The best communications platform as a service (CPaaS) makes it simple and easy to manage integrated communications with your business, while providing a rich array of features.
While there has been a growing shift toward UCaaS (Unified communications as a service), the difference with CPaaS is that it looks to integrate communications directly into key business applications.
This has become possible as computer giants increasingly provide open access to their IT architecture and cloud-based services. Using APIs, business systems can be customised and configured to suit, and even better is that CPaaS can run above any existing legacy systems.
As with any 'platform as a service', CPaaS offers the advantage of scalability, with businesses only paying for the services they actually use, which can make it much more cost-effective than investing in on-premises hardware.
Additionally, APIs aren’t simply about connecting to the cloud but about virtualising communications and integrating them with open architecture services, with many big vendors now easily accommodating this.
While there is inevitably some overlap between CPaaS and UCaaS and CCaaS (Contact Center as a service), CPaaS is specifically about the engine behind all communication services, rather than just focusing on one aspect of it.
The leading CPaaS provider
REASONS TO BUY
- Built for the cloud
- Library of APIs
- Strong functionality
RingCentral may not have been the first service to offer CPaaS, but the RingCentral developer platform has become one of the leading services when it comes to cloud communications.
Unlike some established providers who built their systems for on-premise hardware, RingCentral has built their services from the ground-up in the cloud. This has made them an industry leader.
The RingCentral Connect Platform contains an existing library of APIs for customising and configuring all aspects of communications, not least for integrating existing RingCentral Office features into other applications.
While the platform doesn’t aim for simplicity the way some other CPaaS providers do, what it does focus on is functionality, making this a powerful suite of services to use with its main RingCentral Office service.
2. Twilio Flex
The disruptive CPaaS provider
REASONS TO BUY
- Industry leader
- Wide range of applications
- Voice, chat, video, and SIP
REASONS TO AVOID
- Requires technical knowledge
Twilio Flex is a leading platform in the development of CPaaS services. Rather than simply looking to unify communications, they provide the means to completely customise how your communications work.
Although this means using some form of coding, it’s actually really simple and intuitive to use, and makes it relatively easy to create a single API that can control your communications features.
Alternatively, if you only want a programmable solution to a single channel, such as voice services, that can be done, too. In fact, Twilio offer separate pricing for voice, SMS, email, chat, and video, as well as specific APIs for WhatsApp and SIP trunking.
Pricing for Twilio Flex depends on the actual services required and the number of hours required.
The outstanding CPaaS solution
REASONS TO BUY
- Focus on ease of use
- Test environment
- Strong CPaaS platform
Brightlink is already an award winning providing of VoIP and UCaaS, but it also offers the Brightlink CPaaS platform as well. What the company manages to do with this, though, is find a good balance between features and functionality, with simplicity and ease of use.
The result is a really strong CPaaS offering that allows for communications functionality to be integrated into all kinds of CRM and marketing tools, for example, using various API’s.
From Brightlink this means for voice, messaging, and SIP, with an additional “command center” which functions as a library for documentation and resources, as well as a test environmental for your API configurations.
The result is an opportunity for enterprises to not only integrate communications across their business, but also provide turnkey access to network services, without the process becoming overly complicated.
4. Amazon Chime SDK
The big cloud CPaaS provider
REASONS TO BUY
- AI services
- Security layer
- Visual editor
We’ve already mentioned that CPaaS allowing for easy integration with cloud services, and Amazon haven’t been slow to latch onto this by providing their own CPaaS offering through AWS, called Amazon Chime.
At its heart Amazon Chime is simple, scaleable, and reliable environment for working with communications integrations. While advertised as a cloud contact solution, that would be understating both the tools and power of this platform.
For a start, Amazon Chime taps into the same AI and dynamic processes that powers Alexa, making for not just a connected platform but a smart one, too. Additionally, Amazon try to make workflows and integrations easy to set up and use by providing a visual editor, so that teams can easily customise what they need without programming anything.
Amazon can do this by having APIs built into its core, but these can still be customised as required. Additionally, integrations are easy to add for other open access platforms such as CRMs.
The result is an easy way to build your own rules and integrations with the simplest voice platform, and because it runs through AWS it means there are the additional benefits of utilising other parts of this service, such as security and AI, as well as only paying for the resources you use.
The omnichannel CPaaS provider
REASONS TO BUY
- Omnichannel APIs
- Global carrier network
- Simple customisation
MessageBird is another CPaaS provider worth taking note of, because a couple of reasons: firstly the way they try to keep the whole process as simple and easy to use as possible by providing a visual editor to develop your APIs; and secondly, because of their focus on providing a truly omnichannel experience.
So while other CPaaS services tend to focus on voice, texts, and emails, MessageBird also looks to integrate a comprehensive range of chat applications and options on top of these core services.
Another plus is that Messagebord also has a huge direct-to-carrier infrastructure that allows it to not only provide high quality voice and video communications, but also provide this service global.
This mix of features really makes MessageBird stand out as a CPaaS provider, the simple dashboard tools it provides can only make it attractive to a wide range of businesses for the fact that they are not going to have to hire or divert IT staff simply to carry out their integrations.
Surprisingly, their pricing is competitive in many areas too, especially by comparison to other UCaaS or CCaaS providers.
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Brian has over 30 years publishing experience as a writer and editor across a range of computing, technology, and marketing titles. He has been interviewed multiple times for the BBC and been a speaker at international conferences. His specialty is Software as a Service (SaaS) applications, covering everything from office suites to IT service tools. He is also a science fiction and fantasy author, published as Brian G Turner.