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What Is Communications Platform as a Service?

Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS) is a cloud-based platform that allows businesses to communicate in real-time, whether that be by text, voice or some other means of communication.

Cloud computing generally involves three principle services: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS).

With IaaS, a provider offers their hardware, or infrastructure, to host software, storage, servers and more per a metered subscription.

Although we use servers every day, you probably haven’t put any active thought into doing it. SaaS, on the other hand, is more easily recognizable. SaaS refers to the cloud-based software you use. When you want to save something, instead of creating a storage application, you save it in the cloud. When you want to write something, you don’t draw up a code for a text editor, you use an online text editor. Companies provide this software to you as a service.

Finally, PaaS is a combination of IaaS and SaaS. It takes what would usually require infrastructure and delivers that to you as software. In regards to CPaaS, the platform as a service aspect means that your business can use communication services through a service provider without having to set up all the heavy infrastructure that would otherwise be required of advanced communication technology.

How Does It Work?

Before CPaaS, apps could not communicate with users via messaging. Now that the potential of CPaaS is clear, it’s prompted new sectors of communication that are instantaneous and incredibly easy. Social applications you use every day to call or chat with friends and colleagues probably have CPaaS as the foundation of their main operations. The mechanics of CPaaS have application programming interfaces (APIs) at the center. 

Communication-oriented APIs allow developers to implement telecommunication functionalities into software or applications. APIs are routines and protocols that help applications communicate effectively with one another. In this case, platform as a service APIs work together with Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) networks. The definition of VoIP is hardware and software that lets users transmit the voice data of a phone call over the internet. To put it another way, the APIs of a CPaaS can give an application or any other internet-friendly device the utility of a telephone.

What’s more, CPaaS has the capacity for real-time analytics. This means the details of any communication are available immediately, such as delivery time, call usage and more. And access can be granted from a user-friendly interface.

Imagine you didn’t get a package delivered on time, and you wanted to contact the post office to check on your delivery. Instead of searching for the telephone number of your local post office, you can access the USPS application on your smartphone. The app then conveniently deploys CPaaS to call the corresponding post office of your delivery directly from the app. This is one example of how CPaaS works.

As far as billing, your business need not worry about huge investments into a CPaaS. The model for CPaaS is usually to pay as you go, as opposed to traditional communication services that demand high-end physical groundwork. Your CPaaS provider likely won’t ask for anything upfront. Your business can customize its communication platform however is appropriate and track costs as the platform develops and interacts with clientele.

Traditional telecommunication carriers don’t count as CPaaS providers. While they do offer similar functionality as a CPaaS, they are often slow-moving and bureaucratic and typically have limited APIs — if they have them at all. Traditional carriers are not good partners for most software developers.

What Are the Different Types of CPaaS Providers?

CPaaS is becoming increasingly popular in the telecom industry, and its market size is larger than ever. In 2018, the CPaaS market was worth $3.3 billion, and its growth is predicted to rise exponentially to $17.2 billion by 2023. Globalization and digital communication platforms work hand-in-hand to provide businesses a wide range of options when it comes to picking the best platform as a service provider.

Select your company’s communication platform based on what your business specifically needs from a CPaaS provider. Every platform is not the same. Though voice and text messaging are standard, features like 911 emergency routing, instant messaging or video conferencing are rarer. There are two different types of CPaaS providers: API providers and API providers that also own networks.

  1. API providers focus on only one line of business. For this reason, they are ideal for startup companies. As they generally have less customizability, they are best if you need fast time to market, have straightforward specifications and your network traffic is low. However, if you are part of a bigger company, you might prefer a more complex model for greater scalability more direct support from the developers.
  2. API providers that are network owners are often called enterprise-grade and typically offer more features. They likely started as network owners and implemented API later. Owning the network allows them to have specialized services like a dedicated customer support team that is always on call and advanced features that could vary depending on the client. Your business might appreciate these services if you think a more comprehensive business-to-business relationship is crucial to your company.

Both sole API providers and network owners can provide the basics of any telecommunication service. The difference is in what you’re looking for — something quick and easy, or something hands-on and intensive.

How Is It Different From UCaaS and CCaaS?

Many acronyms tend to float around when CPaaS, or any -aaS ending for that matter, is in the picture. We’ve already discussed IaaS, SaaS and PaaS, with CPaaS being a subcategory. However, to understand CPaaS, you also need to know how it differs from other services like it.

