Communications Platform as a Service: GUIDE
Our world is more connected than ever. As our communication platforms evolve, individuals and enterprises are producing and consuming more data than ever before in the history of our species. For businesses looking to thrive in a hyper-digital world, it is absolutely essential to have a robust and efficient communication system.
Over the past few years, the rise of CPaaS (Communication Platform as a Service) technology has transformed the way businesses can interact with their customers. To put into context how rapidly the sector is emerging, Gartner estimates that the market will have around a 30% CAGR until the year 2026.
What is CPaaS?
CPaaS or “Communications Platform as a Service” refers to a cloud-based platform that enables rapid scaling of communication capabilities by automating customer interactions and seamless integration of channels such as voice, SMS, push notifications, email, RCS, and messaging platforms such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, among others. All organizations use cpaas in different forms – from a small t-shirt vendor providing shipping updates over WhatsApp to an e-commerce business like Flipkart sharing OTPs to a customer for delivery.
Traditionally, the term CPaaS referred to specialized solutions for sms , email, etc.
However, with the rise of ott players and the switch to the cloud, modern CPaaS solutions evolved to utilize AI and machinelearning and can perform layered campaign testing, predicting friction points, and several other modules that greatly improve the time to market and provide a superior customer experience. When combined with automation, today’s CPaaS platforms can provide a powerful omnichannel stack for all business communication needs.
Since these systems are cloud-based, businesses that use them don’t need to remodel their existing infrastructure or hire costly technical experts to get them up and running. CPaaS providers offer ready-to-deploy solutions for enterprises with round-the-clock technical support.
How Does CPaaS Work?
CPaaS platforms provide a high degree of app customization by integrating customizable communications APIs and SDKs into your existing application.
What is an SDK?
SDK (Software Development Kit) is a tool for developers that contains APIs, code libraries, samples, developer documentation, and tools that make it possible to build applications quickly.
What is an API?
By using APIs, developers can incorporate external or third-party applications into a company’s existing infrastructure.
What is a Communications API?
Communications APIs allow businesses to embed text messages, voice calls, and other communication features into their product or application. They can help companies rapidly scale certain aspects of the business by removing the need to invest a lot of manpower and cost into reinventing the wheel. For example, instead of needing to hire developers who are experts at specific modalities such as SMS messaging or 2fa , businesses can use industry-standard communication APIs that provide these capabilities out of the box.
What are the benefits of using CPaaS?
A brand’s potential customer base might be using a wide variety of platforms such as WhatsApp, Instagram, Email, YouTube, etc. As a result, it is crucial that businesses are able to reach and communicate with their customers on the platforms that they prefer.
A CPaaS platform allows businesses to have truly omnichannel communication capabilities. With the right communication partner, a business can guide its customer journey from the first interaction all the way to them being a repeat buyer. AI-powered chatbots, WhatsApp customer channels, and PWAs allow businesses to automate a massive amount of customer service requests, freeing up internal resources for other important tasks.
Additionally, modern CPaaS systems use marketing automation, AI, and machine learning to understand a customer’s preferences over time, making each brand-consumer interaction more organic, personal, and memorable.
With instant integrations for the most widely used platforms such as Shopify and LeadSquared, CPaaS systems allow businesses to exponentially grow their reach and offer them the ability to reach customers at just the right time with just the right offer.
Who Uses CPaaS?
CPaaS systems are used by several different teams within an organization.
Marketing teams: Use CPaaS to build, deploy and analyze multi-channel campaigns, guide user journeys and optimize for different business goals
Sales teams: Empowers rapid lead response, ability to respond through the right channel with the right message to improve customer satisfaction
Customer service teams: Enables real-time customer support and assistance via live chat, voice, video, and the automation of most commonly received customer queries.
What is the difference between CPaaS, UCaaS, and SaaS?
Both CPaaS and UCaaS are cloud-based communication platforms, but they are built to be used for very distinct purposes.
CPaaS (Communications Platform as a Service): Offers a platform with a set of APIs and tools that allow developers to customize and integrate communication capabilities into pre-existing applications easily. It fuses the benefits of current-gen communication features and retains the familiarity of the company’s existing communication systems, making it much easier to use.
UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service): Offers a ready-made suite of business communication software and tools that businesses can use immediately to streamline their internal communications. With features like video conferencing, screen sharing, internal collaboration modules, etc, it supports remote work environments efficiently.
SaaS (Software as a Service): SaaS refers to ready-made, plug-and-play software solutions that are user-friendly and accessible to most average users. In a manner of speaking, CPaaS is like a subset of SaaS.
What are some examples of CPaaS in action?
Several industries have been utilizing CPaaS platforms to make their daily operations more efficient. Let’s talk about a few of them.
BFSI: Safeguarding financial information, protecting privacy, policy renewals
Healthcare: App-powered telehealth services, appointment reminders, and virtual patient care
Real Estate: In-app messaging, virtual home tours, and click-to-call buttons for closing more sales
Retail: Product delivery updates, providing product information, automated loyalty programs, and cart abandonment campaigns
Travel & Hospitality: Automatic alerts for changes to flight timings, room/flight booking confirmations, web check-in, and sharing holiday deals
Edtech: Student onboarding and registration, sharing schedules and notes
What is the future of CPaaS?
Most industry experts predict a rapid expansion of the CPaaS market cap, but what else can you expect to see from this space in the future? Here are some trends and predictions we think will be notable for the future.
Hyper-personalization: Modern CPaaS solutions have come a long way in providing truly omnichannel messaging capabilities. But improvements in AI and chatbot technology will continue to ramp up the ability to provide personalized interactions to consumers at scale.
Businesses are also looking for visual builders in their CPaaS solutions. Another area that has been gaining some momentum is tailored CPaaS solutions, which are custom-built to serve the needs of the customer first.
As API integrations become more widespread, businesses will be able to ramp up how much they account for an individual’s preferences in their messaging. For example, a clothing brand can use a geospatial data API to let customers in a specific area know about a special deal in one of their stores in the neighborhood.
Enhanced Video Capabilities: As 5G penetration improves, the low latency will make it possible for clear, stateful video sessions even for users on the go. Developers, emboldened by the prowess of 5G, will be incentivized to add interactive video chats as part of their customer service suite knowing that connections will be stable even in densely populated areas.
Advanced Integrations: As AI and ML technology improves, creative developers in the CPaaS world will be able to combine different services in unforeseen ways to improve human-machine communication. For example, if a patient with a heart condition that needs to be monitored feels trapped at home, they can safely step out provided they’re wearing a heart monitor that syncs to their mobile device and transmits over 5G.
Should an incident occur, the emergency care application using the APIs from the device can immediately set up a consultation with the concerned radiologist. With the ability to receive real-time remote consultation and prioritized ambulance availability, there is a possibility to save patients from potentially dire situations.
Deeper partnerships with telcos and mobile operators: Partnerships with Tier 1 telcos and mobile operators covering different geographies will be an essential part of ensuring that CPaaS-based campaigns reach as far and wide as possible. With improved network availability, global brands will continue to ramp up the quality of experiences their customers can expect regardless of location.
Deeper synergies: A lot of the future of the CPaaS space will involve the continual integration of platforms with existing major ERP, CRM, contact center, e-commerce, and internal communication tools. With the rise of visual builders, low-code/no-code, and the adoption of omnichannel and “channel-less” messaging, developers will be able to create efficient solutions that can be deployed quickly.
Looking at 2023 and beyond, we are incredibly excited about what is to come in the CPaaS space. This is an industry that is at the bleeding edge of technological research, and even the giant global impact it has had represents a small fraction of what is possible.