CXTech Week 35 2023 News and Analysis

The purpose of this CXTech Week 35 2023 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:

  • TCR Trilogy
  • TADSummit Podcast Episode 1
  • The Future is Cloudy: Cloudification of Wholesale Telecom
  • RTC Security Newsletter August
  • 8 Reasons Why WhatsApp Was Able to Support 50 Billion Messages a Day With Only 32 Engineers
  • People, Gossip, and Frivolous Stuff

TCR Trilogy

Thank you to everyone who has commented, liked, and reposted to get the message out. We’re close to 20k impressions, which for this arcane topic is good.

1. The Campaign Registry and Foreign Ownership: A Matter of National Security

Linkedin post discussion

This was the post that kicked things off. When Rick Joyce asked me to post his document, I didn’t think it would be a journey into a horrifically surreal Twilight Zone episode.

Rick is the former Chief Counsel for Chief Information Officer/Assistant Commandant for C4IT at U.S. Coast Guard, previously Chair of the Telecommunications Group of Venable law firm.

I’ve highlighted issues with TCR in past CXTech posts, e.g. CXTech Week 29 2023 News and Analysis. I know brands that have pulled back from campaigns because of the lack of clarity around the fines for sending just one text that is considered spam.

Do not think TCR is just a US issue. Carriers copy one another, like stir/shaken, it’s coming your way as telcos take their ‘fair-share’ from programmable telecoms.

In this post I made a call to action:

  • For everyone reading this blog, contact your elected representatives and make them aware of Rick’s document, urgent action is required, election marketing messages could and have been interfered with.
  • For the carriers, the programmable telecoms industry has become highly imbalanced. A fox (an SMS aggregator) is guarding the hen house (TCR). The pricing and processes of A2P SMS is stifling competition, as evidenced by this Route Mobile article. A reset is required to improve competition and truly reduce SPAM.
  • For all the D2C (Direct to Carrier) aggregators, it’s time to level the playing field in the US for A2P SMS; come join the conversation at TADSummit, Sinch has!
  • For the programmable communications industry, you need to make your voice heard. Talk about this post online, raise it with your aggregators and customers. Your business is being adversely impacted because we’re not openly talking about TCR and many other issues around voice and messaging spam. TADSummit‘s policy is no BS and we’re going to lead an open industry-wide discussion.

Please note TADSummit is fighting for the programmable communications industry, and we’re making a difference. The lawyers are raking the cash in at the moment. Please talk to your marketing folks about why they’re funding industry trade bodies that just repeat your marketing, the internet does that, and not fighting for the industry using the power of #Truth_In_Telecoms.

2. Understanding TCR and Kaleyra Part 1

Linkedin post discussion.

After I posted Rick’s document the flood gates opened. There is industry-wide pent-up frustration on TCR. I channeled just a bit of it, focusing on 2 things, what some of the stakeholders think about TCR; and how the TCR does not contain any 10DLC, so can not stop SMS spam.

3. Understanding TCR and Kaleyra Part 2

Linkedin post discussion

I then did a deeper dive into Kaleyra based on publicly available documents, where I reviewed:

  • ‘Can’t catch me’ defense
  • GigCapital SPACs
  • Sarbanes Oxley Concerns
  • Failure to report to federal regulatory authorities and failure to pay millions of dollars’ worth of Universal Service Fees; and
  • CFIUS problems.

The concerns with Kaleyra owning TCR have little to do with nationalism, and everything to do with a company listed on the New York American Stock Exchange (NYSE American) falling short of what is expected in compliance with the law. My advice remains, try to avoid doing business with companies that have gone public through SPACs. 

To everyone in TCR, Kaleyra, and the industry; please comment, we want a broad industry discussion. Everything presented in this post is referenced to publicly available documentation. Your business is being adversely impacted because we’re not openly talking about TCR and many other issues around voice and messaging spam. TADSummit‘s policy is no BS and we’re going to lead an open industry-wide discussion.

TADSummit Podcast Episode 1

On our first TADSummit podcast we focus on STROLID and their CTO Thomas Howe. We introduce Giovanni (Johnny) Tarone, and the important role he will play in bringing investors to the TADS community and extending the no BS policy more broadly across the industry, as we fight for the programmable communications / telecoms industry.

The Future is Cloudy: Cloudification of Wholesale Telecom

Thank you to Isabelle Paradis of HotTelecom for inviting me to the panel. Below is Isabelle interviewing me at TADSummit 2019 in London.

I’ll be on the Mobile Ecosystem Forum panel “The Future is Cloudy: Cloudification of Wholesale Telecom” led by Isabelle Paradis of HotTelecom. I’m really happy Ameed Jamous will also be on the panel as he is leading this very topic with TelecomsXChange (TCXC). BTW he’s also a sponsor of TADSummit 😉

In my opinion cloud is a second order issue, it’s the adoption of open source which happens to be built for the cloud that dramatically shifts the wholesale telecom business. Which either requires telcos make the move to a techco (own their implementation); or partner with companies like TelecomsXChange (TCXC) (who run on behalf of).

Expect a diversity of opinions, a solid real-world focus, and no telcowash!

RTC Security Newsletter August

Another month, another must read security letter for anyone in programmable telecoms.

Google’s blog post:

The obsolete security of 2G networks, combined with the ability to silently downgrade the connectivity of a device from both 5G and 4G down to 2G, is the most common use of FBSs (false base stations), IMSI catchers and Stingrays.

Hence Google now allows people to disable 2G support.

Fake Call Centre Busted: 84 Arrested. What is interesting is that the VoIP software in use is mentioned in the news article: VICIdial and eyeBeam.

8 Reasons Why WhatsApp Was Able to Support 50 Billion Messages a Day With Only 32 Engineers

My filipant first thought was, not having to follow telecom standard 😉 But it’s a good list:

  • Single Responsibility Principle – product focus was always only on the core feature – messaging. They didn’t bother to build an advertising network or a social media platform. Hence no feature creep and stakeholder reviews.
  • Technology Stack – Erlang, ‘nough said.
  • No Wheel Reinvention (use what’s available and works) – WhatsApp was built on top of ejabberd (open-source real-time messaging server written in Erlang). The team extended ejabberd by rewriting some of the core components to fit their requirements. WhatsApp leveraged third-party services such as Google Push to provide push notifications.
  • Focus on Cross-Cutting Concerns.
  • Diagonal scaling to keep the costs and operational complexity low.
  • Continuous measuring of metrics such as CPU, context switches, and system calls. Bottlenecks were identified and eliminated.
  • Load testing to identify the single points of failure.
  • WhatsApp engineering team was kept small – 32 engineers!

People, Gossip, and Frivolous Stuff

Nga Phan is now SVP of Product, Salesforce AI at Salesforce. I’ve known Nga for over a decade, since her time at Bain when we were talking about telecom APIs.

Desislava Agafonova Product Marketing Manager at Effortel. Desi is part of the Telestax dispora.

Miguel Santa Cruz is now Managing Director EMEA at Advanced Media Technologies, Inc. (AMT). I’ve known Miguel for a couple of decades, since he was with HP.

Vince Borja is now Digital Marketing Manager at GU Digital Marketing.

Sven Grube is now Director International at Parloa. I’ve known him since he joined Twilio over a decade ago.

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