By Kevin Nethercott, Vice President, Telestax
A new market segment has emerged to help enterprise customers consume carrier resources through programmable interfaces. Cloud-based communications platforms as a service (CPaaS) enable developers, enterprises and service providers to add real-time voice, video and messaging to their own applications and systems without taking on a hefty infrastructure build. Many CPaaS providers have successfully courted developers and enterprises, enabling them to create these apps directly with a self-service model. Now, the channel ecosystem of agents, VARs, distributors and consultants must consider whether they, and their vendor partners, will gain – or lose – business from this new communications model.
The good news is, the expertise and customer focus that the channel brings to bear offer many ways to add value and remain relevant. But to thrive, service providers and channel partners must accept that it’s “API or die” time. (Editor’s note: We run down the API economy from a channel POV In this free report.)
As we saw TDM make way for IP and SIP, we are now in the midst of the next great transition, to API-based communications. Enterprise customers have made it clear that they would much rather interface via an API than any type of telecom protocol. CPaaS enables creation of omni-channel solutions by mixing and matching exciting new applications over the top of services from their current network and termination partners. Applications for CPaaS include:
- Video: Using WebRTC to build real-time voice and video into web pages and native apps for customer service, videoconferencing and collaboration.
- SMS: Helpful for A2P (application-to-person) use cases including two-factor authentication and sending notifications, special offers and reservations to end customers.
- Chatbots: Enhanced SMS and text-based chat-bots can provide interactive, low-cost, first-level customer support.
- Voice: Think number masking, advertisement response tracking and conferencing.
- Vertical omni-channel applications: Telemedicine, virtual banking and other business processes facilitated by customized video, voice and messaging experiences.
Sounds good, right? So how do we execute?
Changing Economics of CPaaS
It isn’t uncommon to hear this feedback from early adopters of CPaaS: First-generation tech was useful for creating initial proofs of concept, but it gets expensive and inflexible as deployments scale. Plus, IT teams may have contracts with existing providers that they wish to maintain for convenience and economies of scale. It is also not feasible or cost-effective to …