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What’s next for the CPaaS (Communications-Platforms-as-a-Service) industry? Here’s our best guess.

Caroline Sutton Caroline Sutton
Caroline Sutton
What's next for the CPaaS industry - 2 people sitting in chairs using laptops

Communications APIs have already brought an unparalleled level of transformation to the way that everyday people communicate—particularly when it comes to enabling B2C interactions. For a long time, businesses have struggled to keep pace with the real-time communications that consumers increasingly expect in their daily, largely mobile interactions.

Enterprises in particular have lagged behind the consumer market—often demanding that employees communicate within the confines of 1990’s-like telephone call and email silos. While enterprises have in many ways sought to embrace advances in real time communications technology, the advent of voice and messaging APIs has turned what was a labor and cost intensive initiative into the easy button for deploying today’s most sought-after (and expected) communications functions.

There is no doubt the market will continue to see more enterprises taking advantage of the ease and simplicity of voice and messaging APIs—rather than spending months or years building their own hardware-based solutions. We can expect to see the further blurring of lines between UCaaS and CPaaS platforms as businesses look to transition traditional desk phones into built-in customer applications—or to simply integrate calling and messaging within fully baked SaaS solutions such as Salesforce, SAP, Marketo, etc. Communications APIs will continue to be the backbone, allowing developers and enterprises to embed contextual communications into mobile apps, business workflows via text, websites, and social media.

We can also expect the continued trend toward delivering communications to consumers in the way(s) they’re most comfortable. While the Internet of Things (IoT) has people controlling virtually every aspect of their lives through the smallest screens—from HVAC to home security to navigating their way home—CPaaS will continue to serve as a great enabler, making it easier than ever before for developers to quickly and easily create the real-time interactions that make our lives tick and keep us all in perpetual (and totally connected) motion. Imagine being able to answer a quick text without touching a phone from anywhere in your house, or having your TV ring instead of your cell phone when you’re at home. All of these seemingly new age ideas might realistically come to fruition in the next few years, thanks to CPaaS.

As more enterprises tap into CPaaS, we expect to see an increased, industry-wide focus on security. Whereas many of the startups and innovators first to the CPaaS table might not have been on such heightened alert, larger enterprises seeking to connect multiple, disparate software platforms and responsible for massive amounts of consumer data and personal information have a lot more to lose when it comes to a migration toward the cloud. Since a key requirement of any CPaaS offering is phone numbers, enterprises tapping into CPaaS will also place increasing focus on working with trusted network partners with access to “clean” phone numbers in every market nationwide. For a true business-grade experience, it will be even more important to know a bit about your phone number’s history before you commit to using it. A dirty phone number might mean your phone number gets blacklisted more often, less than stellar quality calls, or unwanted inbound calls.

The CPaaS market has seen a lot of consolidation and acquisition in recent years, and there’s still room for more of that.  In recent years, many UCaaS players have joined forces with specialty CPaaS players to be able to easily offer up APIs in addition to more traditional communication infrastructure and equipment.

One thing’s for certain—the market for CPaaS is holding a one-way ticket to the future. Analysts firm ZK Research sized the CPaaS market at over $400 million in 2015; it is now forecast to reach $8.1 billion by 2019. That level of growth can only come when both small businesses and large enterprises alike tap into the power of cloud-based voice and messaging and deliver real value for the way people communicate today.

Are you excited for the future of CPaaS? Share your best guesses for the future of the industry in the comments!