CXTech Week 21 2021 News and Analysis

The purpose of this CXTech Week 21 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:

IntelePeer Raises $110M in New Funding Bringing 18 Month Total to over $170M

Intelepeer’s $110M round included $75M in convertible notes and debt financing from Sixth Street Growth and $35M in equity from Savant Growth. Building on a recent credit facility of over $60M from Sixth Street Growth to further accelerate the growth and innovation of its enterprise-centric Atmosphere CPaaS platform, the new funding allows continued execution on IntelePeer’s growth and acquisition strategy to become the world’s leading CPaaS innovator. Perhaps some M&A soon?

Check out some of the great hacks on Intelepeer from TADHack-mini Orlando 2020.

didXL Launches Local Termination in 22 Countries

didXL is a wholesale provider of virtual numbers in over 100 countries. Since founding in 2010, their goal is to make sourcing telephone numbers for IP Communications simple, transparent and efficient. Voxbone (Bandwidth) is not the only game in town 😉

While it is possible to receive a call on a local number via SIP anywhere in the world, local operators are now starting to block calls with the CLI of local numbers arriving on their international gateway switches from outside the country.

This has led to demand from the programmable communications industry providers for direct global access to local termination networks via SIP. To solve this industry problem, didXL has created a new extension of its DID services, enabling local in-country calling in more than 20 countries, with plans to increase the coverage to 40 countries by September 2021.

Five9 and Mitel Announce Strategic Multi-Year Partnership

At least RingCentral is not winning them all 😉 Mitel will now feature the Five9 Intelligent Cloud Contact Center as its exclusive contact center as a service (CCaaS) partner. Mitel was part of Five9’s partner program and were already integrated based on that. So this makes Five9 the exclusive contact center partner.

TADSummit Asia 2021 enters week 4

Here are all the TADSummit Asia presentations from Week 1, Week 2, and Week 3. For Week 4, we have 7 presentations to squeeze into this week, with most of them coming in later in the week, I hope. We kicked off the week with:

Delivering the Future of Networking with Hyper-scalable Connectivity, Liang Dong, Epsilon

Epsilon is a NaaS (Network as a Service) provider, an API for your networking needs. Liang reviews the importance of NaaS in Asia, as businesses use regional cloud services, rather than those in North America for lower latency and costs. In Asia this trend is accelerating, though the diversity of local regulations and service maturity mean Epsilon plays a crucial role in helping businesses successfully network across Asia. Thank you Liang for sharing several slides I’ll be re-using 😉 And a powerful demo of INFINY.

Conversation Intelligence for Developers, by Neeraj ChaudharySymbl.ai

Symb.ai is an API platform to analyze voice, text, and video conversations in real-time using artificial intelligence and machine learning. You don’t need to build any machine learning models. Symbl.ai can contextually understand conversations for your applications.

The platform will also work on pre-recorded content (async), not just real-time conversations. And they’re a sponsor of TADHack Global 2021 in September, more coming on that very soon.

The contextual understanding of a conversation is a significant acceleration for developers as training a model requires gathering data, cleaning it so the data trains the model accurately. With Symbl.ai you can skip this step, which for a hackathon is really handy 🙂

Neeraj walks through how you can quickly can get up and running with a great demo. I particularly appreciate the explanation on initial set-up as often those first couple of hurdles, though straight-forward once you’ve done it once, can catch you out. Yes, I know, read the documentation, but who does 😉

CPaaS Analytics, Sandarenu Madan Arachchige, hSenid Mobile

The Ideamart CPaaS is 10 years old. It’s mature, and entering a product extension phase. Most CPaaS are not as mature, so the insights Sandarenu provides are important across the programmable communications industry. For background information, here’s a presentation from Shafraz (then Ideamart, now Google) on Ideamart from 2016.

AT&T’s Media Reversal Explanation is a little weak

We covered the BT and Verizon Media moves in CXTech Week 18 2021 and then AT&T’s moves in CXTech Week 20 2021.

All 3 deals were struck for different reasons. BT was defense against the triple play bundle from Sky; Verizon to claim a stake in online advertising; and AT&T to move into the content business as the PayTV business was getting squeezed.

Most analysis on the AT&T deal from the telco side focuses on the limited impact for its PayTV customers. Which was a secondary, compared to a strategic move into content. But remember it was under AT&T’s watch Season 8 of Game of Thrones happened….

Here is some interesting analysis that does touch on the culture clash between AT&T and Warner, but more on that later.

AT&T is in the PayTV business, its #3 in the US with 16M subs. PayTV is getting squeezed by the content providers, so it moved into the content business, to get a bigger piece of the content pie. But as John Malone pointed out the conglomerate model was not going to work, as that was the prime focus of the deal, not synergy with its PayTV subscribers, that was secondary.

