The giant UCaaS and Business VoIP provider Vonage today announced their latest acquisition of TokBox, one of the industry-leading WebRTC video API providers. This all-cash transaction adds in a new critical aspect to Vonage’s communications platform, expanding to add video support. This acquisition makes sense considering the recent surge in video software providers, including many free video conferencing software options.
In fact, Vonage writes that they are now in the “leadership position in the programmable video sector” after acquiring TokBox, and the more than 2,300 customers that rely on the solution to integrate video directly into their apps and websites. The all-cash transaction cost Vonage an enterprise value of $35 million, including assumed liabilities.
What Is TokBox
TokBox enables organizations and developers to directly leverage the WebRTC protocol to embed live, interactive video and messaging right into their websites and mobile apps. I’ve touched on the topic of WebRTC before, and TokBox is a perfect example of just how powerful and accessible the protocol can be.
Similar to Vonage’s existing Nexmo platform, TokBox specifically provides APIs that enable developers to add plug-and-play video within just a few minutes. Developers can actually utilize TokBox’s interactivity to include voice or messaging functionality to provide complete customer service solutions.
Overall, TokBox’s platform includes a couple of different products and solutions, including:
- Live Video API – TokBox’s core solution is their Live Video API, which provides developers with the code they need to embed two-way video into websites and apps. Beyond just video conferencing, the API enables users to record interactions, share their screens and even integrate with SIP telephony.
- Interactive Broadcast API – With this API, developers can integrate and embed large scale interactive experiences, or broadcasts, directly into their websites and apps. A broadcast can host up to 3,000 participants and enable them to interact simultaneously, pretty much like a webinar. But what’s really unique is that TokBox enables broadcasters to stream to multiple platforms including Facebook Live, Twitch.tv and Youtube Live.
- Voice Chat Embed – With just one single line of code, TokBox makes it super simple to embed voice chat into websites and apps. With support for Wix, WordPress, SquareSpace and Zoho, the solution has fairly wide interoperability and can even support private chat rooms for 1:1 or small group interactions
- Insights – Of course no solution would be complete without advanced insights and analytics to better understand the solution’s performance. Use Insights to identify trends and quickly act to correct any inconsistencies.
So Why Video, Why TokBox?
As I already stated, TokBox was already considered one of, if not the, leading video API platform. With over 2,300 customers around the world, TokBox powers interactions for some pretty prominent names like The Royal Bank of Scotland, InTouch Health, KickStarter and Chegg. So, right off the bat, acquiring the leading provider helps push Vonage into that leadership position.
But, more importantly, Vonage is looking to accelerate its platform growth strategy. This is going back a bit far, but when I spoke to CEO Alan Maserak he had highlighted a bit on this strategy. As we see today, Vonage is continuing to evolve their platform and snatch up the necessary elements to round out a complete portfolio.
According to the press release from Vonage themselves, this acquisition “meaningfully broadens the Vonage API Platform by adding video to its existing strength in voice, SMS and IP messaging.” Alan shared his thoughts regarding the move, as well:
“We are incredibly excited to announce the acquisition of TokBox, the global leader in programmable video APIs. With TokBox, our API portfolio expands beyond voice, SMS and IP messaging to include global leadership in programmable video. TokBox significantly expands our total addressable market, and it is a major step towards global leadership in cloud communications,” said Vonage CEO Alan Masarek.
Alan continued, “The addition of the TokBox team also brings a workforce of skilled technologists to help accelerate our pace of innovation. We are excited to welcome TokBox’s team to our growing Vonage family.”
The Bottom Line
This was a smart strategic move for Vonage, further broadening their solution set and complimenting their existing API platform. According to their press release, the IDC has reported that “the U.S. programmable video market will be $7.4 billion opportunity by 2022, representing more than a 140% four-year CAGR.
That alone is solid reasoning for snatching up TokBox, and with Vonage already standing as a strong provider in programmable communications, it makes perfect sense to evolve the portfolio and leverage the latest technologies. However, I am still a little hesitant towards declaring video as the latest and greatest trend of Contact Centers.
After all, Amazon already tried something similar with their Mayday program, and that was just recently shut down. Now, there are far more uses for video and screen-sharing than simply customer support, and I admit that the latter is probably one of the best tools contact center agents can utilize. Only time will tell to see how lucrative programmable video becomes in the near future.