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Easy Assist Sessions

This content is no longer actively maintained. It is provided as is, for anyone who may still be using these technologies, with no warranties or claims of accuracy with regard to the most recent product version or service release.

Easy Assist is a new feature introduced in Live Meeting 2007 Professional, Service Release 3. Using a special Live Meeting session, Easy Assist facilitates remote support scenarios by allowing a support agent to remotely view and interact with the desktop of an assisted user. The special Live Meeting session is known as the Easy Assist session, which offers a targeted and limited set of meeting functionality. Easy Assist sessions are marked with the “_EA” tags and are managed using the Live Meeting Service API. The behavior of the API applied to Easy Assist sessions is identical with that applied to regular Live Meeting sessions except that meeting options not applicable to an Easy Assist session are not supported.


Easy Assist Components

Easy Assist components include client applications for user interaction, a Live Meeting 2007 Professional service installation to provide session support, and the XML APIs included with this SDK.

  • Easy Assist Launchpad. This client application is used by a Support Agent to create support sessions for remote customer support. The Launchpad provides the Support Agent with an Easy Assist session join link URL string to be passed to the supported customer for entry into the created session.

  • Easy Assist Console. This client application is used by the Support Agent and supported customer to host an instance of a support session on a workstation endpoint. The console is automatically downloaded and installed on a remote customer workstation when the customer has opened an Easy Assist Join Link in Microsoft Internet Explorer.

  • Live Meeting 2007 Professional. The organization providing support through Easy Assist must either host or maintain a subscription to the Live Meeting 2007 Professional service. An organization uses this instance of the Live Meeting service for normal Live Meetings as well.

  • Live Meeting XML API SDK. This SDK provides the API set necessary to implement Easy Assist Launchpad functionality in a custom client. That is, a custom client is provided with the ability to create Easy Assist sessions as well as normal Live Meeting meetings.

    NoteNote

    Microsoft Office Live Meeting XML API does not provide Easy Assist Console functionality. The Support Agent using a custom application to create an Easy Assist session must have the Easy Assist Console installed in order to join the support session.

Easy Assist XML API Support

To develop a custom application that provides Easy Assist Launchpad functionality, the Microsoft Office Live Meeting XML API now includes new meeting and user options for creating Easy Assist sessions and retrieving Easy Assist join links to supported customers. Several individual XML APIs have been enhanced to achieve this support. All current meeting related operational messages can be applied to an Easy Assist session. After an Easy Assist session is created, it can be modified, listed, and deleted as if it was a Live Meeting. An Easy Assist session cannot be converted to a Live Meeting.

Easy Assist GetCustomizedLinks Option

Easy Assist can be customized to direct a supported customer to a custom page on a support portal as the customer enters a new Easy Assist session. The custom Easy Assist page on the support portal can present the supported customer with a support agreement to be acknowledged before entering an Easy Assist session. Using the Live Meeting Manager, an administrator can configure an Easy Assist join link URL for the custom support portal page. The URL is returned in a GetCustomizedLinksReply Element as a new string option, "easyAssistJoinLink". The value of the option contains an Easy Assist base join link that is appended with a meeting Id and audience or presenter password to create a session join link. An Easy Assist join URL is only returned when an administrator has configured the link using Live Meeting Manager. For information about the new option, see GetCustomizedLinks Message.

Easy Assist User Options

Easy Assist user options allow a per-user Easy Assist policy to be set. The OptionList Element child of CreateUserRequest Element, CreateUserReply Element, User Element, and ModifyUserRequest Element contains the following new options. These options must be set before a user can create an Easy Assist session.

  • easyAssistEnabled. At the time a user account is created or modified in a Live Meeting Conference Center, the user's account can be configured to allow or restrict the creation of an Easy Assist session. To allow existing user accounts to create an Easy Assist session, the user's easyAssistEnabled option must be set to True. By default, easyAssistEnabled is set to the value that can be edited in the Edit Role panel from the Administer Account -> Roles and Policies -> Administrator/Organizer option on the Live Meeting Manager for a new user account.

  • easyAssistSummaryMailId. A default session summary e-mail address can be specified. This e-mail address is the default session summary e-mail address of any Easy Assist session created by the Support Agent. The session summary email is sent to the Support Agent at the conclusion of the Easy Assist session and contains a text log of session activity. Session activity in the log includes participant text chat, logging information regarding who joined the Easy Assist session, and other session information. A link to the session video recording is also included.

For more information about these options, see CreateUserRequest Element.

Easy Assist Meeting Options

Easy Assist meeting options are set at the time a meeting is created using the corresponding default value.

  • easyAssistSummaryMailId. This string option specifies the Support Agent e-mail address to which a session summary e-mail is sent at the conclusion of an Easy Assist session. The value is defaulted using the creating user's easyAssistSummaryMailId.

