CXTech Week 25 2020 News and Analysis

The purpose of this CXTech Week 25 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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Sinch does it Again, this time with ACL Mobile

Wow Sinch is racing to be top-dog in business messaging and messaging aggregation, like the devil is chasing them.

Founded in 2000, ACL Mobile is a business messaging provider in India and Southeast Asia. Its platform enables businesses to interact with their customers through multiple channels including SMS, voice, email, IP messaging, and WhatsApp. The company serves more than 500 enterprise customers, particularly in the Banking and Financial Services.

The deal is $70 M (INR 5,350 million); and comes on top of SDI discussed in CXTech Week 19 3020, Wavy in CXTech Week 14 2020, and their long list of acquisitions over the years as discussed in CXTech Week 23 2020 interview with their CEO.

Given the shift of MessageBird to business messaging discussed last week in CXTech Week 24 2020, the messaging aggregation business is clearly no longer standalone, and CPaaS is likely facing similar pressure. The phrase I’ve used for decades is, ‘its all about the services,’ and that’s shifting the focus of the business from a platform play to a direct to customer (or channel to customer) business.

Infobip Launches Conversations – A Contact Centre Solution For Customer Service

And following in the same theme as MessageBird. Infobip has launched an omnichannel cloud contact centre solution with automation and a chatbot building platform option. Another aggregator moving up the stack to get to higher margin business messaging revenues.

Given many CCaaS include omni-channel, either in-house or through partners in their ecosystem, it will be interesting to see how Infobip breaks into this maturing market.

FCC Proposes $225 Million Fine for Illegal Robocalls

The Federal Communications Commission announced a record $225 million fine against a Texas-based insurance telemarketing firm for making as many as 1 billion illegal robocalls, but two FCC commissioners wondered whether the agency will actually collect that massive fine.

The FCC alleges that John C. Spiller and Jakob Mears, through companies including Rising Eagle Capital and JSquared Telecom, made 1 billion robocalls across the country during the first four-and-a-half months of 2019 on behalf of clients that sell short-term, limited-duration health insurance plans.

A 2019 Wall Street Journal article reported that while the FCC had levied $208 million in fines against robocallers, it collected only $6,790. That’s 0.003%, that’s not incompetence in collections, the $6790 payment was likely a mistake. The FCC has a policy of not collecting. So why is robocalling so bad in the US? There’s no downside.

Below is an article from TeleSign and Skype on how they are solving robocalling using Score. As clearly the FCC isn’t stopping this.

Wazo: Why choose a hybrid solution?

So what do they mean by hybrid? It has two main characteristics, the first technological, the second business.

First, from a technological point of view. The hybrid approach is the opportunity to deploy their solutions in any infrastructure (private, public or both) and environment (physical, virtual, container). Thus, it is possible to adapt to all existing operational constraints, whether they are related to security, quality of service, or economic considerations.

Then, from a business standpoint. The hybrid approach enables you to transform your business at your own pace, adapting to your internal challenges and needs. Our Enterprise Unified Communication solution, for example, allows you to address on-premise deployments while building the foundation for a transition to the Cloud and UCaaS.

Wazo are offering their solutions “As A Product”, as opposed to Cloud distribution model “As A Service”.

The benefits are:

  • Control: Deployable in any environment, offering complete technological control. They can thus be operated in compliance with the constraints imposed by your use cases, your business, or your IT department. Moreover, it allows you to fine-tune the solution to perfectly match your needs.
  • Flexibility: Based on its hybrid architecture and its micro-service oriented approach Wazo’s solutions offer maximum flexibility. You remain in full control of your architecture. You can thus deploy your services as close as possible to your users, allocate the resources adapted to the use cases implemented, and make it scale, indefinitely.
  • Scalability: You are free to design your value proposition and operational model. They can evolve over time. You have the opportunity to adapt to the needs of your customers and to offer them a relevant answer, without being dogmatic.
  • Security: Deployable in private environments, Wazo’s solutions can be operated behind your firewalls and security devices. In addition, they include various security components, such as SBC, to protect your communication deployment against potential malicious attacks.

A Slice of TADSummit Asia: Identity Verification

In this series of weblogs, A Slice of TADSummit, we review a few of the themes from TADSummit Asia. Identity Verification is hot. Skype now uses TeleSign’s Score to stop spam. I’ve been retweeting many job opportunities in identity verification from around the world.

The growth in adoption and usage of online services during the pandemic has driven a massive increase in account fraud. TeleSign provides excellent presentations around this topic on mitigating account fraud using intelligence gained from the phone number.

