CXTech Week 30, News and Analysis

The purpose of this CXTech Week 30 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.

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OMG! There’s a Load of Awful CPaaS Analysis out there

I picked on UC Today in last week’s CXTech newsletter, and we now have this CPaaS report, see chart below. Voxbone is not the same size as Twilio in CPaaS revenue. Mitel is not a public CPaaS it’s APIs on its UCaaS (private CPaaS, hence the revenues count in UCaaS). Vidyo (Enghouse) is an in-app communications SDK not a CPaaS, and at $60M in 2018 revenue compared to Twilio’s $650M in 2018 should be less than 1/10 the size! There are at least another 50 CPaaS players out there, though they’re getting bought-up fast (e.g. Wavecell by 8X8). I could go on…

Chart-7-12

I saw another mis-informed pie chart recently which included Clique as a major CPaaS player, see the CXTech Week 20 to understand why that should be a major red flag.

I am working on a CXTech landscape and sizing. It will be ready in October and presented at TADSummit Americas and TADSummit EMEA. You’ll likely see some of the work coming out through Aug and Sept.

UC is a contrived category, its principally enterprise telephony with some apps and enterprise messaging thrown in. Call / contact center is increasingly hard to define at the edges as comms is added to CRM platforms and UC adds CC functionality.

CPaaS is a contrived category from the get-go that is often confused with business messaging (e.g. 3CInteractive, MSG91, Quiq, ClickSend, Veloo) and in-app communications (Vidyo, Temasys, Layer, glia, Agora.io, VSee, apiRTC (Apizee), ConnectyCube, etc), see above. Note just because Twilio does it, doesn’t make it CPaaS. Twilio thinks the term CPaaS is dumb, using Programmable Communications instead. CPaaS must include PSTN aggregation, and offering multiple communication APIs.

UC/CC/CP all run on telecom app servers, generally open source ones like Asterisk (BTW I’m giving a keynote at Astricon in October), they’re telecom apps running on a telecom server. It’s easy to run multiple apps on a server, they’re designed to do that 😉 Enterprise messaging is a separate category (remember IBM Sametime, and we now have Slack, WeChat, Facebook Messenger Business, etc.) that overlaps with UC and collaboration. And collaboration is a stand alone category, just look at Zoom, Lifesize, CafeX, VSee, etc. It’s all so much more than triple play.

 

IMIMobile buys 3CInteractive for $53.2m

In 2018 3C’s revenues were $24.2m and gross profit of $15.7m. IMIMobile’s revenue was $177.6M in FY2019 (ending in April 2019 as they’re UK listed).

The window-dressing of the acquisition is RCS, but the immediate benefit to IMImobile is it has direct SMS short code connectivity to all major US and Canadian carriers which is very difficult to achieve organically making 3C an important asset.

Shotcodes in the US are almost a license to print money, check out Twilio’s price sheet: set-up fees of $1-3k, annual fees of $5-16k, and per message fees of 1-3c per message. That’s like the good old days of SMS! There’s a claimed CPaaS angle, but 3C is business messaging not CPaaS.

I’ve known IMIMobile for almost 20 years, since Vishwanath Alluri ran the business out of Hyderabad and they had the corner on the mobile content business in India. But they always had their longer term strategy on globalization and service innovation. Their journey has been an interesting to follow.

On RCS, it is happening and will grow, however, the predictions of 3.5 billion people using RCS by 2023 and business spend will grow to more than $11.4 billion can only be achieve through rapidly shifting most of the SMS A2P spend onto RCS, vastly discounting the impact of the WhatsApp API on business messaging, assuming Apple iMessage folds into RCS (it will not), and Google keeps the faith with RCS and doesn’t fork Gmessage when penetration gets high enough. Remember Google owns the OS, and like Microsoft with Windows decides when it owns a particular application. The prediction is a gross over-estimate.

 

Wazo sponsor TADSummit EMEA

We’re delighted to announce Wazo is sponsoring TADSummit EMEA on the 19-20 November 2019 at IdeaLondon. As a long-term trusted partner of TADSummit, Wazo has been a sponsor of the event for the third year in a row.

Jérôme Pascal, CEO, Wazo will give a keynote showing how Wazo’s on-premise programmable communication platform provides the same feature coverage for voice use cases than that of the most prominent CPaaS that are available on the market.

We also have a new keynote from Jonathan Grant, CEO Babl.biz and CEO Speakserve: A Perspective on the Past, Present and Future of Programmable Telecoms.

