CXTech Week 41 2020 News and Analysis

The purpose of this CXTech Week 41 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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MessageBird Raises Series C $200M at $3B Valuation

The company’s first institutional raise came in 2017, $60 million in Series A funding from Accel and Atomico. Positioning itself as the European Twilio. A $40 million Series B was raised in February 2019 from existing investors.

As mentioned in previous newsletters MessageBird has been through a pivot (as discussed in CXTech Week 24 2020) and at least one round of layoffs. Its churned though some good people in the past couple of years.

iBasis sold its SMS business to MessageBird in 2016, which iBasis now regrets. This gave Messagebird a revenue base of legacy SMS aggregation revenue. Which was complemented in 2019 with the acquisition of Telserv (phone numbers) to reduce payments to Belgian company Voxbone.

There’s still lots of upside in the customer communications market, but it’s even more competitive than CPaaS, with lots of established global and regional players. Messagebird will need to focus on execution in customer communications, and likely buy up a couple of regional players to accelerate its position.

Dialpad Raises $100M at $1.2B Valuation

The difference in valuations surprised me, I would have positioned Dialpad and MessageBird at similar valuations. In CXTech Week 36 2020 I discussed Dialpad’s recent acquisition of video conferencing service Highfive.

This raise is being positioned as helping Dialpad go “All-in on AI-Powered Communications.” It’s still early days with AI in communications, there is value there, and I do find myself thinking about ways machine learning can help with the complex mish-mash of communication platforms and services we use every day.

Rob Pickering just mentioned today how ML could help in messaging routing as we bridged the TADHack UK Slack and Element (Riot) groups. I think the headline hides a more complex story with Dialpad, where sales acceleration may be the more mundane focus.

Mavenir has acquired ip.access – Assisted by Corum Group

When I saw the headline I did a double take, as I thought this transaction had happened last year. I guess its just one of those acquistions that is just meant to be 😉 Plus Mark White (location leader for TADHack Asia Pacific 2020), is also part of the Corum Group.

ip.access extends Mavenir’s position in OpenRAN radio on three fronts:

  • Mobile Network Operators: Adding 2G and 3G capabilities to the OpenRAN portfolio, thereby providing a multi-standard evolution to 5G
  • Enterprise: Adding a suite of enterprise small cell solutions for Mavenir’s Private Network offerings, including Multi-RAT indoor and outdoor small cells and OnGo/CBRS certified solutions
  • Nontraditional Networks: Enhancing ip.access’ market leading software defined vRAN solutions for Aviation, Maritime, Rural and Remote networks with a “Multi-G” OpenRAN portfolio.

My Dentist and 5G

Rakuten launches 5G at same price as 4G

Less than six months after launching its 4G offering, Rakuten Mobile has launched a 5G service at no additional cost to its subscribers. The monthly price plan for Tada 5G (‘Tada’ means ‘free’) is 2,980 yen ($28.19) per month, the same as the 4G fee, with Rakuten’s mobile customers able to use the operator’s 4G and 5G services. Clearly the benefits of 5G are to the operator and a niche of enterprise customers, not consumers. As discussed with my dentist in the above article.

Telia parts with its carrier business for around $1.1bn

Like lamb’s the the slaughter, telcos sell off their core network asset in the belief they can be a competitive service providers where global scale rules.

Our first TADHack Global 2020 hack is in! Thank you Working Group Two.

NVIDIA swaps codecs for AI to improve video call compression

In the late 1980s at the York University they did something similar in the video compression group. Such compression techniques where demo’ed even back then. Though nowhere near as elegantly. The tech isn’t new. Nor is the problem that the scene is artificial.

Where’s the lady’s nose ring? Can you trust anything said or seen? The emotion being demonstrated between the two images is quite different. And darker skin tones lowers the contrast and makes generating the vectors challenging.

People, Gossip, and Frivolous Stuff

Congratulations to Abhijeet Singh promoted to International Lead – Digital Identity Experts at TeleSign. Abhijeet will also be presenting at TADSummit EMEA Americas on “Skype 1 – 0 Robocalls: How TeleSign helped Skype “Score” against fraudulent callers”

Well done Bart Goethals who is now a Senior Product Expert Programmable Communications at TeleSign.

Well done Asier Arranz, who is now Developer Marketing at NVIDIA. Asier was one of out first winners at TADHack Global in 2014. With his hack 3DWebRTC, winning the Oracle prize. Scroll down to see him in this weblog.

Andrew Bender is now Chief Technology Officer and BD Leader at DZSi. I’ve known Andrew since his Oracle and then Ribbon days.

Terry McCabe is now CTO APJ at Nokia.

Netflix: What Happens When You Press Play?

This is a long but excellent read on how Netflix works. It even covers its on and off affair with AWS. Currently its very much on. Even its tiered caching with its Open Connect Appliances (OCAs).

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