CXTech Week 46 2023 News and Analysis

The purpose of this CXTech Week 46 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:

  • TADSummit Podcast Episode 8 has wings, Truth in Telecoms 8 reaches 9.2k+ views
  • vCons are here
  • Running Signal Will Soon Cost $50 Million a Year
  • Peak A2P SMS: Operators stand to lose $3 billion in SMS business revenue
  • Telecom Sector Sees Major Layoffs Despite Historic Stretch Of Tax Breaks, Regulatory Favors
  • The Company that Broke Canada
  • Softbank and Programmable Communications
  • Google Develops Quantum-Safe Security Keys
  • Apple plans to do something with RCS next year
  • People, Gossip, and Frivolous Stuff

TADSummit Podcast Episode 8 has wings, Truth in Telecoms 8 reaches 9.2k+ views

This was surprising and encouraging. For the first 5 days the video grew at the usual rate, achieving 350 views by day 5, and estimating another solid 500 views video. Then we started to rocket in some markets, and currently at 9.2k views. TADSummit now has 2.7k subscribers, up from 500-600. Let’s see what the following weeks bring.

We then ran a Podcast on CPaaS and AI M&A on Wednesday 15th, which ended up being focused on Twilio and Tyntec. We’d posted on the recent Twilio results, how they’d beat their numbers, yet the stock did not soar, the institutional investors still have lots of expensive Twilio stock to unload. But also Twilio positioned itself as an AI company. At TADSummit we’d covered the latest LLM learning on implementation, from the likes of Rob Pickering, Paul Sweeney, and Karel / Borjas, links are to their presentation videos. The industry is more focused on LLM implementation than AI, but marketing likes its buzzwords.

We speculated on what a Twilio and tyntec tie-up would do to the market, and reviewed some of the suitors tyntec has had in the past. Lots of great feedback from the viewers on that podcast.

And today we ran Podcast 10: TADSummit Innovators, Kalyan Kumar Pasumarthy. An inspiring interview with Dr Kalyan Kumar Pasumarthy, and his journey in programmable communications. How TADSummit helped him cut through the marketing to realize he too can deliver value to his customers in an untapped niche. This for me is gratifying endorsement of what TADSummit has delivered over the years.

We began this podcast with a preview of what will be in the Thanksgiving special of Truth in Telecoms, covering the latest on Tata Communications acquisition of Kaleyra.

We’ll also have another TADSummit Innovators special coming up in December where Noah Rafalko pitches TNID to Kevin Harrington. Yep, that Kevin Harrington.

Remember to vote for Scott Warner in the Rocco 100!

vCons are here

Check out Matt Williams‘ winning hack vCon Auto Apology, from TADHack Global 2023.

Check out the link in the video description so you too can play with vCons.

This is an immensely powerful demonstration of the future of conversation intelligence made available today thanks to #vCon from STROLID.

Matt did some general analysis, including identifying that Rosalie Baldon’s calls result in a disproportionate amount of customer frustration.

…and then got GPT-3.5 to compose some apology SMSs (we don’t have email addresses, so can’t reach out by email)… with some good results:
“Hi Sabrina, this is John from ABC Car Rental. I apologize for the inconvenience you experienced during your recent call with our agent Aya Santos. Our sales department is not equipped to check the availability of cars for purchase. In the future, please feel free to contact our rental department for any inquiries. Thank you for your understanding.”

…and some less good (I’m supposed to be John Doe, not the person I’m messaging):
“Hi Mr. Doe, this is John Doe from ABC Car Rental. I apologize for any inconvenience caused during your recent call with our agent Sean Santos. We strive to provide the best customer service and I assure you that we will address the issue. Thank you for your understanding. ABC Car Rental”

Running Signal Will Soon Cost $50 Million a Year

Signal pays $14 million a year in infrastructure costs, for instance, including the price of servers, bandwidth, and storage. It uses about 20 petabytes per year of bandwidth, or 20 million gigabytes, to enable voice and video calling alone, which comes to $1.7 million a year.

The biggest chunk of those infrastructure costs, fully $6 million annually, goes to telecom firms to pay for the SMS text messages Signal uses to send registration codes to verify new Signal accounts’ phone numbers. That cost has gone up, Signal says, as telecom firms charge more for those text messages in an effort to offset the shrinking use of SMS in favor of cheaper services like Signal and WhatsApp worldwide.

Here is just one of many examples on how carriers are pricing SMS out of the 2FA business.

