first life, it means our communication with services can become more consistent.
With this new set of services, Microsoft has focused on supporting all the ways we interact with each other in our day-to-day in a single interface, making the connection between conversation and channel seamless and connected. To help support new customers, Microsoft has made it easier to enable as a set of API’s you can integrate into your own service, using only a few lines of code.
We haven’t seen an easier way to align messaging, voice and video for seamless conversational transition. This represents a continued shift in digital communication. our website, chatbot or app can be readily available across text, chat, video and voice through a simplified integration.
Azure Communication Services enables dynamic communication in a single web, app, or chat experience
In creating technical solutions that can move with the conversation, Steve Hansen, our Technical Lead has built conversational solutions for different clients and conversations. For Steve, ACS represents simplicity for both the developer and the customer:
In the past, we had to use different services; maybe one service for sending text messages, another for email, and another for starting a video conference — we can now control those transitions with one service in one platform. Say you’re chatting with a person through Telehealth, and you realise that the conversation should be escalated to a video chat. Azure Communication Services makes it easy for us to program the leap from a live chat to a live video call while keeping the whole chat history in sync.
The seamless conversational transitions are game-changing. Microsoft realises how important this new feature will be in the emerging telehealth industry, so it’s been built to meet the highest international regulatory requirements like HIPAA. If you want to take ACS further you can enable translations, sentiment analysis and other AI features through Cognitive Services.
Syncing all your conversations in one place.
Because ACS lets you utilise and link all the communication channels you speak to your customer on, all of the data from these conversations can now be unified.
Azure Communication Services allows you to broaden your customer data set, you can actually look across all the channels you’re talking to the customer on. Suddenly all that data becomes a lot more rich, and allows you to create more meaningful responses to your technical problems.
Starting quickly with new technology, moving towards deeper communication
This is a really exciting time to be working in digital communications. We are right in the middle of a global pandemic, yet are continually being provided with the best technology of our time pushing us to provide better customer experiences.
With voice and video calling coming sometime this month, we’re excited to see how SMS/texting integration will make conversational waves, with Phone Numbers — a utility with telephony communications for inbound and outbound calling — soon on the horizon. According to Microsoft heads, we can be on the lookout for the service “soon”, merging with existing platforms and carrier networks with SIP.
We asked Steve Hansen about integrating your current platforms, and he notes that “one of the things I really like about Azure Communication Services is that they’re not dictating any specific back-end or front-end platform helping us create out of the box solutions quickly and easily. This technology allows us to push out services such as chat to phone integration and integrate cognitive services such as live transcriptions and translations within the phone call”.
A final major benefit is that you don’t need to upgrade all your current platforms, as “it can be integrated with other tools or platforms that you might already be using for customer service, or a Telehealth or communication system.”