CXTech Week 18, News and Analysis

The purpose of this CXTech Week 18 newsletter is to highlight, with commentary, some of the news stories in CXTech this week. 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.

You can read more about why we’re testing out this definition in the following weblogs: TADSummit State of the UnionWhat’s in a Name Part 1 and Part 2 discussions.

I wrap up the newsletter with a section covering, “People, Gossip, and Frivolous Stuff.”

You can sign up here to receive the CXTech News and Analysis by email. Please forward this on if you think someone should join the list, I also publish this on my weblog. And please let me know any CXTech news I should include.

 

6 reasons to keep your unified communications system on premises

Public cloud is not always the right answer. In the press there’s a tendancy for black and white thinking. Cloud good, on-prem bad. While cloud (public or private) is generally beneficial, there are lots of reasons, more than listed in this article why on-prem will remain for decades to come.

We’ll have an update from Wazo at TADSummit EMEA on some of their experiences across cloud and on-premise deployments. Always beware industry dogma (chatter from press, analysis, and dominant vendors), as it is invariably in the dominant vendors’ best interests not yours.

 

Could Alexa Replace the Business Phone?

The answer to this silly question is absolutely no! The business phone is now available everywhere, on your mobile, laptop, desk phone, browser, and yes even Amazon Echo (which runs the Alexa agent) . Alexa is a cloud-based voice agent, not a dedicated physical device, it can even run on your mobile phone with the right app.

Alexa has some useful applications (mostly long tail, ‘Alexa set a timer for 6 minutes (when I’m boiling eggs in the morning)’ or ‘Alexa tell a fart joke (kids’ common request)’, its not a must-have).

The main problem with the Echo as a business phone is its a loud speaker, not good at the desk as it will disturb your neighbors, but OK for the meeting room. But there are better speaker phones on the market. UC providers can add their skill to Alexa so you can use some basic UC features under voice control. But we’re entering a niche of a niche territory here, as a UC mobile client is just so much simpler, faster and mobile! You can walk from room to room, or out of the house.

 

Tyntec Podcast. Journey to Retention Growth, Episode 4 Guest: Chris Pook, VP of Retention at Lyst

Lyst are an affiliate site in the fashion industry. It’s an interesting discussion around their business model and on how to remain relevant when some interactions are ‘tell me when this item goes on sale.’ So it could be weeks or months before an alert is generated. This discussion shows the multiple levels of communications required to solve their business challenges – it’s not just SMS that’s required, its programmable telecoms.

 

Mitel Offers to Combine With Avaya in Stock Deal Worth More Than $2 Billion

The rolling up the legacy enterprise communication providers continues. What’s interest is comparing the valuations: Zoom $19B, on $105M in quarterly rev; Twilio $16.5B on $220M. And Avaya $2B on $750M.

The challenge for the legacy roll-ups is whether they can achieve enough scale to meet the new entrants’ business models and offers, while end-of-life-ing legacy products / business models and not loosing too many customers. Unfortunately history has only a few success cases in managing this transition.

 

Twilio Earnings, Revenue Tops Estimates, Stock Rises – but its getting quite expensive

Twilio (TWLO) swung to a profit from a year ago, with quarterly revenue rising 81% to $233.1 million. A year earlier, Twilio lost 4 cents a share on sales of $129 million.

For the current June quarter, Twilio forecast revenue in a range of $262 million to $265 million. Analysts had projected $251.5 million.

This is a tech stock that sells at 26 times sales. Compare that with the original cloud company, Salesforce.com, which sells at 10 times sales. And remember, CRM stock is not cheap either. Salesforce’s trailing price-to-earnings ratio is 115, which is more than most mega-cap stocks — even Amazon.

 

Solving the emergency call prioritization issue with programmable telecom

Excellent example of the power of programmable telecoms from Wazo.

With so many devices in so many hands, should a mishap take place in a crowded place, you can be sure that everyone will try to reach the emergency contact center at the same time. The operators are then overwhelmed by a large number of simultaneous calls which all convey inefficiently the same pieces of information. Bad luck for the absent-minded woodcutter who left his chain saw inappropriately on at the same time a terrorist attack is taking place: our clumsy woodcutter will not be able to reach any emergency operator.

The situation could be described as an unintended yet effective denial of service attack.

Wazo show in this article, how in less than a 3-day period – during a short hackathon – a team of developers, with no prior knowledge of the Wazo platform, was able to put in place an effective solution to this prioritization issue, and save lives. I’m hoping we can get Wazo involved in TADHack Global, we just launched the website – contact me if you want to get involved in TADHack Global.

 

And yet another Unicorn IPO, Slack an enterprise messaging platform

Slack revenue reached $400 million in fiscal 2019, with 575 large businesses contributing 40% of the total. Slack will sell stock publicly later this year, with an estimated valuation in the $20-$30B range.

