It was simpler, more linear time in January. A question being discussed was whether Zoom could maintain its current valuation. Growth was without a doubt, but 85% through the rest of 2020 was considered tough, as discussed in CXTech Week 1 2020. Jump to June to see what happened 🙂
We also discussed the mixed perceptions of Twilio through 2020, mostly due to the dopey categorization of it being a CPaaS, it is not. And even when the realization of the pandemic hit, there were initially mixed reviews of its potential fortunes. As discussed across CXTech Week 4, Week 5, Week 6, and Week 8.
I can guarantee one thing with most predictions, they’re wrong. As you can see in this prediction of the pandemic’s impact on Twilio from CXTech Week 10. Generally analysts who claim they can predict the future are deluded.
On the M&A Front:
- Enghouse bought Dialogic, CXTech Week 1.
- TelcoSwitch bought Ziron, CXTech Week 3.
- Comcast bought Blueface, CXTech Week 5.
We had a great TADHack-mini Phoenix with Avaya ENGAGE. Since the beginning of TADHack, in 2014, we’ve supported remote (online) entries. Which certainly helped us through the rest of this year.
MWC ended up be cancelled, it’s an event past its prime, as discussed in CXTech Week 6. Best avoided in my opinion.
At this point it was clear Zoom and RingCentral were starting to pop as people anticipated the impact of the pandemic, CXTech Week 7.
Jean Deruelle, CTO of Telestax, did a nice piece on how fully decentralized teams have existed for decades, CXTech Week 7. The pandemic did not create new ways of working, it’s just more people experience what some of us have been doing for decades. A question I’ll discuss at the end is whether they’ll remain doing that after the pandemic.
My last trip of the year was to SIMCON3, CXTech Week 10. Travelling at the time reminded me of travelling shortly after 9/11.
Enterprise Connect 2020 was postponed, CXTech Week 11, however, TADHack-mini Orlando was ready for online-only and achieved a great result thanks for the support of Simwood, Sangoma, Intelepeer, Asterisk and Apidaze. Seriously, props for not walking away and supporting us.
While lockdowns were being positioned as temporary 6 to 8 week resets. We planned for a hybrid TADHack Global 2020, CXTech Week 12. And no let-up in lockdown measures until the vaccine is widely deployed in the middle of 2021, CXTech Week 13.
On the M&A Front:
Simwood released some interesting analysis on the impact of lockdown on calling across the US and UK with increased call durations, CXTech Week 17. I also mentioned employee burn-out even back in April, which we’re now seeing is a significant social issue.
Simwood Meet was launched, CXTech Week 18. We used them extensively at TADHack Global in October, it’s a great service.
Telestax no longer supported Restcomm 🙁 CXTech Week 17.
On the M&A Front:
- Sinch bought Wavy, CXTech Week 14.
- Microsoft buys Affirmed Networks CXTech Week 14.
- 8X8 bought CallStats.io, CXTech Week 15.
- Verizon bought Bluejeans, CXtech Week 16.
Pandemic generates a mixed bag of results across programmable telecoms, but generally upbeat as long as you have mostly web-centric customers, with a more cautious 2021 outlook, CXTech Week 20.
Dolby launches Dolby.io (Voxeet), CXTech Week 20.
TADSummit Asia ran online thanks to the support of TeleSign, Sangoma, Asterisk and Apidaze.
- Sinch buys SDI, CXTech Week 19.
- Microsoft buys Metaswitch, CXTech Week 21.
- Aircall raised $65M on $500M valuation, CXTech Week 22.
- Matrix raised $4.6M, CXTech Week 22.
Zoom generated some massive results with 169% year over year, in Jan the discussion was how will they maintain 85% growth through 2020, CXTech Week 23.
MessageBird pivots to business messaging from CPaaS / aggregation, CXTech Week 24.
Whatsapp payments stalls in Brazil, CXTech Week 26.
Google business Messaging, the focus is SMS not RCS, CXTech Week 27.
RingCentral is on a partnership roll with Unify Office deal, CXTech Week 30.
Slatch and Voxist combine, CXTech Week 27.
Syniverse splits is prep for likely M&A, CXTech Week 27.
- Agora raised $350M, CXTech Week 27.
- Infobip raises $200M, CXTech Week 31.
- Payfone raises $100M, CXTech Week 31.
- BICS / Telesign up for sale, CXTech Week 31.
Twilio achieves 132% revenue growth (lots of web-centric customers), RingCentral 32% growth (more mixed bag of customers), CXTech Week 32.
RingCentral keeps adding channel partners, this time ALE, CXTech Week 33.
