Week 6 of the DevNet Grind – CUCM / End User Data, Admin XML Layer (AXL), Contact Center / Finesse, and all things WebEx Teams!

This post will be covering all things Telephony for the DEVASC exam!

This and “Compute” platforms (UCS Manager / Director / Intersight) will be the end review of my class, and really I am only going to be a high level overview of these, being its only 15% of the exam among a HUGE pool of Cisco Platforms I will try to hit only the parts that I believe are relevant to getting points on exam day as the detail of these systems runs very very deep (and should probably be labbed in DevNet Sandbox!).

With that I’ll hit CUCM / WebEx / API’s to some degree / Finesse within this post.

CUCM – Cisco Unified Communications Manager (Call Manager)

CUCM provides Telephony and Video services (Jabber) via several servers including CUCM (Call Manager) Cisco Unified Presence Server (CUPS) Cisco Unity Connection (CUC) which is for Call Routing over IP Networks / Video Profiles and Servers (CUPS) / Voicemail and VM to Email services (CUC) – This also included UCCE or UCCX which is Unified Contact Center Enterprise or Xpress which would script call flow for Call Centers to distribute large call flows to agents.

CUCM is an “on-premise” solution for integration of voice, video, and data solution for call-control and session management. Call Managers purpose is to route call traffic, provision end points such as IP Phones / Physical Phones, create directory numbers, call groups, etc.

CUCM uses a Publisher / Subscriber cluster solution, where the Publisher is the horse power behind the mechanisms, and the Subscribers hold the same information and are ready to step in to make a semi-seamless fail-over if the Publisher goes down. It is highly flexible and extensible for usage with API config / mgmt / monitoring / call control.

CUCM Advanced Features

  • AXL – SOAP APIs (XML Requests) for managing various aspects of CUCM – Important!
  • UDS – Enables end users to update their personal CUCM settings
  • Serviceability – RisPort offers real time phone registration (IP Addressing) and PerfMon allows real time monitoring of hardware and software phones
  • Platform Administrative Web Services (PAWS) – Enables programmatic operations rather than doing upgrades manually in steps
  • Softphone Compatibility – This can be IP Communicator or Jabber to make / receive calls
  • Extension Mobility – Log into any phone with user creds to switch it from factory defaults to pull that users personal button / directory options
  • Cisco Jabber Voice and Video SDK – A JavaScript Library or Add-on to Chrome or Firefox browsers to allow the webpage to act as a softphone (or utilize the webpage to operate a physical phone device) – This is still very popular and IMPORTANT AS WELL!
  • Telephony API (TAPI) or Java TAPI (JTAPI) – Enable you to write programs that automate call flow – IMPORTANT TO KNOW THIS ACRONYM!!!!
  • CMC / Client Matter Code – This relates to CUCM Billing / Accounting by forcing the user to input a code to define which cost center charges will be billed to
  • Forced Authentication Codes – Must enter an Auth code before being allowed to be put through to a certain directory #
  • Hunt Lists / Hunt Groups – Hunt Lists are contained within Hunt Groups, certain extensions can be added to a Grouping like HR, in which their extensions would be part of a “Hunt List” which can select an open extension by longest available, first found, etc. Multiple Hunt Groups can also be used, for example if all of “Sales” is busy it might roll over to Customer Service to relay the call to another “Hunt Group” that can write up a Sale

I know CUCM well enough that I can guess the stuff in red will be DEVASC material

Administrative XML Layer (AXL)

AXL can change absolutely anything within the CUCM realm (PRI/T1 settings, Dial Peers, Route Patterns, lots of telephony stuff that doesn’t need to be included here) – Just assume it can change everything however what we as DEVASC Candidates must know is how it operates.

AXL API uses “Web Services Descriptive Language” or WSDL to create / read / update / delete anything in the CUCM configuration at all, and it does this via an API using the following layers:

  • Application – Applications
  • API – AXL (Administrative XML)
  • Protocol – SOAP
  • Encoding – XML
  • Transport – HTTPS
  • Application Server – Tomcat / Apache
  • Data Storage – Database

It uses the following methods to manipulate objects:

  • list
  • add
  • update
  • get
  • remove

For example listPhone or addUser.

AXL Uses SOAP which is only backwards compatible with XML, therefore its one of the rare APIs with this limitation, and crucial points not to miss on exam day!

UDS – User Data Services API

This is second on the list of important things for CUCM, as this is a REST based API that allows end users a mechanism for retrieving / updating / changing / deleting configuration data specifically for end user data whereas AXL API configures all the heavy duty call flow data.

You can change “locale” / Reset VM Pin / Configure Mobility or Single Number Reach (call fwd) / manage Do not Disturb / Speed Dial / Phone Alerting tones.

So compared to AXL its pretty silly in comparison as it only changes end user settings, however it does use “GET” / “POST” / “DELETE” / Etc like a normal REST API, so we need to know it exists.

Cisco Finesse

Finesse is Cisco Web Browser based “UCCX” or “UCCE” platform, where 5+ years ago there was fairly crude tools to write scripts and apply them to agents in a Call Center, Finesse both allows not only one operator to create the call flows but also choose the graphical layout of “Agents” dashboard presented when a call comes in / while their idle / actions that happen during the call (like capturing the video / audio for feedback, gathering “metrics” on call stats, etc).

UCCE is the Enterprise (Gigantic) version of what UCCX (Express) is for Contact Center which is when you call into a Company and can never get a real human because you have a maze of numbers to push for options – This dictates the call flow to certain Agents / Groups in UCCX/E.

