INTERVIEW NEWS

Communication First at ValueFirst!

Arvind Kalla

Similarities:

  • Provided as a service (PaaS), Platform as a service (PaaS), and Software as a service (SaaS) are all examples of cloud-based service models. Users can get to these services using APIs and other web-based interfaces.
  • • Outsourced Infrastructure: In all three configurations, the service provider is responsible for maintaining the hardware and software. Users no longer need to worry about constructing and maintaining their own computer systems.

The concept of ‘As a service’ (AAS) has been there in the industry for quite a sometime. What it means nothing but a business model in which something is being presented to a customer, either internal or external, as a service. It has its own benefits for the providers and the users. What we are seeing is its continuous evolution since inception. Concepts like Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-service (PaaS), and Software-as-a-service (SaaS) are few such services. These days we are hearing XaaS, meaning delivery of anything as a service, such as products, tools and technologies. Recently, joining the league is CPaaS, Communication Platform-as-a-service. Associate Editor, channel360mea deep dived to understand the concept, its benefits to the customers and the role of channel in taking it to the market. Below are the excerpts of the interaction with Mr. Arvind Kalla, Chief Regional Officer, ValueFirst

Differences:

  • Voice, video, messaging, and real-time data exchange are some of the primary services that CPaaS is designed to support. It gives developers access to APIs and other resources for building communication features. In contrast, Platform as a Service (PaaS) provides a shared environment for app creation, distribution, and management. Software as a service, or SaaS, is a model of delivering software in a preconfigured, online format.
  • Developers can make use of CPaaS’s adaptability and customization options. It enables them to develop specialized software with built-in support for various forms of communication. PaaS offers a base upon which applications can be built and tweaked, although it may lack some of the communication-centric features found in CPaaS. Since SaaS is pre-made, it usually can’t be altered in any significant way.
  • CPaaS provides developers with more agency over communication capabilities, allowing them to craft bespoke user experiences. To create software, PaaS gives programmers access to a set of resources including code libraries and runtime environments. On the other hand, software as a service (SaaS) provides fully functional programs that don’t call for custom coding.
  • CPaaS, PaaS, and SaaS can all have unique pricing structures. Payment for CPaaS typically occurs on a consumption-based model (in terms of minutes, messages, or API calls). The fees for using a PaaS might vary from service to service, from subscription to pay-per-use. Typically, users of SaaS pay a monthly or annual subscription fee to get access to the program.

What is CPaaS (Communication Platform-as-a-service)? What are the potential business verticals using it? 

 CPaaS, or Communication Platform-as-a-Service, refers to a cloud-based platform that enables developers to integrate real-time communication features and capabilities into their applications and services. CPaaS providers offer a set of APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) and SDKs (Software Development Kits) that allow developers to access and leverage various communication channels, such as voice, video, messaging, and more.  


Potential business verticals that can benefit from CPaaS include: 

Customer Support and Engagement: CPaaS can enhance customer support and engagement by enabling businesses to incorporate features like voice calls, video calls, SMS, chat, and chatbots into their applications. This can facilitate real-time communication between businesses and their customers, improving customer service, and enabling personalized interactions. 

E-commerce and Retail: CPaaS can be utilized in the e-commerce and retail sectors for functions like order confirmations, delivery notifications, appointment reminders, and customer feedback collection. Integration of communication channels into these processes can streamline operations and enhance customer experience. 

Healthcare: CPaaS can be used in healthcare for applications like telemedicine, appointment scheduling and reminders, patient notifications, and secure messaging between healthcare professionals and patients. Real-time communication capabilities facilitate remote consultations and enable efficient coordination among healthcare providers. 

Financial Services: CPaaS can enhance the customer experience in financial services by enabling secure two-factor authentication (2FA) through SMS or voice calls, facilitating real-time notifications for transactions, and enabling video conferencing for remote consultations with financial advisors. 

