CXTech Week 7 2021 News and Analysis

The purpose of this CXTech Week 7 2021 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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Ten hackers arrested for string of SIM-swapping attacks

Initiated in the spring of 2020, the investigation uncovered how a network composed of a dozen criminals worked together to access the victims’ phone numbers and take control of their apps or accounts by changing the passwords.

This enabled them to steal money, cryptocurrencies and personal information, including contacts synced with online accounts. They also hijacked social media accounts to post content and send messages masquerading as the victim.

This type of fraud is known as ‘SIM-swapping’ and it was identified as a key trend on the rise in the latest Europol Internet Organised Crime Threat Assessment. It involves cybercriminals taking over the use of a victim’s phone number by essentially deactivating their SIM and porting the allocated number over to a SIM belonging to a member of the criminal network.

This is typically achieved by the criminals exploiting phone service providers to do the swap on their behalf, either via a corrupt insider or using social engineering techniques.

Agora Explodes thanks to Clubhouse and Yalla

In CXTech Week 27 2020 I explained my circumspection on the Agora IPO. Up until the end of January 2021 the sentiment was generally negative as people realized that is it not the new Twilio, see below.

Then one of Agora’s customers, Clubhouse, exploded. Clubhouse pays Agora based on usage, $0.99/1000 minutes, that’s potentially $100M per quarter. I covered Clubhouse in CXTech Week 5 2021, highlighting the moderation issues it faces.

The pricing is not ground-breaking, rather its Agora’s optimized real time overlay network using WebRTC that is the attraction. While the business is not blue-sky, they’re currently well-positioned. When I looked at Clubhouse last year, I was unimpressed, however, they’ve generated amazing buzz in the past month even given the privacy and moderation issues. Which in turn dramatically changes Agora’s fortunes.

Sinch acquires Inteliquent

In CXTech Week 49 2020 I highlighted Sinch had >$1B to spend on M&A. And backing up the Simple Programmable Communications Model explanation of Sinch’s focus on aggregation. They’ve bought Inteliquent for $1.14B, giving them direct carrier aggregation across messaging (SDI acquisition last year) and voice (Inteliquent) in North America.

Inteliquent carries 300 billion minutes of traffic with local phone numbers in the United States across 12,200 on-net rate centers. Back to the span of control issue, the Applications business was too far a leap for Inteliquent. It could not complete with Twilio, also Twilio is a customer of Inteliquent, like Zoom. I think in North America Sinch is likely to focus on Aggregation, given most CPaaS, UCaaS and CCaaS providers are using its services.

Link Mobility acquires Dutch CPaaS enabler Tismi

LINK Mobility has entered into a definitive agreement for the acquisition of the Dutch CPaaS enabler Tismi at an enterprise value of EUR 20 million.

Tismi was established in 2008 in the Netherlands and is today headquartered in Bunnik, Netherlands.

Tismi is a provider of telecommunication services and products and holds licensed operator status in 8 European countries. The company’s main business comprises of providing virtual mobile phone numbers, smart traffic routing and signaling services to Enterprise customers and CPaaS providers.

Last year in CXTech Week 4 2020 mentioned Link Mobility had bought SMS aggregator HSL Mobile. When Mark Hay launched Melrose Labs.

Simple Programmable Communications Model

The purpose of this article is to explain a simple model to understand the programmable communications market. I divide the market into 3 domains: Aggregation, Technology, and Applications.

I’ve shown a number of similar frameworks in the past, see this one from TADSummit 2018 given during the State of the Union presentation.

The reason I segment the market this way is because ‘span of control’ has a significant impact on where an organization is strongest, and hence most competitive.

Very Early Draft of the TADSummit Asia Agenda

Through May 2021 we will publish presentations daily. There are lots of sessions to add to this agenda. I’m excited about all the content we have planned, it’s going to be fun and insightful.

