CXTech Week 9 2022 News and Analysis

The purpose of this CXTech Week 9 2022 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:

  • Congratulations to Shona Darcy, one of the first female founders to be awarded the #WomenTechEU prize.
  • March 1, 2022, T-Mobile and AT&T increased their A2P 10DLC Rates.
  • Working Group 2 Release first production-ready gRPC APIs
  • ayoba. Chat gets a super-app
  • CAMARA – The Telco Global API Alliance
  • BT unconvinced on open RAN cost benefits
  • RingCentral Sees Early Mitel Migration Success
  • Did you bring COVID back from MWC?
  • People, Gossip, and Frivolous Stuff

Congratulations to Shona Darcy, one of the first female founders to be awarded the #WomenTechEU prize.

The Women TechEU pilot is funded under the European Innovation Ecosystems work programme of Horizon Europe, the EU research and innovation programme.

The scheme offers grants, worth €75 000 each, to support the initial steps in the innovation process, and the growth of the company. It also offers mentoring and coaching under the European Innovation Council (EIC) Women Leadership Programme, and EU-wide networking opportunities.

Following the evaluation by independent experts, the Commission will be supporting a first cohort of 50 women-led companies from 15 different countries. Over 40 companies are based in EU Member States, including one fifth from Horizon Europe widening countries. Also, roughly one fifth are based in countries associated to Horizon Europe.

BTW, you can see Shona’s excellent TADSummit 2021 presentation on Voice technology for Healthcare here:

March 1, 2022, T-Mobile and AT&T increase their A2P 10DLC Rates.

A2P 10DLC refers to a system in the United States that allows businesses to send Application-to-Person (A2P) type messaging via standard 10-digit long code (10DLC) phone numbers.

Compared to long codes, 10DLC offers higher messaging throughput, up to 4,500 transactions per minute per operator, and enhanced deliverability, because 10DLC use cases are approved by operators. And 10DLC messaging is less expensive than using short codes. Though there are a range of fines from $10 per message to $10k per violation. Though it’s unclear how and when these fines will be enforced.

SMS providers pay a one-time setup fee and ongoing monthly recurring fees for every campaign registered in addition to standard messaging costs and carrier surcharge fees:

  • One-time brand registration fee — $4
  • One-time optional (but recommended) vetting fee — $40
  • Recurring campaign charge — $10 per month
  • Standard cost per message as reflected on your CPaaS pricing page
  • Carrier surcharge fee for unregistered traffic: (as of March 1, 2022, and subject to change)
  • AT&T $0.004/SMS message $0.005/MMS message
  • T-Mobile & Sprint $0.004/SMS message $0.013/MMS message
  • Verizon $0.00/SMS message $0.00/MMS message (Verizon are likely to charge)

From companies I know using 10DLC, it’s a little confusing and annoying. Given the reach of SMS, this is not going to significantly impact the A2P SMS business in the US. But does renew interest in IP based alternatives that have generally seen slow adoption / implementation such as WhatsApp Business API, FB Messenger, Google (Business Messaging , RCS Business Messaging, Verified SMS & Calling), and Apple Business Messages. We’ll see a slow migration over to these platforms through this decade, and by 2030 telcos may look back and wonder where their A2P SMS business growth went. Though analysts have been predicting the decline of A2P SMS for well over a decade 🙂

Working Group 2 Release first production-ready gRPC APIs

gRPC also known as Google Remote Procedure Call is an open source remote procedure call system initially developed at Google in 2015 as the next generation of the RPC infrastructure Stubby. I was talking about gRPC at TADSummit in 2018.

The APIs include:

  • StreamCountryChangeEvents: lets you listen to a stream of events for when the SIM first attaches to a network in another country.
  • StreamHandsetChangeEvents: lets you listen to a stream of events for when a SIM attaches via a new handset. This is typically used for sending you new APN settings as you setup your new phone.
  • StreamFirstAttachmentEvents: lets you listen to a stream of events for when the SIM attaches to the network for the first time. In other words, it gives an operator a simple way to see that a SIM has been taken in use.
  • StreamPeriodicCountryEvents: has some similarities to the StreamCountryChangeEvents API. It will periodically send events related to the country a SIM card is located in.
  • SMS APIs
    • Send text SMS from subscriber: allows you to text messages from a subscriber to any phone number.
    • Send text SMS to subscriber: allows a service to send regular text messages to a subscriber from either a phone number or an alphanumeric sender ID.
    • Send data SMS to subscriber: allows a service to send binary messages to a subscriber from either a phone number or an alphanumeric sender ID.

ayoba. Chat gets a super-app

This is a nice review of ayoba from Gadget. At TADSummit 2021 Yusuf and Eero did a great review of ayoba with “ayoba: a case-study of an operator-led OTT initiative.” Explaining the recipe for their success. A critical aspect of ayoba’s success, with 12 million users, is localization.

With chat as the entry point, users quickly discover a rich content offering spread across the app. Curated music playlists, and games across strategy, action, role-play, and education genres, for both children and adults, provide a broad entertainment landscape. An apps section gives in-app access to sports results, the GovChat citizen engagement platform, a FakeNews Checker, and educational content, among other.

The real winner, however, is a curated content section that provides numerous news channels from across Africa. Initially aimed at MTN’s vast subscriber base across the continent, it includes news services from Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa. Scrolla, the local mobile news service, is on board, with both English and Zulu editions.

