#1 Top Rated
2020 Industry Leading Cloud Communication Platform That Empowers Customers
Programmable SMS & Voice - Global Calls & Text with The #1 Developer Trusted API
Twilio Flex - Customize Every Aspect - 100% Programmable Contact Center Platform
Deploy Worldwide Booking Request & Multi-Channel Support in Days
99.999%+ API Uptime Guarantee and Redundant Carrier Interconnects in Every Region
A System with Multiple APIs so that You Engage Your Customers on any Platform
SMS, MMS, and RCS text support for reaching customers that prefer text or chat
Verification features to ensure that there’s fraud protection on SMS, flash calls, and voice
24/7 support + comprehensive collection of how to’s, SDK and helper libraries, and tutorials
A Simplified Customer Oriented Communication Platform Solution
Aggregate Information from Real-time Data Streams
React to Events with Intelligent Automated Workflows. Graphical No-code Design
Reduce Integration Effort & Costs. 50+ Pre-Built Out-of-the-box Connections
A CPaaS Provider with Multiple Platforms to Simplify API Development
A service level agreement that guarantees users a 99.95% uptime to stay connected
Set monthly plans for calling and messaging as well as a pay-as-you-go option for more flexibility
Voice, SMS, and WhatsApp are available to reach customers based on their preferred method
A Scalable Communications Platform with For Global Organizations
Omnichannel platform provides SMS/MMS, voice, instant messages, live chat, emails
99.9% uptime guarantee ensures that data is delivered in a timely manner
Versatile platform sends over 5,000 messages and calls per minute concurrently
CPaaS Software Reviews from Users:
What I like most about Twilio is that...
What I like most about Twilio is that it allows me to initiate a chat bot from an SMS message.
This is...- Greg D.More Reviews
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I have been using Five9 for about seven years by now, and I have never had issues utilizing the Software,...- Anthony R.More Reviews
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Twilio provides lots of APIs to integrate communication systems in own product like sms, voice call, video...- Sagar D.More Reviews
What is CPaaS?
A communications platform as a service (CPaaS) is a collection of backend services that run on a centralized cloud-based communication platform. It enables your IT staff and developers to add customized communications functions like voice, video, chat, and SMS to applications.
For example, if a business has an app that a customer uses to access their service, a CPaaS platform can be used by developers to add and customize communications channels to the app. When you order an Uber ride, the app permits you to not only call the driver through the interface, but also provides connectivity with chat messaging.
CPaaS provides a back-end communications platform with connectable application programming interfaces (communication APIs) so that your team develops front-end communications capabilities for your customers to use. As a result, developers spend less time building features in real-time, especially considering that providers grant tools to make adding APIs easy to modern business applications.
Cloud architecture powers CPaaS. Any communication feature that’s incorporated into an existing app is hosted on the cloud platform, so the infrastructure is managed from anywhere. This also cuts the cost of purchasing servers to manage the software – developers write and add code directly to the cloud.
CPaaS includes several types of channels for communication, including:
- Voice: This works just like a standard call. Virtual numbers are generated separately from the numbers used on the device housing the app.
- Push Messaging: Push messaging notifications pop up on the smart device independent of the application.
- SMS: This allows the CPaaS software to send text messages to users of the application.
- Fax: Like traditional faxing, mobile app users scan items using their cameras and send them as online faxes. Online faxing is very secure for several industries.
- Web Chat: Live website chat is similar to SMS, but instead of the messages being sent through a local SMS program, the messages are delivered through a browser.
- Social Media Chat: CPaaS applications can also send text-based messages to users on the social platform of their choice.
- Email: When adding an email API to an existing application, email notifications can be sent to customers.
- Artificial intelligence (AI): When added to an application using a CPaaS platform, AI communicates directly with the user. This is done by either text or through voice.
- Chatbots: Chatbots provide preset options for users to navigate. For example, in e-commerce, when an order hasn’t arrived, the chatbot gives users a list of options to either track, seek a refund, or reorder their product.
- Video: Video in CPaaS creates a face-to-face experience for customers that are communicating with a business. This is a form of web conferencing.
Learn more here: What is CPaaS (Communications Platform as a Service)?
Undestanding CPaaS vs UCaaS
Though both Unified Communications as a Service and Communications Platform as a Service are cloud-based tools to manage the ways customers interact with agents and improve internal communications, there are a few subtle differences between UCaaS vs CPaaS.
UCaaS provides a complete unified communications solution within a single, standalone ready-to-use platform. UCaaS solutions give companies the opportunity to manage voice, SMS texting, phone, video, and more channels of communication all in one place.
CPaaS, on the other hand, is a bit more customizable when it comes to designing a communications solution.
Instead of getting an all-in-one communications platform, CPaaS users can pick and choose the features and channels they need to add to existing infrastructure, application, or service. In this case, the app likely already has one or more communication channels in place but wants to add more to improve the overall customer experience.
The Benefits of CPaaS
In addition to providing the opportunity for in-app and real-time direct communication between end-users and customers, one of the top benefits of CPaaS is its overall ease of integration.
In the past, it was difficult to find existing communication solutions that were compatible with your app or service.
