CPaaS 101 (Communications Platform as a Service)

The age of the one-size-fits-all communication stack is over.

CPaaSUC Today

Last Edited: August 29, 2020

Rebekah Carter

As the market continues to evolve, each business has it’s own requirements when it comes to things like customer experience, collaboration, and even internal interactions. We all need more freedom to build the solution that works best for us.

That’s where CPaaS comes in.

Otherwise known as Communication Platforms as a Service, CPaaS goes beyond the pre-designed stack of tools available for brands in the UCaaS world. With CPaaS, you can embed the real-time communication solutions and crucial features you need into your existing tools and applications.

Currently, the market for CPaaS is set to reach a value of $10.9 billion by 2022, and that number just keeps growing.

So, what is CPaaS, and more importantly, what does it mean for you?

What is CPaaS, and How Does it Work?

Let’s start simple, CPaaS is a cloud-based solution that allows today’s businesses to upgrade their communication channels. With CPaaS, business leaders can add a host of valuable features to their existing communication stack, including voice, video, and SMS.

Typically, CPaaS solutions are embedded through APIs (Application Program Interfaces). However, some vendors can offer a comprehensive pre-built CPaaS system that’s designed for a company’s individual needs.

As the demand for flexible solutions in the marketplace continues to grow, CPaaS is rapidly becoming one of the most attractive business models in the telecoms space. With the right CPaaS partner, you can unlock virtually anything you want in your comms space, including everything from basic telephony tools like call routing, to disruptive tech.

CPaaS solutions can even provide businesses with the services that they need to implement IoT and elements of AR and VR into their network. The consistent development of the communication market means that CPaaS continues to deliver new benefits, including:

  • Access to more competitive features: CPaaS offers the best way to unlock new functionality without ripping and replacing your communication stack. 85% of high-performing businesses believe that APIs are essential to their growth.
  • Improved customer experience: With CPaaS, you can add new elements to your communication stack whenever you learn something new about what your customers need. For instance, you could implement a SMS API that automatically reminds clients of upcoming appointments.
  • Cost savings: Like all services provided in the cloud, CPaaS offers an affordable and easy-to-implement solution for businesses that want to stay ahead of the curve.

Trends in the CPaaS Industry

CPaaS is still a relatively new concept compared to things like UCaaS or SaaS. However, the solution has already made significant waves in the communication space. Thanks to CPaaS, today’s businesses don’t have to settle for communication platforms that aren’t designed specifically to their needs.

As more vendors make their way into the CPaaS space, we’re seeing the arrival of a host of new trends, including:

  • Serverless functionality: Many of the big cloud providers in the marketplace today are offering more freedom and flexibility with serverless capabilities. In the past, developers were forced to develop, maintain, and operate their own servers to align with the CPaaS infrastructure, but that may not be the case in the years to come.
  • Omnichannel UX: CPaaS stands out as one of the best ways to create a truly omnichannel environment for communications. In the past, omnichannel solutions used to be incredibly basic, combining only email and voice in the same space. However, with CPaaS APIs, business leaders can embed everything from social media tools to SMS into their communication landscape. What’s more, with CPaaS, you can monitor all of your communications in the same place too!
  • Programmable Contact Centres: CPaaS also unlocks a new era of opportunities for the programmable communication landscape. With programmable technology, business leaders can have more control over every element of their communication stack, including the contact centre. Through SKDs and APIs, business leaders can tweak and tailor each aspect of the experience delivered to their target audience. You can even implement things like intelligent IVR messages that automatically gain consent before a conversation is passed to an agent.
  • Artificial intelligence and machine learning: AI is having a fundamental impact on every aspect of the way that we communicate. That’s true in the CPaaS world too. In the years to come, businesses will be able to embed all methods of analytics and reporting into their communication landscape. Additionally, you may be able to find CPaaS vendors that can provide you with a complete reporting system as part of your bespoke communications environment.
  • AR and VR: Because CPaaS allows business leaders to embed new technology and opportunities into their existing stack, it opens the door to disruptive technology. CPaaS is already unlocking new solutions in the IoT environment, for people who want to track smart devices and beacons. In the years ahead, we’ll also see the arrival of more opportunities for things like AR and VR. This is likely to become particularly prevalent as 5G arrives.
  • Bots: Bots have been all the rage in the communication landscape for a while now. However, with CPaaS, you can implement bots into your communication stack like never before. Companies can add their bots to any element of their CX landscape, or even create virtual assistants to help their teams accomplish more each day.

CPaaS Vendors

Here at UC Today, we like to keep track of the movers and shakers in the industry that are delivering the most exciting innovations in markets like CPaaS. Our UC Awards ceremonies celebrate the companies that have accomplished the most for their target market. At the same time, we’re always evaluating the reports shared by leaders like the Forrester Wave and Gartner.