CAMARA – The Telco Global API Alliance

This is not WAC 2.0, nor competition to CPaaS. Its focus is on applications that use mobile edge compute, particularly with 5G. It’s linked to the GSMA’s Operator Platform Group. Likely more vendor focused initially, helping telcos limit MEC lock-in. Compared to AWS Outposts and Local Zones, its significantly more complex. So will likely be more relevant to telcos’ integrators / vendors than web / IT developers.

BT unconvinced on open RAN cost benefits

It’s nice to see a telco voicing an honest opinion on technology. BT Group views open RAN as just one of several paths operators can take to drive down costs and improve performance as they accelerate adoption of cloud and virtualized RAN technologies.

Neil McRae, MD of Architecture and Strategy and chief architect at BT Group, told Mobile World Daily ahead of his participation in a panel session today he doesn’t think open RAN on its own will make any difference in pricing, with the operator’s current findings indicating as much. “We need more underlying component providers for the prices to really change.”

Hopefully Neil doesn’t get in trouble for not following the vendor marketing line. I remember the fuss Telstra’s vendors made when Hugh Bradlow, then CTO, pointed out some of the issues with IMS. Unfortunately the internet’s memory is short and the link to Hugh’s comments in the weblog are now forgotten, so here is a link from Rethink, thought there are some errors, SCIM is Service Capability Interaction Manager. Here’s a piece on SCIM I wrote in 2007. And for those that accuse me of being anti-IMS, below is the report I created that accurately predicted its roll-out. Could we have done something better than IMS? Most definitely. The whole programmable communications market rise with tens of billions in new value created, and telcos inability to compete beyond being a channel demonstrates that.

RingCentral Sees Early Mitel Migration Success

The structure of the Mitel deal is different to that announced with Avaya and Atos, there’s no co-branding. RingCentral is the cloud solution for Mitel customers.

RingCentral appears to be off to a quick start migrating Mitel customers over to its own UCaaS solution. The pair announced a partnership at the end of last year, making RingCentral the “preferred UCaaS partner” for Mitel. RingCentral is now migrating Mitel’s 35 million UC users to its platform. Think of Mitel as a channel for RingCentral, it’s also invested in RingCentral as part of their partnership deal.

Did you bring COVID back from MWC?

The numbers attending MWC showed people want to get back to meeting in person. We saw this at TADHack Global in September, and in Dec with TADHack-mini Orlando at Avaya ENGAGE. While the TADHack gatherings were a few tens of people, MWC was tens of thousands, that impacts the chances, and many were unmasked in the photos at the event.

The Omicron peak in Catalonia was only one month ago, with daily cases on March 1st of 12k. And many new cases are going unreported as the symptoms are mild for most. Though I’m still meeting people on weeks 5-8 of a slow COVID recovery from the Omicron peak in January; all were fully vaxxed including booster. Its impact is just so variable, check out this study investigating how some people dodge infection without antibodies.

When NJ, a similar population to Catalonia, new cases exceed 2500 per day, we avoid eating out at restaurants. By comparison, attending MWC has a risk factor roughly 500 times higher.

My son caught COVID last week, while attending a swim meet. He’s fully vaxxed, but on Tuesday last week was feeling tired, when I picked him up from school he mentioned his throat was feeling a little sore, and he was planning on having a nap after his piano lesson. When we got home he tested and was most definitely positive, which is a change after seeing some many negative test my wife likes to take.

Just like all the pickpocketing in Barcelona, bringing back COVID from MWC will likely be swept under the carpet. Let me know if you did.

People, Gossip, and Frivolous Stuff

Amy Meyers is now Product Software Engineer at P.volve. Previously she was with Next Caller, and we first met at TADHack-mini Orlando 2019 when she worked for Flowroute after it had been bought by West.

Diggz is now Chief Marketing Officer at CoinBeam. I remember Diggz most for his amazing piano playing skills, his excellent grammar thanks to his mom, and teaching me the word a$$hat.

Andrew Serentis is now Product Manager at Avaya. We first met at TADHack-mini Phoenix with Avaya ENGAGE in 2020, just before the pandemic hit.

Brian Sreniawski is now Google Workspace Collaboration Engineer, Public Sector Google Cloud. As with Andrew above, we first met at TADHack-mini Phoenix with Avaya ENGAGE in 2020.

Wei Lin is now Vice President Of Engineering at RingCentral. Previously she was Vice President of Software Engineering at TeleSign.

Matthew Bell is now VP Americas & EMEA CPaaS – 8×8. I’ve known Matthew since his time at Nexmo.

Miguel Ponce de Leon is now Director of Distributed Edge Intelligence at VMware.

German Goldenstein is now at Around as a WebRTC Engineer! He helped run TADHack Buenos Aires in 2017, as part of WebRTC.Ventures. He also worked with Vonage on its video comms.

Jonas Börjesson is leaving Twilio, and Al Cook is taking a break from Twilio.

Danilo Smaldone is now a Solutions Engineer at Telnyx!

Jon Hoehler is now Senior Manager for Gaming at MTN South Africa.

Shubh Agarwal is now Private 5G Edge at Microsoft.

Vivek Sharma is now Product Manager at Questionmark.

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