Less aaS, more Comm!

Erik Lagerway
3 min readAug 7, 2018

So, what will the next 10 years in communication look like? We will continue to strap SIP onto WebRTC projects and push out the same Voice and Video products we have already seen 10 times over?

Everyone has messenger fatigue and there is no money in competing with “free”.

SIP, and now WebRTC, have done quite a lot to help us innovate in Enterprise Communications (Voice, Video, Messaging, Screen Sharing).

Companies like Microsoft, Google, Vonage and Dialpad (there are plenty of others) invest plenty of capital into WebRTC / ORTC projects, bolstering offerings in their various products and services groups.

Carriers have made heavy investments into PSTN, Cellular and SIP infrastructure. Competing with Duo, Hangouts, Skype, FaceTime et al, is largely losing proposition for telecoms, they are not software companies, it’s not in their DNA.

But, there are a few things that are happening in the space, which may shake things up.

After spending some time looking at the communications landscape (Enterprise and Consumer) and contemplating my navel, I have a few observations on what may affect our course:

  1. AI | Artificial Intelligence will certainly play a part in new application and network growth. AI will affect some of the fundamentals of communication. AI will make it easier to book meetings, read voicemails, gain intelligence from mundane tasks, but I am not convinced it will change our basic human behavior, even that is still a long ways off. Tsahil is all over AI these days, his blog.
  2. BC | Blockchain technology has the potential to forever disrupt many industries, comms will not be spared. Combine blockchain & cryptocurrency and new weapons emerge for carriers and service providers. Money is changing. We are entering the era of truly decentralized digital currency. When money becomes decentralized and we see moats removed, it moves the goalpost and the method in which we can use currency. Telecom revenues are already under attack, the next era of telecom service companies will be decentralized and blockchain enabled. It’s also what the next generation wants, less overhead and more value. People have been trained to pay for phone calls, cellular talk time, text messages. Enterprise management and IT staff want their representative companies to pay for mission critical services so they are not left holding the bag when the service has a critical failure. In other words, unless you can charge a lot of money for your comms product / service, the enterprise will not take you seriously. As and example; Fees for service could be part of the technology and payment could be sent and received immediately, eliminating bad debt and crappy credit. There are plenty of examples, for another post maybe. Matt Lockyer is a very active engineer in the space, if you are interested in knowing more, his Twitter.
  3. Less Comms-aaS | The API economy is beginning to evolve. Many of the CPaaS players today require you to learn their API language, which many times falls a bit short. This is going to change. The modern communications platform will become the de-facto tool box for service providers of the new era, but not before undergoing a transformation. They will become less of a CPaaS and more of a communications module distributor. These new moduli-zed service providers will up the ante. New simplified APIs (highly consumable JSON modules) will open up new capabilities and technology that the incumbents may not be able to match in any kind of timeframe in order to compete.

The enterprise CPaaS is ripe for disruption, 2 companies I am watching are Signalwire (startup) and Voyant (Inteliquent / deep pockets). It will be super interesting to see how this plays out. Some of these more scrappy startups will take on the larger more established players who are gobbling up competitive tech to add value to their offerings.

Who will win!? There will be many winners, the market is vast and the global population keeps growing, funny that. The difference will be who will be more competitive and move with some agility.

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