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CPaaS market maturing but rocky times ahead for Twilio May 3, 2017

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Two interesting news stories have emerged in the last week showing how the CPaaS market is maturing, and how providers need to move beyond transactional services in the future.

The first story relates to the acquisition of TeleSign by BICS, driven by the desire for BICS to transform from a traditional Wholesale model to a CPaaS one, through the acquisition of TeleSign’s authentication and mobile identity services. Worth $230m, the transaction is equal to what Vonage paid for Nexmo in 2016. This highlights the value that Service Providers and Wholesale providers see in CPaaS, evidenced by such investments.

Cavell Perspective:

  • The first iteration of CPaaS has mainly followed a Wholesale model, with tight margins based on services like authentication, messaging and minutes. This means that significant scale is required to drive large revenues.
  • During this first iteration of the market, global wholesale traffic has declined, and as end users look for different ways to communicate, CPaaS platforms began to gain traction as a way to integrate communications within applications. However, CPaaS providers were only able to generate marginal revenues per transaction.

The second story concerns Twilio, generally considered the “poster boy” of CPaaS. Having made a lot of noise in the last few years and grown an impressive client list, the company is experiencing problems as its reliance on transactional services starts to bite. On the latest earnings call, Twilio’s CEO announced that Uber, representing 12% of revenue, will be reducing its use of Twilio’s services over the next year. In after-hours trading, its share price fell by around 30%, wiping close to $1b off their market cap. Twilio is constantly acquiring new accounts (4,000 added in the last quarter), but this has only accounted for quarterly revenue growth of $2m. It will be difficult for the company to find new customers with the user base of Uber.

Cavell Perspective:

  • This will become a growing concern for CPaaS providers, and highlights the need for them to move beyond basic authentication, minute or message services, to stickier solutions that drive customer retention.
  • The BICS acquisition solves the first part of this by enabling them to offer new services, but will this be enough to secure long-term customer relationships and repeat revenues?
  • Companies like Genband, RingCentral, Cisco and Vonage have started to move beyond simple transactional services, and begin to integrate CPaaS services into their cloud voice or contact centre solutions.
  • Service Providers need to understand what is happening in this market: the role of the Service Provider is coming into question, and key vendors are making significant investments in building or buying their own CPaaS platforms.
  • The ability to offer integrated services into applications is likely to be the best way to differentiate in an increasingly competitive landscape.

Cavell’s report “CPaaS: Market Opportunities for Service Providers” studies the dynamics of the industry, profiles key players and offers insights into the threats, and the opportunities, facing Service Providers. If you would like to purchase the report, or speak with one of analysts about the impact of CPaaS on your business, please get in touch with Dominic Black at dominic.black@cavellgroup.com

The inaugural Channel Leaders Conference: a great success! April 27, 2017

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Monday was an exciting day; the London Channel Leaders Conference (#CLeaders17) successfully launched in collaboration with Comms Business Magazine. Delegates enjoyed a day of panel talks on highly relevant topics such as ‘How Can You Guide Your Customers Through the Digital Age?’ and ‘Building Compelling Solutions (Verticalisation & Integration),’ networking opportunities and keynote presentations by Matt Townend, Director of the Cavell Group, and Kristine Olson-Chapman, Managing Director of TalkTalk Business. Digital Disruption, the UK Telecoms Market (find out more in our reports here), the Internet of Things (IoT) and the changing role of the Channel were also among the key topics of discussion.

Of these several recurring themes, the most prominent were falling traditional market revenues and rapidly changing customer requirements. The first panel discussion of the day was ‘How Can You Guide Your Customers Through the Digital Age?’.

