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Table of contents
1.
Introduction
2.
Azure Communication Service
3.
Creation of Azure Communication Service resource
4.
How do I use ACS in my application?
5.
Why Azure Communication Services
6.
Azure Communication Services Capabilities
7.
Some Azure Communication Services Use Cases
8.
Frequently Asked Questions
8.1.
What is Azure DevOps?
8.2.
What clearly is Azure Databricks?
8.3.
Define Microsoft Azure AppFabric.
9.
Conclusion
Last Updated: Mar 27, 2024

Azure Communication Service

Author Shivani Singh
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Introduction

The way we interact with others has changed dramatically over the last few decades. Traditional telephone lines and letters had been the two main modes of communication for a long time until recently.

We now have numerous options for internal and external communications. This leads us to the most sophisticated Azure Communication Services. What exactly is "Azure Communication Services?" Why should we employ it? What are its applications and use cases? Let us take a look.

Source: Azure Communication Service

Microsoft recently launched Azure Communication Services (ACS), the first-ever utility designed to assist organizations in providing better and more in-depth communication with customers. With ACS, you can now use real-time video calling, SMS, telephony, and webchat through simple APIs.

According to Microsoft, "companies benefit from all communication systems being encrypted to meet privacy and compliance needs, such as HIPAA (The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) in the United States and GDPR (in the European Union)."

Microsoft is combining the best of multi-channel connectivity, development reliability, cloud-scale, and enterprise-grade security in Azure Communication Services. As a result, businesses will experience meaningful customer interactions through a secure global communication network.

Azure Communication Service

Azure Communication Service (ACS) is a platform through which Microsoft's communication services are provided. It is, in other words, CPaaS, or Communication Platform as a Service. ACS powers Microsoft Teams, a popular and powerful competitor to Google Meets. or we can also say 

Azure Communication Services are cloud-based services that provide REST APIs and client library SDKs to help you integrate communication into your applications. You can integrate communication into your applications without knowing anything about underlying technologies like media encoding or telephony.

Azure Communication Services includes a plethora of features and options. It can effectively host libraries for web, mobile, and desktop applications. App developers can use it to add conversation, add chat, SMS, voice and video calling, PSTN Telephony Voice Calling, and more to their on-process applications.

Source: Azure Communication Service

Personalized client apps, configurable services, and the public switched telephone network (PSTN) can all be integrated into your communications experience. Phone numbers can be obtained directly through Azure Communication Services REST APIs, SDKs, or the Azure portal and used for SMS or calling applications. 

Client libraries for Azure Communication Services are available for a variety of portals and languages, including Browsers (JavaScript), iOS (Swift), Android (Java), and Windows (.NET).

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Creation of Azure Communication Service resource

  1. Sign in to the Azure portal before creating an Azure Communication Services resource. Select + Create a resource in the topmost corner of the page.

Source: Azure Communication Service

2. Type Communication into the Search the Marketplace or the search option at the top of the portal.

Source: Azure Communication Service

3. In the results, select Communication Services, and then Create.

Source: Azure Communication Service

Now the Communication Services resource can now be configured. The following information will be requested on the first page of the creation process:

  • The subscription
  • The reference group 
  • The resource's name is Communication Services.
  • The location with which the resource will be associated.

The resource can then be tagged in the following step. Finally, you can review your settings and create the resource.

How do I use ACS in my application?

There are two aspects: (1) creating an ACS instance in Azure and (2) integrating these communication capabilities into your application using the ACS SDK. 

Setting up an ACS instance

Look for "Azure Communication Services" in the search bar at the top center of the Azure portal, then click "Create."

Source: Azure Communication Service

Making use of the ACS SDK in your application

To incorporate ACS functionality into our application, we must first obtain the ACS instance's connection string. This can be accomplished by selecting "Keys" from the "Tools" menu:

Source: Azure Communication Service

As you can see for security reasons, the connection strings and their corresponding keys aren’t shown here in the picture. 

Let's look at how we can make our application send an SMS message.

