CXTech Week 40 2020 News and Analysis

The purpose of this CXTech Week 40 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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Element ( buys Gitter

Element needs to grow both their organization and ecosystem. This acquisition hits 2 birds with one stone. It also helps bring in a team to focus on the messaging experience, rather than all the cool backend stuff (’s strategic value).

Matrix / Element support TADHack, hosting, and I’ll be interviewing Matthew and Amandine later this month for TADSummit EMEA Americas. Check out the TADSummit agenda, and let me know if you have questions for them.

TELUS Home Assistant with Alexa

Congrats to Piyush Gaur and his team! Telus has launched TELUS Home Assistant with Alexa. TELUS customers in Canada can control TV hands free with Amazon Alexa. Customers can tune to channel, search content, increase volume, pause, record hands free. Remember, you heard it first at TADSummit 2018 🙂 Just like Matrix back in 2014.

Twilio announces Video WebRTC Go and Frontline

Twilio WebRTC Go challenges CPaaS (e.g. Simwood, Intelepeer, Avaya, Vonage) and WebRTC client SDK/server providers (Agora), and also significantly IaaS/PaaS like Xirsys since data traffic is included in the free bundle. Clearly they’re seeing lots of WebRTC video competition and decided to use their market position to attract developers with a loss-leader than bother with M&A.

What’s free in Video WebRTC Go:

  • Peer-to-peer topology for 1:1 video chats
  • 25 GB/month of TURN for media relay, which averages out to about 100,000 participant minutes per month
  • Documentation and refreshed quick deploy reference apps for iOS, Android, and ReactJS
  • Video troubleshooting support with 48 hours of logging with the newly launched Video Log Analyzer
  • Diagnostic tooling with RTC Diagnostics SDK (beta) and Video JS SDK Preflight API (beta) to test device and network setup

Twilio Frontline is targeting “Uber-like” delivery and home service businesses. I’ve seen it positioned as a mobile CCaaS interface, but almost every CCaaS has that. Uber-like companies without the deep pockets to build out their workflow and communication platform now have Frontline. You see them popping up all around the world, people at the supermarket with some local start-up branding jacket scanning and bagging multiple carts at the same time.

I’ve found Instacart, Grubhub and the like to be a significant tax on an inferior service. Orders incomplete or with missing items (though charged), food arrives cold or luke warm. I’m not sure how they’ll survive once the COVID-19 vaccine is widely distributed and people are more willing to venture out. I guess this is a bet many people are not venturing out anytime soon, or at the very least make hay while COVID-19 reigns for the next 12 months.

WebRTC Live 46: “Accessible Telecom Development For (Almost) Everyone”

Check out WebRTC Live 46: “Accessible Telecom Development For (Almost) Everyone” were Arin Sime from interviews me about TADHack Global 2020, 10-11 October.

There’s still time to register,

Smarty Mobile pokes fun at mobile industry, this is what customers care about not 5G

SMARTY is a mobile telephone brand running as a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) using the Three network in the UK; a sub-brand of Three. The operator attracts customers primarily looking for cheaper deals than those available with Three directly, by offering a monthly rolling SIM-only service, limited to online-only support. Uniquely for the UK, the operator offers to buy back unused data by means of a bill discount, like US carrier Ting.

Mobile operators are heading to the same route as PayTV operators, their packages are becoming too expensive for many families. So families are starting to “cut” the unlimited family plan cord, and get smart about how they use their data. In addition, mobile devices are reaching the same point as Macs did 7 years ago, you simply do not need to replace them every 2-3 years, so devices from carriers makes less sense. Mobile operators are following where fixed operators have been, particularly in North America.

HTK Case Study: Delivering a multichannel program for Krispy Kreme UK

I’ll be interviewing Marlon the founder and CEO of HTK for TADSummit EMEA Americas this month. In July 2020, Krispy Kreme launched their redesigned and replatformed loyalty program using HTK’s Horizon PlusPoint platform. To find out more about the launch download the full case study for a comprehensive overview.

HTK Horizon was selected by the team at Krispy Kreme to provide a platform for the loyalty program, as well as the customer intelligence needed to personalise the program across multiple channels.

The revamped Krispy Kreme Rewards is based on points — called Smiles — which customers can earn on purchases at all Krispy Kreme stores, in supermarkets, online and even at some local service stations.