Chaired by David Dungay, Deputy Editor of Comms Business, Ralph Page (Director of Global Strategic Solutions at Genband), Mike Wilkinson (VP Marketing & Product Management at Lumeon), and Dan Cunliffe (Managing Director of Pangea) tackled points on identifying when a customer is struggling to adopt a digital strategy. This lead to an interesting anecdote on smart water drains on the Isle of Wight by Dan Cunliffe, prompting further discussion on the IoT. Another hotly discussed point on the panel was where Channels can find immediate success in a rapidly changing industry, be it focussing on CPaaS, M2M or elsewhere.

The liveliest panel discussion however, was represented by ‘Suppliers and Vendor Selection:  Which Horse Should I Back in the Future?’ between Steve Harris (MD of Siphon/EVP UC Nuvias), Richard Bligh (COO of Gamma), Mark Timmermans (Director of Portfolio Development at BT Wholesale), Gary Gould (MD EMEA at ShoreTel) and Russell Lux (CEO of TelcoSwitch).

The variety of vendor and service provider businesses present, passionate panellists and importance of the topic created some great discussion on the fragmentation of the traditional vendor and service provider markets, as well as what products/verticalisations/service areas the channel should embrace. This was particularly relevant with the recent news on companies like Avaya. Discussion also touched on competing with the services provided by the likes of Twilio, Microsoft and Amazon and how cloud services can transform industries like distribution and logistics.

We would like to thank our Gold (Knight Corporate Finance, Strategic Imperatives, and TelcoSwitch) and Silver Sponsors for their contributions to making Channel Leaders a success, and also, Blabbermouth, whose drinks sponsorship fuelled a great networking opportunity at the end of the day.


If you did not manage to attend Channel Leaders 17 but are interested in the topics discussed, want to meet industry leaders and gain valuable insight into the European Telecoms industry, click here for our upcoming event in Amsterdam (10th October 2017), or use the email addresses below for more information regarding our next event in London (8th March 2018).

You can also contact francisca.dinga@cavellgroup.com or dominic.black@cavellgroup.com for further questions and sponsorship opportunities for both events.

For research into the European VoIP markets, click here for our website, or contact adam.kowalski@cavellgroup.com or dominic.black@cavellgroup.com

The Fine Line of Trust in Customer Relationships #EVSLDN17 January 24, 2017

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Cavell are proud to announce the European VoIP Summit 2017 Guest Speaker: IBM’s Global Communications Industry Leader Rob van den Dam.

In a highly competitive market, telcos often struggle to differentiate their services and in their ongoing race to bring out new features and solutions they can find themselves at risk of losing focus on what remains constantly important: customer experience.

Join us for the European VoIP Summit 2017 on March 9th at the QEII Conference Centre, in London to discover the key to mastering:

The Fine Line of Trust in Customer Relationships

For customers, their ideal customer experience is prompt and effective response to queries, outstanding service and fair resolution to complaints, said van den Dam. But telcos are falling way short of that ideal. They generally rate average to good – but that’s not good enough. You really have to excel at customer experience if you’re going to be competitive.

Rob van den Dam’s Keynote Presentation touches on:

  • Findings from IBM’s global telecom consumer survey
  • Personal data to reshape customer experiences
  • Digital trust as the key factor in relationships between customers and providers
  • Telcos’ unique position in the personal data opportunity

Tickets are selling fast: register here today and be sure not to miss out on this unique opportunity!


About Rob van den Dam

SONY DSC Rob van den Dam leads strategic thought leadership in telecommunications and media & entertainment, developing future agendas, industry outlooks and business value realization studies.

He has over 25 years experience in the communications industry. Rob periodically presents at major industry conferences, such as ITU World, GSMA Mobile Asia, TMForum, CommunicAsia, Digiworld, Total Telecom and IBC.

He has published multiple articles in, amongst others, the Annual Review of Communications, Jnl of Telecommunications Management, European Communications, Total Telecom Magazine, Broadcast Engineering, Telecom Asia and Mobile Europe.

European VoIP Summit Amsterdam: Last chance to book your seat with only 12 tickets left! October 3, 2016

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The European VoIP Summit is only one week away and over 100 delegates from around 35 service providers have already registered to join us on the 11th of October at Hotel Arena in Amsterdam.

