CXTech Week 37 2022 News and Analysis

The purpose of this CXTech Week 37 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:

  • Twilio’s Layoffs
  • TADHack Memories: Culturoo from 2017
  • Welcome to TADHack Global 2022 + Radisys adds $5K to the prize pot
  • TADSummit Agenda Keeps Growing
  • The Telco 2.0 folks ask “Will web 3.0 disrupt internet economics in telcos’ favor?”
  • People, Gossip, and Frivolous Stuff

Twilio’s Layoffs

Last week it was Avaya, CXTech Week 36 2022, this week it’s Twilio. Is the enterprise communications market imploding? No.

Avaya’s layoffs are the first step on a long road to avert another bankruptcy. Twilio is clearing out the ‘suits’ and partially addressing the profitability issue. It was back in 2019 I saw a change in Twilio. It was similar to the change I saw in Cisco in the ’90s. From a dynamic start-up with a JFDI attitude to something like Nortel with fiefdoms, politics, lots of meetings, and slow decision making.

Don’t get me wrong, Twilio is stuffed with world-class people, we have one presenting at TADSummit in November, Tobias Goebel:

I’ve not seen enough of who has gone to draw any firm conclusions, like Avaya it could be a mixed bag. However, when revenues are $943.4 million last quarter, growing 41% y-o-y, to layoff a similar percentage of people as Avaya demonstrates a need to reset the trajectory Twilio was on. Maybe as companies grow it is possible to avoid fiefdoms, politics, lots of meetings, and slow decision making? I’d like to think so, but history does not support that idea.

TADHack Memories: Culturoo from 2017

All the way back at TADHack Global 2017, the hack Culturoo was created by Awais TalibImmanuel BaskaranJardin OmidvaranGladwin Dosunmu in London.

Culturoo used Apifonica and Matrix.org to create a web calling platform that promotes cultural learning through compelling suggestions for communication. This was the first hackathon for many of the team, and they won the location prize.

Welcome to TADHack Global 2022 + Radisys adds $5K to the prize pot

This is the 9th year of TADHack, we began in 2014. We’re immensely proud of the many people involved in TADHack and all they’ve achieved. For example, check out the location spotlights on Colombia and Sri Lanka.

Thank you to everyone who has already registered for TADHack. At the end of September we’ll have the full details of the resources you can hack on, and enable sign-up to those resources. 

Check out the TADHack Guide if you have any questions.

For 2022 we have 3 excellent global sponsors, in addition to many local sponsors:

  • STROLID is leading the creation of vCon, a standard for virtual conversations. Like vCard or iCal, this will become the way the web shares conversation. This is an important standard for all developers, and you’ll learn about it before anyone else at TADHack. We all have tens if not hundreds of conversations every day. Yet most are lost because there is no standard way to store and share them.
  • Jambonz is an open source CPaaS, think Twilio for free. For TADHack they are partnering with Cognigy, a leader in conversation automation. Cognigy has integrated jambonz into its Voice Gateway product, and between Cognigy’s low code platform and Jambonz you’ll be able to easily create powerful voice bots.  See https://www.cognigy.com/about for more details on the Cognigy platform.
  • Radisys’ Engage Digital Platform has an excellent drag and drop development platform,  as well as offering APIs and SDKs. They exposes lots of resources across communications, speech recognition, natural language processing, and video analysis. They want to help you bring your hacks to market. Your hack from TADHack could become your side hustle, and perhaps even your main business. And this news is hot off the press: there’s an additional $5k prize for the best hack using Radisys!

TADSummit Agenda Keeps Growing

This week we updated the panel “Future of WebRTC and Web3 ” and added two presentations: “Great Expectations: The life and times of 5G” from Vish Nandlall of Dell; and “eSIM as Root of Trust for IoT security” from João Casal from Truphone.

Future of WebRTC and Web3 Panel Discussion (yes this is the longest agenda description I’ve ever created)

The idea for this panel came from re-reading Tim Panton’s FOSDEM ‘Future of WebRTC’ and Arin/Alberto’s session on the WebRTC Landscape. And that got me thinking about the growing importance of WebRTC to Web3. David Dias (Protocol Labs) has pointed this out since he first presented at TADSummit in 2017.

There is always a danger in using the term web3, people can get hung-up on ‘What is Web3?’ It’s simply a marketing term that groups concepts such as decentralization, blockchain technologies, and token-based economics. Web3 a backdrop for the discussion about the evolution of WebRTC and what it means to programmable communications.

