CXTech Week 28 2021 News and Analysis

The purpose of this CXTech Week 28 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:

  • Subspace Sponsors TADHack Global 2021
  • Simwood approaches 1 billion minutes per year at wholesale
  • Public Cloud is not the End Game for Telcos
  • Why Your UCaaS Platform Isn’t Truly Unified
  • Gamma shows the future for CSPs is in owning your roadmap
  • Zipwhip Officially Becomes Part of Twilio
  • People, Gossip, and Frivolous Stuff

Subspace Sponsors TADHack Global 2021

We have an exceptionally cool line-up of sponsors for TADHack Global 2021. The latest is Subspace, the world’s fastest internet for real-time applications—period. Every millisecond counts!

William King (CTO) and Bayan Towfiq (CEO) are TADHack alumni, sponsoring TADHack with their previous company Flowroute, which was sold to Intrado (West Corporation) back in 2018. BTW we also covered when Giacomo Vacca joined Subspace in CXTech Week 20 2021.

Simwood approaches 1 billion minutes per year at wholesale

In amongst Simon’s fun rants, see below. Is an important milestone; they’re approaching 1 billion minutes per year of wholesale, congratulations to the whole Simwood team 🙂

I’m finding that rear-view terrifically amusing, seeing an entire industry flailing around with limited scope for turd-polishing! They can’t market-over a 578x cost increase. They can’t deny the lack of innovation, investment, let alone competence, that necessitates a middle-of-the-day upgrade (which they cock up causing an outage) the day before a change. They can’t deny their sell-side revenue obsession and greed, leaping like lemmings to cobble together some form of passing through surcharges because they have no idea whatsoever what calls cost and are blind to a better way. Put simply, they can’t pretend to care about customers or the ultimate consumer when their true colours are laid so bare.

Simon Woodhead rants

Public Cloud is not the End Game for Telcos

From MWC 2021 the usual group think appears on O-RAN and public cloud being the end game.

I’ll point to the panel discussion we had last year at TADSummit EMEA Americas 2020 on RTC and Serverless. Its several steps ahead of the MWC discussion both operationally and strategically.

Simon mentioned Simwood has been running its services in containers for 5+ years. As part of a hybrid approach across bare metal, containers, and bursting into the public cloud. As Simon said, it’s just someone’s server you’re using. Sebastian highlighted telcos are taking an incremental approach, in part limited by their planning cycles and incumbent vendors. Containerization should be considered BAU by now.

Some workloads are ideal for serverless, particularly in development and testing, strong recommendations there and excellent examples. Also for workloads like data analysis, machine learning, transcription, make sense. Severless is being adopted just not for the RTC core.

The last question in the panel was where things got interesting, and the reason we overran in the panel discussion. Briefly: because Amazon, Google, Microsoft dominate developer fashion, technology companies have no choice but to adopt serverless, its inevitable.

However, the continued progression of abstraction from AGM, where rather than CPaaS APIs or WebRTC SDKs, calling simply becomes a function received much discussion and recognition of its inevitability given development trends. At this point, the PSTN could become the network of last resort. Just like the fixed line telephone, only in a minority of people’s homes sits idle, except for the occasionally ignored telemarketing call.

Why Your UCaaS Platform Isn’t Truly Unified

I’m a fan of Dialpad. I enjoyed their positioning of trUCaaS (truly unified communications as a service) in this article.

My opening position is, everyone is different, so everyone’s trUCaaS is different. There is no single truly unified client across everyone. We each make a blend that works for us at a particular point in time.

I am part of many teams, I use multiple communication tools, and the separation across those tools is necessary for client confidentiality, as well as helping me partition those many conversations in my mind.

Much is made of the problem of too many communication apps. But you could equally claim there are too many people with which you have conversations. And that for me is the hook on how I manage all the apps / comms channels.

A friend R has left his corporate job, so we now use purely WhatsApp (before it was only as a back channel) as the conversation is casual. He’s renovating his new home and taking up barefoot running on asphalt! I am a little worried for his sanity, renovations can be stressful 😉 The story of R includes the comms apps we use, so I know there to look.

While for a current client everything is done in Microsoft Teams, and I’m an untrusted third party to their systems. My meetings are managed through my Google Calendar, workflow is managed through a Google Sheet, and I take written notes (I’m old school) which are shredded once the actions / deliverables are completed.

