Microsoft’s big event is this week and they launched Azure Communications Services – CPaaS!! The Techcrunch article gets a few things inaccurate – Twilio, MessageBird, AWS – have similar portfolios, but so does Nexmo/Vonage, Kandy by Ribbon, Bandwidth*, Plivio, Telstax and quite a few others. Maybe each offering is less “complete” or flushed out but most of these CPaaS platforms can provide what you need.
I wonder how/when Microsoft jumped into the telephony pool? Someone asked me if it was the Metaswitch acquisition. Metaswitch gave them VoLTE experience and core routing platform but not the services.
The articles says that “the capabilities here are pretty much what you’d expect. There’s voice and video calling (and the ability to shift between them). There’s support for chat and starting in October, users will also be able to send text messages.” Porting telephone numbers and provisioning new ones is coming next month. This sounds like Bandwidth.com is in the background. They provide this service to Google and Microsoft. Now they just get pushed closer to the users.
So 75 Million daily active users now have access to telephony. Apparently, Microsoft already has supports 5 Billion minutes of conferencing daily on a low latency network that will now help power Azure Communication Services.
My take on this is: This is like OCS. OCS was a good concept but it took how many iterations to become a winner as Teams? OCS > Lync > Skype4B > OFF365 > Teams. OCS launched in 2007. This is a 13 year journey. It may come quicker than that but new services from MS always come with a blue screen of death.
I don’t know how easy the CPaaS platform is – but Twilio and Amazon aren’t exactly plug-and-play either. The three factors: Pricing, Ease of Use and Service Delivery.
Pricing: it is a usage/metered service from most providers. If it ends up being really expensive, users will shop.
Ease of Use: how easy will it be to add these capabilities to MS Teams and other places? Currently, Twilio and Amazon require a devops team. The closer this gets to plug-and-play, the more usage it will see. The more friction, the more enterprise stays with Intelepeer or Twilio or whomever.
Service Delivery: Where the rubber meets the road! If this does just work, dead in the water. Email is a service that requires five 9’s but telephony requires more! SMS gateway struggles will kill this service. So if it doesn’t work flawlessly in October, oh well.
To all the companies that have worked on and launched Microsoft direct routing for Teams: OH CRAP! You better hurry to – not only acquire customers – but make them very happy! Microsoft Partners buy from Microsoft – right or wrong! (They know where their bread is buttered.) That said: not too many MS Partners will jump into the pool of CPaaS too fast, so that gives UCaaS providers about a 15 month runway.
Cisco: it’s your move!
I know Zoom is the Kleenex of video calls, but for businesses MS Teams will eventually replace that. It used to be clunky to be an external attendee of a Microsoft conference – not any more! And now the video calling and SMS will be native!
PGi, GoTo/LogMeIn and others – time to brainstorm and to talk to your largest clients to see what they need/want.
MS Teams is getting Headspace-partnered meditations to improve mental health, per SeekingAlpha.
Azure is also getting satellite imaging as a service (Azure Orbital) from KSAT, SES and others per GeekWire.