WebRTC has become the default for real-time communications over the web, and can support many of the concepts listed as Web3. So the intersection of WebRTC and Web3 is interesting to the TADSummit audience in understanding the future of WebRTC/Web3. We’re not saying Web3 is inevitable with the current protocols, nor will it replace Web2. Rather there are some characteristics that are shaping the web, where WebRTC could play a role. Now onto the panel…

Panelists are:

  • Nikki Shum-Harden, ex-VP Marketing Subspace
  • Jayne Mast, Engineering Manager for DevRel at Daily
  • Amandine Le Pape, COO & co-founder at Element; Co-founder at The Matrix.org Foundation
  • Amber Lincoln, VP Customer Success, liveswitch
  • Tim Panton, Co-founder and CTO at Pi.pe
  • Arin Sime, CEO/Founder at AgilityFeat and WebRTC.ventures, Co-host of the Scaling Tech Podcast, and host of WebRTC Live
  • 1) Economics. WebRTC has devalued video comms, people expect it for free. Though Zoom is making good money, as are Liveswitch and Daily. The money comes from the incremental value on top of video comms. Subspace also tried to add incremental value in supporting QoS for WebRTC over the internet.
    • Where’s next in making money with WebRTC?
    • What is the learning from Subspace on making money on top of WebRTC?
    • Where’s the money in decentralization / p2p (privacy and security)? Matrix is a great example of an enabler, how are Matrix developers making money? Tim Panton’s baby monitor work where privacy and security drive the need for p2p is also a good example. What other examples could drive p2p, e.g. customer service where privacy is at the top requirement?
  • 2) Developer Relations. WebRTC is tough, it’s not a simple API that any hobbyist can hack and bring into work. Matrix has a very simple client server interface for broad dev adoption, and the Matrix server is specialized. Protocol Labs makes steady progress on developer engagement. Web3 is more complex than WebRTC. How can we make WebRTC and Web3 become more accessible to developers?
    • How do Daily / Matrix / Liveswitch engage developers? What are your learnings so far?
    • Blockchain / tokens / decentralized protocols like IPFS are not for the faint-hearted. Given the experiences with Matrix and WebRTC, how can we make ‘web3’ more accessible?
  • 3) In Tim’s presentation on the future of WebRTC, he highlighted that group video calls could be implemented using only WebTransport+WebCodecs rather than WebRTC.
    • Where could this make sense? Does Google’s libwebrtc drive some companies away from such Google dependance with WebRTC?
    • Will WebRTC become the framework upon which virtually all web-based communication resides?
  • 4) Trust and Identity. The market appears to accept email and the phone # as good enough for identity. It’s not clear the general public would use a blockchain public key as their identity for Netflix or any other subscription/login. However, that doesn’t mean a more trusted identity token is not useful in other use cases such as healthcare, banking, etc.
    • For this question we’re going to invite the panel and then the audience to share perspectives and ask questions on the topic of trust and identity.

Great Expectations: The life and times of 5G.

Vish (Vishwamitra) Nandlall, VP Technology Strategy & Ecosystems, Dell Technologies.

  • 5G as technology platform provides fuel for a vast galaxy of use cases, but has not yet realised its potential beyond better broadband.
  • 5G as a business will be a co-evolution of demand, complementary technologies, and practice.
  • Where are we in that evolution, what is the friction and what is it’s likely fate?
  • Recommendations for the TADS community on when and where to focus in 5G.

eSIM as Root of Trust for IoT security

João Casal, Head of R&D at Truphone

  • ARCADIAN-IoT: Research with eSIM as key element of a novel IoT security framework
  • SIM: Proven secure element
  • Leveraging cellular network authentication for zero-touch authentication of IoT devices in third-party services
  • The eSIM ecosystem role in new security mechanisms for IoT
  • IoT connectivity and IoT security: 2 faces of the same coin

The Telco 2.0 folks ask “Will web 3.0 disrupt internet economics in telcos’ favor?”

Here’s a little bit of history from 2009 and 2011, “The Two Sided Business Model is Broken in Telecoms – It’s really the 1.005 sided Model” and “Customer Pay-Space.” The essence of Telco 2.0 was copy Web 2.0 with privacy invasive advertising while still taking the monthly subscription.

Everything is obvious in retrospect. It didn’t come really to pass, though as I cover in the article it’s not entirely black and white.

At TADSummit we’re discussing the “Future of WebRTC and Web3”. In the panel description you can see I make clear “We’re not saying Web3 is inevitable with the current protocols, nor will it replace Web2. Rather there are some characteristics that are shaping the web, where WebRTC could play a role.”

The bottom line is Web3 is a marketing term, Web 2.0 replaced Web 1.0 as it was simply an upgrade to dynamic web pages. The protocols of Web3 and the incumbency of large centralized Web companies make the situation far different hence the evolution is slower and fragmented. Will Web3 disrupt internet economics in telcos’ favor? No.

People, Gossip, and Frivolous Stuff

Nadine Rothkamp is now EMEA marketing Figma, which was just bought by Adobe for $20B. I’ve known Nadine since she headed up marketing at Deutsche Telekom for their Developer Garden.

Jeremy Steventon-Barnes is now CTIO at EXA Infrastructure. I’ve known Jeremy for 3 decades, since our time at BT. I was looking his paper on IP Multicast of real-time MPEG over ATM, written with several of my former colleagues. ATM made me snigger, I represented BT at the ATM Forum…

Paul Stovall is now Managing Director, GTM Practice at Liminal. Before that he was with Prove, and before that Telesign. He’s working his way through the risk based authentication ecosystem 😉

Matteo Collina is now Co-Founder and CTO at Platformatic

Spero Koulouras is now Founder and Chairman at Autonomous Living Technologies

Niño Valmonte is now Head of Sales – Philippines at EdgePoint Infrastructure

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