We must first create an SMS client:

SmsClient smsClient = new SmsClient(connectionString);

 

The SMS message is then sent as follows:

SmsSendResult sendResult = smsClient.Send(
    from: "",
    to: "",
    message: "Hello World via SMS"
);
Console.WriteLine($"Sms id: {sendResult.MessageId}");

 

And there you have it! That is all it takes!

Why Azure Communication Services

Enterprises require an effective system for internal communication as well as communication with parties outside of the organization. You cannot set up your own communication system because it would require a significant investment as well as a dedicated team to set it up, configure, and monitor it. Because a communication system includes both hardware and software components, you will need experts in both to operate your system.

However, this is not the case with Azure Communication Services. How? Take a look at this:

  1. ACS's flexible APIs and SDKs make it simple for developers to add rich communication alternatives such as voice and video calling, chat, and SMS text message capabilities to mobile apps, desktop applications, and websites.
  2. Developers can easily access other Microsoft Azure services for translation, live video transcription, and more.
  3. Developers can use REST APIs to access ACS in their preferred language and platform, such as iOS, Android, Web,.NET, and JavaScript.
  4. In addition to the REST APIs, developers can use one of the SDKs, which are available in.NET Core, JavaScript, Java, and Python.
  5. ACS provides the benefits of a centralized management portal known as the Azure Portal. You will find it convenient and simple to manage the service for your specific requirements and needs. The entire service is based on Azure, one of the most dependable cloud systems.
  6. The assurance of privacy and security is the main concern that most businesses get when it comes to communication protocols. All communications are encrypted by ACS. As a result, it would undoubtedly meet your requirements as well as other legal requirements for compliance.

Given these advantages, we can conclude that ACS symbolizes ease for both the development company and the customer. Another significant advantage is integration. We can easily integrate ACS with other customer service or communication tools or platforms that you may already be using.

Azure Communication Services Capabilities

  • Audio and video of exceptional quality
  • Low latency for a smooth calling experience.
  • seamless switching between voice/video calls in multichannel communication.
  • Enhance app experiences with chat to improve real-time connectivity.
  • Launch a session with a single click for immediate response.
  • Manage your increasing client service needs with ease and speed.
  • The quickest way to communicate with customers
  • Deliver critical information to users at any time.
  • SMS can be integrated into existing applications and workflows using Azure services such as Logic Apps and Event Grid.
  • Telephony capabilities enable end-to-end communication scenarios.
  • Provision numbers for both internal and external calling. 
  • Remove unwanted calls and texts by using clean numbers that have been verified.

Some Azure Communication Services Use Cases

App developers can use the SMS service provided by ACS to set reminders for specific target meetings or to conduct surveys on the health metrics of agile app development. Another significant advantage is the ability to set up web chat. It enables all team members to communicate in real-time in the background.

ACS provides an efficient infrastructure for B2C communication in terms of internal communications. End users or customers, for example, could use public information services like Microsoft Teams to contact service providers or manufacturers via B2C VoIP and Video calling features. A buyer, for example, can easily contact a retailer without any hassles.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Azure DevOps?

Azure DevOps is a SaaS platform that offers development services such as task planning, collaborative coding, application development, and deployment. It provides a final DevOps toolchain for software development and deployment. It can integrate with a variety of popular market tools and is an excellent way to set up a DevOps toolchain.

What clearly is Azure Databricks?

Azure Databricks is a Data And analytics platform that provides two development environments for data-intensive applications: Databricks in Azure SQL Analyses and Workspace for Azure Databricks. The integration of Azure Databricks with cloud providers' native security, compute, analytics, storage, and AI services facilitate the unification of data and AI workloads.

Define Microsoft Azure AppFabric.

Windows Azure Diagnostics allows you to collect diagnostic data from a Windows Azure-running application. Diagnostic data is used to plan and evaluate capacity.

Conclusion

To conclude this blog, firstly we discussed Azure Communication Service. We also discussed how to create Azure Communication Service resources. And then we looked at how to use ACS in any application, why ACS, Azure Communication Service‘s capabilities, and last but not least some of its use cases.

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