Houston video calls

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This article is about Resco platform feature. If you are looking for the stand-alone product, see Resco Houston.
Warning AR calls will no longer be supported after December 2022. Should you have any questions, please contact sales@resco.net.

Resco remote assistance Houston is a video call functionality that connects a user, usually a technician on-site or in the field, with a remote expert. The receiver of the call can draw augmented-reality (AR) instructions within the video scene to speed up the repair process, reduce site or machine downtime, or share the knowledge in the field.

The access to Houston is included in the Standard license and the Inspections license. It is available on iOS and Android devices, and also from the web app. To use augmented reality, the calling device has to support one of the following functions:

Without this support, video calls can still be used, but the recipient cannot draw into the video. The recipient’s mobile device does not have to support ARKit to draw into the video. The list of devices supporting ARKit can be found on Apple web.

Houston video calls run with Resco Cloud, Dynamics, and Salesforce backends.

Generate Agora key

Houston uses a third-party solution from agora.io for video calls. To use Houston with Resco, you first need to register on agora.io and generate a key that you later save in Woodford.

  1. Go to www.agora.io.
  2. Sign up to create an account.
  3. Create a new project
  4. Copy App ID and App certificate. You will need these in the next step, in Woodford configuration.

Set up Woodford

In your app project, you need to enable Houston and enter the key from Agora.

  1. Edit your app project in Woodford.
  2. Select Houston from the Project menu and enable it.
  3. Enter the Agora Key and App Certificate, then click Save.
  4. Publish the project.

Enabling Houston in Woodford automatically enables chat and adds the Phone Call entity to your app project. Do not disable the entity as it is mandatory for Houston to work.

Set up Dynamics

If you want to initiate and receive calls directly from the Dynamics backend:

  • Create an app project with the name "Houston" and enter the same Agora credentials as in your usual project.
  • If you want to receive calls, you must register your browser to receive notifications. This is a one-time action. As a security measure from the browser, this cannot be automated. Log in to Dynamics, go to Resco Suite > Houston, and click Register Houston.
    Register houston in dynamics.png
  • If you want to initiate calls directly from the Dynamics web app, you can for example add a button on the Dynamics user form that would point to a special URL; see Custom call URL.

Add the command for initiating calls

You can add the command for initiating Houston video calls to multiple locations of your app:

  • In questionnaires
  • In entity forms
  • As a custom URL

Set up your questionnaire

No configuration needed. Houston is automatically available from all questionnaires.

Set up your entity forms

You can make Houston calls available on standard entity forms as a form command.

  1. Edit the app project.
  2. Select the entity from the Project menu.
  3. Click Show UI to display the list of views, forms, and charts.
  4. Double-click the form where you want to add the Houston command.
  5. Click Edit to display the command editor.
  6. Add Houston to the Selected Commands pane.
  7. Save everything and publish the project.

Add houston command.png

Custom call URL

Alternatively, you can use a custom URL to initiate a call. Add the URL as a command, button, or home screen item of the app. On Dynamics, you can add it also to the web, for example, as a button on the Dynamics user form. The URL format depends on your backend server:

  • Dynamics: https://<dynamics-organization-url>/webresources/resco_MobileCRM/WebClient/registerHouston.html?data={encodedData}
  • Resco Cloud: https://<your organization>.build.rescocrm.com/WebApp/registerHouston.html?data={encodedData}

Encoded data must be created in the following format:

var calleeId = "<callee's id>";
var calleeName = "<callee's name>";
var encodedData = encodeURIComponent("call&calleeId=" + calleeId + "&calleeName=" + calleeName);

Start a call

To start a video call:

  1. Start the app and open any questionnaire or one of the forms where Houston is enabled.
  2. Select the Houston command from the hamburger menu.
    Start a video call using Houston.png
  3. Select a recipient from the list of users in your organization.

If your device does not support augmented reality, a plain video call is used.

The recipient of the call must also have a device synchronized with the same organization. The app does not have to be running to receive calls.

Once the call ends, both users can save their notes about the call. This is saved to the Phone call entity.

Video call.jpg

Receive call via web

Recipients can answer the call also from the web. These are the prerequisites:

  • Accepting calls using web app runs on Resco Cloud and Dynamics.
  • The web app does not have to be running, but the recipient must have used it at least once so that the notifications can be registered.
  • At least one browser window must be open and push notifications must be enabled in the browser.
  • Houston runs on Chrome, Firefox, and Edge, but it does not run in incognito mode/private window.
  • Popups and microphone use must be allowed for the web app.
  • We recommend checking the global notifications settings in Windows (to make sure that they are not blocked). In need of troubleshooting, please visit Microsoft support web.

This is the actual flow of the call for the recipient:

  1. You receive a system notification about an incoming call.
    Houston 1 notif.png
  2. Click Open Incoming Call. The call dialog opens in your browser. You can either accept or decline the call.
  3. Click Accept to open Houston web interface.
  4. Wait for the caller to map the AR scene by moving the device to the front and back and to the sides.
    Map scene.jpg
  5. After a few seconds, once the mapping is done, you can start drawing. Add 3D arrows and notes to the shared scene.
  6. You can also make notes about the issue that was solved on the call in the Notes section. The note will be saved in the phone call record in the Phone call entity.
  7. When the call ends, you can complete the notes, save them, and then close the browser.
    Houston 4 note.png


You can change the label of the Remote Assistance command using the string Cmd.RemoteAssistance.

See also