The purpose of this newsletter is to highlight, with commentary, some of the news stories in CXTech Week 11, 2019. What is CXTech? The C stands for Connectivity, Communications, Collaboration, Conversation, Customer; X for Experience because that’s what matters; and Tech because the focus is enablers.
Examples of what falls into CXTech includes: Programable Telecoms / Communications, CPaaS, UCaaS, CCaaS, open source telecom software, CPaaS enablers, Multi-Factor Authentication / Instant Authentication, Telecom APIs, WebRTC, Cloud Communications, CPaaS enabled services, omni-channel, telecom infrastructure as code, telecom service dashboards, the myriad of UIs making APIs and enablers and services useable beyond coders.
I wrap up the newsletter with a section covering, “People, Gossip, and Frivolous Stuff.”
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VoIP Innovations Showroom is an extension of the capabilities available within VI’s Apidaze CPaaS (Communications Platform as a Service). The VI Showroom allows developers to distribute the apps and services they build to VI’s channel and client base of 2000 service providers and enterprises.
It provides VI’s channel partners and resellers access to white-labeled CPaaS, as well as pre-built communications apps and services, creating a simple path to participate in the estimated $8.1 Billion marketplace for CPaaS services in 2019.
VI Showroom initial applications and services will include natively-developed apps, as well as solutions from Voxist, VoIPly, and FaxLogic. We’re hoping this coming weekend’s TADHack-mini Orlando will sow the seeds for a few more applications into the VI Showroom.
The TADSummit 2018 presentation David Walsh (CEO) and Evin Hunt (CTO) gave a preview of some of the cool features now launched. The core of the Showroom is itself a CPaaS app, that makes it easy for people to configure and publish programmable telecom (CXTech) applications.
Beyond the innovations in ease of use, the Showroom is built for three audiences:
- Developers – publish and monetize apps and services they develop.
- Resellers – white label the Showroom and offer value-added CPaaS enabled apps and services.
- Business Subscribers – purchase pre-built communications apps and services directly from the Showroom.
Empowering all 3 groups is unique. VI are focused on small medium enterprises, and resellers targeting that group. I’ve talked many times about the importance of localization and bundling to the SMB (Small, Medium Business) segment around the world.
The VI Showroom recognized this real-world situation. It does not pretend self-service cloud is the only answer. Instead provides the flexibility through the VI Showroom to meet many different use cases for delivery of CXTech services.
Ryan Disraeli is back as CEO of Telesign (after taking a break to enjoy life after the 2017 acquisition by BICS)
TeleSign is a Communications Platform as a Service company, founded on security, based in Los Angeles, California. Founded in 2005 (3 years before Twilio) by Darren Berkovitz, Ryan Disraeli and Stacy Stubblefield (Stacey keynoted at TADSummit 2018).
TeleSign connects and protects online experiences with sophisticated customer identity and engagement solutions. Through APIs that deliver user verification, data insights, and communications they solve today’s unique customer challenges by bridging businesses to the complex world of global telecommunications.
The acquisition by BICS in 2017 is a great endorsement of what they achieved. As discussed in this weblog “Understanding the Shift in Telecoms” there are significant risks with such an acquisition, see the comment in the weblog on being “meetinged to death” as an example.
However, the BICS / Telesign combination with Ryan at the helm of Telesign is in my opinion unique. Too often a telco-insider it put in charge, and the talent and culture slowly disappear transforming a web-centric company into a telco-centric company.
BICS’ Daniel Kurgan has put in place an organization, one of the few in my opinion, that can span the web-way and telco-way of selling telecoms. Telesign / BICS are one to watch.
IPCortex has always included call recording in its system. The IPCortex virtual and hosted PBX systems come with built-in call recording systems capable of storing data for up to 21 days. Though this is fine for short-term strategies, it may not be enough for businesses in need of long-term recording management and discovery solutions, for example recording critical information such as proving verbal orders were placed or that legal terms were relayed during a call.
To support the rising demand for better call recording experiences, IPCortex have launched CallStash. CallStash provides long-term categorization, archiving and retrieval solutions for critical call recordings.
CallStash responds to the fact that phone systems aren’t just about minutes and desk phones anymore. It’s there to make conversations more accessible and contextual, while providing a way to make more informed decisions about customer experience design, and helping data strategies comply.
An article from UC Today ignores the fact that there are 500 apps in the Communications category already on Slack. Slack already offers UCaaS through its partners. Including the likes of ottspott, you can see Luis’s experiences from TADSummit 2018, and TADSummit 2017. And others include: DialPad, Google Hangouts Vonage, Skype, Zoom, Appear.in, Webex, Bluejeans, Jitsi, Aircall, Tokbox, Drum, Talkdesk, Vidyo, and many more.