Given sub loss (cord cutting through the pandemic and Satellite TV’s continue decline), content owners going direct, and tax/regulatory problems from being a conglomerate. When Stankey’s team ran the numbers, it no longer made sense.

The framing of the AT&T’s reversal in media from Stankey at the JP Morgan Global Technology, Media and Communications Conference for me was a little weak. “What’s become clear is that the opportunity for direct relationships with customers is truly going to be a global opportunity.”

The TV and movie business was global in 2015, and has been for decades. That should not be a surprise. Disney had been discussing going direct back in 2012/3, it’s done a number of web-centric initiatives for its content over the years. So Disney+ is not a surprise. Content is global, and that was known before AT&T bought Warner.

From people I know on the Warner side, the culture clash was significant. You can imagine the meetings with Warner, were the AT&T exec explains the movie business to the media exec, and then goes on to show how they’re going to ‘digitally transform’ their media business through a technology-centric powerpoint 😉

Excellent Weblog on the UK’s Online Safety Bill

In summary:

  • The bill aims to provide a legal framework to address illegal and harmful content online, but doesn’t provide a legal definition of “harmful”, i.e. it puts responsibility on orgs themselves to arbitrarily decide what it might be.
  • It incentivises the use of privacy-invasive age verification processes failing to realise how actually harmful it would be for certain groups of the population to have their real life identity associated with their online identity.
  • Forcing a “duty of care” responsibility on orgs operating online will drown SMEs in administrative tasks and costs (the impact assessment mentions billions over 10 years) and will further accentuate the existing monopolies by Big Tech.

UK broadband altnet Giganet raises £250 million AND Simwood Launch VoIP Product Aimed at UK AltNet Broadband ISPs

Living here in the US, broadband competition is critical.

ISP Giganet is to build its own fibre-to-the-premises network in south-west England and is being funded to the tune of £250 million by its new owner, investment firm Fern Trading.

Giganet currently offers high-speed fixed broadband connections via wholesale agreements with Openreach, the semi-autonomous access network unit of BT, and CityFibre.

Now it will build its own fibre access networks: The ISP says it has already started construction in the counties of Hampshire, Wiltshire, Dorset and West Sussex, with a focus on “local and rural communities,” and plans to run its fibre past 300,000 homes and businesses. With that rollout and the expansion of its service reach via Openreach and CityFibre, Giganet aims to offer its services to more than 2 million homes and businesses and also create 200 jobs in the process.

And very close to the Giganet announcement came one from SIMWOOD, who’ve been working on a white-labelled voice solution since they acquired Sipcentric and its hosted VoIP platform in 2019.

Providers will be able to choose from two different account types that address different consumer needs – ‘Residential‘ and ‘Residential Plus‘. The ‘Residential’ service is intended to be the IP based equivalent to a single PSTN style phone line with simple features.

Meanwhile, ‘Residential Plus’ is designed for family environments and includes various extra features, such as smartphone apps that enable the family to have full control (e.g. all family members taking the land-line anywhere in apps or giving Granny her own direct line in her annexe). End users can also self-manage their needs within the web-based portal (e.g. keep track of bills and calls in real-time).

42Crunch raises $17m in Series A to solve global API security threat

42Crunch, API security, announced that it has secured $17 million in a Series A investment led by Energy Impact Partners, and Adara Ventures. 42Crunch is the creator of the world’s first Application Programming Interface (API) micro-firewall and a pioneer in protecting APIs against attacks.

Isabelle Mauny, Co-founder and CTO of 42Crunch, I’ve known for many years and has seen the transition from SOA to APIs; from IBM, through Vordel and WSO2 to 42Crunch which was founded in 2016.

People, Gossip, and Frivolous Stuff

Congratulations to Emil Ivov who is now VP of Product for Video Platform and Services at 8×8.

Simon Wilkinson is additionally the Chairman at Location Sciences. An independent, third party data intelligence company that verifies the accuracy and quality of location data used in proximity-targeted advertising.

Jordi Cubells Gavalda is now Solutions Architect at Telefónica Global Solutions.

Isabelle Paradis is additionally Member of the Advisory Council at Pacific Telecommunications Council (PTC). I’ve known for longer than is polite to mention 🙂

Carla Fanni is now Responsable de programas y exámenes In Company at UNIR – La Universidad en Internet.

Brian Weisberg is additionally Member, Operations Collective at Operations Collective. I’ve know since his time at Bandwidth.

Andrés Edwards Alayza is now Regional Operator Relations Manager at Sinch. He was previously with Mitto, and before that Infobip.

Riza Alaudin Syah, a TADHack Japan winner, is now IoT Manager at Blue Bird Group

Waseem Haider is now Partner & Director, EMEA at MTN Consulting.

Pawan Bhardwaj is now Director Product and Portfolio Management at Sandvine

Stanza Perry is now Sr. Scrum Master at Mapped. We first met at Tropo.

Philip Stanfield is now Business Development Director at Alvaria, Inc.

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