Last week we asked for TADSummit presentations, and have 20 expressions of interest already. We’ll be updating the agenda over the coming months, as the sessions get submitted. Congratulations to Sami, Ankit, Ishan, and Samir for being the first ones in the agenda 🙂

TADSummit is the event for programmable communications, since 2013. The topics covered this year within programmable communications include: Applications, Conversational Intelligence, Identity and Fraud, and Open Source. Please get Get in touch if you’d like to present.

Mindful Connections

Sami Mäkeläinen, Head of Strategic Foresight at Telstra. Technologist | Humanist | Pragmatist

  • Are we breeding complexity or simplicity?
    • Position: Indiscriminately gluing everything together with IOT and APIs, especially when in search of efficiency, can breed (and has bred) systems that are fragile, unsafe, and inherently dangerous.
  • Are we coupling things that are best left uncoupled?
    • Position: some things are better left uncoupled, or coupled with slack in them. This does not come naturally to systems engineers, so some thoughtful consideration needs to go into the process.
  • We need to connect the right things and connect them right.
    • Start with pre-mortems, and more holistic systems analysis.

Airtel IQ: Transforming customer engagement by embedding real-time communications

Ankit Goel, VP & Head Engineering – Digital Enterprise Business at airtel X Labs
Ishan Bansal, Engineering at airtel X Labs

Airtel IQ is the first Telco grade unified cloud communication suite, that drives customer engagement – anytime anywhere.

  • Customer experience – the brand differentiator
  • Why Airtel – Challenges with existing Cloud communication platforms, market opportunity and Airtel advantage
  • Make Marketing Smarter, Personalise Customer Experience, Make Operations Intelligent
  • The platform – Robust, Intuitive, Secure (features under each capability area)
  • How we did it with Product and Engineering partnership – Customer first mindset, incubation program
  • Tech journey – Asterisk, Kamailio – 100% home grown
  • Customer credentials – couple of complex customer use cases we pulled-up
  • Future plans

Introduction of ASTPP – A Smart TelePhony Platform

Samir Doshi, Co-Founder and Director, iNextrix Technologies

  • What is ASTPP?
  • Business challenges
  • How can ASTPP help businesses?
  • Key Features
  • Deployments & use cases

Lots more to come 🙂

Tru.ID Raises 3M GBP Seed Round

Tru.ID uses intelligence about the phone number for identity verification. It’s a hot area that impacts many aspects of customer experiences, not just signup and login. As we discussed at TADSummit EMEA / Americas 2020 from Smartnumbers and TeleSign.

People, Gossip, and Frivolous Stuff

Congratulations to Extrogene Software, received 2 National ICT Awards – NBQSA Sri Lanka their promising products Coffer and EVA. They are previous TADHack Global winners, and we covered them at TADSummit in 2020.

Congratulations to Justin Haefner, who is join Cisco from Medtronic. Justin was a winner at our first TADHack-mini Orlando, with a hack on RingCentral.

Congratulations to Harrison Duong on the acquisition of high-speed logging startup Scalyr for $155 million in stock and cash by SentinelOne, a late-stage security startup that helps customers make sense of security data using AI and machine learning. We first met when Harrison worked for Verizon on their communication APIs.

Sarah Gorneau is now Channel Manager XiVO & CeBox at Wisper.

Paul Cardenal is now Head of Service Excellence Delivery (Director) at NextLink Group

Paul Drew is now Chair at The British Mountaineering Council. He headed up open source at Metaswitch, which is now part of Microsoft.

Nicola Allen is Marketing Director at Voltimum. Previously Nicola has been part of Informa for as long as I’ve known her.

George Silva is now Salesforce Business Analyst at PolSource. Like Nicola Allen, another Informa alumni.

Amir Khan is now COO & Head of Global Delivery at S4 Digital. I’ve known him since Sigma Systems.

Jake Ward is now Co-founder / CEO at DATA PROTOCOL. I’ve known him since his time at the Application Developers Alliance.

Babl has named Chris Martin as the Chief Technology Officer (CTO). Prior to Babl, Chris was CTO for Powwownow, conferencing provider.

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