A customer service agent focuses almost exclusively on their CRM tools, it’s how they are measured. They’re some of the most measured and monitored employees in an organization.

The software engineering teams in my experience use Slack, email, a variety of other messaging platforms like IRC and SMS, their preferred collaboration tools (code reviews and team meetings maybe different tools), project management tools (which also has chat), web-based comms/collab on their mobile phone and laptop, and perhaps even the ’90s technology of their desktop phone for a truly retro experience. Some in the team are more Slack-centric, the project managers tend to be more PM tool centric, each crafts a mix that works for them.

Another argument is AI in UC will correlated all the communications, as discussed in this article. Remember in the ’90s when one IM client would ‘integrate’ all the IM platforms. We’ll see the same problem here.

Correlating multiple conversations is a non-trivial problem. We’ve evolved to cope with multiple conversations with multiple groups of people, and infer context based on a variety of factors. And this assumes you’re able to get the silos to play nice together. You’ll likely see it working when GMail, Google Chat, and Google Messages get their act together.

trUCaaS is a pipe dream, silos will remain, you can not force your customers and partners, never mind your employees onto one comms platform. Diversity of communications is the only constant.

Gamma shows the future for CSPs is in owning your roadmap

We covered Gamma’s acquisition of Mission Labs in CXTech Week 10 2021. Once upon a time Gamma would resell Broadsoft. Today there simply is not enough margin to resell multiple times. Gamma needs to own its technology to be competitive, and it’s not just margin squeeze. New features and integrations need to be available in weeks not years, which further drives owning the technology.

This raises a critical question for CSPs in enterprise communications, how to be competitive? I’ve discussed previously how important open source is to telcos, when we look beyond the network infrastructure and into services, ownership is key. See Comcast and Verizon’s acquisitions as important steps in CSP’s ownership of technology.

Zipwhip Officially Becomes Part of Twilio

We covered this acquisition when it was announced in CXTech Week 20 2021. What I find surprising is the lack of frank analysis about this acquisition.

Zipwhip is the exclusive toll-free messaging services provider used by the carriers. Like Syniverse and Sinch are for most other A2P SMS.

I’ll not go into the politics and poor regulation (<cough> CTIA <cough>), rather check out this Columbia Law Review article. You can see Twilio referenced many times in trying to break this monopoly.

The GSMA has a good paper on this: In 2014-2015, the US big five operators contracted Zipwhip to handle toll-free text. In the GSMA paper is highlights with the introduction of Zipwhip, per-message fees rose by 3x and text providers required to pay to both send and receive toll-free messages.

It also highlights “tens, if not hundreds, of millions of text messages are being blocked each year. In most cases, no warning is given that blocking will occur and wireless subscribers typically do not receive notice that their messages have gone undelivered.” tyntec have also been through the US courts on the A2P issue as they tried to open up the US market with the Iris Wireless acquisition.

Twilio decided buying was the better option, as the US courts do not appear pro-competition after tyntec’s experience. At $850M, its likely 10X revenues. 800SMS is finally achieving broader adoption after a slow start, see above problems. Given Twilio’s dominant position, it could give the toll-free messaging market the kick it needs, though I’m not sure it will significantly benefit Twilio’s competitors.

People, Gossip, and Frivolous Stuff

Congratulations to Elisja van Niekerk who is now Consulting Manager – Technology, Media & Telecommunications (TMT) at Deloitte. Elisja has achieved many things, such as founding Coding Mamas and making TADHack South Africa the largest TADHack location.

Heather Baden is now Sustainability & Innovation Lead at Metta. I’ve known Heather since her time with TelstraDev.

Nik Halton is now Senior Solutions Consultant at Bloomreach.

Cagdas Yelen is now Senior Software Engineer at Carbon Health. Cagdas ran TADHack Istanbul back in 2015.

Keith Sherry is now Co-Founder & CEO at OBox. I’ve known Keith since his time at BT Conferencing, 2 decades ago!

Alin Vasilas is now Corporate Sales Manager at Foreseeson Technology Inc.

Pablo Salas is now CloudOps Engineer at Globant.

Vlad Kuznetsov is now Principal Product Manager at LivePerson. He was previously with RingCentral.

Oisín O’Connor is now Industry GTM Leader for Communications @Salesforce.

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