Cloud-based platforms provide real-time comms features so CSPs don't have to build their own

Martyn Warwick
By Martyn Warwick

Nov 12, 2018

via Flickr © decidida (CC BY-ND 2.0)

via Flickr © decidida (CC BY-ND 2.0)

  • Communications Platform as a Service: Do It Yourself real time comms apps out of a virtual box
  • Complete development network capabilities + support = quicker and easier time to market
  • Developers can focus on building apps and not extending complexity of underlying IT infrastructures.
  • Result? More a engaging, compelling and immediate user experience

With network transformation and cloudification well under way around the world, vendors are turning their attentions to expanding and improving the service provider value chain by introducing various flavours and variations of something or other "as a Service" (aaS). One such that is getting a lot of industry attention at the moment is Communications Platform as a Service - or 'CPaaS', more or less for short.

A CPaaS is a cloud-based platform that allows developers to add real-time communications features such as voice, video, and messaging to their own applications without the need, that has pertained hitherto, to build time-consuming and expansive back-end infrastructure and interfaces. What a CPaaS does for a service provider or an enterprise is to provide a complete development framework for building real-time communications features without the need for a CSP or big company to construct its own.

A CPaaS suite will typically include software tools, standards-based APIs, pre-packaged applications and even sample development code. Also provided are documentation and support for developers often in the form of software development kits (SDKs) and libraries that can be used to bolt together applications that will work on different desktop and laptop computers and mobile platforms. And, because the sector is entirely cloud based

CPaaS providers a can tailor their offerings to fit customers of more or less any size and shape and help them develop and embed new communications features whilst saving on costs and the time it takes to get new apps or services to market.

CPaaS vendors claim that their pricing models are very flexible and stress that developers can pay only for the services they need, (such as SMS, video, or screen-sharing). What's more, a CPaaS also permits 'multi-tenancy,' which provides the ability for multiple customers to use the service simultaneously whilst each user stays secure within a separate and secure environment.

The Kandy man can

So, what is driving the CPaaS market is the growing demand for real-time, contextual, customer/consumer-facing communications such as video help desks which are regarded as being very much more compelling than current on-line text chat applications. One company deeply involved in the CPaaS market is Ribbon Communications, which is headquartered in Westford, Massachusetts in the US. The company was formed in 2017 following the merger of Genband with Sonus Networks and, more recently, it acquired Edgewater Networks, a network edge orchestration company specialising in the SME and Unified Communications (UC) market.

TelecomTV recently met with Patrick Joggerst, the CMO of Ribbon Communications, and, among other topics discussed, spoke with him about Kandy, which is Ribbon's white-label, carrier-grade cloud communications CPaaS platform that also provides UC as a Service (UCaaS). Patrick Joggerest said, "Kandy allows any business to easily add voice, video, messaging, presence, and collaboration capabilities directly into their mobile and web applications via APIs."

Kandy is a real-time Software as a Service (SaaS) platform built from Ribbon’s core communications, presence, security and real-time communications technologies. Kandy enables service providers, enterprises, software vendors and partners to offer their own CPaaS or UCaaS, or overlay existing UCaaS environments to enrich customer services with real-time contextual communications and so provide much more engaging user experience.

Wrapped around it are - wait for it - 'Kandy Wrappers' which are pre-built turnkey applications such as video shopping and support assistance, click to call and visual IVR that speed time to market. What's more, the Kandy APIs and SDKs allow CSPs to integrate real-time communications into their own existing applications.

For example, with Kandy, a service provider can allow a SIP trunk customer to integrate calling capabilities into their CRM or any other business process/application using their own enterprise lines, numbering and voice features. Kandy can be 'consumed' (see what I did there?) from Ribbon's public cloud infrastructure or deployed on a private cloud as a white label solution.

Just a couple of weeks ago, it was announced that Hong Kong Broadband Networks (HKBN) Hong Kong's second largest provider of residential high speed fibre broadband service which also has a rapidly expanding enterprise solutions arm, has used Ribbon's Kandy Link to build and deploy Global Talk, a custom OTT application that enables high-speed global data connectivity across more than 60 regions worldwide without incurring roaming charges. As Patrick Joggerst said, "Our [Ribbon's] cloud based services focus used to be on the US but now it is worldwide." The HKBN project is evidence the strategy is working.

And, finally, maybe its just a touch of Monday morning dyspepsia, but there are times when the industry's addiction to mangled acronyms and tortured linkages of tech and marketing words into a string of initials, that we are all so used to, really hits home to remind us that we are buckling under the endless accretion of acronyms that arrive so often they are almost impossible to keep pace with.

Of course it's difficult to compress a complex technological concept or product into an instantly memorable slogan or catch-phrase but, (and this is no criticism of Ribbon Communications or any other individual company), the industry as a whole needs to back-pedal a bit on the convolution stakes because it is beginning to bore the aaS off me - and many others.

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