CXTech Week 17, News and Analysis

The purpose of this CXTech Week 17 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.


Reflections on Zoom IPO, as an early investor (Nick Adams AME Cloud VenTures)

This review is from an investor stand-point, essentially invested in technology / cost advantage hoping it would turn into a market advantage. Which in the end it did, Zoom’s service just works, with little faff.

Market cap is now $18B, remember the company was valued at about $1 billion back in January 2017! And IPO was valued at about $8B when we wrote about it in CXTech Week 15.

For me the tech advantage meant their video conferencing just worked, so I need to turn video off less in bandwidth constrained calls. A well structured freemium model, which is often the biggest challenge. We’ll be discussing this at TADSummit Americas with a Video Collaboration Case Study from Víctor Sánchez, Cofounder and CEO SyncRTC and Mashme Group. The other aspect is a focus on verticals, so they deliver solutions to problems not yet another platform.


Payfone Raises $24 Million; Announces Strategic Partnership with TransUnion to Add Security, Convenience, and Privacy to Digital Experiences Around the Globe

Payfone just raised $24M. Instant authentication is hot! This is a great example of using the data in telecom networks to solve business critical problems. I remember discussing with a Nigerian telco the ‘credit / trust rating’ information they have on most people in Nigeria. Trust being a significant issue for many Nigerians.


Introduction to Apigate’s Keynote at TADSummit Asia with Richard Im

Preview of Apigate‘s keynote for TADSummit Asia with a nice focus on services not APIs. Given Payfone’s recent funding, perhaps instant authentication is a possible area of expansion?


Podcast | Two-Way Communications with Customers

Interesting discussion with Marco Lafrentz, VP of CPaaS at tyntec on “Two-Way Customer Communications”. I’ve found that whether its SMS or chat or another mechanism that’s used for the return path is quite use case, country and personal preference dependent.

If its a simply yes/no response? Then keep it in the same channel – make the UX as simple as possible.

If it’s a conversation then many more factors come into play. And in the limit customer preference (if expressed) is an important consideration. I’ve seen some use cases where IP messaging is used when a conversation may ensue, with SMS kept to alerting. Other times SMS with a link to a browser based chat session. Others keeping it all on SMS or breaking out to good old voice with a phone number or call back.

User experience matters, the Zoom case study is a great example on how even a small difference wins business. Everyone is different in how they judge experiences, so something as simple as two-way communications can open up a significant programmable telecoms need.


Dreambox Launches Full CPaaS in UAE

I’ve known Dreambox as a hosted and then cloud based contact center. And they have recently added CPaaS, I’m not too sure what they mean by full CPaaS as I can point to gaps such as number API, IP messaging API, calling scoring API, etc.

There’s significant overlap of CPaaS and Deambox’s call center customers, for example supporting two factor authentication, incoming call scoring, customer alerts, local numbers across multi-countries, etc.

Apifonica is an example of a company that initially focus on being a general CPaaS platform, and is now focused on enabling specific solutions for businesses, often those with call centers. Which proves the need Dreambox’s CPaaS fulfills.


Clique Announces Newly Established Partnership With The SUMMA Group

I point this one out as an example of marketing lies. I became aware of them in 2017, with a conferencing offer. This does not make them a “company who pioneered CPaaS”. Its a bit like describing my move to the US in 1999 means I pioneered America 😉


UCaaS vs. CCaaS: Weighing communications architecture integrations

At first sight you think why are they wanting to integrate PBX and Call Center solutions? However, the partnership between Mitel and Talkdesk described in CXTech Week 15, shows it’s a thing in medium to large accounts. And in the SMB segment I’ve pointed out for several years how UCaaS providers are adding simple call center seats integrated into the UCaaS workflows.

CPaaS enabled applications like 2FA, omni channel messaging, notifications, to work across existing UCaaS and CCaaS solutions. As they’re all based on telecom app servers, and integration is relatively easy, it’s not a surprise to see consolidation across UCaaS, CCaaS and CPaaS.