Transportation and Logistics: CPaaS can be utilized in transportation and logistics industries for functions such as dispatch notifications, real-time tracking updates, delivery confirmations, and automated status alerts. Integration of communication channels can improve operational efficiency and provide transparency to customers. 

Education: CPaaS can be used in the education sector to enable virtual classrooms, real-time collaboration, and communication between students and teachers. Features like video conferencing, messaging, and file sharing can enhance remote learning experiences. 

Travel and Hospitality: CPaaS can facilitate communication in the travel and hospitality industry by enabling features like booking confirmations, travel updates, concierge services, and real-time communication with staff members. 

These are just a few examples, and CPaaS can be applied across various other industries and verticals where real-time communication is essential for customer engagement, operational efficiency, and service delivery. 

With competition having big names like Avaya and Microsoft, what is your USP to stand out? 

ValueFirst is a prominent CPaaS provider with its own unique selling points (USPs) that differentiate it from competitors like Avaya and Microsoft. Here are some of ValueFirst’s key USPs: 

Global Reach: ValueFirst has a strong global presence, serving customers across multiple regions, including the Middle East, India, and South East Asia. Our extensive network coverage allows businesses to leverage communication capabilities across different countries and regions, providing a truly global reach. 

Comprehensive Communication Channels: ValueFirst is a one-stop place for every business pursuing conversation with their consumers. ValueFirst offers SMS, Voice, Email, and Chatbots in very evolved ways. ValueFirst is also the official partner of Google and Facebook to deploy solutions such as Google-verified SMS and WhatsApp API. Any business can just plug and play its entire CPaaS needs with ValueFirst. 

Scalable and Flexible Solutions: ValueFirst’s CPaaS solutions are designed to be scalable and flexible, catering to the needs of businesses of all sizes. Whether a business requires a simple integration or complex communication workflows, ValueFirst’s platform can adapt to evolving needs and scale accordingly. 

Developer-Friendly Platform: ValueFirst provides a developer-friendly platform with robust APIs and SDKs, empowering developers to integrate communication features seamlessly into their applications. The platform offers extensive documentation, developer tools, and support, enabling developers to quickly and efficiently build communication capabilities into their software solutions. 

Focus on Security and Compliance: ValueFirst prioritizes security and compliance to ensure that customer data and communications are protected. They employ industry-standard security measures and adhere to data protection regulations, providing businesses with a secure environment for their communication needs. 

Expertise and Industry Experience: ValueFirst has a strong track record in the communication industry, with years of experience serving businesses across diverse verticals. Their expertise allows them to understand the specific communication requirements of different industries and provide tailored solutions that align with their customers’ needs.

Customer Support and Service: ValueFirst is known for its excellent customer support and service. They offer dedicated support channels and a responsive team that assists businesses in resolving any issues or challenges they may face while utilizing the CPaaS platform. Their commitment to customer success sets them apart and ensures a positive experience for their clients. 


How has been the demand from the MEA region? 

The demand has been quite high. There are several factors indicating an increasing interest in and adoption of CPaaS in the region: 

Growing Digital Transformation: The MEA region has been witnessing significant digital transformation across various sectors. As businesses and organizations embrace digital technologies, there is a need for efficient and scalable communication solutions. CPaaS provides the flexibility and agility required to integrate real-time communication capabilities into digital services and applications. 

Mobile Penetration: The MEA region has a high mobile penetration rate, with a large portion of the population accessing the internet and engaging through mobile devices. CPaaS, with its focus on mobile channels like SMS and messaging apps, aligns well with the mobile-first nature of the region, making it an attractive communication solution. 

E-commerce and Mobile Payments: The growth of e-commerce and mobile payment services in the MEA region has created a demand for communication solutions that can facilitate transactional messages, order notifications, and customer engagement. CPaaS platforms can provide the necessary infrastructure to enable such communication channels, enhancing the customer experience in online transactions. 

