Recently I have been having a few discussions with customers about how to enable video conferencing capabilities in Dynamics 365. CaféX provides a solution called Meetings, which offers, amongst other cool features, the ability to have a video conference call with multiple parties without the need for any downloads or installs. I am providing here in the tech talks blog some articles on how this can be achieved.
There are many ways that CaféX Meetings can be integrated into Dynamics 365. It could be a simple IFrame embedded in the Web Interface with little integration, or it could be more tightly integrated to users and activities in the Dynamics data model and take advantage of the Channel Integration Framework in the Unified Interface. Or of course it could be a shade of grey between the two. With the configuration of Dynamics 365 and the APIs of meetings, you can decide how best to structure an integration for your use case.
CaféX Meetings Activity
To being with, I wanted a way to be able to schedule Meetings in Dynamics 365. CaféX Meetings provides a REST API that allows you to schedule and define the parameters for meetings so I just needed a way to trigger this from within Dynamics 365 and retain the meta data about the meeting (such as its unique ID etc..).
I created a Dynamics Entity Activity type which I called a CaféX Meetings Activity. Imaginative right? Of course you can create any activity type that you want or modify an existing entity such as an Appointment. This is just my example:
The idea is that I can schedule a meeting for the future just by creating a new CaféX Meetings Activity and setting the date and time of the meeting to be held. I wired it up so that when I save the Activity, it calls the relevant API on Meetings to create the meeting definition and get the Meeting ID back.
This could be extended a lot further to invite other people, send emails with links etc.. but for the purpose of my demo, that is as far as it is integrated.
CaféX Meetings and the Channel Integration Framework
In order to embed CaféX Meetings directly in Dynamics 365, I had to create my own little Web App that could be used inside of the Dynamics Channel Integration Framework. The Web App does little more than use the CIF APIs to monitor what is being displayed in the Dynamics view and then change its appearance based on this.
If a Meetings Activity is being displayed, then my app will read the relevant data, such as start time etc.. and offer a join button to enter the meeting. All the clever stuff is really done inside of CaféX Meetings so it was easy to put together.
Here is a short video showing it all in action:
Next Article: Meetings in Dynamics 365 - #2 The Meetings Solution
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