This is our 3rd summit and the first in Amsterdam, and it brings together traditional telcos and innovative cloud companies and suppliers for a day of insightful panel discussions and keynote presentations on how the market is developing.

Top-level industry experts and market leaders such as Liberty GlobalKPNBluefaceDestinyFuzeNFON and Voiceworks will share their views and unique experiences in the European VoIP space.

The event is empowered by our Gold Sponsors, top vendors AudioCodesBroadsoft and Genband, and our exhibitors Panasonic BusinessSiphonPolycom and Yealink.

Last but certainly not least, Cavell will be launching its new European VoIP market reports, covering Benelux, France, Germany, Portugal, Spain and Italy. Our geographical expansion will offer you a more accurate overall picture of the market, so if you are interested in finding out more, please stay tuned.

All in all, we are witnessing history in the making, so book now to avoid disappointment!

If you have any questions, please get in touch.
We look forward to seeing you in Amsterdam!

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Many thanks to our Gold Sponsors:

Genband Perspectives 2016: Contextual Communications, Disruptors, the Future of Service Providers, CPaaS and Kandy May 13, 2016

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David Walsh saw the rise of Contextual Communications being one of the drivers of increased communication. His belief that by enabling people to communicate with whatever device and through any application that they want will increase the level of communications between parties which will in turn facilitate collaboration and increased productivity.

XO, the largest SIP Trunking provider in the USA, gave a good example of this with their Contact Center solution which use the Kandy platform with WebRTC integrations to allow customers to contact them using any medium that they want, be it voice, email, IM or video. By giving customers the choice of communication, they are able to improve the customer experience and address the customers’ needs – a key priority for contact centres.

Disruptors are driving innovation as companies look for ways to stay relevant in their industry

Katrina Troughton says that IBM are seeing that business leaders are facing more challenges then ever before. With the lifespan of Fortune 500 companies dropping under 15 years due to disruption, CEOs are looking at ways that they can keep their employees engaged and stay relevant in today’s market. There is a big push for companies to innovate to survive but many find it difficult to do so as they don’t have the skills.

This is relevant to VoIP providers as an increasing homogenisation of products, where differentiation is around pricing and features, is becoming ubiquitous across the board. As the Service Providers have a great understanding of their customers, as they work with them on a daily basis and understand their challenges, they are in an unique position to be able to give them the tools to communicate and enable greater collaboration.

What will a Service Provider look like in the future?

The issue for Service Providers is that they have generally been poor at creating their own applications as they do not have the development skills to create solutions for their customers, as their focus is around providing a voice service, not enabling collaboration. Roy Timor-Russo of Genband thinks that Genband will be able to fill that role of adding value with their apps and knowledge of what has worked for other Service Providers in other markets and alongside the Service Providers core voice competency.

Genband see their position in the market is providing the platform for application developers to integrate their features into. As one of the first movers into the CPaaS (Communications Platform as a Service), the Kandy platform was built to allow developers to build applications for Service Providers, Enterprises and Vendors to quicken the time to market. David Walsh highlighted in the press conference at the end of the first day the need for all members of the telecoms ecosystem to be able to ‘Fail Quick’ with new features and that long development times do not always translate into successful stories. 90% of applications built will not be a success but there needs to be an acceptance and understanding that failure will yield results.

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It is still unclear what role Service Providers will play in the future, whether they will simply be running dumb ‘pipes’ or their customer will be facing background, meaning that they are well positioned to understand their customers needs and build the solutions to fit certain business verticals. What will be interesting is whether there will be a demand for a basic VoIP/UC solution in the future and how Service Providers will be able to cope with an increasingly development driven approach.

Is Kandy going to be future?

