Azure Communication Service
Updated: Oct 27
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Azure Communication Services are cloud-based services with REST APIs and client library SDKs available to help you integrate communication into your applications. You can add communication to your applications without being an expert in underlying technologies such as media encoding or telephony. Azure Communication Service is available in multiple Azure geographies and Azure for government.
Azure Communication Service Flow
Azure Communication Services supports various communication formats:
You can connect custom client apps, custom services, and the publicly switched telephone network (PSTN) to your communications experience. You can acquire phone numbers directly through Azure Communication Services REST APIs, SDKs, or the Azure portal; and use these numbers for SMS or calling applications or you can simply integrate email capabilities to your applications using production-ready email SDKs. Azure Communication Services direct routing allows you to use SIP and session border controllers to connect your own PSTN carriers and bring your own phone numbers.
Scenarios for Azure Communication Services include:
Business to Consumer (B2C). Employees and services engage external customers using voice, video, and text chat in browser and native apps. An organization can send and receive SMS messages or operate an interactive voice response system (IVR) using a phone number you acquire through Azure. Integration with Microsoft Teams can be used to connect consumers to Teams meetings hosted by employees; ideal for remote healthcare, banking, and product support scenarios where employees might already be familiar with Teams.
Consumer to Consumer (C2C). Build engaging consumer-to-consumer interaction with voice, video, and rich text chat. Any type of user interface can be built on Azure Communication Services SDKs or use complete application samples and an open-source UI toolkit to help you get started quickly.
Example use cases include:
Meetings between people outside the Organization/Business/Enterprise and Teams native users, for example, a hospital app where patients use a branded website or app (using WebRTC) talking to doctors using native Teams.
Contact Center / Auto Attendant scenarios with Teams This is how Landis Attendant Console, Laware digital banking and Microsoft Dynamics Digital Contact Center platform work. This could go beyond voice to include Omni-channel in the future.
Interop between Teams and specialist devices like Real Wear augmented reality headsets. Using ACS to add video calling capability to connect to matter experts use Teams clients.
The “external” user or application can have a completely custom experience:
Integrate into a customer app, for example, an online banking app
Support for mobile and desktop web browsers
No additional Teams licenses are required for the external users
Teams' Tenant policies and configurations can apply to the scenarios in your app without extra work
For the Teams user or “business user” the benefits are:
Use the usual Teams desktop or mobile app
Teams' users don’t lose context by switching between apps for customer engagement and their internal communications
Teams is a single source for chat messages and call history within the organization
Teams' policies control communication across applications
Begin using Azure Communication Services by using the Azure portal or Communication Services SDK to provision your first Communication Services resource. Once you have your Communication Services resource connection string, you can provision your first user access tokens.
Use Azure Communication Services to provision and release telephone numbers. These telephone numbers can be used to initiate or receive phone calls and build SMS solutions.
Azure Communication Services Email REST APIs and SDKs is used send an email messages from service applications.
After creating a Communication Services resource, you can start building client scenarios, such as voice and video calling or text chat:
User access tokens authenticate clients against your Azure Communication Services resource. These tokens are provisioned and reissued using Communication Services Identity APIs and SDKs.
Azure Communication Services allows you to add voice and video calling to your browser or native apps using the Calling SDK.
With Azure Communication Services you can add telephony calling capabilities to your application.
Azure Communication Services can be used to build custom meeting experiences that interact with Microsoft Teams. Users of your Communication Services solution(s) can interact with Teams participants over voice, video, chat, and screen sharing.
The Azure Communication Services Chat SDK is used to add rich real-time text chat into your applications.
Telephony channel is a channel in Microsoft Bot Framework that enables the bot to interact with users over the phone. It leverages the power of Microsoft Bot Framework combined with the Azure Communication Services and the Azure Speech Services.
The UI Library for Azure Communication Services enables you to easily add rich, visual communication experiences to your applications for both calling and chat.
Other Microsoft Communication Services
There are two other Microsoft communication products you may consider using that are not directly interoperable with Communication Services at this time:
Microsoft Graph Cloud Communication APIs allow organizations to build communication experiences tied to Azure Active Directory users with Microsoft 365 licenses. This is ideal for applications tied to Azure Active Directory or where you want to extend productivity experiences in Microsoft Teams. There are also APIs to build applications and customization within the Teams experience.
Azure PlayFab Party simplifies adding low-latency chat and data communication to games. While you can power gaming chat and networking systems with Communication Services, PlayFab is a tailored option and free on Xbox.