Cisco WebEx teams is sometimes referred to WhatsApp for enterprise designed with enterprise security features. Similar in capabilities with Microsoft Teams and Slack in the enterprise collaboration space, Its native features includes 1:1 and group chat , voice calls and video meetings with persistency built in. The app is supported on windows, Mac, iOS, android devices and standard browsers. Its Important to recognize that beyond these native capabilities of the Webex teams, there is a broader possibility to unleash its real power. This blog is explores these features.
The core concept of Webex team is “rooms” which is a container for all the collaboration activities between the users who are a part of that room. The concept of rooms cuts through all the business functions within an enterprise, be it sales, marketing , R&D, engineering or services. Every corporate employee needs a persistent room to collaborate on their specific objectives especially when most of the workforce is remote.
So lets cut the chase and understand what is offered by Webex teams beyond its native features to serve your unique Communication and Collaboration needs. These features are enabled through API reuse and development that Includes Bots, Integrations, Widgets and SDK’s. The below table summarizes use cases and the associated API tools that can augment your Webex Teams native capabilities.
|Use case||API Tools|
|Embed Bot functionality within Webex Teams rooms||Bot Frameworks|
|Integrate enterprise apps into Webex Teams||Integrations|
|Integrate Webex Teams with enterprise web apps||Widgets|
|A la carte integration of Webex teams features (voice call, video call..) into mobile and web apps||SDK’s|
Bots as Notifiers, Commanders or Assistants
People think about chatbots when they hear bot, but there are different levels to it. They are Notifier, Commander and Assistant bots. Bots are like users in your room and can be invoked with notations to perform certain functions. For example, a Github Notifier bot can listen to commits and post them in the room so that all the room members are notified. A Jira Controller bot can be used to control or query information from various external applications. And Finally, the Assistant bot is on the top with AI capabilities like Natural Language Processing (NLP) algorithms and and respond like a real human. Further details on the Bot technology can be found here . The below screenshot shows and Assistant bot responding to user questions.
Integrations are the ways you can bring capabilities of your existing enterprise apps into the Webex Teams rooms. For example, by Integrating Sharepoint with Webex teams, you can share your OneDrive or SharePoint Online files directly in a Webex Teams space. Everyone in the space can access the latest version of the files. Second scenario is where If everyone in a space is working together on files in a Microsoft OneDrive or SharePoint Online folder, you can link the space to that folder. Everyone can then access the files in the linked folder directly from the Webex Teams space. More details on this Integration can be found here . And the Integration reference guide for the administrator can be found here
Widgets are just the opposite of Integrations where-in the WebEx teams functionality (Messaging, calling, meeting..) is embedded into your enterprise apps. The use case here is when you want to embed collaboration features into your existing business process. Traditionally this capability is called CEBP (Collaboration Enabled Business Process). Additional details on the widgets and use cases can be found here
SDK (Software Development Kits)
SDK’s allows you to build your own user interfaces within your existing apps (iOS, Android, web..) that includes WebEx teams features. SDK’s are like a la carte where you can pick and choose specific Webex team feature (voice call, video call, message..) and embed them into your platform specific app (iOS, Android…). SDK’s are detailed in this location and live demo app can be found here
Whether you are Interested in developing a bot or Integrate your Web app into Webex team or leverage SDK’s this post should give you a foundational understanding on the art of possible with Webex Teams API’s.
I have added some additional resources of further interest.
|WebEx Teams App Store||https://apphub.webex.com/teams|
|Design and deploy Chatbots||Cisco Live|
|Webex Team API||https://collabapilab.ciscolive.com/lab/pod6/rest_apis/wbxt_api|