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What is CPaaS and Why Does It Matter?


When you’re dealing with technology, and more specifically, with cloud-based telephony, you’re going to come across a fair number of acronyms. An important one to pay attention to is CPaaS: Communications Platform as a Service. A number of providers, like Twilio, Nexmo, Plivo, and others offer CPaaS products to help businesses get more from their communications infrastructure. 2600Hz users even have the capability of enabling their KAZOO voice platform with CPaaS functionality through the use of Pivot. But what is CPaaS, and why is it such an appealing option?

CPaaS is a communications software solution that acts as a foundation upon which developers can integrate a variety of applications. Typical communication methods, like voice, video calling, or SMS text messaging, can be embedded into other systems by way of APIs that connect with the CPaaS platform. APIs allow businesses to expand their offerings without the need of additional hardware or software. This newfound flexibility lets companies arrange their communications in a way that best fits their business processes.

What is a Telephony API?

We humans interact with computer programs by clicking on buttons, typing text, or sometimes asking “Hey Siri, where is the closest Pizza restaurant?”  But how can computer programs interact with other computer programs?  The answer: APIs.  APIs allow your billing software to connect with your CRM, or your electronic coffee maker to connect with your garage door opener.

In telephony, APIs function in a similar way. Telephony APIs make it possible for apps on your phone or computer to “talk” with telephony systems, which in turn can perform dialing and switching functions. This offers a lot of flexibility in terms of where telephony functions can be used.

Typically, a business requiring customization would need to create applications that can perform those telephony functions, such as the call app on a smartphone, which makes a “hard dial” directly to the carrier network and doesn’t require any data translation. However, developing low-level telephony solutions is extremely difficult. The APIs offered by CPaaS give businesses a much more affordable way of customizing and extending their solutions.

A couple of well-known examples of businesses who rely on telephony APIs for their products are UBER and AirBnB. These businesses incorporate APIs built by Twilio to carry out communication functions on their respective mobile and web apps. These examples also provide evidence of another advantage of CPaaS - it’s highly scalable.

How Big Can You Go with CPaaS?

While startups in particular may find significant value in incorporating CPaaS into their business, it’s a good fit for companies of any size. Market growth is expected to explode from $400M to $8.1B by 2019 for CPaaS, and signs of the growth can be found in recent activity by market leaders, such as Cisco’s purchase of Tropo in 2015 or Vonage’s purchase of Nexmo in May of 2016. These large corporations understand that investing in cloud-based technologies is no longer optional. CPaaS, with its improved scalability, flexibility, authentication, and security, is revolutionizing how cloud enabled businesses deploy voice, SMS, and video communications.

CPaaS developers are already building the next wave of contextual communications that enable businesses to reach customers and facilitate collaboration between employees. An integrated solution gives every employee the power to perform their work while staying plugged in and responsive to customers. Workflows also become more personalized, and transitioning between tasks is a seamless process.

CPaaS is disrupting the industry, and putting regular businesses on even footing with the biggest telecom giants present today. To explore Pivot, the application that enables system administrators to leverage CPaaS functionality in their KAZOO voice platform, click here.

Tagged: CPaaS, PIVOT