Part 1: Anything-as-a-Service (XaaS) – A Primer to Communications Platform-as-a-Service (CPaaS)

In this 3 part insight series, we will look into the world of Anything as a Service, with a specific deep dive into one of its very exciting subsets: Communications Platforms as a Service (CPaaS).

No doubt, the ‘Anything as a Service’ model has revolutionized how developers and their end users buy and consume products. It all started with Software as a Service, then came Infrastructure as a Service, Platform as a Service, heck, even CRIME as a Service is actually a real trend gaining traction. We could go on and on about the ‘as a Service’ model and its benefits to enterprises and individual users, and perhaps you could check out  this  this, and this for a detailed breakdown of what it is all about, and we will definitely get into it in upcoming insights, exploring different aspects and dynamics of this space.


But have you heard about Communications Platforms as a Service? Let’s dig into that for a few minutes.

CPaaS is a cloud-based platform that enables developers to add real-time communications features to their own applications without needing to build back-end infrastructure and interfaces. Key word on Communications here. Whether that is SMS, voice calls, video calls, chat, IVR (those automated voices in customer service numbers “Thank you for calling, dial 1 for X, 2 for Y”), and last but not least, WebRTC (more about this later).

This are all Communications tools, and if you don’t have an SMS server at your disposal, or a rack server that can host and exchange your own video conferencing calls, then how in the world can you make use of these tools for your own use-cases and business needs? It is difficult (i.e. expensive!) to build and operate your own communications center, from the real-time network infrastructure, to the interfaces, to the maintenance involved in running it all. Ultimately and at the heart of it, CPaaS platforms communicate with their end users through Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) that makes it easy for an application to talk to another application, over a network (such as the internet) using a standardized communication protocol.

The CPaaS Boom times are still booming…

The market is growing extremely fast, as businesses realize the need to reach their customers (and their own internal teams) through different communications channels, in a quick and easy way. And instead of re-inventing the wheel, dedicated CPaaS providers such as Nexmo, Infobip, Twilio and others have made substantial efforts to make it as easy as possible for companies to quickly utilize different communication functions or blocks or features, based on their specific needs.

In other words, it has become mainstream. Juniper research found that the market  is set to quadruple by 2022 to $6.7bn, having grown by 50% to more than $1.6 billion in 2017. Others are forecasting an even more optimistic picture of reaching $10.9 billion by 2020. Recent IPOs and higher than expected earnings further backs this up.

Gartner noted in its 2017 CPaaS market guide that “Enterprises can achieve competitive advantages integrating business processes with communications..Enterprise architecture and technology innovation leaders are leveraging the CPaaS approach to offer functionality such as SMS, chat, voice, speech recognition, two-factor authentication, and video.”

In the next part of this series, we’ll look into some examples of CPaaS use cases, and how it is currently being used around the world. In some cases, right under our noses, and in other not so obvious, but in equally exciting ways, new upcoming trends, and convergences in how CPaaS providers are and could be evolving.  

Are you using an aspect of CPaaS already in your business or organization? Interested to learn more about CPaaS and how to leverage it? Confused about the noise and options out there about it all? Drop us a message and we would be happy to talk to you about it. Make sure to subscribe to our newsletter to get notified of the next Insight release.