CXTech Week 30 2020 News and Analysis

The purpose of this CXTech Week 30 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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IntelePeer Announces HIPAA Compliance

Intelepeer are a sponsor of TADHack Chicago / North America in October, and were a sponsor of TADHack-mini Orlando in March.

Recently they announced their Atmosphere CPaaS is now compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the U.S. national standard set for health information security and privacy.

Some TeleHealth providers have seen usage (and revenues) of their communication enabled workflows growing at over 100% per month!

While Public health officials in Houston are struggling to keep up with one of the nation’s largest coronavirus outbreaks. They are desperate to trace cases and quarantine patients before they spread the virus to others. But first, they must negotiate with the office fax machine. Check out this great NYTimes article. CPaaS is helping solve problems like these.

Vonage: Timely Change In Management

We discussed the move from Alan to Rory in CXTech 24. While this analysis digs deeper into the numbers, it does highlight that numbers by themselves only capture a limited external view.

One point mentioned are integration possibilities. That’s already done, they’ve moved everything onto Nexmo. The business categorization I feel suffers from using fashionable words, cloud communications mean little. They are an enterprise focused communications provider / telco: phone system, contact center, and communication enabled workflows (CPaaS). But they struggle compared to RingCentral in positioning. RC makes it simple: business communications and customer service by business size, industry segment and need. All bases covered in 2 drop-downs.

The comparison to RingCentral in the analysis is good, and RingCentral has been winning lots of resale deals: Avaya, Atos (see later in this note), etc. While Vonage has come from a direct sales model, and is building out its channel sales, as discussed in CXTech 28 2020. Which will hopefully help lower high sales and marketing costs.

I’ve pointed out in previous newsletters that Vonage is a business focused telco, with a direct sales model, and an emerging channel model. And this is a potential weakness compared to the more diverse channel / enabler model Twilio adopts, which supports a greater diversity of channels.

Tokbox provides the video capabilities, but it’s not platforms enterprises want, they want services like Vonage Meetings. But that is more of an add-on sale to a phone system sale. Hence the relative success of Zoom compared to Vonage Meetings.

At this point I think Vonage has a solid and modern communications platform. Its the market communications / positioning makes its sales more high-touch, than self-service or channel based. Hence, I disagree with the analysis to some extent, its not an integration problem, its a go-to-market problem.

RingCentral’s Unify Office Deal ‘Echoes’ Avaya Partnership

RingCentral and Atos have expanded their strategic partnership with the launch of a co-branded UCaaS offering, Unify Office (UO) by RingCentral.

Unify Office, offered through the Atos Unify channel program, will be the exclusive UCaaS offering for Atos’ base of more than 40 million users. It should be available starting Aug. 31.

Atos’ reseller community of more than 1,700 partners worldwide can add their own value.

RingCentral is winning the legacy PBX providers business. Taking advantage of the legacy providers’ existing customer and channel relationships, particularly in the big enterprise and government accounts. Avoiding high break-in costs, which are part of the SG&A problem Vonage faces.

While Vonage has a modern programmable communications platform, RingCentral’s is not too dissimilar. So for most enterprises the advantages Vonage provides are not that apparent.

Talkdesk’s Valuation Rises To $3B Following $143M Series C

In total, Talkdesk has raised $268 million since forming in 2011. Prior to the Series C, Viking Global Investments led Talkdesk’s $100 million Series B in 2018.

Talkdesk said it will use the new funding to take advantage of growth opportunities, as well as invest in research and development, go-to-market, sales, marketing and channel development. Echoing the comments I made previously about where Vonage needs to invest.

Enterprise-Tech Startups Focused on Risk, Security, Attract Venture Dollars

Its NYC biased, but mentioned 2 companies I follow, payfone and BigID (I helped Dimitri, the founder CEO, with his previous company Layer 7).

Payfone, raised $100 million in June! Identity verification is big and growing, and programmable communications plays an important role. TeleSign is also a significant provider dominant with the web companies, while payfone is strong in banking and insurance.

At TADSummit EMEA / Americas we’re going to have several presentations on identity verification from Orange and TeleSign. I’ve still to add them to the agenda. See below on Ravish’s promotion given the success TeleSign has achieved with Score, Identity Verification.

TADSummit EMEA / Americas Draft Agenda Published

We ran our first TADSummit in 2013 in Bangkok. Back then there was a growing body of innovators (e.g. CPaaS, UCaaS, CCaaS providers), telcos, alternative network providers, developers, open source leaders, API companies, and enterprise focused service providers, learning how to make money from the application of CXTech.