Jonathan was a founder of NewVoiceMedia. He started work as an Investment Banker for Kidder, Peabody, and Chase Manhattan Bank from 1985 to 1993. On leaving the City in 1993, he bought his first business, Pirtek, a successful franchise operation which he sold in 2001. In 1999, he bought into Online Marketing, which became Premier Business Audio Limited, quickly growing to become Europe’s leading provider of Call Handling and Business Audio Solutions. In 2005, he recognized the synergies between Premier Business Audio and the then embryonic NewVoiceMedia, and bought into the company, which was sold to Vonage in 2018. Today Jonathan is CEO of Babl.biz, a CPaaS provider, and Speakserve is an Enterprise Software Company specializing in communications and collaboration.

Joanthan will share his perspective on the evolution of the industry, with a few hints on what it takes to make a success.

We’ll have many more announcements in coming weeks on both TADSummits and TADHack, for you to read while on the beach, mountain, forest, jungle, plane, train, or automobile 😉

 

Intermedia Combats the Robocall Epidemic with Spam Caller Protection for free

Included for free for Unite customers, Intermedia’s Spam Caller Protection fights back by providing businesses with sophisticated call detection that automatically recognizes robocalls and scammers, provides alerts before a call is answered, and blocks calls identified as spam or fraudulent before they reach employees.

While I see petty monetization methods of ‘we’ll ID it, but you have to pay us to do anything about it”. Its nice to see simple approach of protecting your customers, as its part of delivering a quality service.

 

Westcon Joins Forces with RingCentral to Enable Channel Partners to Deliver Market-Leading Cloud Communications Solutions to Enterprises

Deals like this are enabling the big guys to better reach European businesses. RingCentral has also struck Telco deals, e.g. BT, but those tend to target larger enterprises that can afford the telco premium.

Across Europe there are many local UCaaS providers, ISPs have built out UCaaS (often positioned as vPBX as its easier to understand), and MSPs with IT background have also done so now voice can be managed like IT applications.

Europe is now a diverse battleground, its going to be interesting to see how the Cisco/Microsoft/Telco marketing train battles against the many local and home-grown offers.

Looking at the Business Messaging segment as an analogy, there are hundreds of companies, many focused on meeting needs within a country, or even a large city. Because local people relationships to solve specific business problems matter to many small and medium businesses.

Open source remains the wildcard in how this market plays out, as it removes some of the scale advantage of the global player. The bottom line is diversity will reign through the coming decade. With those not owning their tech struggling to maintain margin, most notably telcos in the mid-market. In large enterprise deals the telco premium is justified by risk avoidance. No one ever got fired for choosing IBM…

 

5 trends driving AI in contact centers

I read the article substituting the word software for AI. Apart from removing the annoyance at the use of a word that is patently untrue. The article becomes something we’ve been doing for over a decade in the contact center: optimization, automation, prediction, recommendations and discovery using software tools.

 

Add another UCaaS provider to the list Crexendo

I’m amazed at the number of providers that own their technology. It gives margin to survive. Windstream is an example of a competitor, that also has its own UCaaS solution, that recently added Slack integration.

 

The kiss of life for speaker authentication

Nice article from Aculab (TADSummit sponsor) on use of voice biometrics.

 

Special Report: Behind the X with 8×8

Excellent interview with Bryan Martin, one of the original founders of 8×8, CTO and Chairman, by UCToday. Much better than their CPaaS analysis.

 

Identifying a Be-Your-Own-Carrier (BYOC) Model that Works for Your Business, from Flowroute

This is a trend I see more business adopting, especially larger enterprises that have multiple qualities of voice traffic (customer, sales, internal) and across multiple countries. The BYOC approach enables an additional layer of cost optimization and risk management as enterprises move their voice services of a legacy provider.

 

Cloud Elements Adds SAP, ServiceNow as Strategic Investors

The new investments from SAP and ServiceNow close Cloud Elements’ Series C round. Total capital raised to date is about $51 million.

Congrats to Ross Garrett, CPO at Cloud Elements. He’s been fighting the API fight since his Aepona days over a decade ago – he doesn’t look it, but he has. He was a sponsor and presenter at the first TADSummit back in 2013.

 

People, Gossip, and Frivolous Stuff

Congratulations to Simon Tenant on co-founding Berlin Electric, which helps you understand and control your power use.

Congratulations to Ofer Cohen, a regular at TADSummit when he worked for LivePerson, for becoming the Logic and Bigdata group leader at Checkpoint Technologies.

Well done Gokula Krishnan Subramaniam for breaking free from Ericsson and founding Vircle that enables consumers to create communities of controlled cashless commerce with focus on health and well-being.

 

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