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The Spark and Tropo API Experience Down Under

Posted on January 11, 2017 by Phil Bellanti

Just recently, yours truly made a hop, skip, and two jumps from Orlando, Florida to Melbourne, Australia (a mere 23-hour jaunt) to deliver the Cisco Spark and Tropo API Experience workshop at the APJ Collaboration Specialist Training (CST) event. The event was held at the Cisco Melbourne office, located on eastern side of the famous Collins Street, starting on Monday, November 14th. Essentially, it’s a 4-day technical training for Cisco Collaboration Engineers, taking a deep dive into the Cisco Collaboration portfolio with a lot of hands on lab opportunity. The Spark and Tropo API Experience workshop is roadshow-style event for Cisco engineers, partners, and customers to learn all about Cisco’s Cloud Collaboration APIs. A perfect fit for this event!

The CST event officially kicked-off Tuesday with various workshops delivered by the Cisco team over the next few days. The sessions spanned across all sorts of Cisco Collaboration technology, such as migrating from Microsoft platforms and adding cloud business solutions inside organizations. One of our awesome Cisco Spark experts, Paul O’Dwyer, gave a great talk on Cisco cloud APIs, with a detailed description from a developer standpoint. The attendees were kept pretty busy with a nice mix of instructional content and labs. At the end of the day on Tuesday, the Cisco team had a nice dinner together at a restaurant that specialized in Texas-style BBQ, which is certainly the type of cuisine worth traveling almost 10,000 miles for.

As the CST event drew to a conclusion on Friday, I presented the Cisco Spark and Tropo Experience to a hearty group of partners and colleagues. There were plenty of eager folks ready to start using the APIs and this session was intended to get them jump started. The workshop started off with comprehensive review of both the technical and business sides of Spark and Tropo. This included some live demos, such as the ‘Email to Spark’ bot which automatically adds the people and context of an existing email thread to a new Spark room.

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Then it was time for the group to get some instructional hands-on work, starting with the Tropo.com Scripting API. Through this portion, they created and deployed Tropo voice scripts that utilized text to speech, played audio files and even asked questions to the caller. The locals in the group were pleased to be able assign a Melbourne telephone number to their application and they dialed it right from their mobile phones. For others in the group, it was easier to make test calls from a SIP client on a laptop. Tropo makes that very easy to do since all applications are automatically assigned a unique inbound SIP address.

From there, we moved over to the Spark API developer portal and used the interactive documentation to create a live webhook in Spark. We configured the webhook to use a requestb.in URL easily view the code that is returned from the API when an event is triggered. This is also a great way to quickly troubleshoot existing webhooks.

The workshop then moved on to the two Spark API labs. The first lab had the group initiate API requests to create new Spark rooms, add participants and postmessages. The complexity increased in the second lab that had the group deploy a Spark integration using an OAuth grant flow. Integrations are how you request permission to invoke Spark APIs on behalf of another user. While the labs can be challenging, everyone made it through them successfully, which should boost their confidence to utilize the Spark and Tropo platforms moving forward.

My visit to Melbourne was a really positive experience all the way around. It’s always enjoyable to educate others about Cisco’s easy to use APIs and to do it in an amazing city like this made it extra special. The entire team who put together the CST event for APJ really did a commendable job. The week did seem to go by way too fast. I barely had enough time to psyche myself up for the trip back home. The long…trip…home.

Alas, this show must go on! If you are interested in having a Cisco Spark and Tropo APIworkshop delivered at your next event, we’d love to hear from you – just follow the link here to request more details. The workshop can be tailored for a wide variety of skillsets – developers, power users, and IT professionals. Additionally, we will also be offering a ‘Train-the-Trainer’ program for Cisco engineers who want to re-deliver this workshop at their own event. If you are a Cisco employee and want more details on the ‘Train-the-Trainer’ program for the Spark and Tropo API Workshop, you can request more information here.

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