After the success of TADSummit Asia 2020 in May we decided to run TADSummit EMEA / Americas online to avoid taking any risks while we wait for the COVID-19 vaccine. We may not have the full networking experience and the enjoyment of spending a couple of days together. But we can share the latest thinking to place a collective milestone marker in the development of programmable communications.

Through the month of November 2020 we’ll be releasing daily drops of fresh content produced specifically for TADSummit EMEA / Americas 2020, and encouraging both online discussion at and one-on-one discussion with the presenters. If any topic stimulates lots of interest, we’ll set up a video conference across all interested parties for an online discussion.

We have lots to add to the agenda, this is the tip of what continues to be the thought-leadership event in programmable communications / telecoms. Thank you to GoContact, Sangoma, Automat Berlin, and Radisys for making TADSummit EMEA / Americas possible.

TADHack Global Asia Pacific 2020

Given the pandemic, we’re running an Asia Pacific Virtual Hub, rather than physical locations. Mark White, Roshni Fernando, and Jose-Maria Recio are the organizers. If you’re based in the Asia Pacific and want to take part in TADHack Global, this is the registration for you.

We wanted to share with you some of the amazing hacks made in the Asia Pacific since the beginning of TADHack in 2014.

Over the years TADHack has taken place in: Colombo and Jaffna in Sri Lanka; Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia; Manila in The Philippines; New Delhi and Pune in India; Dhaka in Bangladesh; Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane in Australia; Aukland in New Zealand; Tokyo and Kawasaki in Japan; Islamabad and Karachi in Pakistan; and Singapore. Plus we’ve had people hacking from home across the Asia Pacific including Indonesia, China, Vietnam, South Korea, and many more.

The quality of the Asia Pacific hacks has always been world class, and the follow-up beyond the hack into creating real businesses and making a difference in the world is impressive. This year at TADSummit Asia we interviewed Ruwan Dissanayaka, Co-Founder and CEO at Extrogene Software. He was one of the first TADHack Global winners, and his company founded after TADHack continues to grow and make a difference in Sri Lanka.

Some of the Asia Pacific locations are massive, check out Kuala Lumpur shown below, one year they had well over 700 registrations! Well done Asia Pacific for 7 years of world-class TADHacks! We’re excited to see what TADHack Global 2020 Asia Pacific brings.

Open Source Telecom Software Survey 2020

Please complete the survey by Wednesday 12th August, thank you.

The purpose of this Open Source 2020 Survey is to gather across the industry people’s experiences and opinions on using Open Source Telecom Software Projects (Projects), and share an anonymized aggregate result with those that compete the survey. I’ll also present a summary of the results at TADSummit EMEA / Americas in November.

Thanks to Samir Doshi and Hamed Kouhfallah for pointing out the gaps of ASTPP and Issabel respectively.

Accelerating Innovation in the Telecommunications Arena

I saw an old colleague, Don Clarke with several of his colleagues, publish a paper with TelecomTV on ‘Accelerating Innovation in the Telecommunications Arena’. I put my thoughts together, but only got as far as discussing the assumptions behind the paper. Without an agreed foundation we can not build a broader consensus on the situation analysis and then way forward.

People, Gossip, and Frivolous Stuff

Well done Ravish Patel, who is now VP Fraud & Identity Solutions at TeleSign.

Congratulations to Miles Cheetham for starting a new position as Strategic Advisor at Icebreaker One. He gave a great presentation at TADSummit EMEA in November 2019 on Open Banking. And will be returning in Nov 2020 to talk about Open Energy, and perhaps a few words about Open Telecom as well.

Well done Ganga Ramesh, who is now Product TPM at Facebook. I first met Ganga when we worked together on TADHack-mini Orlando 2018, and he was with Flowroute.

Ben Millier for now Interim VP Sales at Ably. I met Ben at Metaswitch.

Aran White in now Head Of Product Management – Layer7 at Broadcom Inc.

Chris Shaw has founded Virtually There.

Well done to Filip Minic who is now Junior Frontend Developer at Mozzart. He was one of our first winners at TADHack Belgrade, run by TeleSign.

Congratulations to Karel Bourgois of Slatch / Voxist on achieving #2 position in the App Store in France! He’ll be presenting at TADSummit EMEA / Americas.

And we can not wrap-up a CXTech Newsletter without an Inspiration in isolation #13 – Coding for kids, with LEGO. I particularly like the LEGO figure voices 🙂 My son’s LEGO figure voices are more shouty with lots of death threats.