Peak A2P SMS: Operators stand to lose $3 billion in SMS business revenue

A report from Juniper Research asserts that operators will lose over $3 billion in SMS business messaging revenue globally over the next five years, as enterprises switch to OTT channels.

A new study from Juniper Research predicts that ‘diminishing quality’ of SMS networks will drive enterprises using mobile business messaging to look at alternative channels for communicating such as OTT messaging apps.

OTT business messaging traffic will reach 375 billion messages in 2028, rising from 100 billion messages in 2023, the research claims, which it calculates will mean about $3 billion in lost revenue for operators related to SMS business messaging.

We’ve covered specifically what’s happened in the US with the TCR, and the growth of passkeys at TADSummit with presentations from Dan Jenkins and Guillaume Bourcy. There are many process barriers and technologies nibbling away at traditional A2P SMS.

Telecom Sector Sees Major Layoffs Despite Historic Stretch Of Tax Breaks, Regulatory Favors

This article makes for rather depressing reading, but contains some good numbers on subsidies received and employee layoff as of Nov 1 2023.

The Company that Broke Canada

And while I’m on the theme of depressing stuff, check out this video on Nortel. I lived through this and discovered so much. Its a great reminder to never believe the hype as a long term investor, only the fundamentals. Before the crash, Nortel were worth $400B and had not generated a profit in 4 years!

Softbank and Programmable Communications

I see Softbank making a number of acquisitions and investments across programmable communications, 1NCE and driving an APAC IoT initiative, Twilio mentioned Softbank in their latest earnings call, and the rise of S & BTS. BTW remember to vote for Scott Warner in the Rocco 100 😉

Google Develops Quantum-Safe Security Keys

We covered FIDO2 with presentations from Dan Jenkins and Guillaume Bourcy at TADSummit, links are to their videos. Here is an interesting piece from IEEE Spectrum on Google’s work.

Many platforms that rely on public-key cryptography will soon need to make the transition to postquantum algorithms, particularly platforms that handle highly sensitive encrypted information and important services that have long life spans, such as satellites.

Services and data with long life spans are vulnerable to quantum attacks even if threats take decades to materialize, which is why they should be prioritized. Security keys can be in use for many years but are only just gaining in popularity, so they are a good early choice for transitioning.

There will be many more transitions like this in the years to come, including Google’s recent work with transport layer security in the Chrome browser.

Apple plans to do something with RCS next year

Here’s the best summary so far, see quote below and embedded LinkedIn post. In the limit P2P may get a little better beyond SMS for consumers. For telcos it will accelerate the end of SMS, MMS, and the role carriers play in messaging, though that will take years.

GSMA: welcome to the Handset OS Duopoly Messaging Match. May the best solution win. Go…

Apple: don’t mind me, I’ve got iMessage. I will keep myself to myself
Google: we just spent a lot of money on Jibe so we are going all in on RCS
Apple: no thanks
Google: but come on.. #GetTheMessage… you need to get rid of blue and green bubbles and come join us on an industry standard protocol
Apple: I’ll buy my mom an iPhone
Google: I give up with you guys. We will go it alone, we’ll monetise this via RCS Business Messages and… well.. you’ll be sorry!
Apple: whatever

(EU off-stage: “the DMA is coming… you guys have got to speak properly to each other or I’ll bang your heads together”)

Google: come on… please? Now you *need* to be like us and adopt the same industry standard protocol we use
Apple: oh… go on then. We will support the industry standard: in 2024 we will upgrade our devices to GSMA RCS Universal Profile
Google: wait.. what? we don’t follow that ourselves… but… I mean… when I said we use the industry standard RCS we kinda do but… erm…
Apple: your move, Mr Pichai

Note that none of the above involves the mobile operators. Seamless replacement of SMS with RCS for P2P messages between devices will dramatically reduce the use (and residual revenue) of P2P SMS from the value chain and drive the operators ever closer to their nightmare position as a dumb data pipe.

People, Gossip, and Frivolous Stuff

Dinuri Vitharana is now Senior Executive at Ideamart. Dinuri supported TADHack Open this year 🙂

Ciaran McGovern is now CEO at Openwave Messaging.

Alain Mowad is now Senior Director, Product Marketing at C1. We first met when he was with Ribbit, just before BT bought them.

Andrew Byrne is now Founder and Managing Director at Sutton Growth Advisors LLC. We first met while he was with Openwave Messaging, which has come back into existence.

Naveen Bhat is now focused on private fund management. Making strategic investments Angel, Seed and VC investments in Asia, India and US.

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