Built.io Flow Brings Automation and Integration to Everyone

One of the many hats I wear as a sales engineer is to work on proof of concept and conceptual efforts. These activities are usually leveraged to help answer the question “can we do that?” or “will this work with OUR business process?”.

Recently a lot of my efforts have been focused on integrating collaboration tools with business processes. One simple example of this is for someone running a trade show booth and looking to connect with potential clients. Exchanging business cards is so 1995, and there are way better ways to do this. One quick way I created was to have the potential client simply text their email address to a defined SMS number (short code if you want) and then kick off a process to add them to a Cisco Spark space and also update the CRM system with a new contact. This provides an immediate way to have rich interaction with your potential client as Cisco Spark supports not only text, file sharing, but also full audio and video calling and meeting functionality. And to top it off Cisco Spark is free (with some scale limitations).

Enough about why Cisco Spark is wonderful and can solve all of the problems you are facing and onwards to how I achieved building this simple integration in less than a work day. I cheated or at least it feels like I cheated. I have been using a platform named Built.io Flow which provides an easy to use, but very powerful integration as a service offering that is completely hosted. It features many pre-built integrations in to common enterprise applications (Cisco Spark, Dropbox, Twilio, Tropo, MongoDB, Google Apps, Office 365, ServiceNow, PagerDuty, etc.). If their pre-built integrations aren’t adequate you can write some node.js code and run it on their cloud platform as well. And for those of you saying “my data lives in my data center and I’m not ready to send everything to the cloud” you can leverage their Enterprise Gateway which provides a secure bridge between the cloud and and your on-premises environment giving you the best of both worlds. Oh, and before I forget, their technical support is phenomenal (shout out to Pramod Mishra)!

Here’s a screen shot of the application I described above where a simple text message containing an email which will join the user to a Cisco Spark space and also log their information to a Google Sheet (that’s my attempt at a simple CRM system).Built.io SMS Bot

And don’t think Built.io is only designed for small scale testing or proof of concept activities. Many large organizations are using this very platform for production level workloads.


Video Endpoints and Cisco Spark

I’ve recently spent more time testing video endpoints with Cisco Spark (SX10, SX20, Spark Board, Spark Room Kit, DX80, etc.) with my customers and have run in to several things that I think many others probably encounter as well.

  1. Check support Spark endpoints – https://help.webex.com/docs/DOC-4205
  2. Is your endpoint running the right software version to avoid certificate validation errors when attempting to register for the first time? (To activate your room device on Cisco Spark, the device must run software version CE8.2.0 or later.) https://help.webex.com/docs/DOC-7709
    1. To upgrade the codec it’s a simple process of downloaded CE software 8.2 or higher and then logging in to the web interface of the codec to complete the manual upgrade.
  3. If you plan to use a Touch 10 with any endpoint you must pair it to the codec BEFORE you register it to Spark – https://help.webex.com/docs/DOC-11657

Before I upgraded my SX20 to CE 8.2 I was seeing errors in the logs similar to

2017-12-09T09:51:08.966-06:00 a8 appl[1796]: 762.54 Wx2Http W: HTTP(2) Error: NetworkError (Peer certificate cannot be authenticated with given CA certificates)

The basic issue is that in releases of CE software prior to 8.2 the necessary CA certificates were not installed so the certificates presented by the Cisco Spark registration system weren’t able to be validated.