 

Slack-Zoom partnership takes on Cisco, Microsoft

No it doesn’t! Enterprises are multi-headed beasts. There are many enterprises that use BOTH Slack and Cisco/Microsoft. On my desktop I have Slack (8 company workspaces), Cisco Spark (principally for Cisco contacts, it’s a bit like Google+ was (full of Google employees)), Wire (10 groups), Telegram (20 groups), Riot (TADS, personal, 5 other companies), and other groups through WhatsApp, Line and other messaging platforms. So most people should be able to cope with at least 2 clients.

I use both Zoom and Slack. There’s a Zoom app in Slack. As is for Webex, Bluejeans, ottspott, and lots of other tools. Discovering the app directory in Slack is not obvious. So perhaps having Zoom as the ‘preferred’ collab partner, and perhaps more broadly across UC will help Slack close the voice / video gap, and help Zoom with a channel to market. Let’s be clear, Slack has purposefully focused on enterprise messaging, get the core business right, letting partners do the voice/video stuff.

Generally it’s not an either-or situation on messaging. Corporate IT may force you to use Microsoft Teams, but for more developer centric divisions in that corporation they’ll use tools that work for them, and clearly Slack does. I know of several IT groups that implement Microsoft/Cisco, yet also help groups set up Slack in compliance with corporate policies as they’re using Slack within IT.

Let’s take Huawei as an example, WeChat is their ‘Slack’. Forget about using email, WeChat works when you want to contact someone in Hauwei.

Riot is making progress, it’s a small and growing team, the platform has its heart in the right place, and UI has improved significantly over the past year.

Enterprise messaging, like messaging in general, is a complex multi-platform environment. With email remaining a lingua-franca, Slack even recently enabled email integration. Outlook app integration has been available on Slack for some time. Diversity will reign in enterprise messaging for at least the next decade.

 

And don’t forget Mio in the heterogenous enterprise messaging environment. Switching between tenants, workspaces, and guest accounts

Don’t forget Mio, as living proof enterprises are using multiple platforms; despite Microsoft’s efforts to remain a silo, it’s not what the market wants.

 

Introduction to hSenid Mobile Keynote at TADSummit Asia with Roshni and Sandarenu

On Monday this week we previewed what Roshni and Sandarenu from hSenid Mobile will be presenting at TADSummit Asia. Covering eCPaaS (enterprise CPaaS) and omni-channel customer support.

 

Uniti Wireless acquires CPaaS specialist Fone Dynamics

Yet another regional CPaaS roll-up, deal is worth $8.4M. OK, small beer compared to the $Bs from the BABS companies, but it still demonstrates local value.

 

The mess of messaging in the US continues

The CTIA (yet another telco old-boys club) and the big carriers are finally getting around to removing shared short-codes, and enabling A2P over 10 digit codes – should have happened years ago. Previously, 10 digit codes were limited to more or less symmetric traffic. There’s also 800 sms codes, but its enabled in a telco way, so pricing remains high.

Fortunately the aggregators (CPaaS providers like tyntec, VoIP Innovations, Telesign, Bandwidth, Twilio, etc.) mean businesses do not need to deal with the complexity of the US messaging market, only the $$$. North America SMS is fortunate FB has been distracted from pushing harder on WhatsApp and FB messenger. But IP messaging continues to rise faster than SMS across most use cases, especially when 2-way communication is required.

 

People, Gossip, and Frivolous Stuff

Thomas Soulez has moved from Vonage/Nexmo to be Chief Product Officer at Cytora, who have just raised 25M GBP.

With Thomas’s move all the old-guard I knew have moved on from Nexmo. As discussed in CXTech Week 13, Vonage is an enterprise communication service provider. An enterprise focused virtual telco if you like, with a broad offer across VoIP, UCaaS, CCaaS, CPaaS, and more. At its heart it’s a telco, its enterprise customers buy VoIP, then UCaaS, then CCaaS, and CPaaS provides a range of value added services wrapped around those core offers. Its CPaaS business will become increasingly focused on growing revenue within its enterprise accounts. As discussed in the Shift in Telecoms weblog. Thomas’s move from my perspective seals this trajectory.

Eddie DeCurtis has moved from tyntec to become the Vice President of Network Distribution at LivePerson. LivePerson have been a regular contributor to TADSummit over the years, a great example of the application of programmable telecoms. I remember Elyran Kogan of Liveperson gave an impressive Bot Demo at TADSummit 2016.

Santhana Krishnasamy. I missed this one, so its old news, he’s now the Platform Ecosystem lead at Guidewire Software, moving from Mitel last year where he led their API program. I’ve known Santhana since he was with Orange Labs (that’s 2004!)

 

You can sign up here to receive the CXTech News and Analysis by email. Please forward this on if you think someone should join the list, I also publish this on my weblog. And please let me know any CXTech news I should include.

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