Everyone in the programmable communications industry needs to have identity verification as part of their portfolio. It isn’t only a web company thing. Throughout the customer lifecycle, identity verification can protect customers and improve their experiences. Using something so simple as the intelligence around a phone number.

Telesign helps Skype Screen Robocallers

Skype and TeleSign partnered on Score service. Score delivers reputation scoring based on phone number intelligence, traffic patterns, machine learning and a global data consortium.

Fraudsters are creating online and mobile application accounts that result in spam, phishing attacks, promo abuse and other costly fraud. Through the registration of fake accounts, fraudsters are able to attack legitimate users and damage a brand’s value, revenue and growth. Effectively identifying and blocking these harmful users at account registration, while streamlining the process for authentic and valuable users, has become critical.

Using Score they implemented an ‘inbound calling spam filter’ included automatically with your Skype virtual number with the option to opt out.

Skype sees roughly two million calls per day (or 100,000 calls per hour at peak.) TeleSign is able to look at these phone numbers and help Skype block one million unwanted calls, or 50% of Skype’s overall virtual phone number inbound traffic.

T-Mobile US IMS Glitch

As a TMO US customer I wasn’t aware that VoLTE and SMS were not working on June 15th. If it was internet access I would have noticed. The chairman of the FCC got worked up and called the outage ‘unacceptable’, but perhaps focusing on robocalling fine collections would be a better use of his time, see above article.

IMS problems are not new, remember back Verizon’s IMS glitches? All networks have their outages, crap happens, the key is it doesn’t happen again.

My experience of this outage highlights mobile voice and SMS versus mobile internet access services provided by TMO are distinctly different in their importance to me. Of course e911 is immediately brought up, but most enterprise phone systems show this can be solved, because of Kari’s Law and others as mentioned here.

Perhaps its time mobile internet access was unbundled from PSTN voice and messaging. I buy my mobile internet access from TMO, and my e911 grade voice and SMS from Amazon, or Google, or Comcast. Or because some people love their freedoms to the point of stupidity, the freedom to choose a non e911 grade voice and SMS service. The service I care most about from TMO US is mobile internet. The voice and SMS are substituted by so many other services, its only e911 that keeps me using the service. This doesn’t apply to everyone, but unbundling should be on the regulators agenda, after collecting on their fines.

TADHack Global 2020 Update (Oct 10/11)

We’re assembling TADHack Global 2020 at the moment. We’re still seeking a couple more global sponsors. Please get in touch if you’d like to sponsor, it’s the largest global communications focused hackathon since 2014.

We’ll be adding Trondheim, Stockholm, and Bristol as new locations. All locations will be running hybrid (both in-person and remote), with some likely being remote only where restrictions limit such gatherings.

Making the best of the situation we’re expanding the scope of some locations to cover the country / region. For example, Chicago / North America and Bristol / United Kingdom.

Bristol is thanks to Simwood. Trondheim and Stockholm are thanks to Working Group Two. We have a location sponsor Intelepeer for Chicago. And some exciting plans across Asia, but more on that once we get things finalized.

Sangoma Files Base Shelf Prospectus for $110M US

The base shelf prospectus will allow Sangoma to qualify the distribution by way of prospectus in Canada of up to C$150,000,000 of common shares, debt securities, warrants, subscription receipts, units, or any combination thereof, during the 25-month period that the base shelf prospectus is effective.

It gives them access to $110M from the capital markets quickly. I wonder what Sangoma is looking to buy next? Perhaps regional expansion outside North America?

People, Gossip, and Frivolous Stuff

Congratulations to Celeste Norlund who is now Head of Architecture Unit at Norwegian Police ICT Services. I first met Celeste at WAC about a decade ago, and then again in Telenor Digital.

Marc Weinberg is now Vice President & Client Business Executive, Global Wireless Accounts at Symend (Transforming the debt recovery industry by treating individuals with empathy and dignity).

Pekka Poutanen is Development Manager at Telia, since his time working on JAIN SLEE/JSLEE.

Jonathan Goldsmith is now Head of Strategy, Nokia Digital at Nokia. I’ve known him since Amdocs.

Well done to Lubna Dajani added a new role as an Invited Expert at W3C

Saad Syed is now Sales Director at Celonis (business transformation software to create Superfluid Enterprises, or in my words process improvement).

Congratulations to Gavin Henry and the SureVoIP team for being listed in the Internet Services Providers’ Association (ISPA UK) finalists for the 2020 ISPA Awards, in the category of Best VoIP.

Congratulations to Jason Lowe for 20 years continuous service across Oracle and BEA. And for all your support of TADHack Global.