Ignite Live Blog : Building apps and services with the Office 365 Communications Platform

Office 365 Communications Platform is the new platform  combining Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business Development Platform. There was  an introductory session (BRK2197) to the Communications Platform in the morning by Andrew Bybee and David Newman.

In  this 300 level session David and Srividhya walked us through what we  will be able to do with this new platform. Before the demos, David framed the communications platform capabilities in the context of the overall Office 365 Platform.  In Office 365 there are lots of canvases and applications that are based on Microsoft Graph and can be used to create or integrate communication scenarios.


Today, Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams have a lot of development capabilities:

  • Skype for Business on premise and/or online with Skype Web SDK, App SDK, UCWA, UCMA, Trusted App or Bot framework
  • Teams with tabs, bots, connectors or components in preview (Actionable Messages, Activity Feed and Compose Extensions)

With the transition from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams in Office 365, new capabilities will be offered to developers based on the next-generation Skype back-end and Office 365 Communications Platform.2.jpg


To illustrate these capabilities, David started with Intelligent Messaging by creating a bot from scratch with Azure Bot Service and QnA Maker:

  • Configuration in Azure portal
  • Connect it to QnA Service (You need to configure it before by providing questions and answers in raw files, PDF or http URL)
  • Connect the bot to each channel you want and you are ready!3.jpg


But it's not enough and we want to see more :). To demonstrate Programmable Voice and Videotoday, a developer can create a bot with access to "raw" audio and video using the Skype Consumer Calling SDKs.

The Communications Platform for Enterprise will provide similar functionality through the Microsoft Graph in the future. An SDK will be available and it will help developers to create intelligent scenarios

To clarify this concept, David showed two great demos:

  • The first one is pretty simple but respond to customers' needs: A bot that can receive audio calls from Microsoft Teams or phone number and transfer the call to an agent on Microsoft Teams. )
  • The second one is more sophisticated: The bot joins a meeting and gets the media stream of the active speaker. The video is replayed directly in the conference by the bot. In addition the bot leverages Cognitive Services and is able to transform the media streams as follows.
    • Change the color of the video. Behind the scene, an operation of speech to text is done and the command is executed. The bot is able to change the hue of the media stream to blue or red or green.
    • Transcribe the entire audio conversation in the meeting.

David and Srividhya finished the session by giving some details of the architecture and code snippets. The new capabilities shown in the Communications Platform are still under development and not yet ready for developers. I'm really looking forward to test it and create new scenarios.


If you want to go further and get an idea of the possibilities, you can check the Real Time Media SDK for Skype Consumer.

This session is going to be available for replay on http://ignite.microsoft.com


I'm covering other sessions on Skype for Business / Teams development platform all along the week, you can follow me on twitter @alexis_conia or on https://www.xpanduc.com