Increasing Startups and Innovation: The MEA region has seen a rise in entrepreneurial activities and startup ecosystems. Many startups and innovative companies are emerging in sectors such as fintech, health tech, logistics, and e-commerce, where real-time communication is crucial. CPaaS platforms offer these startups a cost-effective and scalable way to incorporate communication capabilities into their applications. 

Customer Engagement and Support: Businesses in the MEA region are recognizing the importance of customer engagement and support in building strong relationships and improving customer satisfaction. CPaaS allows organizations to enhance their customer service by integrating features like voice calls, messaging, and chatbots, enabling personalized and efficient communication. 

While the specific demand for CPaaS in the MEA region may vary across countries and industries, the overall trend suggests a growing interest in leveraging CPaaS solutions for communication needs. 

Does the channel involved require extra special training to be a part of it?

See in this line the word has two meanings. First is channel (SMS, Voice, Email, WhatsApp, Instagram, etc.). Any business can just plug and play its entire CPaaS needs with ValueFirst when uni-channel or multi-channel. While each channel has its own benefits and ways to use, ValueFirst has made the experience intuitive and easy for business users over a no-code technology development.  

Next with channels we mean the channel partners who are taking the solution to the customers. Channel partners involved in making available our products require no training to effectively sell and support our solutions. Any business can just plug and play its entire CPaaS needs with ValueFirst when uni-channel or multi-channel. While each platform has its own benefits and ways to use, ValueFirst has made the experience intuitive and easy for business users over a no-code technology development. There is no extra special training required to spread joy with ValueFirst. 

Currently we work with about 15 channel partners in the region. The plan is to double the numbers by the end of the year. Resellers and Channel partners play a big role in our success. 

How has been your journey? Any major milestones achieved in 2022? 

2022 was a breakthrough year at ValueFirst. Some of our major achievements included, launch of Infinito, an omnichannel marketing platform that enables businesses to build communication journeys over SMS, Email, WhatsApp, RCS, and Chatbot. We also launched Google Business Messaging. With our solution, enterprises can now combine entry points on Google Maps, Search, and brand websites to create rich, asynchronous messaging experiences that delight customers and drive business results. 

Last but not the least, we won 5 Industry’s biggest awards including Best Digital Campaign by IAMAI , Best ICT Platform by World CSR Foundation, Most Trusted Partner by DMA Asia, CMO Choice Award by DMA Asia, Technology Fast50 by Deloitte 

Can you share specific plans for the year 2023? 

2023 is exciting for the CPaaS industry. At ValueFirst, we will be focusing on ‘Integration with Emerging Technologies’. We have already built ML capabilities over Generative AI offerings such as ChatGPT. More integrations will come into the picture that enables our customers to utilize features such as sentiment analysis, voice recognition, and predictive analytics, enhancing communication capabilities and user experience. 

Next, we will focus on ‘Enhanced Security and Compliance’. By this we mean that with the increasing importance of data privacy and security, we will place a stronger emphasis on robust security measures and compliance with data protection regulations. This could include end-to-end encryption, secure authentication methods, and compliance with privacy laws like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and similar regulations in different countries of the Middle East.  

Next, we are looking at Global expansion. ValueFirst aims to expand its global reach by extending its network coverage and establishing partnerships with local carriers and messaging platforms in different regions. This can enable businesses to access our services in a wider range of countries and leverage communication capabilities on a global scale. 

How similar and different CPaaS is from other such as PaaS or SaaS etc? 

Communication Platform as a Service, or CPaaS, is a subset of cloud services that aims to facilitate communication between software engineers and corporations. While other cloud services models, such as PaaS (Platform as a Service) and SaaS (Software as a Service), have parallels to CPaaS, there are also significant distinctions.  

In conclusion, Communication-as-a-Service (CPaaS) is a cloud service paradigm aimed at supplying developers with integration and communication possibilities. It’s similar to PaaS and SaaS, but it has a unique set of features and capabilities that are tailored to meeting communication needs. 

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