In the first phase of replatforming, HTK and Krispy Kreme chose to keep the focus on points mechanics and integration across offline and online channels. Alongside the program relaunch, Krispy Kreme also upgraded their ecommerce platform and mobile app.

HTK was able to integrate seamlessly with these new platforms, as well as Krispy Kreme’s existing POS provider, Flooid (formerly PCMS).

Using Horizon’s APIs, data for each member — including their points balance and available rewards — can be displayed within each of these channels, creating a consistent experience. Krispy Kreme’s customer contact centre, Ventrica, has access to relevant Horizon screens, too. That means that even when members call in for support, the service they receive is consistent and personalised.

Although the program is still in its early days, Krispy Kreme is already seeing member spend across channels is increasing and is overall higher than non-member spend.

Adrian Mosley, Head of Digital at Krispy Kreme says: “The HTK team has been so helpful throughout this project, not only in terms of the technical implementation of the new program but also in terms of their advice on the overarching strategy. They’re quick to respond and always ready to help find solutions, even when it’s outside the scope of their services.”

“We’re really pleased with the results of the launch so far and are looking forward to future innovations, particularly around machine learning and one-to-one marketing.” Well done Marlon and all the rest of the HTK team!

Telesign’s VP of Engineering Wei Lin on Jobs, Women in CS/IT Identity Security

Telesign’s VP of Engineering Wei Lin presented to the Colorado School of Mines about women in the software industry and how to protect your identity in the ever-changing world.

I really like the advice Wei Lin provides in her presentation. As I thought about gender diversity I realized Wei Lin is one of the few VP Engineering I know. I know more female CEOs than VP Engineering, she really is at the sharp-end of diversity.

Slides 15 and 16 have great wisdom. Networking can be hard for people in large organizations, they positively discourage people from attending conferences in my experience. However, don’t be afraid to contact people directly from articles you read on the web or through LinkedIn. The worst they can do is ignore you. I consider my job being professionally ignored 😉

I can not stress enough the importance of seeking advice from many sources, it will be contradictory and some you should best ignore. But there will be gems, and often they come from surprising sources. The importance of: Study, Practice, Be Curious, Be Creative is a great mantra for life. Well done Wei Lin 🙂

The End of Unify

In last week’s newsletter I was talking about Storylation by Jean-Luc Nguyen, it’s a social network where people introduce their friends to each other by sharing positive stories about them. Jean-Luc and I met at TADHack-mini Paris back in 2015. He was a winner of the Unify prize. Sadly Unify is no more, RingCentral is now Unify.

No Surprise, Route Mobile corrects after listing

We’ve tracked this listing in this newsletter for a couple of weeks. The markets are frothy for anything Zoom or Twilio like. And perhaps is driving up company valuations, hence why Twilio decided it’s easy to win the WebRTC Video business in the market than M&A, with the launch of Video WebRTC Go.

Keep an eye on MITTO

Keep an eye on MITTO, I keep seeing them pop up in my feed. Well, in fact Twilio advertising dominates everything I see on the internet: Reddit, YouTube, etc. They are always bloody there, arghhh!

Laura Apel, who used to work for TeleSign, is now MITTO’s VP Marketing. I know its just marketing that they pop-up in my feed, but shows they’re fluffing themselves up for sale IMO.

Capgemini sells its contact centre business to private equity firm

Capgemini offloaded its contact-centre-as-a-service unit, Odigo, to private equity firm Apax Partners.

Odigo is an omni-channel cloud platform SaaS business founded in 1986 that focuses on the enterprise market. It claims to have around 650 employees, and support more than 400,000 users and 200 customers in nearly 100 countries.

I’m not sure how this will exit, the market is consolidating as well as restructuring, see Twilio FLEX and Frontline. No details were announced about the deal.

People, Gossip, and Frivolous Stuff

Larry Lisser is now Chief Executive Officer at HelloMD

Doug Varney is now Solutions Architect at U.S. Cellular, after a long stint with AT&T Network Systems, then Lucent, then Nokia.

Rob Malcolm is now Chief Product Officer at Imagine Communications (Harris Broadcast), previously with MBlox and Sinch.

Thank you to Mio for listing me in their list of influencers in the #unifiedcommunications & #teamcollaboration industry is 51 – 28. I’m not sure an influencer that keeps saying, ‘ignore the magic quadrants, they’re US large enterprise baised’. Counts as a influencer or a heretic. Perhaps they should do a list of heretics next time?

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