CXTech Week 9, News and Analysis

The purpose of this newsletter is to highlight, with commentary, some of the news stories in CXTech Week 9. 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, Interesting Articles, 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.

Must read interview with Tiago Paiva at Talkdesk

A good quote from this article on the future of CCaaS is: “There will be a lot of consolidation in the market and you should expect to see a number of the bigger companies buying up some of the smaller companies. We should see this in the WFM and UC space.” This backs up the consolidation I discussed in this NoJitter article on the Evolution of Programmable Communications. Plus I’m seeing in many discussions on CXTech, like chatbots, its providing an important integration layer across the traditional IT silos like WFM, HR, SCM, etc. We’ll be discussing this at TADSummit Asia at the end of May.

I disagree on CCaaS consolidation being a winner takes all. This BABS (Bay Area BS) attitude comes from all the consumer wins, like the evil application known as Facebook. But it does not apply as easily in the enterprise. Slack has not won the enterprise messaging game, at TADS we’ve moved off them onto Matrix. Also thanks to CCaaS and UCaaS enablers making it much easier for a variety of providers (e.g. local SIs and VARs) to deliver good enough service, in a bundle, with strong local support. In the enterprise, local bundles wins over BABS in markets like Europe, Middle East, Africa, South America, and Asia

Plivo Announces Geo Permissions for Outbound Voice Calls

Geo Permissions for outbound voice calls protects them from telecom fraud that costs companies billions of dollars in losses every year. Examples of fraud include:

  • Toll Fraud: International revenue sharing fraud (IRSF) where fraudsters generate a high volume of international calls on premium rate phone numbers. When BT first launched their telecom API platform over a decade ago, this fraud started almost immediately, until they blocked a load of numbers.
  • Incorrect Destination: A misdirected call is often the result of incorrect destination number format. This includes dialing the wrong prefix or dropping the international country code. Dialing “1-415**” reaches a destination in California and “41-5**” reaches a destination in Switzerland.
  • Abuse on Trial Accounts: In this situation, anonymous users sign-up for trial accounts and route phone calls to premium destination numbers in very high volumes. This is a tough one as you want to allow anyone to experiment, and often by the time of the big presentation you find the trial account has run dry. Though I know some people who were running businesses on test accounts, until the “we need to talk” email arrived.
  • The list goes on, it’s amazing how innovative criminals can be.

Plivo’s been around since 2011 when the founders, Mike and Venky, met on Github. Today more than 70,000 customers use Plivo to add Voice Calling and Messaging capabilities to their web, mobile and desktop apps.

Plivo has built a nice business, the question facing them is how to grow from $10Ms to $100Ms, they did take the VC’s coin, so there is pressure for the big exit, not a life-style business (which is what I do). There are quite a few companies looking to buy into the CPaaS business, and Plivo have a solid position with a platform that has some nice features, as demonstrated at TADHack-mini Orlando last year in the hack Third Party Verification System. But they’re still ignoring my emails 🙁

Twilio’s Q4 of $204.3 million, up 77% year-over-year

Twilio continues its rapid growth. It also completed its acquisition of SendGrid (email marketing company). To label Twilio as a CPaaS company grossly misstates the breadth of its business. It operates across UCaaS, CCaaS, authentication and security, connectivity (dynamic SIP trunking with lots of VAS), marketing campaign management, as well as a broad range of telecom APIs. Twilio is a great example of why we need the CXTech category. I was chatting with Webio this week on how they could be, in the not too distant future, a potential Twilio acquisition target given the role I’m seeing chatbots play across enterprise silos.

Twilio doesn’t break out the revenues across its lines of businesses, but the lack of a competitive response from the carriers in the US to Twilio’s dynamic SIP trunking has surprised me. Competitors like Flowroute (recently bought by West) are challenging, but Twilio has been making hay at the legacy providers expense for several years. Its a $5.5B market in North America!

Syniverse partners with Ruckus & Federated Wireless to allow companies to set up private LTE networks using the U.S. Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS)

Syniverse have a long-standing position in the US market, with a tight relationship with the CTIA and carriers. They’ve missed out on the broader CPaaS market. Rather sitting on their duopoly in the US as discussed in this article about tyntec buying the assets from Iris Wireless.