Will Slack add voice and video like we see in other competitive platforms like Matrix? For sure. But the focus is growth (now at 10M+ daily users) and building out the enterprise base with a clear and focused offer. Adding in all the voice stuff, like we saw in consumer messaging from WhatsApp, WeChat and LINE; can come in time. Just get the platform and business model solid first, like WeChat and Line (I guess waiting for FB to buy you is also a business model).
Next week is Enterprise Connect 2019. Please do not miss:
TADHack-mini Orlando, 16-17 March. Hands-on experience in programmable telecoms, sponsors by Flowroute, Telesign and VoIP Innovations.
Hackathon Spotlight: Programmable Communications is for Everyone, Monday 18th 2PM to 2:45PM. Meet the winners from TADHack Orlando.
TADHack–mini Orlando winner Koushik Chatterjee brings hands on end-customer experience to “Proving the value of Business Grade CPaaS” EC19 session
Actionable Analytics Innovation Showcase at Enterprise Connect (I was a judge) 9AM on Monday 18th – remember to set your alarms!
At the show expect to see lots of video and enterprise integration use cases as the dominant providers focus on locking-in the large corporations to their platforms. And of course continued hype on AI. Video has a role, but voice remains the dominant channel. Especially when a call includes international destinations and people on mobile phones. It’s OK not have video on for every meeting, your team will be grateful.
2600Hz in UC Today announced their plans to launch an app store, so developers can sell their apps to the public. Looking further ahead, 2600Hz wants to democratize the SaaS industry. They hope, if developers can turn apps on and off when they need to, prices will become more reasonable.
“Our new app store will have a full suite of enterprise PBX applications, along with complete API capabilities, that will enable businesses to turn any service on and off when they want to and get billed accordingly, ” Sullivan said.
Windstream is a provider of voice and data network communications (broadband, VoIP, MPLS), and managed services (virtual servers, managed firewall, data storage, cloud-based voice) in the US. It is the ninth largest telephone provider in the country with service covering 8 million people in 21 states.
Being a tier 2 Telco is tough in the US. Competition comes from a variety of voice providers, e.g. VoIP Innovations which is now a virtual CLEC, with much lower costs, and ownership over their technology. The tier 1 incumbents can manage these threats, e.g. the loss in small and medium enterprises telecoms revenues. But Windtream’s filing shows the telco business model can now only survive at large national scale.
Nice review from Intelepeer on the importance of vertical focus in CPaaS. Here highlighting the automated flows that are integrated with CRM or other applications to step up engagement with all customers. For example, customers can interact with a business through SMS to check rewards points balances and get updated account information. Packaging this up so it’s easy to deploy and available through the right channels are the keys to success in CPaaS today.
The mobile marketing automation platform, CleverTap, recently announced it has chosen, Vonage, a business cloud communications leader, to enable additional user engagement channels directly from CleverTap’s mobile automation platform via Nexmo, the Vonage API Platform. With this partnership, clients can easily build personalized omni-channel communications experiences throughout the entire customer life cycle at scale, creating valuable customer relationships and enhanced engagement.
This backs up the importance of channels, as most businesses will not necessarily look to a CPaaS provider for omni-channel communications, rather a marketing automation provider. Though Twilio is clearly the exception here is it bought SendGrid (a marketing automation provider, spun as an email API company. See this article from the start of this year on the Great API Con).
As CPaaS providers sit as aggregators on top of telco services. So F5 and NGINX sit as aggregators across an enterprise’s application-aware network infrastructure, another telco service. It’s also nice to see recognition of the importance of multi-cloud / hybrid-cloud, rather than saying the word cloud as if it somehow magically unifies everything and all the access network problems go away.
When you see the silliness of mobile edge compute discussions, F5/NGINX already have the momentum in this space. Note the core datacenter business is in decline, hence vendors are looking for any bright spots for growth, edge compute is indeed is one of them. Not as lucrative though but a little ray of hope. However, for telcos it’s games over as F5/NGINX can offer a combination of services, software, security and applications enablement that can drive new functions or better support a business process. Mobile edge compute is a small piece of a much larger aggregated puzzle.
People, Gossip, and Frivolous Stuff
Mitel has appointed Daniel Farrar, previously CEO of Switchfly, as executive vice president and general manager of its UCaaS business unit.
Dunno if you’ve seen all the Thinq adverts on Linkedin for their LCR savings over Twilio. I feel they named me as one of their targets on Linkedin, everyday I’m seeing their adverts The diagram below summarizes their pitch.