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We have seen a number of CPaaS providers appear over the last few years and it is still not clear who will emerge as a success. What is interesting and will be a challenge for Genband going down the route of Kandy and CPaaS is how they will maintain revenues in the future as customers adopt a ‘Click to Consume’ model, choosing only the applications that are relevant to themselves. From a company that is used to selling large CAPEX solutions, making a move to tight margins on applications over a base price of $2/user/month may prove difficult in the short term. Genband have created a good story with the Kandy platform and it will be interesting to see how the CPaaS ecosystem progresses in the future.

“I want to be the platform”,  “No, I want to be the platform”… “Who is going to be the Communications Platform of the future?” May 11, 2016

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In a week, when Vonage USA spends $230m on Nexmo, a Communication Platform business that most of you will not have heard of, and when a traditional communication hardware provider like Genband spends a large proportion of its annual conference talking about its own “Kandy” Communication Platform as a Service (CPaaS) platform, many Service Providers will be wondering what is all the fuss about.

Well, it’s simple: Service Providers, Vendors, System Integrators and Developers are all trying to work out what their role is going to be in this new world of communications and they may as well have to fight for their very future and relevance.

Where the battle is going to be won and lost is by making communications relevant and in context of customers and consumers’ current and future working patterns, and help revolutionize business process or disrupt markets with new models of working. This is going to require many to have the capability and ability to move quickly and agilely whilst maintaining low costs in serving these requirements.

Gone are the days when it was about UC and Providers being proud that they have packed a whole load of irrelevant features into their UC client or equipment, often provided by slow moving vendors.

The future is about providing a platform that people can integrate and develop on, to jointly solve both specific and generic customer problems. This development may be done by the Platform provider or by enabling developers externally to access the platform and develop their own solutions on top.

Not surprisingly traditional ecosystems are also being reinvented with people realizing the majority of the value will be in providing the platform. Traditional Vendors are pitching themselves against their Service Provider customers, and System Integrators are realizing that they might own the key to accessing the development resources. Within this melee, new providers such as Twillio and Nexmo have filled this void, offering developers with a global platform on which they can develop.

At the recent Genband Conference we started to hear the Service Provider angle with CenturyLink describing how they are looking to build such a platform, which will bring them the benefit of quick and agile product development for their own customers. They will be able to go to a 2 or 3 developers with a brief of their requirements and potentially get custom differentiated apps developed cheaper and quicker than previous models.

It’s not all over for the Service providers as a couple of key questions are still to be answered in many cases:

  • Who has the ability to: sell, assure, bill and deliver these applications?
  • Who either has their own development resources or controls access to these resources?
  • Who can provide a truly global or regional capability for customer?
  • Who can translate customer business requirements into real life solutions?
  • Who has the ability to potentially integrate to multiple platforms for a customer?

In up coming posts and research we are exploring these questions further, and we are already running strategy sessions with Service Providers to answer these questions.

For more details please contact: Matthew.Townend@cavellgroup.com or Dominic.Black@cavellgroup.com.

UC Expo: Millennials, Collisions & Video April 28, 2016

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Last week at Olympia London we saw many vendors repeat the same messages as they addressed the impact of millennials on the workforce, digitisation and video. Cisco highlighted the importance of using collaboration tools to create ‘collisions’ in the workforce – we understand the point they were trying to make but the term is often perceived with negative connotations, particularly in the insurance industry!

Microsoft’s put significant effort into the event with a big presence on various stages and in the exhibition space. They are now strongly positioning themselves in the UC space and Cavell believes that their success will continue in the coming years, especially in Large Enterprises. Microsoft also demonstrated their Cloud PBX for the first time in the UK which allows users to run Skype for Business services in Office 365. Handset manufacturer Yealink were also showcasing their Skype for Business integrations with their new range of handsets.

What Cavell are seeing more and more of is vendors driving innovation by encouraging developers to develop on their platform. We are interested to see how this plays out in the future as all major vendors, including Broadsoft, Genband, Cisco, Microsoft, are undertaking various Hackathons. Cisco’s announcement in March shows their commitment to having external developers use their platform as they hope their Spark Innovation Fund of $150m dollars will drive development.

