CXTech Week 34 2021 News and Analysis

The purpose of this CXTech Week 34 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:

  • Mavenir buys Telestax
  • Meetrix.IO webinar on “Open source video conferencing for enterprises and startups”
  • The Funniest and Most Surreal Intro Video from TADHack Ever!
  • Comcast Business to buy Masergy
  • People, Gossip, and Frivolous Stuff

Mavenir buys Telestax

Telestax was one of the few telco-focused CPaaS platform providers left standing. There have been several waves of such companies, e.g. Aepona, Ribbit, Tropo, Apidaze, VoIP Innovations, even Twilio (through KDDI in Japan) had a go, etc.

Telestax moved away from supporting the open source project Mobicents / Restcomm, covered in CXTech Week 17 2020. However, some of the code lives on thanks to PAIC and their portfolio, though they are not maintaining the project. I always thought the open source project would exit into an Amazon, Google, or Microsoft. For example, Microsoft bought Metaswitch, which had the competitor Open Cloud and ran the open source project Clearwater. But telcos tended to struggled with open source in the services domain, seeing it more as a IT thing. So it never achieved significant mind and market share in telco, though open source is core to the programmable communications industry.

That left telco CPaaS projects, and some legacy telco professional services deals. Likely it’s the CPaaS projects that drove Mavenir’s acquisition on a few specific accounts. However, Jambonz (TADHack sponsor) has made CPaaS open source. Its early days, but things are moving fast and in 2-3 years, Jambonz could a serious challenger in telcos.

For Telco’s in this space, I have a few recommendations:

  • Don’t copy Twilio, you’ll lose. Ideamart and hSenid Mobile show how to create a country-wide innovation ecosystem, it’s truly amazing. I continue to be impressed with the TADHack Sri Lanka’s initiatives like TADHACK TEENS. hSenid Mobile is the technology AS WELL AS THE PEOPLE AND PROCESS behind making this happen. All 3 domains are necessary, ideally within the same organization.
  • Don’t focus on technology, ‘we need a CPaaS’. Because you’ll end up trying to copy Twilio and fail. BTW Twilio is NOT A CPaaS!!!! It’s so much more, its programmable communications.
  • Don’t listen to your strategic vendors (both equipment providers and consultants). They are the ones that have made voice an albatross.
  • The fundamental change required is for telcos to take ownership of their communication services roadmap, all the cloud communication competitors own their roadmap and technology. A telco can give up and resell a cloud communication provider’s services, and that’s OK, just understand it’s not a complete solution (you still have regulated voice), and mobile broadband will increasingly compete with fixed broadband. Being a fixed ISP (consumer) will become a tough business.
  • Focus on the specific problems you need to address, that is keeping voice relevant, remove the stranglehold of expensive legacy voice platforms. AND at the same time focus on specific customer segments, SMB communications, legacy voice only customers (regulated so not going away), voice that’s competitive with Lyra and other providers. Look at Gamma in the UK, once they resold BroadSoft for voice, now they own their technology (bought Mission Labs).
  • Programmable communications can help. It enables telcos to cap and replace legacy, build (copy) communication services using off the shelf and open-source technologies. Get rid of that crap old expensive voice mail platform, that crazy expensive IMS TAS, use the capabilities of IMS to make voice communications better (e.g. voice agents). You’ve got to take control and break free of the legacy vendors holding you back!

Meetrix.IO webinar on “Open source video conferencing for enterprises and startups

I know this is a bit late to promote as the event is passed, but check Meetrix.io out. They’re a Jitsi Meet solution provider, founded by TADHack winners.

The Funniest and Most Surreal Intro Video from TADHack

We’re putting together the 5 min sponsor intro videos for TADHack Global at the moment across Symbl.ai, Jambonz.org, Subspace, AWANework and Telnyx. And I was reminded of our funniest and most surreal Intro video ever from Apifonica in 2017. The best quote from the intro is, “command the dark demons of traditional telecom.” It really should be used more by the CPaaS industry.

Comcast Business to buy Masergy

Comcast Business has for an undisclosed sum bought Masergy, a Texas-based provider of software-defined networking (SDN), managed network, cloud and security services, with more than 1,400 customers in 100 countries. Its offers include managed SD-WAN, unified-communications-as-a-service (UCaaS), call-centre-as-a-service (CCaaS) and managed security products.

Last year Comcast bought UCaaS provider Blueface, see CXTech Week 5 2020. Masergy has a solid position in several verticals, such as finance, healthcare, manufacturing, and professional service. Often brought in for its multi-site mix’n’match SDWAN, which then expands into UCaaS (Cisco resell), CCaaS, and security services.

People, Gossip, and Frivolous Stuff

Johno Goldsmith is now Corporate Strategy Director at JFrog. I’ve known Johno since his time at Amdocs. The move to Nokia was interesting as it potentially signalled they were looking to find a way to move up the stack for telcos. But this recent move indicates that’s less likely.

Gary Schwartz is now VP Corporate Marketing at Veracode, application security. I knew Gary when he was with Vidyo, a previous TADHack sponsor.

Francisco Baena is now Full Stack Developer at SNGULAR. I’ve known Francisco since his SyncRTC days.

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