CXTech Week 13 2021 News and Analysis

The purpose of this CXTech Week 13 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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Covered this week:

Self Sovereign Identity and The Good Health Pass Collaborative

I had the fortune to chat with Tony Rose, Founder / CEO of ProofMarket. I’ve been digging into SSI (Self Sovereign Identity) recently, trying to understand the opportunities and overlap with identity authentication that I’ve been studying for several years.

SSI gives individuals control of their online identities. It addresses the difficulty of establishing trust in an interaction. In order to be trusted, one party in an interaction will present credentials to the other parties, and those relying parties can verify that the credentials came from an issuer that they trust. In this way, the verifier’s trust in the issuer is transferred to the credential holder “the trust triangle”.

Say there’s a QR code on my tuna fillet tin, I scan to see the verified origin of the fillet by the Marine Stewardship Council (my trusted issuer) from a named ship, a region fished, a processing plant, a distributor, to the supermarket chain. I can have confidence in the product. Now as recently reported nearly half of seafood is fraud – prawn balls that are in fact pork! Fraud costs the fish industry $25B-$50B annual.

The challenge is incumbency and ownership of customer data. Many incumbent ecosystems value opaqueness for plausible deniability, whether its food supply chains or financial services. Also today our identities and many attributes around them are owned by a few corporations that see SSI as a risk to their business model. Which left me a little frustrated in finding where a break though could come from.

Then the conversation with Tony Rose led me to the work they’ve been doing on the The Good Health Pass Collaborative, sponsored by ID2020 (Microsoft, Gavi, Accenture). 2020 has been an amazing year for Proof Market, check out this weblog.

The Good Health Pass is attempting to enable health credentials to be printed (e.g. as a QR code) or stored on an individual’s mobile phone. “Binding” an individual’s identity to their test result or vaccination certificate, enabling real-time, fraud-resistant digital verification. There’s no incumbency wanting to maintain opaqueness, the multiple entities want a decentralized system, this could possibly be the break-through SSI has been looking for.

Infobip’s channel to the Enterprise, and other juicy SMS aggregation tidbits

For the Aggregators in the Simple Programmable Communication Model, channel to enterprise is key, as they lack applications to sell directly like Twilio. When Sinch bought SDI, it gave them SAP as a channel, that is big. Infobip has been working on Microsoft for some time and their omnichannel solutions are now available on Microsoft Azure, Bot Framework, and Dynamics 365 Marketing. Intelepeer and IBM have a close relationship in the US.

One juicy bit of gossip I learned is when Twilio invested in Syniverse, all Twilio’s SMS traffic moved off OpenMarket (now Infobip) onto Syniverse. Its obvious they’d do that, it’s just not explicitly stated. The ecosystems around Sinch, Infobip, Syniverse, and the rest are all forming into battle camps.

Another thing I’ve seen is telcos have noticed the volume of A2P going up, and want a bigger piece of the action, the alternatives remain nascent not ubiquitous. The price rise is also to cover the costs of the RCS investment, which is slowly growing; albeit heavily Google dominated, with the attendant strategic risk.

For some use cases those price increases are starting to squeeze some of the edge cases to push or IP messaging or alternatives that do not use two-way messaging at all, e.g. identity authentication (e.g. score) rather than 2FA. The pricing model can be subscription, which can vastly lower the per transaction costs. The SMS aggregation business has an interesting few years ahead: growth, further consolidation, price rises, and finally the rise of alternatives if price rises continue. Ubiquity can only get you so far.

Comstar resells 8X8 CPaaS

Following on from the enterprise channel discussion above. Comstar Technologies, a full-service US technology solutions firm, bolsters its Value Added Reseller (VAR) partnership with 8×8 by adding the company’s Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS) APIs and embeddable applications. Simply, the portfolio of enterprise communication services and solutions from 8X8 are now available through the channel.

With CPaaS there’s rarely a gap in the feature list as it’s just a configuration / integration away with CPaaS. This is one of the messages in Filipe Leitão’s (8X8) TADSummit EMEA / Americas 2020 presentation, “CPaaS is dead, Long live CPaaS.” This is also the power of TADHack Global, sponsored by Symbl.ai and Status.im, in showing a provider’s platforms are powerful, easy to use, and applicable to a vast array of problems an enterprise can face.

Okey Interview

Last week in CXTech Week 12 2021 News and Analysis I covered that Christopher Brown, a TADSummit Americas 2019 presenter, has just launched Okey Monitor. They monitor out-of-band communications such as your routes and carrier settings. If a malicious event takes place, they’ll alert you through alternative forms of trusted communication. They also offer this service wholesale through an API.

You do not need to be SIM swapped, where hackers trick or bribe telecom employees to port a target’s phone number to their own SIM card. In this Vice article, the hacker used a service by a company called Sakari, which helps businesses do SMS marketing and mass messaging, to reroute messages to him.

