CXTech Week 43 2021 News and Analysis

The purpose of this CXTech Week 43 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:

  • Element One goes live: $5 a month with WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram bridges
  • IIT RTC Conference: TADHack Global Results
  • Twilio Announces Third Quarter 2021 Results
  • A Light Reading Trio of articles that highlight issues that are 1 if not 2 decades old.
  • People, Gossip, and Frivolous Stuff

Element One goes live: $5 a month with WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram bridges

This one surprised me given the consumer focus of the article. $5 per user per month for what my OS already sort of of does seems a bit of a tough sell for consumers.

Last year I interviewed Matthew and Amandine for TADSummit EMEA Americas 2020. The French and German government wins cemented Element commercially, as many other security agencies have followed suite. Yet such wins are not obvious for a start-up, especially given government procurement.

The product fit is good across the government’s needs for decentralization, control, and transparency. And the move to open government put them in the right time and place, with a group of like-minded geeks from the government IT department to achieve a remarkable set of wins.

So why Element One at $5pm? This is more likely enterprise price setting. It also has the smell of investors wanting to see a clear per user per month price point they can enter into their excel spreadsheets to work out what their investment is currently worth.

For enterprises wanting to follow the lead of the security services, likely 95% of Element’s total addressable market, who lack the open source geeks to manage their implementation. $5 pm is quite reasonable. So not consumer, enterprise.

IIT RTC Conference: TADHack Global Results

 TADHack Global 2021 took place on the 25-26 September all around the world. We had over 1000 registrations, kicked off a new initiative TADHack TEENS in Sri Lanka (150 registrations), had 3 in-person locations (BerlinChicago, and Orlando), South Africa achieved a MASSIVE 400 registrations, and many hacks did an excellent job in mashing up the sponsors. 

We had an amazing turn-out at TADHack Orlando at Valencia College, far exceeding my expectations, I had to double the lunchtime food order. It was gratifying to see everyone’s delight and relief in finally being able to hack together after an 18 month long break.

Thank you to our global sponsors, without whom, TADHack would not be possible: Symbl.aijambonz.orgSubspaceAWA Network, and Telnyx.

Thank you to AyobaMTNhSenid Mobile, and Ideamart for making TADHack South Africa and Sri Lanka possible. Both are world-leading examples of country-wide innovation ecosystems.  At the IIT RTC Conference on 12-14 Oct we presented the TADHack results, shown below.

Twilio shares drop more than 17% despite beating earnings

Twilio’s 3rd Q revenue was $740.2 million, up 65% y-o-y. The prolonged pandemic continues to quickly move processes online, as 2021 did not deliver a return to the office given the delta variant, vaccine hesitancy (a breeding ground for more variants), and slow vaccine roll-out outside developed nations.

The share drop is from weak guidance, and insiders selling shares. Revenue guidance is higher at US$760-770m vs. US$750.7m consensus, the company is cautious about a more considerable non-GAAP loss, with – US$0.23-0.26 expectations vs. consensus of -US$0.08. These higher costs have investors nervous as Twilio’s gross margin looks a little low compared to other ‘software’ companies. Below shows the out flow of insider shares.

However, with Twilio’s new enterprise applications, presented without the hype:

  • Twilio Engage – what email marketing folks do, just now omni-channel (across email and SMS). For example, an e-commerce site sees your basket has not checked out and sends a reminder or offer over SMS.
  • Twilio Live – video and audio streaming with a focus on interaction. Lots of options available, e.g. YouTube. Likely will have more processes wrapped around it to meet specific enterprise vertical needs, e.g. training.
  • Twilio Messaging X – omni-channel messaging, many aggregators offer this. Rather Twilio’s edge is in all the process automation and integration. See Twilio Engage.

Twilo’s trajectory continues into high value business processes, per seat per month in the revenue path, putting it more in competition with the likes of SFDC, and using the complexity of managing the communications as its differentiation. At some point in the future SFDC ($300M cap) may buy Twilio ($50B).

A Light Reading Trio of articles that highlight issues that are 1 if not 2 decades old.

In fixed telecoms, flat revenues and declining research investment is a 2 decade old story. I remember BT’s ‘strategy’ of outsourcing research to their strategic suppliers. Their suppliers did invest in research, on what they made money on, infrastructure, not where telcos needed the research – doh! Mobile followed suite a decade later.

Johan Wibergh, Vodafone’s CTO, stating the bleeding obvious should not be newsworthy. The jaw-dropping story is 2 decades of inaction on service innovation, but that’s boring. The “squashing” will not but quick, it will be slow, and will use the industry against itself. Look at RCS and how Google more or less controls it. Apple and Google Business Messaging. For the core, they’ll let standards and ORAN keep the telcos, their legacy vendors, and conferences busy chatting. While they slowly encompass the telco’s core, and in the limit its services.

The article on Digital Transformation is a bit odd. Many telcos will admit they’re losing the enterprise communications business. For large national enterprise accounts there’s still a play. But it’s as part of a broader party of integrators, and cloud based IT (Microsoft, Google, Amazon) and comms companies (RingCentral). There’s still margin but its fraction of what was there one decade ago.

The loss of enterprise accounts has nothing to do with digital transformation, and everything to do with failing to act on programmable communications. Gamma is an example of a telco that realizes it needs to own its product and harness open source, with its acquisition of Mission Labs. That has nothing to do with digital transformation, rather copying what’s working for Twilio, RingCentral etc.

And the final article of the trio is about $1000 incentives to get families to move mobile carrier, 5G’s role is negligible. US mobile subscribers pay 2-3 times what other developed nations do, so that fat enables massive poaching bonuses. Customers can jump out of this expensive (for them) poaching frenzy and join an MVNO that focused on value and simplicity. Mint Mobile really is a delight to use, with the bonus they say foxxing a lot, but we know what they really mean 😉 Here’s one of their adverts, that does sum up the industry 🙁

People, Gossip, and Frivolous Stuff

Vincent Puglia is now Sr Product Manager – Social Channels at Syniverse. Vincent has won at TADHack several times, here’s his latest hack on Subspace from TADHack Global 2021.

Sacha Nacar, a multi-TADHack winner, has moved from Cisco to Theta Lake (Webex partner focused on security).

Ann Marie Vega is now AVP, Customer Success Strategy & CSM Leader at RingCentral

Camilo Segura is now President at AESS Unicauca, and a multi-TADHack winner.

Shamin Logan is now Founder and CEO at Urban Tribes Media, Public Relations & Communications.

Serena Davis is now Co-Founder at Hippo Seeds.

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