There are many different kinds of CPaaS vendors to explore in this environment, from those who give businesses the freedom to build their own bespoke strategy, to those that offer an all-in-one system. For instance:

  • API Pure-Play companies: Companies like Twilio and Plivo give businesses all the access that they could want to build the ultimate tech stack. These vendors offer flexibility and speed like no other. With their services, companies can create a highly scalable and customisable tech stack.
  • API providers and network owners: Companies like Bandwidth and ALE offer business-grade CPaaS solutions for those who need bespoke access to a range of features for astronomical growth. You can use these vendors to access not just CPaaS and APIs, but a range of other essential communication tools too, including UCaaS and CCaaS offerings.

Both kinds of CPaaS vendors concentrate on giving their customers the freedom they need to build something that goes beyond the realm of one-size-fits-all technology. After all, although the initial adopters of CPaaS technology were smaller, more agile companies, businesses of all sizes are beginning to get involved. Bigger brands are also recognising that they can leverage both legacy and futuristic technology in the same space with CPaaS.

As the demand for CPaaS technology grows, and APIs and developer kits become increasingly easy to access, a wide selection of vendors are beginning to dip their toes into the marketplace, from Avaya and RingCentral, to Cisco, Mitel, Vonage, and more.

Check out our full list of vendors here.

CPaaS Events

Here at UC Today, we do our best to keep readers ahead of the curve when it comes to learning about the top CPaaS solutions in the market.

However, the best way to explore the potential of CPaaS for yourself, and see first-hand what this technology can do, is to mark your calendar for some upcoming events. CPaaS events give business leaders and buyers a chance to see how some of the leading companies around the world have accessed APIs and SDKs to build the ultimate bespoke technology stack.

The right events offer not just an exceptional networking opportunity, but also an unrivalled chance to get to the bottom of what CPaaS can truly offer in this rapidly transforming environment. You can even speak to the companies that offer the latest CPaaS solutions in the market and use what you learn to make a more informed purchasing decision.

Check out our must-see CPaaS events for this year.

CPaaS Reviews

The CPaaS market stands out as one of the most exciting opportunities for businesses worldwide. As companies continue to search for flexibility and interoperability, there’s no doubt that we’ll see an increase in the number of solutions on the market today.

That’s why here at UC Today, we help you to make the most informed decisions about your tech stack, by exploring some of the positives and negatives of the leading options in our latest CPaaS reviews section. Although your decision of which CPaaS solution to explore will depend on your individual needs, there are a few things that you might want to consider when browsing through our reviews. For instance:

  • API selection: Your CPaaS provider needs to offer the freedom you need to grow your communication stack in any way that you choose. Aside from allowing you to add real-time comms into your existing environment, can your provider also give you access to the latest disruptive technology? Are they investing in API opportunities for SMS and instant chat, as well as IoT and artificial intelligence? Even if you don’t need the most disruptive tech straight away, finding a company with a strong API collection will help you to prepare for the years to come. This is how you future-proof your strategy.
  • Market reputation: Although your chosen CPaaS company doesn’t necessarily need to have spent decades in the communication space to deliver results, they do need a good reputation. Companies from all backgrounds can now step into the CPaaS environment; it’s up to you to figure out if the company you choose can deliver results. What kind of support do they offer to companies and developers? How helpful is your vendor when it comes to helping you build the ideal technology stack?
  • Thriving community: A CPaaS provider with a thriving community of developers is more likely to deliver a wider range of solutions to tap into. Do your research into each business that you’re thinking of working with. A good developer community can also help you to answer some of the questions that you might have about combining elements of your UCaaS stack with your CPaaS solution.
  • Extra communication solutions: A lot of leading companies are now beginning to offer CPaaS as part of a wide range of communication tools. Brands like ALE, Avaya, and RingCentral for instance, all offer things like CCaaS and UCaaS alongside their CPaaS offerings. If you want to work with a single business on your comms solution, it’s worth finding out what “extras” your vendor has to offer.

CPaaS Comparisons

So, what if you’ve narrowed your options in the CPaaS market down to just two contenders? In that case, you might need some help comparing the two. Here at UC Today, we offer a wide range of comparisons for some of the top brands in the industry, to help you learn more about their pros and cons. We cover things like features, experience, security, and more, so you can make your decision based on what matters most to you.

Remember, when looking for the ideal CPaaS solution, think about:

  • Ease of use: How simple is it to embed your new APIs into your communication stack? Will the vendor that you choose help you to build something unique for your brand?
  • Variety: What kind of APIs can you access? Can you go beyond the basics of the communication landscape and explore disruptive new tools?
  • Customer experience: What kind of guidance and training solutions does your CPaaS company provide? Can they help you to encourage adoption?
  • Reliability: How are your vendors going to help you to ensure that your CPaaS solution continues to work well for years to come?
  • Future proofing: Is your CPaaS provider constantly working on adding new opportunities for growth and transformation to their API offerings?

The CPaaS Smart Guide

Now that you know what CPaaS is, how it works, and what kind of vendors can help you to take advantage of APIs and SDKs, it’s time to dive a little deeper. The UC Today CPaaS smart guide covers absolutely everything that you need to know about CPaaS.

Here, you’ll learn how CPaaS is helping organisations around the world to digitally transform. You’ll also get an insight into the link between CPaaS and IoT, as well as the growth of augmented intelligence.

Download your version of our ultimate smart guide here!

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