TATA Communications Focuses on APIs for Operations and CPaaS
Clearly, Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS) is becoming a critical part of the modern telecom landscape. The ability to use Restful APIs to integrate PSTN voice and SMS into applications is transforming many businesses and enhancing customer interactions. From two factor authentications, password changes, to notifications, CPaaS is enabling businesses to streamline and enhance their customer interactions. When you get that notification of your upcoming dentist appointment or use an SMS to get a code to change a password, it is virtually certain that a CPaaS provider is involved. CPaaS has become the hot telecom market in 2017. CPaaS market leader Twilio achieved “unicorn” status before a successful IPO in 2016. Companies like Avaya and Cisco have announced their CPaaS offers, Vonage Business bought Nexmo as a CPaaS offer, and Bandwith introduced their version of CPaaS. Clearly, CPaaS is an important part of the modern telecom landscape.
Tata Communications, a leading provider of global telecommunications that manages over 10% of all international calls, has over 700,000 kilometers of fiber optics, and handles more than 24% of the global internet traffic, totaling more than 7600 petabytes a month, is now focusing on the CPaaS space. In April, Tata is releasing an extended set of APIs designed to build on the existing operational APIs and extend into CPaaS. While there are many other vendors in the CPaaS space, Tata believes their scale and experience positions them uniquely for CPaaS solutions.
The Tata Communications APIs are designed to be complete Lifecycle APIs for companies deploying CPaaS solutions. They are building on a range of provisioning and management APIs they have developed as part of their role as the world’s largest voice wholesale carrier. These APIs are used to provision numbers, circuits, and other factors, as well as manage the ongoing operations. Tata is extending these APIs into the CPaaS realm as well as adding a range of Restful APIs for the application integration functions that are at the core of CPaaS and are used for specific communications events. The challenge for Tata will be to build a base of corporate and independent CPaaS developers using their APIs and platform versus other available alternatives. Delivering the APIs is just the first step in the process of building a CPaaS business.
The provisioning APIs are widely being adopted in Tata’s wholesale carrier business. For example, one of their large customers is a global provider of cloud-based collaboration services. They use Tata for the carrier infrastructure that delivers the voice integration solution and use the Tata configuration APIs to automate provisioning. These automated APIs reduce the provisioning and management time required to deliver a solution. As Tata has built these APIs for their large wholesale customers, extending them to CPaaS customers, even those that are smaller, is part of the overall Tata offer. This includes SIP automation, back office APIs, and more.
The new capabilities are a set of APIs to enable easily adding communications to applications. There are a full range of APIs, including traditional CPaaS functionality, as well as advanced APIs such as a two-factor authentication API that can be used with SaaS applications to dramatically reduce fraud. These APIs have been developed to enable easy and quick integration by both enterprises, carriers, and independent freelance developers. In addition to the range of APIs, Tata has built a developer portal called the APIZone that is designed to get developers up and running quickly and delivering value using the Tata CPaaS infrastructure. The portal includes a sandbox for development as well as online forums. This combination makes it easy for developers that have experience with other API sets in the CPaaS space to rapidly engage and deliver value with the Tata CPaaS solution.
Tata believes their CPaaS solution has four key advantages:
- Scale and Architecture – The Tata CPaaS solution is based on the Tata global network, incorporating the largest fiber plant and over 40 data centers globally.
- Cost – The Tata CPaaS solution is an integration of the CPaaS middleware layer with the underlying telecom infrastructure. When compared to solutions that overlay a CPaaS middleware layer onto third-party telecom infrastructure, this can deliver significant cost savings, especially at scale.
- Quality – Tata claims that the combination of the integrated CPaaS middleware and telecom network, combined with its range of tools and processes for their wholesale carrier customer assures a high level of quality and reliability that are not achievable in layered approaches.
- Flexibility – the global reach, combined with data centers and a wide range of peering assures that the solution will have the flexibility to grow and adapt as a customer’s solutions grow.
The Tata team is focused on delivering a solution that enables their customer to rapidly build new services and capabilities to enhance overall revenue streams and delight customers. While CPaaS capabilities can transform a business, delivering them with quality and consistency are critical to business results and Tata believes their solution has the elements to meet the most stringent needs in the market. The challenge for Tata will be to recruit corporate and independent/freelance developers. While some may be new to CPaaS, success will require recruiting developers that are currently using other platforms. To do this, Tata must deliver on both the value promises as well as an effective set of APIs.
This paper is sponsored by Tata Communications.