Zooms had a MASSIVE quarter with 355% growth, CXTech Week 36.
Microsoft Azure finally launches a CPaaS, CXTech Week 39.
- Dialpad acquires highfive, CXTech Week 36.
- KEYYO acquires Apizee, CXTech Week 37.
- Route Mobile IPO, CXTech Week 37, then correction, CXTech Week 40.
Despite the pandemic and local lockdowns, TADHack Global generated some impressive results thanks to the support of Simwood, Sangoma, Avaya Intelepeer, Symbl.ai, MTN and many many more. Thank you.
Twilio Q3 up 52%, CXTech Week 44.
Astricon had an excellent migration case from Target, CXTech Week 44.
- Cap Gemini sells contact center business, CXTech Week 40.
- Element (Matrix) buys Gitter, CXTech Week 40.
- Messagebird raises $200M, CXTech Week 41.
- Dialpad raise $100M, CXTech Week 41.
- Mavenir buys ip.access, CXTech Week 41.
- Bandwidth buys Voxbone, CXTech Week 42.
- Twilio buys Segment, CXTech Week 42. Twilio’s focus continues to move from comms APIs to bundles of comms services, with bags of insights and analytics that lock customers into a particular “customer or employee experience lifecycle management” offers.
- Inference bought by Five9, CXTech Week 45.
- Infobip buys Openmarket from Amdocs for $300M, CXTech Week 46.
Sinch raises about $390M on new share issue, and Softbank bought a 10% stake for $690M, that’s a total raise of >$1B! CXTech Week 49.
- SFDC buys Slack, ho hum. CXTech Week 49.
- Cisco buys imimobile, CXTech Week 50.
- Alianza buys Counterpath, CXTech Week 50.
- Identity Verification: BigID raised $70M on $1B valuation, CXTech Week 51.
Looking to 2021
2021 will be a long hard slog as the vaccine rolls out and those indoctrinated by the paid shills of creepy billionaires or foreign powers resist doing the right thing for the community. Seriously, Facebook is evil, please stop using it. If not because I said so, because Randy Resnick did as well 😉
Programmable communications M&A will continue. Some will be consolidation like Bandwidth and Voxbone, some defensive / acquihire like 8X8 and callstats.io, and very occasionally some that transforms the business, potentially Twilio and Segment. But that will not be apparent until at least 18-36 months later. Normally M&A is spun as transformational, generally it is not.
By Q3 ’21 Schools will return mostly to normal with greater use of online resources, accelerating something that should have happened years ago. So fewer pieces of paper from school. Most of the students and teachers will be grateful to not be using Zoom everyday. Online education will continue to grow, but focused more on supplementary / advanced education.
The local businesses that survived the pandemic will also now be online.
Events will generally return to normal; it’s about meeting people, and curating great content for those watching online and to stimulate those having face to face meetings. Hopin and the rest of the online events crowd will collapse, sorry join forces, as trying to copy real-world online sucks. Except in the opinion of analysts (who get paid to do events) and grandstanders (like to be seen to ask self-promoting questions). Most of us have to work (from home), so carving out the time during the day to listen to an online event when customers, colleagues and deadlines are all on your mind makes it challenging. Being physically at the event makes a world of difference to focus.
On WFH, some people need to be in the office, for them WFH sucks. When others see the ‘office people’ getting promoted faster as they’re in the boss’s face more… The pendulum will swing back from WFH through 2021. But for some, the commute into the office is a weekly or monthly visit, for others a daily ritual.
In 2020 businesses could not put off upgrading their call centers or employee comms/collaboration. They had to act and act fast (in weeks) because of the pandemic, so it was done quick and dirty and not necessarily cheaply.
Through 2021/2022 comes the consolidation/rationalization of pandemic bandaids. Old call centers finally get replaced with the CCaaS / CPaaS overlaid as a bandaid to support remote working. The patchwork of legacy PBX/Zoom/SDWAN/SIP trunking/RingCentral/Slack/Microsoft Teams/Webex/CPaaS etc. gets rationalized. By the end of 2022 Programmable Communications will have jumped 10 years within 3 years. Enterprises usually move slowly, don’t fix what isn’t broken, but the pandemic changed that.
Voice will become more of a feature, part of a bundle. Conferencing using the PSTN will be considered ever more quaint, internet based collaboration will dominate. SMS, email, voice, web chat will remain the dominant customer communication methods. Social messaging will remain niche, publicly is not how most people want to communicate with brands.
Life will return to more or less normal by the end of 2021, dining at restaurants, attending events, spending time in each other’s homes. People will forget through 2022 what the pandemic was like, just like we did with the Spanish Flu.