The purpose of this CXTech Week 20 2020 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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Voxeet was bought by Dolby Labs in 2019. I first heard of Voxeet in 2012, they focused on “natural conferencing”. Making the audio more natural and easier to listen to. We’ve all experienced getting tired on those conference calls when ‘that person’ joins the call from their mobile (they always do) that always seems to find an analog wireless connection. So your brain has to spend extra cycles on speech analysis and filling gaps in sentences because of drop-outs (Rayleigh fading)
It always seemed to me to be a valid problem, but wouldn’t Opus in WebRTC solve it for most of the conferencing providers? Dolby acquiring them left me a little perplexed until I talked with one of their investors last year, Tony Jamous and Eric Nadalin (founders of Nexmo) both invested. Then it became apparent its ‘natural’ fit for Dolby, pun intended. Its WebRTC expertise, a strategically important technology to Dolby. It’s an acquihire, but also an example of Endurance Hunting; next week in the WebRTC Status review at TADSummit Asia I’ll explain more on that concept.
The reason Dolby needs to be in this hunt is because of the growing importance of attending live events online. They position Dolby.io as collaboration / conferencing, but the existing solutions are good enough for most high fidelity requirements. I think it’s about dominating the audio for online attendance of live events that Dolby cares about. WebRTC has brought live events online, we use if for TADSummit and TADHack since they began. But Youtube’s Live Streaming does not feel ‘natural’ its the best we can do for those not able to attend.
Conferencing / collaboration is fashionable, so Dolby.io need a hook. But the game they care about is dominating the audio for online attendance of live events. When you’re watching the movie at home of in the cinema, the audio is Dolby. We’ve had a number of music related hacks at TADHack Global using WebRTC over the years, from people involved in the music industry. Live events will continue after COVID-19, and people will likely be more willing to consider online attendance at a live event, especially when it feels ‘natural’. This will be an interesting one to watch in the coming years, can Dolby also dominate the audio for online live performances? Given my experiences of working with sound engineers, quite likely.
Digging into the Downturn Numbers
After I reviewed the Twilio and Bandwidth results last week in CXTech Week 19. I did some more digging into why we’re seeing CPaaS being relatively unaffected by the crisis. If anything showing higher than anticipated growth.
It appears while some online services have dropped significantly in usage; their transactions, e.g. cancellations, have kept growth at planned levels. Also many online services have jumped in sign-ups and usage, which has increased traffic more than anticipated. For some CPaaS growth remains healthy for usage-based APIs. Some CPaaS are anticipating further increases above anticipated levels as more workflows move online faster than planned given their sales pipeline. So Q3 numbers could maintain the current health. Overall it’s a bit of a mixed picture, some regions have not seen the performance achieved in the US, also customer mix has a significant impact on CPaaS results.
As the downturn begins to bite in H2, we may begin to see growth coming back to pre-crisis levels for the CPaaS leaders. Overall CXTech is looking OK across both subscription and usage based revenues. Principally from an increase in online service consumption, and companies moving more workflows online faster than originally planned. Perhaps 2020 could end up on-plan. For 2021 there’s much greater uncertainty, with a consensus that growth will be lower than 2020.
We’re half way through TADSummit Asia 2020, you can see all the great content in the agenda. With lots more to come. This week we focused on open source telecom software with presentations on Kamailio, OpenSIPS, and a review of the open source telecom software landscape.
TeleSign gave an excellent keynote on their evolution into being the leader in identity verification. We’ll wrap up the week with an innovator interview with David Curran. Here are the presentations so far:
People, Gossip, and Frivolous Stuff
Martin Wong is now Sales Engineering, Business Application Platform – API Management – Google Cloud JAPAC at Google. I’ve known Martin since his time in Oracle.
Sachin Hegde is now Senior Software Engineering Manager at Smartsheet/ I first met Sachin when he worked for Vidyo.
Andre Moskal is now Executive Chairman, CEO and President at My Retirement. Yep, Andre has retired, though let’s see for how long 😉 He was CTO of several important telecom start-ups including SS8, Newstep and Blueslice. He started his career at Gandalf – modems I used at University.