But the development of CPaaS APIs means that developers no longer have to re-create their own backend or completely rearrange the app infrastructure. Instead, they can select integrated communication channels a la carte.
Additional benefits include:
- Omnichannel communication through a single API
- Cloud-based communication means that there is no need for on-premises solutions
- The ability to add new channels and upgrades on an as-needed basis, saving time and keeping costs more manageable
- User authentication to ensure the protection and privacy of customer information on any channel
- Users have the ability to set preferences, meaning they can communicate via their preferred channel in addition to routing messages to multiple channels/devices
- Automated responses free up agents to attend to more pressing issues
- Providing companies with a cost-effective way to increase global presence
CPaaS Pricing Models
CPaaS providers are offering several pricing models. These include:
- Pay-As-You-Go: This is the most flexible pricing model. Pay-as-you-go enables users to pay only for the services they use. This is the most agile model for businesses looking to scale upward or downward.
- Freemium: Freemium service providers are entirely free – up to a certain level. This is useful for smaller businesses that do not need extensive communications APIs for their applications. It’s also a smart choice for businesses looking to explore a specific service without commitment.
- Risk-Reward: Risk-reward depends on the fulfillment of certain preset key performance indicators (KPIs). Businesses using a provider with this type of pricing model will have to set performance goals that are agreed upon before a campaign starts.
- Volume-Based: This pricing model is based entirely on the volume of usage. The more you use, the lower the pricing.
- Committed Use: Similarly to volume-based, a certain volume of usage will provide the business with a significant discount. The difference is that the business will have to commit to a specific level of use beforehand.
- Per-User or Per Seat: Primarily, a provider charging per user or per seat will include a unified communications application that will have a pricing around $15 to $25 per user (seat), per month. This is also common for providers that service contact centers, though the pricing schema for these is often in the $75 to $300 range (per seat).
What to Look for in a CPaaS Solution
When on the market, it’s vital to seek out a vendor that delivers the right features so that your development team can hit the ground running. Here are some features to consider as you seek out a provider:
- Modules and Wrapper Incorporation: Modules are installable components that add quick and easy communications functionality to a platform – these include functions like authentication and sentiment analysis. Wrappers add configuration parameters to the application without the need to go too deep into the code.
- Visual Builders: Visual builders are for teams that may not have advanced development staff. Instead of being entirely code-based, a visual builder provides a graphical tool that non-technical users can use to add communications features. This also helps these users create workflows and business processes for developers.
- WebRTC SDKs: WebRTC software development kits (SDKs) simplify the process of making changes to the API of your application. Since CPaaS vendors use cloud-based architecture, your developers make changes from browsers, and the changes are saved across all involved instances.
- Templates: Templates are a tool that significantly decreases development time because development staff builds from a preset design. There are third-party templates available, but it’s always better for the provider to create them and grant them to customers so that developers won’t have to maintain them.
- SMS and Voice Routing: Using home location register (HLR) information, service providers ascertain the permanent subscriber information for customers. This is important for businesses with multiple call centers that want to send their customers to the center that’s located nearest.
- Analytics: This is useful for customers because the vendor provides information on usage, busy times, and call outcomes. Some vendors deliver fraud detection so that a database is formed that clearly labels fraudulent numbers/users.
What to Look for When Comparing Vendors
Varying vendors offer different features, and some of these features are better for organizations in specific industries, while others may go unused. Here are some features to consider:
- Global Reach: Not every vendor supports the same features around the globe. For example, while your app may have calling ability overseas, it may not be able to send SMS messages to some territories. This isn’t always important for regional businesses, but it’s critical if you’re going to need to extend communications into foreign markets and reach customers on their preferred platform. Consider vendors with more reliable networks in various global territories.
- Provisioning of Local Numbers: Most CPaaS vendors provide virtual phone numbers that the application uses when contacting customers. These are independent of smartphone numbers and provide a channel of voice communication that is accessed by PSTN lines. These numbers can have vanity configurations, be toll-free, local, or international.
- Presence: This is particularly important for vendors that are providing UCaaS features. Presence information allows users to change their availability status through the application quickly. Statuses like “do not disturb (DND)” and “away” are two presence statuses to look for.
- Self-Service: Some providers like Twilio and Voxbone have dedicated self-service repositories of information for development staff. This makes it easier to troubleshoot and implement changes when there’s online documentation to help resolve issues.
- Enterprise-Grade Security: For a platform to have VoIP security for enterprise clients, information sent through the API will have to be encrypted. This means that the development staff will need an encryption key for all information sent. In addition, encryption and security measures will need to be in place for data as it’s at-rest as well as when it’s in transit through transport layer security (TLS).
- Compliance: Not every provider is compliant in sectors like financial services and healthcare, so it’s essential to understand what each vendor is offering. For example, for HIPAA compliance, you’ll need to sign a business associate agreement with the service before it’s allowed to send or receive patient information.
- Uptime: Providers use georedundancy to ensure that there are backup servers positioned around the globe to pick up the slack when servers go down. Vendors usually have at least a 99.9% uptime guarantee, but if you need stability, seek out ones that have at least 99.999% uptime SLAs.
