CXTech Week 33 2021 News and Analysis

The purpose of this CXTech Week 33 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:

  • Telecom’s Innovation Failure: How Did We Come to This?
  • Element Voice Messages
  • Proud of all the TADHack Sri Lanka and Bangladesh
  • Integration of Microsoft Azure Communication Services with Avaya OneCloud CPaaS
  • Syniverse to go public via SPAC
  • People, Gossip, and Frivolous Stuff

Telecom’s Innovation Failure: How Did We Come to This?

Tom takes the view telecoms = telcos = networks. While my view is telecoms = anyone providing telecommunication services to their customers (e.g. RingCentral, Twilio, Zoom, Mint Mobile, Google Fi, Amazon, Microsoft, Telnyx, and of course telcos).

Some consider my view to be conflating telcos and Over the Top providers. The OTT term remains an oddity within the legacy-network-centric fraternity. All of the above service providers own and operate global telecom networks that do interwork with the good old PSTN where necessary. Some like Google own physical network assets that many telcos only rent from others, and some like Amazon have made their global network available on demand. Note, many telcos only own networks within a country, and even regions within a country.

It requires a certain cognitive dissonance to claim telecoms is the exclusive domain of telcos, and that their networks are the only ‘true’ telecom networks. Its an example of legacy thinking, and reminds me of the time I was called a liar in pointing out call center functionality can be provided within UCaaS by a legacy-focused commentator.

Some telcos I know consider they’ve lost enterprise telecoms because enterprise customers have learned, especially through the pandemic, they can buy their telecom services from other than a telco. And those services are cheaper, richer in features and integrations, and can be adapted in hours / days rather than months / years. It’s all just software, often open source software, running on someone else’s server and global network (cloud).

I also want to point out telcos are successful in programmable telecoms and more broadly innovation. Ideamart.io (Dialog Axiata), Ayoba and Momo (MTN), and all the cool stuff happening in Malaysia with Axiata. The legacy folks will claim all these examples are not ‘true telecoms.’ Always beware people claiming they know some deeper hidden truth. Telecoms done in a web way is the future of telecoms.

Element Voice Messages

Element is the preferred chat platform for TADHack Global, because it bridges to Slack, it enables everyone in TADHack (who are on Element) to see conversations in other locations and global sponsors’ Slack channels.

Voice Messages has been one of one of Element’s oldest and most upvoted feature requests. They completely reworked the composer in order to incorporate voice messages – for instance iOS now has an entirely new implementation, complete with animated buttons, typing notifications and Reply design, in order to help incorporate the transitions to & from Voice Message mode.

They also have a new design for 1:1 voice and video calls, with full screensharing support on Element Web and Desktop, and intelligent call entries in your conversation timeline which tell you how long a call was, and let you answer calls from the timeline on Web/Desktop.

I like how Element now tells the other person when you’re on mute (on Web/Desktop) and can even play switchboard and put the call on hold if you want.

I’ve principally used Element for chat. With these updates, and TADHack coming up, we’ll have a opportunity to use all these features in anger 🙂

Proud of all the TADHack Sri Lanka and Bangladesh

Keeping on the theme of successful telco innovation. When you go to TADHACK TEENS they have a lovely section showing all the TADHack Sri Lanka and Bangladesh over the years thanks to ideamart.io and hSenid Mobile.

Integration of Microsoft Azure Communication Services with Avaya OneCloud CPaaS

Essentially Avaya’s cloud comms portfolio now runs on Azure:

  • Avaya OneCloud CPaaS (Communications Platform as a Service) is now integrated with voice, video, chat and SMS capabilities of Microsoft Azure Communication Services.
  • Globally expanding availability of Avaya OneCloud CCaaS (Contact Center as a Service) hosted in Azure
  • Avaya OneCloud CCaaS natively integrated with Microsoft Teams via the Microsoft Teams Connected Contact Center Certification Program
  • Avaya OneCloud CCaaS integration with Microsoft Dynamics 365
  • Avaya SBCs is now certified for Microsoft Teams Direct Routing and Media Bypass and are designed to complement Avaya’s OneCloud CCaaS solutions.

Syniverse to go public via SPAC

We covered the investment Twilio made in Syniverse in CXTech Week 9 2021. And now Syniverse is going public via a SPAC.

The deal values Syniverse at an enterprise value of $2.85 billion. The transaction is expected to provide up to $1.165 billion of cash to the combined company. The SPAC will provide up to $400 million of cash held in a trust account from its initial public offering in March 2021, and Twilio will make an investment of up to $750 million, with a minimum investment of $500 million.

Twilio stock price was hit after a report claimed the deal is structured so it has to pay a 10% premium on the stock compared to the SPAC. SPAC deals always seem overly complex, and of course engineered to favor the SPAC payout.

People, Gossip, and Frivolous Stuff

Ferri Tafreshi is now Director of Product Management at Rakuten. I’ve known Ferri since his time at AT&T.

Thomas Howe is now Chief Technology Officer at STROLID, Inc – Strong Process. Solid Results. I’ve known Thomas since time began, and this is an interesting move. STROLID use programmable communication to automate and measure the lead generation to deal closing process for car dealerships. It’s a high value / margin process with lots of legacy system issues. It’s an excellent case study in the practical realities of getting programmable communications working in the real world.

Roland Selmer is now CPO at Yapily. I’ve known Roland since his time at Nexmo, he was involved in TADSummit replacing Tony Jamous on a panel.

David Soldani is now Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) at Rakuten Symphony. Our paths crossed while he was at Huawei.

Raymond Flynn is now Senior Sales Engineer at Wrike. We first met while he was with Openmind Networks.

Ratish Narayanan is Director of Acceleration at Innovation Mission Punjab.

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