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What is CPaaS?

Caroline Sutton Caroline Sutton
Caroline Sutton
graphic of cloud network

Adding a friend to your AIM buddy list, starting a blog on LiveJournal,  connecting with friends near and far over Skype, and the iPhone’s release were some of the biggest landmarks that redefined the norm for communication in my (admittedly millennial) lifetime. Think about it: the cars we drive, our houses, and the grocery stores where we buy our food are mostly the same– but my options for telling someone a simple “hello” are vastly different than they were a few years ago.

These innovations and changes are a large reason why Communications-Platforms-as-a-Service (CPaaS) is a rapidly growing, emerging sector in technology. CPaaS providers enable voice, messaging, video, and/or collaboration features into applications or software services via, most commonly, Application Programmable Interfaces (APIs). On the back-end, these APIs are supported typically by VOIP networks to get calls and messages from one user to another. In the simplest plain English: they can give virtually any internet-connected device or application telephone functionality.

You can visit our developer site if you want to learn how you can use APIs or SDKs to embed these services, but here I want to focus more on what’s next for communication services.

Think about the emerging companies and sectors today: social applications like Snapchat, on-demand cars and food, chatbots, preventive care, etc. Now, more than ever, we need (or want) faster access to our services, viable feedback, and social features. CPaaS providers make it easy to embed communications in any application. And more than that– these APIs give developers and businesses the ability to track and add context to their communications with customers in their own fast-paced worlds.

IDC has forecast CPaaS to hit $8 billion by 2018 (public information). Meaning, we’ll see more and more of our favorite services and apps adding embedded phone calling, texting, video, programmable voice or some other type of communication functionality. To fill that need, we’re starting to see providers (like Bandwidth) begin to cater to those market demands.

So what separates one CPaaS provider from another?

We’re glad you asked! Some operate within certain regions, and specialized functionalities like chatbots or messaging. Some providers tap into their own VoIP networks for calling and texting functionality while others rely exclusively on third-party partners. It’s important to understand your needs quickly and which can best service you at optimal economics. That’s why we’ve written up a full guide on the types of CPaaS providers in the industry today for more advanced reading on this topic.

Are you excited about how CPaaS functionality could impact on your business? We want to hear your ideas in the comments!

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