The size of the addressable market for private LTE on CBRS is not that clear for me. However, strategically anything that opens LTE so we have many more providers who will do things the traditional carriers would not considered is great. We’ve been promoting MONEH (Multi-Operator NEutral Host) for several years at TADSummit thanks to James Body, and we’re currently working out what to do in 2019. We’re now realizing the MONEH vision!

GigCapital and Kaleyra (Global CPaaS Provider) Announce Combination and listing on NYSE (Ticker Symbol KLR)

Some of you may know Kaleyra from the acquisition of Hook Mobile last year. Terry Hsiao, the CEO of Hook Mobile, is now their Chief Strategy Officer. Kaleyra was previous known as Ubiquity, founded in Italy in 1999.

On listing, Kaleyra will be approximately $192 million, or 1.5x estimated fiscal 2019 revenue. It comes from a mobile messaging background with a broad offer across mobile services, mobile payment, professional messaging services, push notification, system integration, alert services, IM and chatbots. Another example of how CXTech is a better handle than CPaaS.

It’s great to see another listing in this category by a non US company, and a strong endorsement of how some companies have successfully grown passed their messaging heritage.

IIT RTC conference call for papers + TADSummit Americas

On October 15-16, after the TADHack Global weekend, TADSummit Americas is running in parallel with the IIT RTC Conference. Contact me if you want to be involved in TADSummit Americas, just reply to this message. We have sessions on “Platform Evolution in Customer Service Communications” led by Shai Burger of Fonolo; “CPaaS, UCaaS, CCaaS Convergence. Real or Imaginary?”, “Identity, Authentication, and Programmable Telecoms”, I’m hoping a MONEH demonstration, a can-not-miss keynote from Eric Burger (currently CTO at the FCC), and lots more. It’s going to be The CXTech event of The Americas!

Vonage Business ends 2018 crossing the $608M mark

Quoting Alan Masarek “Vonage’s strategy uniquely addresses the entire cloud communications TAM with fully integrated owned assets.” Unless you own your service assets, it’s going to be challenging to make money in enterprise communications in the long run. Vonage is a telco ahead of the curve.

Pareteum completes the Acquisition of iPass

An example of the ‘Connectivity’ in CXTech, Pareteum also covers CPaaS, and much more. iPass is the old WiFi aggregator, but with the rise in MONEH, CBRS and many other private networks. The iPass proposition could be in line for a resurgence.

Using Mobile Identity in CPaaS

You need to listen to the podcast with Vince from Telesign to get the full value. It’s an area I’m surprised there has not been more work on. Especially in call centers, being able to rate calls and then route to bots or immediately to skilled agents has a significant impact on customer satisfaction, revenues and costs.

Dialogic and Epsilon Launch a Global, Carrier-Class UCaaS Platform

I include this one as I know people in both organizations and it’s nice to see them working together.

CXTech at MWC?

Telestax, Ribbon, Apigate, Pareteum were some of the few talking about CXTech at MWC. While most of MWC was overly-excited about 5G and some 30 year old use cases previously know as tele-medicine, no wait e-medicine, no wait m-health, no perhaps smart-connected medicine, medi-IoT?

Also check out the article below on “bendy 1%er phone misses the much bigger 50%+ market opportunity“, for a simple example of what is being missed out on in the too big, too defocused, and too detached from reality boondoggle known as MWC.

People, Gossip, Interesting Articles, and Frivolous Stuff

Dragana Linfield is now VP of Customer Accounts at Pareteum. Previously with Etisalat.

Harold Vance has joined VoIP Innovations as Director Customer Success. Previously from SignalWire. Before that Telestax, and before that Cisco/Tropo. He’ll be with us at TADHack-mini Orlando, helping people hack on VoIP Innovations.

Bendy 1%er phone misses the much bigger 50%+ market opportunity. This article from Zoe Kleinman about her experiences at MWC I thought was excellent. Read through to the end as the punchline is important. A much easier to build smaller design would likely have a far great market than the bendy 1%er phone / tablet or is it a phablet or a bablet which costs more than most laptops at $2k+. Whatever name the market decides (poser-phone?) the tech industry missed an important market segment through its lack of diversity.

When the Finns are not busy raking the leaves in their forests, it looks like they’re working on 6G plans. Hopefully 6G can focus on cost and coverage rather than yet more capacity. But will 6G be another size matters more than market / societal need? It’s up to the Finns. Kippis!

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TADSummit 2019