  • easyAssistJoinLink. This is a read-only option that is returned with create, modify, or list meeting replies. The value of the option represents the base join link configured with Live Meeting Manager. This is the basis of the URL string that is passed to a supported customer in order to join the Easy Assist session.

  • tag. The range of acceptable tag option values now includes "_EA". When creating an Easy Assist session, the tag value MUST be "_EA". If "_EA" is specified when attempting to schedule a Live Meeting, the resulting session is an Easy Assist session.

Easy Assist Session Scheduling

Scheduling an Easy Assist session follows the same pattern used when scheduling a normal Live Meeting meeting except for these differences:

Getting Join Link Parameter Values

The Live Meeting server-generated reply to a CreateMeeting Message contains an OptionList Element that should have the information necessary to build a complete Easy Assist session join link. The minimum required join link parameters include the meeting Id, the audience password, and the presenter password. To get these values in a CreateMeetingReply Element, the client must specify the corresponding fields in the FieldList Element of the original CreateMeetingRequest Element. This is done by nesting a Name Element under the FieldList Element for each desired link parameter value. The Name values include: "mid", "audiencePassword", "presenterPassword", and "easyAssistJoinLink". Optionally, you can include "serverGeneratedAudiencePassword" and "serverGeneratedPresenterPassword". These two optional reply fields return True values when a Live Meeting server has auto-generated the corresponding meeting passwords.

At a minimum, the FieldList Element should contain these options. When audience and presenter passwords are not specified in the CreateMeetingRequest Element, by the Support Agent, they are generated by a Live Meeting server. To return server generated passwords, it is necessary to include the "audiencePassword" and "presenterPassword" values in the FieldList Element. The meeting reply contains the requested passwords. The options in this example supply the required parameter values appended to the basic Easy Assist join link. To review an example of this concept, see CreateMeeting Message.

Easy Assist Session Join Link Creation

The Easy Assist Launchpad creates an Easy Assist session join link URL with parameter values that direct the joining user to a specific Easy Assist session. A custom client implementing Launchpad-like functionality must create an Easy Assist session join link URL using certain meeting options that are returned in a meeting reply. The basic join link is obtained from the "easyAssistJoinLink" read-only option string value. If required, the session entry codes for the Support Agent and customer are obtained from returned meeting password options. Finally, the value of the id parameter is obtained from the meeting mid read-only option.

NoteNote

When an Easy Assist join link has not been configured, the Conference Center base address is substituted.

If the Support Agent creates an Easy Assist session specifying the presenterEntryControl value of "Password", the Support Agent’s Easy Assist session join link must be appended with a pw parameter. If the session password is not supplied by the Support Agent, a password value is generated by the Live Meeting server. In this case, the serverGeneratedPresenterPassword meeting option is set to True. The presenterPassword option contains the session presenter password. The Easy Assist session join link URL for the supported customer must also include a pw parameter if the audienceEntryControl meeting option contains "Password". A Live Meeting server generates and returns a password in the reply read-only option If the option is not specified when the Easy Assist session is scheduled, the serverGeneratedAudiencePassword is set to True.

An example of an Easy Assist session join link URL is http://support.microsoft.com/easyassist?id=KD6TRG&pw=c4%7eh%24%24NQ7 where the meeting id is KD6TRG and the entry code (pw) is c4%7eh%24%24NQ7. To provide access to the new Easy Assist session, the Support Agent must send an e-mail message containing the session join link URL to the supported customer.

Optional URL parameters include cn (Display Name) and recording_agreement. For more information about query fields (parameters), see Joining a Meeting Using Entry URL.

Easy Assist Session Options

The meeting option default values for an Easy Assist session are different than those set for a normal meeting. In addition, only six meeting options can be set by a user in the course of an Easy Assist session within the Easy Assist Console. The following table lists the Easy Assist meeting options and their default values. The following options can be set by the Support Agent creating the Easy Assist session.

Option name

Default value

applicationSharingWant

Desktop

allowRequestControlApplicationSharing

True

audienceEntryControl

None/Password. Access control list (ACL) is not supported

billing

Derived from Live Meeting Conference Center defaults

deleteContentAfterMeetingEnds

True

deleteContentTimeAmount

5

deleteContentTimeType

hour

easyAssistSummaryMailId

From user default setting

enablePersonalRecordingAttendee

False

enablePersonalRecordingPresenter

False

freeEntry

False

mid

Auto-generated

presenterEntryControl

None/Password. System generated if not supplied by user. ACL is not supported

recordingEnabled

True

registration

False. True is not supported

setRecordingEntryControl

OwnerOnly

In order for a Support Agent or customer to join the newly created Easy Assist session, each participant must obtain an URL that provides a join link to the session. The basic join link is configured for a given Live Meeting account and specific session values are added to that base join link to form a complete join link. Both the base join link and the specific session values are provided to the Support Agent's custom application in a reply to the request to create an Easy Assist session.

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