“Disrupt or be disrupted.” – Marianne Calder, Cisco opening keynote, UC Expo 2016

Cavell will looking in-depth in the next few months of what how the relationship between Service Providers, Vendors and Developers will change in the future as this is an area where there is some really interesting changes that we think will impact the Voice market in the future.

Cavell are off to Orlando next week for GENBAND Perceptives 2016 where Matt Townend is speaking. We look forward to seeing all those who are attending there!

The European VoIP Summit 2016 was a great success! March 9, 2016

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1On Tuesday, the 1st of March, The Cavell Group hosted the second European VoIP Summit, where over 200 attendees from over 60 VoIP service providers gathered in central London to address the opportunities and challenges the industry is facing and explore what to expect from the future of voice communications.

As with the range of topics, we also had a range of opinions with speakers from all key VoIP providers in Europe joining us, such as BT, Blueface, 6 Degrees, Vonage, TalkTalk Business, NFON, Liberty Global, Gamma, Voxbone, Siphon, Destiny, 8×8 and many others, as well as Vendors such as Yealink, Broadsoft and Genband who were our Gold Sponsors

 
Although much of the day was focused around how the industry is currently operating, a lot of focus was put on what the future of VoIP and SIP Trunking will look like. The industry believes a ‘disruptor’ might appear, like what messaging has seen with WhatsApp, which will enter the market and take significant market share.

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A very interesting discussion around WebRTC and Applications with viewpoints from Vendors, Service Providers and developers showed that it might not be the Service Providers developing the applications themselves, but instead they will allow developers to work with them to provide vertical solutions for their customers. WebRTC looks like it is starting to become that enabler for services in the future as communications move onto the web and away from the traditional end-point. Whether Service Providers will be able to charge for minutes in the future was again a hot discussion point.

We had a very interesting talk from Matthew McDermott and Mark Swarbrick on the state of regulation across Europe, followed by Cavell’s newest partner Q Advisors who gave a background on the M&A work they have been doing around the world.

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With Matt Townend’s closing remarks and networking drinks we concluded this year’s event was a great success! Our aim was to bring together VoIP service providers and create an opportunity to discuss current and future market aspects in a friendly and open networking environment. We believe our diverse group of speakers and panellists provided different points of views, at times even conflicting, thus enabling you to understand the bigger picture of the European setting.

We are happy to say we have received many positive comments and your feedback truly reflects the atmosphere everyone experienced. We are very thankful for your participation and we hope to see you at our events again! Last, but certainly not least, a big thank you to our Gold Sponsors: Broadsoft, Genband, and Yealink, and to our silver sponsors: AudioCodes, MDS Amiba, Mitel, Polycom, ProVu, RingCentral, Siphon, and Vanilla IP for their amazing support!

4 Conferences in a week – 8×8, Voiceflex & Polycom making the news October 9, 2015

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A busy week saw Cavell’s team at 4 conferences in 1 week, with;  IP Expo,  Convergence summit. Cloud Communications Alliance and Polycom press conference. There were some really interesting elements of this busy week and we picked out a few below:

8×8 announce Regus as a customer:

Regus as many people will know are a huge provider of managed office capability around the world, and are the clear global leader in this space. The Managed office market has been a huge adopter of hosted technology and we think this will have a big impact to 8×8 business globally. We have seen other players be extremely successful selling to this segment including; Essensys, Penzias and Voxclever (now part of PCCW)

Andre Sharpe, Chief Information and Innovation Officer at Regus, said, “By partnering with 8×8, we can now offer our customers an innovative and cost effective communication and collaboration service. As a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader, 8×8 was a natural choice to give our customers the level of quality and service they expect from Regus. We have identified the first 140 sites, and thereafter we plan to roll-out 8×8 service across our global footprint.”