Contact Center is not just a dial maze to confuse inbound callers, it is also to remind annoying telemarketers to follow up on certain phone numbers in certain intervals!

Don’t get me wrong, in the Telephony world Contact Center Call Scripting (flow of dial for this) made huge money, but having to work with ISP’s, it is the bane of my job!!! 🙂

Contact Center is both for Inbound annoyance and Outbound Annoyance via the use of REST APIs and JavaScript APIs that are fully customized for efficiency and auditing the agent for reviews, and Finesse also allows Contact Center to be integrated into other applications.

I don’t really think any more is needed to know about Finesse other than it utilizes both REST APIs and JavaScript APIs to integrate all sorts of features to scrutinize the poor call center cubicle dwelling zombie trying to break into IT, and to make it as difficult as possible to get a human being on the phone for Business Class Internet Service across almost every Carrier in the entire US with dial mazes that never lead to the right department

BIG BREATH IN.

If you are reading this page, you probably know how “Call Centers” work, however its probably good to know that it takes the old school highly valued scripting, and turned it into an equally valuable skillset of building and integrating REST and JavaScript APIs onto a Web Page!

One thing about Finesse for exam day aside from my personal distaste for dial mazes, GET requests MUST be Synchronous with Finesse, while all others are Asynchronous!

I knew I was ranting for a reason.

GET verbs sent by Finesse MUST get a response before proceeding, whereas all other REST API Calls are “Asynchronous” for REST APIs in terms of Finesse, for Asynchronous calls there is a “Finesse Notification Service” which does respond to the API sort of as an “Ack” that it got the request and it will respond once it is able – Asynchronous and FNS go Hand-in-Hand!

The Finesse “Agent” and “Supervisor” desktop is an “OpenSocial Container” which comes with out of the box gadgets for both platforms, and the JavaScript API is actually running on top of REST API by using an Abstraction Layer to pull requests and notifications to REST APIs, by wrapping them in methods / classes and thus not needing to deal with BOSH connection setup like a REST API since JavaScript API has close to the same API Library as Rest for Finesse.

^^^ I would read that twice, that sounds like exam day details.

Cisco WebEx Teams – The online Chat / Voice / Video solution!

Though CUCM provides for voice and video collaboration, WebEx Teams is the true “Collaboration” platform, in which you have chat / voice / video / rooms / meeting spaces / file sharing / third party app integrations.

That will be essential for exam day, Webex Teams provides Chat / File Sharing / Meetings.

WebEx Teams is on Tablets, Smart Phones, Laptops, Smart TV’s, on any device with a camera / microphone / display, WebEx Teams can create “spaces” and “meetings” on the spot with High Quality and very high volume attendance to said meetings, you can invite guests on the spot and pass around a WebEx ball to share your screen.

You can record meetings, mute attendants, place VOIP calls from the meeting over computer audio using standards-based SIP, it can be integrated with a CUCM system to enhance it feature set or accountability for Telephony, it is Cisco’s ultimate collaboration tool.

Security can also be implemented via company policies that use end to end encryption either natively or managed by on-prem private keys, and these policies can be maintained internally or when using it externally given you companies DLP Data Loss Prevention) policies.

Integrations come built-into WebEx teams for third party vendors such as Microsoft (O365) / Google (Cloud Suite) / Salesforce (Financial Software used in most Enterprises). This allows for all the resources to be integrated into one solution, which optimizes ROI for a company by pulling all of these resources into one collaboration space.

Many features / highlights of WebEx Teams:

  • Use the WebEx API to create webhooks to control comms and apps services in response specific events with WebEx teams
  • Create bots that emulate a WebEx user and mediate external applications to provide services often via webhooks as well
  • Use WebEx Embedding APIs for Java / Node.js / Browsers / iOS / Android along with WebEx Widgets to embed Webex voice and video into desktop / web / mobile applications

With APIs you can perform GET / POST / PUT / DELETE for the following objects:

  • Organizations
  • Teams
  • People
  • Rooms (Spaces)
  • Memberships
  • Team Memberships
  • Messages

I owe some labbing to this, the following URL will go through all the API docs:

https://developer.webex.com/

https://developer.webex.com/docs/platform-introduction

A couple of facts I have picked up on WebEx to this point:

  • It requires an “Authorization” token for the Header of Teams REST API Calls
  • WebEx allows 100 requests for resources before it invokes “Pagination”

There is a good web URL for this as well:

https://developer.webex.com/docs/api/basics

A very very quick overview of the “Series” of WebEx Devices

I won’t go into the advertising bit of this, but here is a list of WebEx Device “Series” :

  • Board Series – Digital 4K WhiteBoard Diplays
  • Room Series – 55-70 Inch 4K Screens / Voice Activated Control
  • Desk Series – On-Prem and Cloud Deployment, Touch Screen, HD Video
  • Cisco Touch 10 – Tablet format of Cisco Conferencing
  • Programmability For Collaboration Devices – Uses xAPI (WebEx API) which uses RS-232 / Telnet/SSH / HTTPS connections – IMPORTANT!!

That is all I will go into it, just Cisco advertising, google if you’d like to know more!

I will end it here with the Telephony / Communications stuff for exam day!

Lots of good stuff, I will be labbing it more in the coming days, but for now that is a pretty good overview AND PAY ATTENTION TO THE TEXT IN RED as I have seen it in several DevNet webinars / practice questions and have a strong feeling it will be on the exam.

Until next time!!! 🙂

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