VQ’s Growing Number of Unified Communications (“UC”) Apps

We’re increasingly thinking of VQ Conference Manager in terms of it being a platform that enables UC problems to be solved. With the base functionality stable and delivering really big workloads, we’re now starting to introduce more of what we’re calling “UC Apps”. These sit outside the VQCM web user interface and were designed to make it easier for end users to make more calls because they have higher degrees of control or simply because we made it easier for users to join calls.

With 3.1 heading towards beta status, we’ll be introducing the following new apps:

  • Outlook plug-in
  • iOS phone app
  • Blast Dial (also known as Reactive Calls)

These join the Outlook Add-in launched with the initial version of 3.0. The UC apps get even better in 3.1 for customers with Single Sign-On because the UC Apps also support SSO! No more having to remember passwords and one less barrier to adoption.

Blast Dial is headless for 3.1 in that it does not have a user interface; you configure it via a config file. Blast-Dial allows a Space to be defined where if somebody calls into the Space, the Space automatically calls out to a predefined list of attendees. Ideal for use in environments where a team needs to respond to an event.

A variant of the Outlook Add-in we’re playing with at the moment works with Google G Suite. Again, it’s enabled because VQCM 3.1 supports Open ID Connect “OIDC” which is the authentication protocol used by services such as Google. I’ll keep you updated on how that particular skunk project unfolds.

Behind the scene, more are coming. What’s also interesting is how a further subset of “utilities” or tools are evolving to meet customer requests to solve problems they face. These typically are run from a command line  and use VQ’s REST API; they solve problems customers are facing in a tactical manner – we can get them done quickly because they sit outside the core VQCM product. Here’s a couple of examples:

  • SetSpacePin; a command line utility that works with a customer’s PowerShell scripting. The PowerShell script listens on an Exchange mailbox and allows users to request details for their Space or send a calendar request to an Exchange mailbox; if the calendar request contains a specific keyword, the PowerShell script calls the command line tool and sets the Pin/Passcode on the User’s Space. It’s a concept at the moment and the jury’s still out on whether the customer will deploy it. Initial feedback is positive.
  • Another example is from last week; a customer would like to enable streaming on specific Spaces and set the Streaming URL. We’re putting together a small utility that’ll allow their operators to do this and therefore avoid the pain of doing it via the Postman API.

Having said all that, I do need to set the correct expectation. VQCM 3 is enabling us to start thinking in terms of a platform and UC Apps. Our APIs are not yet public; they need a lot of love to iron out inconsistencies and they’re not documented. Work is underway to address that (and it looks pretty nifty) but it’s going to be some time before we go public with it.

If this blog has triggered any thoughts about what UC Apps (with or without UI) that you think would help solve a UC problem you’re experiencing, please drop us a line.