With 140 sites already identified, and Regus boasting over 2000, the impact on 8×8 business could be significant.

Voiceflex announced partnership with Genband 

At the convergence summit we found out that Voiceflex had chosen to partner with Genband Nuvea to serve the hosted voice market. As many readers will know Genband launched their Nuvea service at end of last year, and this announcement follows the previous signing of Timico. Voiceflex were one of the pioneers in the SIP Trunking market in the UK and this may represent a good opportunity to cross sell to some of those existing customers as well as pursue new ones. In the very competitive market to sign new channels this is significant UK win for Genband.

Polycom updates the iconic Spider 

Polycom’s 25 anniversary saw them launch four new products, the most interesting being the RealPresence Trio. This is Polycom’s newest conference phone which comes with a touch screen and video system which they hope will enable further collaboration by allowing mobile devices and laptops/tablets to pair with the device to share content. This product is an update to the famous Polycom spider you see in most conference rooms around the globe.

Following Polycom’s partnership with Microsoft, all there new systems integrate with Skype for Business and other UC platforms such as Broadsoft to allow for quick meeting set up. Polycom also announced other new hardware such as the Centro, which is a multiple screen device which will sit in the middle of a room to allow for 360-degree voice and video and other conferencing hardware (RealPresence Debut and Medialign).

Cloud Communications Alliance 

We were pleased to present at one of the first CCA meetings in Europe, where we saw a group of service providers from Europe come together to discuss how the industry is developing. We met a lot of new companies from both the Netherlands, Germany and France and look forward to working together in the future. We had a great presentation from Matthew McDermott Access Partnership explaining the European Regulation regime and an interesting and engaging manner. We are hoping to get Matthew to present at “The European VoIP Summit” which tickets are now selling extremely well at http://www.cavellgroup.com/events/european-voip-summit.html

Next couple of weeks – Broadsoft, Solar and much more 

The schedule does not slow down for Cavell and the industry, with us looking forward to attending Broadsoft Connections and Solar communications events in the next couple of weeks. We will also be leading webinars with Broadsoft and Ringcentral, so plenty more happening in this quick changing industry.

Is Microsoft Lync (Skype for Business) going to be side-lined to Messaging and Presence as Genband announce WebRTC web client for Lync? April 17, 2015

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GENBAND yesterday announced the introduction of what they claim to be the first WebRTC-based Real Time Communications Client for Lync to seamlessly combine real-time communications with Lync Instant Messaging (IM) and Presence.

“We’re shaking up the economics of delivering Unified Communications (UC) and offering a compelling way to integrate previously bespoke communications technologies,” said Carl Baptiste GENBAND’s Senior Vice President, Enterprise Solutions. “We’re offering enterprises the best of both worlds by combining our own high availability voice, video and collaboration with Lync’s IM and Presence; creating a single, web centric, client.  Our RTC Client for Lync is delivered like a web page but operates like a traditional desktop or mobile application. More importantly, it looks familiar to Lync users so they don’t need to be retrained and IT organizations aren’t burdened with the cost and complexity of expanding Lync infrastructure to support real-time communications.”

This announcement is interesting from two points of view. Firstly it is interesting that another provider is building a Lync solution for Voice and Video as it appears that Microsoft have not had the break through they might have expected in this area. Also, the service provider community seem a little more wary of Microsoft since they rebranded Lync to Skype for Business, as Skype as been a clear competitor of Telco’s for years, and solutions like this may give another avenue to embrace the clear benefits of Microsoft desktop without having to risk tying your future wholly to “Skype for Business”.

Secondly this is an example of how Web RTC is starting to be used to deliver experiences to the customer straight from the browser that would have previously required bespoke application development. With Genband pushing WebRTC strongly, its good to see them incorporating its benefits in the core of their own services

To find out more go to: www.genband.com/media-center/press-releases/genband-introduces-first-webrtc-based-real-time-communications-client