  • Unified Communications (UC) is the parent category of all communication platforms. It is the jumping-off point of any conversation your business has about designing a framework for communication. As the root of all communication services, it connects all the relevant people and services together in one platform. Unified communications refers to the mediums we use every day to communicate.
  • Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) is a far-reaching branch of unified communications. The “-aaS” ending means another service provides your company’s unified communications as a service so you don’t need to provide hardware. UCaaS is a ready-to-go communications platform whereas CPaaS give you access to API tools to build your own platform.
  • Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) is a less common term since it is a more recent variant. It functions similarly to UCaaS, but provides software for call centers interacting with customers rather than for internal communications.

How Are Businesses Using CPaaS?

The future of CPaaS is bright. Businesses today are using CPaaS in a variety of ways, some more imaginative than others. Being familiar with the diversity of uses for CPaaS could help you understand the wide range of possibilities modern-day communication software can facilitate.

  • Virtual reality (VR) technology is already integrating with communication software to make distant transactions both life-sized and personal. With a customized CPaaS provider, you can upgrade video conferencing into virtual conferencing.
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) programs are taking the real-time data of CPaaS and analyzing it closely. With machine learning, these AIs are enhancing operations, improving performance and bettering the overall user experience.
  • Chatbots are interacting with users in similarly meaningful ways. They are designed to produce positive results with statistical information from previous interactions helping ensure those outcomes.
  • Everyday chat applications are becoming imperative in business procedures. Group chats rarely take place on your phone’s stock messaging app anymore. More nimble, feature-dense apps have become the norm.

How Can Your Business Use CPaaS?

Communication platforms for businesses can be a strategy for revitalization and change. That change can occur in several ways, but technology is our most awe-inspiring avenue.

Consumers strive for small comforts in their daily lives. That’s why a swipe and a tap is a more natural activity for most people than a deep dive into the darknet. It’s also a matter of convenience. Accessing a doctor’s note through your text messages or an appointment reminder popping up on your phone’s screen are examples of the simple luxuries that CPaaS can accommodate.

Many of your business objectives are likely also closely aligned with convenience. CPaaS is for you as well as your customers. By using a communications platform as a service, you leave behind the troublesome weight of configuration complexities and building banalities, all while receiving exceptional service.

What Do You Want From a CPaaS Provider?

You can expect standard texting and calling features from any CPaaS provider. After that, narrowing down your options might be a good idea. You can decide based on what your particular business needs.

  • Features: CPaaS platforms that have number purchasing and porting, video conferencing or multimedia messages are few and far between. If you want to take advantage of software that has a little more to offer than your basic text and call, it should be easy to find these providers since they are rarer.
  • Support: Some providers offer around-the-clock support. Others take a more backseat mentality and leave it up to you to figure your way around. If your business already has a steadfast and devoted team to handle software issues, then you may not need much external support. If this isn’t the case, you should quantify how much you’re willing to invest in a provider who is regularly at your disposal.
  • Scale: Small companies are often inclined to cast a net for other small companies that are affordable and understanding. Nonetheless, planning for growth is one of the first steps in starting a business. Can your CPaaS provider grow with you if your customer base suddenly increases? Would you want it to?
  • Service level agreements: SLAs are a contract between you and your service provider. Think about the SLAs you may have with your customers, and be sure your new CPaaS provider can deliver on the quality they promise. Look for testimonials if you are unsure.

How Can You Start to Work With a CPaaS?

Learning about CPaaS is the first step to working with a CPaaS provider. Signing up for a free trial lets you explore your options without taking on unnecessary risk. Many service providers allow you to browse their software, including developer tools, program scripts, digital libraries and more, with no actual commitment.

Start by researching CPaaS companies that can meet your needs. Once you’ve signed up for a few services, try making a sample app. Test your app alongside the other CPaaS providers and compare. Trying out different scenarios will help you find the best fit for your company.

How Can We Help You?

Communication is at the crux of every professional relationship, whether that relationship is between consumer and business or business and business. Every company, therefore, needs to have up-to-date, effective channels for communication.

Cloud communication supports any productive business. By 2025, the industry is forecasted to reach $167.1 billion in market size, and the market is growing at an annual rate of 16.8%. Accessibility, flexibility and affordability are only some of the benefits of going digital. Cloud communication is more adaptable and secure than ever before, providing your business with convenience and safety.

Every business needs to manage internal performance without increasing costs. Consolidated Technologies, Inc. has the same goal as your business. We offer business-to-business communication solutions that result in authentically collaborative customer and vendor relationships. Our commitment to customer satisfaction means supplying Unified Communications Solutions and IT Managed Services of the highest quality. Reach out to us today for a free consultation and ride the horizon of possibility with the cloud.