Microsoft Teams offers hundreds of applications and integrations to enhance your productivity and user experiences. But what if your organisation needs something specific? In this blog, we look at the possibilities of custom Microsoft Teams app development – and how the future may look when Teams Voice is connected with Azure Communications Services.
Microsoft Teams offers a world of possibilities around applications. With more than 700 apps across 17 categories available on AppSource, there’s sure to be a solution to any common challenge.
But what happens if you find that what you need isn’t yet available? Or you want to bring your own Microsoft Teams custom app in privately? The good news is that new and existing applications can be integrated quickly and easily. The world of what’s possible is truly only limited by your imagination.
Getting started: Microsoft Teams app development
The first part of understanding what you want from your applications is to discuss and agree what you want to accomplish. At Content+Cloud we can help you begin this journey. We try to understand what the end goal of the application is before we ever pick up the development tools.
It’s key that we have this in mind before we start. The capabilities you require inform how we’ll develop your application. We can develop to several different capabilities:
- Bots are often used as a method of a chatting with users. We would use Visual Studio along with TeamsFx SDK and the Bot Framework.
- Messaging extensions are usually used as a shortcut for inserting external content into a conversation or by taking an action on messages. These would use the same technology to start but can use Node.js, C#, Java, and Python to execute the action.
Each of these has idiosyncrasies that make them better at making a particular type of application. Our development team can advise on this and design, develop and deploy the Microsoft Teams custom app that meets your organisation’s needs.
What’s next for Microsoft Teams app development and voice?
The future of Microsoft Teams app development in the voice space is Azure Communication Services (ACS). ACS allows us to deliver voice, video, chat, text messaging and PSTN telephone services wherever your customers are. We can work across your applications, websites, and mobile platforms. Thanks to the scale of Azure, we can utilise a reliable global platform that’s already trusted by millions of users each day.
At Content+Cloud we can improve your customer interactions by streamlining your voice, video and chat capabilities by building a custom application and leveraging Microsoft Teams to expand the experience. VoIP and chat usage is only billed to your Azure resource when using Azure APIs and SDKs. All usage for Microsoft Teams application users interacting with ACS applications is included in your Microsoft 365 licences.
How might ACS be used in the workplace?
It’s important to know that ACS was built with enterprise-level customers in mind, so it can easily scale up and down as required.
We’ve seen healthcare organisations work with their patients to be able to provide a landing page or website that can incorporate a variety of communication modalities into it.
The ACS integration allows the patient conversation to shift from a bot experience to a live video feed from the doctor. The solution enables encryption to meet the sector’s regulatory requirements, such as HIPPA, and the UK Data Protection Act. We can work with intelligence to take the conversations further, such as real-time translation services enabled through access into other Azure services.
What services can ACS integrate into?
ACS can integrate into five main communication services via a selection of APIs and SDKs that allow us to hook into their capabilities:
- Voice and video calling over IP – one-on-one calling or meeting for up to 50 people.
- Chat – content sharing, message chat, chat history retention, emojis and file sharing.
- Text messaging – sending messages via SMS.
- Telephone calling – real phone calls via applications using a connection to the public switch telephone network (PSTN), with normal numbers for inbound and outbound calling.
- Network Communication Services – videos with WebRTC that allow for capabilities that take an open standard-based approach, removing the complexities of running a global edge-based deployment.
The integration into Azure means we can alleviate any worries about any of the complexity of network traversal and traffic.
Once the solution is connected to Azure, anywhere in the world, Microsoft will take care of the connectivity for you with one of the fastest real-time communication networks in the world. In addition, we can enable authenticated experiences, such as Azure Active Directory or other common identity services such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter.
The sky is the limit when it comes to working with applications and ACS. We’re only limited to the scope of our imagination. Coupled with our technical consultancy or managed services for Teams Voice, we can ensure that your application requirements are considered as part of your holistic communications provision.
Feel free to speak to one of our specialists today to see how best Content+Cloud can help you move your custom Microsoft Teams app plans forward.
Explore the art of the possible in Microsoft Teams Voice
PSTN will reach end-of-life in 2025. Is your business ready to see what’s possible with a move to Teams Voice? Content+Cloud is running in-person and virtual workshops to help you understand your readiness for change and build a plan for success with telephony in Teams.