- Technical Support: The most effective vendors will have a strong technical support department to help developers who run into roadblocks. This support staff should be available through multiple channels.
Uses of CPaaS by Industry
In order to better understand whether or not CPaaS is a good fit for your business, let’s quickly take a look at common CPaaS use cases by industry.
Users can meet with bankers via video chat to discuss lending options, complete loan applications in their banking app, make credit card payments, and access account statements.
Most importantly, CPaaS lets banks send users real-time notifications to alert them of low balances and suspicious activity within their bank accounts. Users will be able to quickly confirm whether or not they’re the ones using the card and, if not, connect with an agent to ensure the card is canceled and reordered.
Users can scan checks within the app to deposit them, transfer funds between accounts on the go, or send money to someone else.
Real estate professionals can easily increase engagement with listings by using CPaaS to install a click-to-call link on profiles and by allowing buyers to schedule a virtual or in-person open house within an app.
They can also submit questions about the property, notify agents when they’re running late to an appointment, or even use video calling for a private tour of the property.
In addition to appointment reminders, attorneys and other legal professionals rely on CPaaS to collect client information, schedule consultations, and provide basic answers to common client questions.
Update clients about court dates and location changes, send reminders about potential penalties for missed dates and even follow up with billing.
In the healthcare sector, CPaaS is used to send patients appointment reminders and confirmations, and in the age of COVID-19, even test results.
Patients can choose if they’d like to get these automated reminders via text, call, or through another channel.
It’s also used in telehealth applications, letting patients send completed intake forms and attend video conferences with their medical providers. Medical devices connected to the Internet of Things can collect essential patient health data and send it to providers.
Hospitality and Travel
In the hospitality industry, CPaaS is used to send hotel reservation confirmations, flight information, and updates like cancellations and gate changes, or to facilitate communication between hotel management and guests.
Users can book train/bus tickets, schedule tours, and even request room service via the hotel’s app.
In addition to allowing in-app purchases and customer service, one of CPaaS’s most valuable capabilities within the retail industry is real-time communication about order updates.
Customers can change their delivery address and window, receive updates about the package’s arrival and current location, and even receive notifications when a package is out for delivery.
CPaaS is also used for sending out coupons and special offers, alerting customers to upcoming sales and in-store events, or to automate thank-you SMS texts when customers place an order. It’s the perfect complement to your existing CRM system.
The State of CPaaS
A recent IDC study shows that the CPaaS market will be valued at roughly $17.7 billion by 2024, up from $4.2 billion in 2019.
Given the massive shift towards a remote workforce brought on by 2020’s COVID-19 pandemic, companies of all sizes now need to replicate traditional workplace business communications strategies from anywhere – not just the office.
Studies from Microsoft show that in just two months, May and June of 2020, companies were forced to make two years’ worth of digital transformation to stay afloat.
For many, CPaaS has been the saving grace when it comes to keeping customer service and engagement consistent while transitioning to remote teams for both startups and established companies. Since CPaaS works with existing technology, it prevents the learning curve associated with understanding new platforms and interfaces during a time when entire business strategies have needed to be reworked seemingly overnight.
Additionally, since CPaaS prevents in-house IT teams from having to configure and implement new communication channels and features, it saves companies time and money.
While in the past, CPaaS was an option, by 2021, it will have become a requirement for many.
Telephony APIs allow users to make, manage, and receive phone calls from any device including a desktop computer, smartphone, or tablet. Advanced call routing options make it easier to connect by sending business phone calls to multiple agent phone numbers or departments without forcing employees to give out their private telephone numbers to clients.
The role of AI In CPaaS has become more important than ever in the increasingly remote business world. In 2021, features like conversational AI/IVR and natural language processing (NLP) provide a higher level of customer self-service and allow for greater task automation.
Additionally, CPaaS in 2021 will see an increased focus on streamlining internal team collaboration and communication. As opposed to connecting with team members across multiple interfaces per communication channel, CPaaS helps employees manage SMS texts, chat messages, email, video conferencing, and phone systems via VoIP and SIP trunking within the same dashboard.
Finally, 2021 will bring about an increased focus on Internet of Things (IoT) solutions within the CPaaS space.
The Bottom Line
The number of CPaaS vendors entering the market is ever-increasing, so you can expect to find a vendor that’s going to provide your organization with the features it needs. This technology seamlessly blends application development with business communications, so you’re going to need an agile development team to incorporate the communications channels you need into your custom applications.
Are you going to need reliable routing for both calls and SMS? Are you reaching foreign markets? What about compliance and enterprise security? How many channels are you planning to use for customer communication? All of these are questions that you’ll need to answer before you select a vendor that will match your business. Many vendors have their own focuses, so it’s critical to perform a little due diligence before selecting one.
Communication Platforms as a Service - Additional Resources
- What is CPaaS? Pros, Cons, Features, Top Providers
- What is Elastic SIP Trunking: Benefits, Features, Costs
- UCaaS vs CPaaS: Here’s the Difference
- Twilio Pricing, Plans, Features in 2022: A Closer Look at Their Products
- What is a Communication API?
- What is Rich Communication Services (RCS)? [Guide & Top Providers]
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