The battle between CPaaS and UCaaS


Communication, as we know it, has been completely overhauled by technology. With ‘on-the-go’ revolution at its peak, users are looking for a convenient bundle of communication tools. They expect personalised interaction and more connected experience across all channels, anytime and anywhere. Hence, the advent of comprehensive offerings like UCaaS and CPaaS. It’s almost surreal to see the number of benefits these services inject into our businesses. While UCaaS is designed for a more enterprise-centric, CPaaS has been designed more horizontally so as to cater to the communication needs of customers as well as businesses. Where UCaaS lacks, CPaaS makes up!

CPaaS being more comprehensive and flexible in nature allows for better B2C and B2C communication capabilities in contrast to UCaaS which caters mostly for internal communications. So, what brought these solutions into existence? Allow us to break them down for you.

Decoding UC/UCaaS

Unified Communication (UC) and Unified Communication as a service (UCaaS) are a set of integrated communication tools that provide a consistent and unified user interface across multiple devices and media types. With organisations increasingly encouraging remote work structures, there is a very clear need for the employees to be able to access various communication platforms from any device, anywhere. This boosts productivity and convenience.

For example, with UC and UCaaS, the employees can take part in crucial video conferences while still working from home, receive voicemails on their emails if they are travelling and connect with their colleagues via instant messaging from any device. The major difference between UC and UCaaS however, is in their delivery/implementation methods. While UC is deployed on-premise with hardware bought and deployed in-house, UCaaS is a cloud-based software solution wherein the hardware is managed by the service provider/vendor. The latter is more popular amongst organisations because of the below advantages-

  • Scalability: Depending on the need, organisations can increase/decrease the set of requirements.
  • Cost Effectiveness: Taking the burden of maintaining hardware off the organisation’s head, UCaaS provides a beneficial model of paying for the services only rather than the whole infrastructure.
  • Ease of deployment: UCaaS solutions are easily deployed since they come in a ready-to-use package.

In summary, UCaaS enables you to collaborate with your co-workers and partners in the most effective way. So, this one system should then suffice for all communication needs for any business, right? Not really, Let us see why.

Where does UCaaS lack?

While UCaaS does take care of the internal communication needs, there are a few areas where it presents a gap-

  1. Customer Communication- A unified communication system, such as UCaaS’s platform, may bring all the communication tools unified within one single interface; but they exist on a dedicated platform built specifically for workforce communication and collaboration only. Because of this, the level of integrating the communication functions to a customer-centric application can be little to none
  2. Low on customization- Think of UCaaS as a bundle of services already designed that need to be bought as a whole. There is very little customization that UCaaS offers in terms of talking to your existing apps and software. UCaaS is a vertically designed end-product rather than a flexible interface/enabler.
  3. Inflexible Pricing Capability- UCaaS works on a pay-per-user model wherein you buy the bundle for a set number of users. If different users have different service/feature needs, that does not translate into the cost of using these services.

CPaaS- the new kid on the block

If you are using a banking application and come up with a query regarding your savings account. In a typical scenario, the user will have to exit the app and switch to another for making a call to the customer service agent. Moreover, the agent will fetch all the credentials from you all over again to get you the information you need. And there is a possibility, that when you switch back to the banking app, you might have to log in all over again. CPaaS bridges this exact same gap. It is a cloud-based platform that through programmable APIs and SDKs, enables an in-house application to offer voice, video and chat capabilities! Now imagine being on the banking app and chatting with an agent within the app about your query, without having to exit the app. Or better, being able to video/voice call the agent from within the app such that the agent already has the information about your account. That is CPaaS for you, the next wave of contextual communication.

Let us look at the benefits CPaaS brings to table vis a vis UCaas-

Purpose – UCaaS is reminiscent of a traditional on-premises solution, where all functions and applications reside inside the platform. Whereas, CPaaS takes more of a build-your-own model, with open APIs that allow enterprises to customise and embed communications within existing business applications or websites. In short, UCaaS is an end product. CPaaS, on the other hand, is a platform to help developers easily use CPaaS APIs to build/integrate communication functions into any app that they are developing.

Customisation and Integration – UCaaS does bring a lot of benefits to the table but is unable to break-down its offerings into services. On the other hand, CPaaS has the ability to offer any of its offerings as an individual service. For e.g.: You may pick and choose any combination of voice, video and chat capabilities for your application.

Moreover, UCaaS is a stand-alone offering that has very little customization capabilities with your existing app. CPaaS gels with your app the way you require through open SDKs and APIs. That is to say, if you need only video capabilities- you need to embed only the video function into your application or website.

Pricing – UcaaS is based on per seat pricing. Whether the user uses all or just a part of the solution, irrespective, they will be charged on a per-user pricing model. CPaaS, on the other hand, is charged based on usage of either voice and/or video

Enhanced Customer Communication– Customer Experience Insight recently published an article describing consumers’ communication expectations as personalized, consistent, always-on and multiple-channel communication capability. CPaaS provides all the above as a service provided by vendors while tightly integrating with the organisation’s own applications/software. All this, with no capex expenses. At the same time, the cloud-based benefits of scalability, ease of deployment and cost-effectiveness remain same for both UCaaS and CPaaS.

CPaaS use case scenarios

Gartner predicts the global CPaaS market will increase by 50% within the next four years, reaching an annual revenue of $4.6 billion. That is hardly surprising. The expanse of CPaaS adoption amongst organizations has been as wide as a sea.

Healthcare, for example, is going increasingly digital. An app that provides an opportunity to consult a doctor on a video call is one of the best applications of CPaaS. More and more educational institutes are going online. What better way to teach live than to integrate CPaaS and have videos streaming live! A dearth of time and need for convenience are making the banks go digital too. More and more customers are asking for a secure and personalized online service and CPaaS comes to the organization’s rescue.

If you too are looking to embed communication into your applications or workflow, think CPaas and think EnableX. There is no better way of enhancing user-experience and as a result, to increase brand loyalty. Try EnableX for free !


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