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CPaaS trends reflect expanded vendor offerings

CPaaS trends, like high-level APIs, are helping providers expand their portfolios and strengthen offerings for organizations that want enhanced capabilities.

To conduct business more effectively and efficiently, organizations are demanding more capabilities from communications platform-as-a-service tools. So, to meet the demand, CPaaS providers are adding more tools with advanced capabilities to their offerings to differentiate from competitors in a crowded market.

The capabilities providers offer for CPaaS elements -- voice, messaging and video -- have seen rapid growth, according to a vendor assessment from IDC, based in Framingham, Mass. The report identified CPaaS trends influencing this growth, such as the use of advanced APIs, low- and no-code application flow building tools, and microservices and containers for streamlined scalability.

CPaaS provides easy integration of communications capabilities with business workflows through APIs. The primary APIs driving the CPaaS market are messaging APIs, said Irwin Lazar, analyst at Nemertes Research, based in Mokena, Ill.

High-level APIs key trend for CPaaS

Vendors leading the CPaaS market have moved beyond delivering basic API functions to offer more complex capabilities, according to the report.

CPaaS vendors offering more high-level APIs is a growing CPaaS trend, said Michael Brandenburg, analyst at Frost & Sullivan, based in San Antonio. Unlike basic APIs, high-level APIs are programmed to go beyond transactional capabilities and often provide more specialized and complex functions.

With many organizations prioritizing messaging capabilities, CPaaS providers are focusing on high-level messaging APIs that have advanced capabilities to track customer experiences from start to finish, Brandenburg said.

The capabilities of high-level messaging APIs include the ability to send customer reminders, status updates for orders, marketing messaging and multifactor authentication, Lazar said.

CPaaS providers are offering more than just advanced messaging APIs. They are seeing demand for high-level APIs with phone number provisioning capabilities, Lazar said. These API offerings provide a phone number that can enable workflows such as interactive voice response (IVR) and call routing, he said.

"One innovative example is Vonage's Smart Numbers, which allows for capabilities like enabling a caller to schedule a meeting in someone's calendar if the call recipient is unavailable," Lazar said.

Low- and no-code applications drive the market

As organizations look for more tailored CPaaS experiences, low- and no-code application flow tools are gaining popularity. Low-code and no-code flow development use visual drag-and-drop tools that enable users to develop and customize applications without having to learn to code, unlike traditional development tools. Low- and no-code building programs enable end users to create their own workflows and integrate them into CPaaS services, Lazar said.

"Low code and no code will ultimately democratize CPaaS," Brandenburg said. "Anyone within a business will be able to tailor communications services."

These low- and no-code flow tools enable lines of business to take charge of workflows without needing to defer to IT or a developer, he said.

"I expect you'll see low-code or no-code development tools rapidly become a competitive differentiator among not only collaboration and communications vendors, but also CPaaS providers," Lazar said.

Scalability drives two CPaaS trends

Many organizations are drawn to CPaaS for its rapid scalability. CPaaS providers are enhancing scalability to strengthen their offerings.

Scalability is driving two trends in the CPaaS market. First is providers shifting from using their own data centers to running services in a cloud service platform, such as AWS, Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud Platform, Lazar said.

"In a public cloud environment, CPaaS providers can take advantage of the resiliency, geographic reach, scalability and computing power available from big cloud platform providers," Lazar said. "In addition, CPaaS vendors can leverage features available from the cloud platform providers, like AI, to enhance applications."

The second CPaaS trend related to scalability is CPaaS providers embracing modern application development, including the use of independently deployable bits of code in microservices and containers. This kind of application development enables rapid scaling for individual application processes, Lazar said.

With microservices, rather than update an entire application -- which takes more time and resources -- individual parts of an application, such as IVR or call controls, can be scaled, enabling organizations to meet customer needs faster, he said.

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