We’ll see the emergence of integrated enterprise communications solutions, across Twilio and its partners is sort of available today, Vonage is building out its integrated solution across its components. But this simple integrated view belies the complexity of legacy, diversity of need, delivery and support.

In the limit telecoms is just one piece of a broader ICT (Information Communications Techology) offer, this is why Google, Amazon and possibly Microsoft are the ones to watch in the longer (10+ years) term.


Telarus Expands CCaaS Team

A UCaaS / CCaaS solution provider, this article gives some insight into how they structure their UCaaS and CCaaS sales across different market segments. It reminds me of the importance that enterprises are not atomic purchasing units, even on the telecoms side.

Momentum Telecom To Acquire DCT Telecom Group

An example of consolidation within the many MSP (Managed Service Provider) / resellers out there delivering communication solutions to businesses. Many CPaaS have ignored the importance of these channels, while Flowroute and VoIP Innovations have built strong ecosystems with them.

RingCentral Partners with PCM to Bring Cloud Communications Solutions to Enterprises

Channel matters! Cloud does not make UCaaS necessarily self-service. RingCentral have had AT&T as a channel for many years, with BT and many other telcos coming on board over the past few years. But in the enterprise market, channel coverage is critical, telcos are just one of many partner categories.


A2P and P2A Messaging Market 2019-2025 Complete Overview with Top Players | MBlox, CLX Communications, Infobip, Tanla Solutions, SAP Mobile Services, Silverstreet BV, Syniverse Technologies, Nexmo Co. Ltd.

The list is a bit out of date as MBlox and CLX Communications are now Sinch, and there are quite a few other players that should be included. I include this article only because it highlights the fact that A2P SMS messaging keeps growing in revenue not just numbers of messages! Why? simplicity and coverage in most countries.

FaceBook has not made business messaging on its platforms easy, they behave like a monopolist, and SMS rates (depending on who you buy from) have been falling as the technology moves to spot pricing and ever greater automation. I recently met the the Telesign messaging folks, and greatly enjoyed their insights in this space. It reminded me of some of the commodity trading technology discussions I’ve had in NYC.

Global A2P (Application to Person) Messaging Market 2019 – BICS, CLX Communications, Infobip, Mavenir Systems, MessageBird, Mitto, Nexmo, Route Mobile

Same topic as above, different names, some a little surprising. Most market reports in this space suck! Back in the ’90s and ’00s most of the large vendors had corporate deals with the analyst houses, and seminal analyst reports would be produced that defined markets. Today, it’s lots of noise and fake news as few will pay for reports.


Vonage Unveils Advanced Services and APIs for the Healthcare Market

I wrap up this section going back to part of Zoom’s secret sauce, vertical solutions matter!


People, Gossip, and Frivolous Stuff

Sean Hsieh moves from Telecoms to Blockchain

Sean recently sold his start-up, Flowroute, and has embarked on a new venture that aims to open up the world of commercial real estate investing.

“When I talk to my friends about owning a building, they just stop and go, ‘I don’t even know what to think about that, because I can’t connect with that thought,’” Hsieh said. “We’re trying to bring deals that only millionaires have access to and give them to an everyday investor for very small dollar minimum.”

Concreit has raised nearly $1 million in funding from Unlock Venture Partners, a new Seattle-based firm co-led by longtime angel investor Andy Liu. Other Unlock portfolio companies include Crowd Cow, Make.TV and Possible Finance.

Hsieh started Concreit with Flowroute co-founder Jordan Levy and Rui Maximo, who was formerly CTO at blockchain startups LifeID and StormX.

Sean isn’t the only one moving from telecoms over to blockchain, Dan Burnett, who has led most of the real-time communication standards in use today is now solidly focused on blockchain. He was co-editor of MRCPv2, W3C Media Capture and Streams. Initial and longest-running editor of WebRTC 1.0. Co-chair, then sole Chair, of the W3C Voice Browser Working Group until its closure. Board Director, then Treasurer, then Vice Chair, then Chair, of the VoiceXML Forum.


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