CXTech Week 15 2021 News and Analysis

The purpose of this CXTech Week 15 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:

Microsoft buys Nuance

Microsoft announced it will buy Nuance Communications in a $20 billion deal. The focus is the Healthcare vertical, 62% of Nuances revenue ($1.5B in 2020). Healthcare / Pharma, as a vertical in Microsoft is >$15B, healthcare has received special attention within Microsoft for over a decade.

The acquisition is principally a consolidation move in enterprise automatic speech recognition (ASR), an acronym coined before using AI was cool / credible. Nuance’s revenues were flat, despite the strong growth in ASR. Microsoft’s Azure cognitive services were strong competition in the large enterprise accounts. Amazon, IBM and Google all were strong competition, in addition to lots of start-ups and established companies with ASR offers.

Nuance has built up over years strong relationships across a number of verticals, including Healthcare, Retail, and Telecom. They are a 30 year old incumbent. They are the tech behind Siri. And have lots of high margin tier 1 telco deals across voice biometrics, IVR, and legacy voice services.

Nuance APIs were slow to get to market. Nuance is not culturally aligned to developers, rather large enterprises. Microsoft will be able to accelerate their combined technology across its massive developer base. Microsoft is now #1 in ASR.

At TADSummit Asia 2021 we have a great and timely presentation on Voice technology for healthcare, from Dr. Shona D’Arcy, CEO Kids Speech Labs. Shona will cover:

Speech Recognition is often seen as the holy grail for healthcare, imagine removing all the form filling that is currently taking up clinicians valuable time. In this talk I will try to answer a few pertinent questions:

  • Why aren’t all hospitals completely voice enabled?
  • What are examples of interactive voice applications that are working in healthcare and delivering value?
  • What does the future hold for interactive voice applications in healthcare?

RCS: A One-Legged Man in an Arse Kicking Contest

Back in 2015 I called for an RCS reset, and in 2018 I explained what the US carriers and Google should do on RCS. And in 2019 at the launch of CCMI with blood in the water and unclear pricing, I stated a one-legged man in an arse kicking contest would do better than the GSMA/Telcos on RCS. And now in 2021 CCMI is possibly dead, though there’s no formal statement from CCMI <sigh>.

The dominant RCS platform in the US, Android Message continues as normal. TMO now appears to have sold its soul to Google on a number of services. Verizon has Messages+, and AT&T has more pressing problems.

In Japan the carriers got the transport right, but failed to harmonize the business layer. CCMI was a chance to correct that mistake in the US. It appears SMS/MMS, Apple iMessage, Android Messages (RCS under the hood), and your prefered messaging platforms (ranging from spyware to highly secure) will continue as normal.

A wrinkle for SMS/MMS is carriers appear to be raising SMS A2P pricing, being jealous of the programmable communications ecosystem ‘stealing’ their money. Yep, the same thinking as why the internet is stealing their money. In the naughties carriers had their chance and failed as they lacked customer focus in their API offers, the API gateway was a tiny piece of the stack not all of the stack. Hence the rise of Twilio and tens of other CPaaS providers around the world.

Bottom-line. RCS is there in Android Message, and over time will evolve along a Google product roadmap that likely diverges from the standard as there’s now little need for interoperability, a possible exception being Japan.

Welcome to TADSummit Asia 2021 + Programmable Communications Review

I’ve published this TADSummit Asia presentation early to raise awareness and give people a chance to understand the importance of programmable communications: telecoms / communications done in a web way.

The rest of the TADSummit Asia 2021 agenda will be published through May. Presentations are pre-recorded, released one per day through May 2021. Q&A is in the comments section of the weblog devoted to each presentation, or on social media, or contact the presenters directly. Please ask questions, thank you.

We can still accept presentations for the event, there’s a couple I’m waiting to add to the agenda, it’s not too late.

We also added this week a new session to the TADSummit Asia agenda “Delivering the Future of Networking with Hyper-scalable Connectivity” by Liang Dong, Senior Product Manager, Epsilon Telecommunications.

TelcoSwitch makes second acquisition of 2021 with PBX Hosting

At the start of the year TelcoSwitch raised 4M GBP, and a few weeks later bought OneVoice.

This month they’ve bought PBX Hosting for £4.5m. The deal adds 32,000 active users and channel partners to the business. The management team and staff at Coventry-based PBX Hosting will remain in place.

The plan is to let PBX Hosting trade independently but take advantage of the depth of expertise and resources across TelcoSwitch in sales, support, DevOps and marketing.

People, Gossip, and Frivolous Stuff

Ana Timofei is now Talent Acquisition Director at ASSA ABLOY Group, previously with Working Group Two.

Mike Dauphinais is now Platform Product Manager at Sitecore. A regular TADHack contributor, with some funny pitch videos. See the one below from our first TADHack-mini Orlando before Enterprise Connect 2017.

Ravish Patel, Ayan Halder, and Daniel Kurgan have left TeleSign.

Alex Economon is now Head Of Partnerships at tru.ID. Which is founded by Nexmo founder and CTO Eric Nadalin. I first met Alex when he was with Nexmo.

Zahidul Islam is now Head Of Sales & Marketing at Elitbuzz Technologies. I’ve known Zahidul since his Comviva days.

Ashley Quirk is now Marketing Operations Manager at commercetools. Previously with tyntec.

Mark Hearn is now for starting a new position as Programme Manager at Agilent Technologies.

Sobish Mahajan is now Solutions and Innovation Consultant at Axcelinno. Previously with IIT, and a TADHack regular.

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