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Using UCMA 3.0 and Lync 2010 for Contextual Communication: Scenario Overview (Part 1 of 6)

Summary:   This article is the first in a series of six articles that describe how to create a Microsoft Unified Communications Managed API (UCMA) 3.0 Core application that sets up a two-way contextual data channel with a Microsoft Lync 2010 application that uses Microsoft Silverlight. The Lync 2010 application runs in the Lync 2010 Conversation Window Extension.

This article presents a scenario in which a simple form-based UI is presented to a Lync 2010 user. Context data from the user’s interactions with the form flows back and forth from the Lync 2010 application to the UCMA 3.0 application.

The new Contextual Communication feature in Microsoft Unified Communications Managed API (UCMA) 3.0 Core supports improved end-to-end communication by integrating external data sources, such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), and web cookies, into a two-way contextual conversation.

This article discusses how to create a UCMA 3.0 Core application that sets up a two-way contextual data channel with a remote user on Lync 2010. Specifically, the UCMA 3.0 application starts a Microsoft Silverlight application that runs in the Lync 2010 Conversation Window Extension, and the remote user sends and receives contextual data by way of the Silverlight application.

The UCMA 3.0 application creates and establishes a ConversationContextChannel instance, and then sends an invitation to the Lync 2010 user. This invitation contains a hyperlink to a web application that the remote Lync 2010 user can use to send contextual data to the UCMA 3.0 application. When the data that was requested by the user appears in the web application, the UCMA 3.0 application ends the ConversationContextChannel instance and then closes.

The scenario described here is from the perspective of the Lync 2010 user. A Lync 2010 application that appears in the Lync 2010 Conversation Window Extension (CWE) presents a UI in which the user can click an option button to obtain information about one of three items. When the Lync 2010 user selects the option button for an item, and then clicks a button to send the choice to the UCMA 3.0 application, the UCMA 3.0 application sends information to the Lync 2010 application about that choice. The following illustration shows the UI that appears in the CWE. A user can obtain information about a camera, a smartphone, or a GPS device. The Ready channel status indicates that the UCMA 3.0 application is ready to receive context data.

The UCMA 3.0 application establishes the context channel, which signals the Lync 2010 application that the context channel is ready to use. The Lync 2010 application reacts by displaying Ready. Preliminary logging information appears.

Figure 1. The context channel is ready for use

Context channel is open

The Lync 2010 user can now receive information about a camera, smartphone, or GPS unit by selecting the appropriate option, and then clicking the Send Data button. In the following illustration, the user has selected the GPS option, and has clicked the Send Data button.

Figure 2. The Lync 2010 application queries the UCMA 3.0 application about the chosen item

Data sent through context channel

Clicking the Send Data button causes the Lync 2010 application to send information about the user’s choice to the UCMA 3.0 application through the context channel. The UCMA 3.0 application receives the contextual data, parses it, and then sends a string that contains the model name, price, and availability back to the Lync 2010 application. The Lync 2010 application splits the string into its constituent parts, and then displays the model, price, and availability information.

Figure 3. The Lync 2010 application receives data about chosen the item

Data received from context channel

Mark Parker and John Clarkson are programming writers with the Microsoft Lync product team. Mark and John thank Matt Hill and Rupa Shanbhag for their help in verifying the technical accuracy of parts 1 through 6.

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