How this works is resellers fill out a Letter of Authorization (LOA) which tells their wholesale carrier they have the rights to a number, whilst the wholesale carrier trusts the LOA is reliable. SMS messages meant for you could then be rerouted to a different number, and you would have no way of knowing it had happened. With a SIM swap you can see that service to your phone has been interrupted, whereas this new SMS rerouting hijack would be invisible to the victim. This article discusses it in more depth.

In this video you get to meet Chris and Lucky, Okey Systems, understand the history of how they discovered the problem of SMS rerouting, and why they’re helping the industry resolve it.

BTW Prove recently published a weblog on how it also monitors the OSR (Override Services Registry) to detect SMS rerouting.

World Class Addition to the TADSummit Asia Agenda

A world-class addition to the TADSummit Asia 2021 agenda: “Unlocking the Internet of Things with telco APIs: Telstra’s Track and Monitor” by Developer Advocate Michelle Howie and Track and Monitor Product Owner Lauren Demarchi, Telstra. The Linkedin post for this announcement has close to 100 reactions and 4000 views.

BTW in the TADSummit Asia announcement in last week’s newsletter, Dr Shona D’Arcy who will be presenting on “Voice technology for healthcare” at TADSummit Asia is listed as one of Ireland’s top 30 women in tech for 2021. Wow! We’re lucky to have Shona as a presenter.

Unlocking the Internet of Things with telco APIs: Telstra’s Track and Monitor

Developer Advocate Michelle Howie and Track and Monitor Product Owner Lauren Demarchi, Telstra

As Australia’s longest serving telco, Telstra is expanding their developer program to provide the APIs and IoT offerings that can leverage the century of investment in our mobile network and the growing IoT ecosystem.

With our asset tracking solution; Track and Monitor, Telstra is connecting businesses to the largest coverage IoT network in Australia, and giving them the tools to innovate and create experiences on top of it.

Hear from Telstra’s Developer Advocate and Track and Monitor API Product Manager how Telstra is changing the game in IoT APIs for established telcos by focusing on the Developer Experience.

Dolby.io and Symbl.ai Partner

Great review of how Symbl.ai enables you to make a transcript of your Dolby.io meeting. Voxeet was bought by Dolby Labs in 2019, and they launched Dolby.io last year.

To make it really easy they’ve created a Postman collection with a step-by-step guide. I’m a fan of Postman in making things easy and familiar for developers.

Status.im joins Symbl.ai as TADHack Global 2021 Sponsors

Thank you to Symbl.ai and Status.im for being there for the TADHack Global 2021 community, 25-26 September, the weekend before Enterprise Connect 2021.

Check out these impressive hacks on Status from 2018:

UiPath Acquires Cloud Elements

UiPath is about 15 years old, it’s always been a task automation tool, think visual basic beyond Excel. For ten years it made good business, and then 5 years ago it exploded. Today has a valuation of $35B on $700M in revenue.

Cloud Elements is an API middleware platform, Ross Garrett (Aepona, Layer 7 (CA Technologies), Axway) was their chief product officer. He left when the pandemic hit and they needed to downsize. Ross is now heading up product at Volkswagen Automotive Cloud.

This this acquisition UiPath becomes the IFTTT (If this then that) of the enterprise world. And they recently filed for an IPO.

API-First Companies: The Next Generation

An interesting mix of companies, some of which I’ve covered in the CXTech newsletter. Including TADHack Global sponsor Symbl.ai. Check out their recently announced partnership with Dolby.io and great use of Postman Collections, described above.

Elisja and the Coding Mamas

Simple practical steps in building technology literacy using everyday devices (91% smartphone penetration) in South Africa.

Microsoft Azure Communication Services (CPaaS) now GA

Microsoft’s CPaaS (Communication Platform as a Service) platform that is also the platform that powers Microsoft Teams, is now GA, which means it’s now under support and has a formal SLA (though some elements are still in preview).

Azure Communication Services provides libraries for mobile apps, desktop, and web, allowing developers to add the following their applications.

  • Voice and Video Calling – Make and receive voice and video calls over IP including interop to Microsoft Teams (Teams interop still in preview)
  • Chat – Enable One-to-One or Group Chat functionality
  • SMS – Add SMS to applications and connect with users that prefer mobile communication. US only right now
  • PSTN Telephony Voice Calling – Allow for users to interact with a traditional telephone number, facilitated by PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) for voice calling. US only right now.

Cloopen Results Underwhelm

I mentioned my uncertainty about Cloopen in CXTech Week 6 2021 at its IPO. The latest results show Q4 revenue of $40M (up only 15%) and loss at $47M (up 500% yoy) were weak, yet the market appears to have expected this within a few weeks of IPO. <shakes head at all the insider knowledge in the stock market>

A Blast from the Past (2015) from Randy Resnick

Randy posted one of his pictures from TADHack Global 2015, you can see more pictures here.

People, Gossip, and Frivolous Stuff

Reza Farahani is now Co-Founder & CTO at WFHomie. An employee engagement and culture-building platform for remote teams.

Arvind Rangarajan is now Principal Product Marketing Manager at Twilio. I’ve known since his time in Broadsoft when I was trying to get them involved in TADHack.

Sergio Gonzalez is now Senior Program Manager at Microsoft.

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