What Is CPaaS?
CPaaS (Communications Platform as a Service) is a cloud-based communications solution. This service includes essential communications features — like text messaging, web chat, and video conferencing — and packages them into a single platform.
Similar to solutions like CCaaS and UCaaS, CPaaS is offered “as a service” from your communications provider. CPaaS systems can be integrated with other apps through application programming interfaces (APIs) and software development kits (SDKs).
How Do CPaaS Solutions Work?
CPaaS systems use APIs and SDKs to provide other apps with communications functionality. Instead of developing these features from scratch, you can use a CPaaS solution to quickly add functionality like business SMS, video conferencing, and interactive voice response (IVR).
Communications APIs are really where the magic starts. APIs power CPaaS, meaning every high-end communications capability — from SMS to video conferencing and beyond — comes down to the platform's API offerings. If a CPaaS API has the feature you need, it’s easy to integrate that feature into other applications.
As an example, a warehouse might want to build SMS capabilities into its employee notification app. With CPaaS cloud communications, the company can sidestep the technical and capital requirements of building an SMS feature from scratch. Instead, by using a CPaaS API, they can implement the feature quickly and with minimal disruption.
Advantages of CPaaS Technologies
A CPaaS solution can benefit companies that want to customize or build their own business platforms with specific communication features. Here are some of the biggest advantages that come with CPaaS technologies:
Easily add features to proprietary apps. With CPaaS, adding features like text messaging, interactive chatbots, and video chat is simple. Thanks to APIs, these features can be easily added and customized within your own proprietary apps.
Save time developing new features. New features can be brought to all communications functions immediately. This means less time waiting for rollout to individual departments or subsections of your business.
Simplify communication with a single vendor. Centralizing communications with CPaaS means you don’t need separate vendors for different types of features. This reduces the risk of errors and incompatibilities, and it can reduce your total costs.
Improve accessibility with multichannel communications. You can always meet customers in the platforms and mediums they desire, from social media to video to SMS and beyond.
Future-proof your applications. Having a full-service CPaaS vendor at your back makes it easier to future-proof applications. As technologies change, CPaaS APIs adapt to keep pace. And that means your apps evolve, too!
CPaaS Features and Communications APIs
APIs (Application Programming Interface) can play an important role in powering business communications. CPaaS solutions typically include a range of communications APIs. These can include:
Voice APIs — Goes beyond phone calls to enable personalized and automated customer interactions
Video Meeting APIs — Integrate live video into your web, mobile, and desktop apps
SMS APIs — Securely send and receive text messages to create better customer conversations
Messaging APIs — Chat with your customers on their preferred social channels
Email APIs — Deepen and measure customer engagement with automated emails
Authentication APIs —Protect your company from fraud attacks with verification options
Artificial Intelligence APIs — Design your own customer journey with easy-to-use tools
Use Cases for CPaaS Software
CPaaS is primarily focused on enriching customer communications channels. Because of this, the technology is a great tool to help companies looking to implement high-tech communications capabilities that may otherwise be beyond their reach to develop and implement.
Here are just a few of the use cases where CPaaS can shine:
Automating and Improving Customer Service
Healthcare providers and government agencies can use CPaaS for automating reminders, managing appointments, broadcasting civic alerts, and mass distribution of outbound voice calls and SMS notifications for a wide range of purposes. Particularly in light of the pandemic, it's been helpful for contact tracing, vaccine rollout and signup, and reaching priority populations.
Transport and logistics companies can easily send status alerts for deliveries through SMS and other means.
The travel and hospitality industry can integrate CPaaS with existing applications to offer contact-free services to guests, like in-app calling and messaging. Relaying information like discounts and offers, room swaps, and delays can be made easy.
Making the Most of Virtual Communications
Online learning providers, including schools and colleges, can easily access features like video calling, screen sharing, and call recording for real time communications.
The real estate industry can use virtual meetings to visually guide prospective buyers and sellers through options and make meetings more interactive. Appointment scheduling and reminder services are also useful.
Retail companies can provide a fully integrated video experience that allows their experts to give advice to customers regardless of location. They can also provide SMS, chat, AI, and chatbots that support customer self-service applications.
Bringing AI Into Customer Communications
AI can help contact center agents by anticipating customer needs and providing context that will drive faster resolutions.
In the retail environment, smart shopping assistants can make purchase suggestions based on the user’s browsing history.
AI-driven chatbots provide powerful assistance in many industries, quickly answering customer questions and guiding users through a personalized buying journey.
These are only some of the creative use cases that show the ways CPaaS can transform how you do business. Truly, the problem-solving capabilities are as endless as your imagination.
CPaaS vs. UCaaS
The main difference between CPaaS and UCaaS is that CPaaS is made to order while UCaaS is one-size-fits-all. UCaaS offers access to a standalone suite of communications tools. Meanwhile, CPaaS allows businesses to build communications features into the tools they currently have.
Another way to think about it is that UCaaS belongs in the software as a service category because it's effectively a large-scale communications application. CPaaS, meanwhile, is a platform as a service that gives enterprises the ability to customize, modify, and implement features as needed.
Unlike UCaaS systems, CPaaS offers a fully integrated, customizable platform. The features can be modified down to the development level, so you can adapt them to the way you work in any way you like. This will give your business far more flexibility and space to be creative.
CPaaS and Individual APIs
The whitepaper How to Move Communications to the Cloud outlines several advantages to using an advanced CPaaS over individual APIs:
A single-solution provider offers seamless integration between front- and back-office teams, which allows for faster customer service.
There is simpler administration because the provider only needs to manage one account for each employee rather than multiple providers managing a separate account for each employee.
Problem-solving is easier. Should something go wrong, you only need to contact one provider rather than determining responsibility among multiple providers.
Single-stack providers have an incentive to add new innovations and third-party integrations. Single-providers may be less willing or less able to respond to innovation.
When a change is made to a CPaaS system, it applies to all applications at once. Changes to individual APIs may only be made on a piecemeal basis.
Is CPaaS Right for Your Business?
As we’ve discussed, CPaaS is a cloud-based service that’s designed to facilitate communications, helping businesses launch multi-channel marketing campaigns, boost customer loyalty, and enhance ROI on their technology spend. But it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution.
Having trouble deciding if CPaaS is right for your business? Here are four questions to help you find the answer:
Which Communication Features Do You Need?
The key piece of the CPaaS acronym is the C — communications. Most businesses want to enhance the customer experience, largely because doing so is key to winning and keeping customer loyalty in a dynamic market. For their part, customers tend to hop from one channel to the next while interacting with a company, which can lead to lost context and more confusion.
One of the benefits of CPaaS is that it retains crucial contextual information
CPaaS allows you to enhance customer experience and forge lasting relationships by engaging them on their preferred channels — phone calls, texts, messaging apps, video, live chat, email, and more.
The communication features you need will be driven by a number of factors, including how, when, and why customers want to communicate with you and which channels they prefer.
Who Is the Focus of Your Communications?
CPaaS is a natural fit for consumer-focused communications. It’s also an excellent choice for mixed use cases, where there’s a need for both internal and consumer-facing communications.
If you’re focused exclusively on internal communications, you might not need the power and flexibility that comes with CPaaS. In these cases, UCaaS might be a better fit. Some businesses will even use CPaaS for consumer communications, while using UCaaS for internal communications.
What Level of Involvement Are You Comfortable With?
Customizable CPaaS deployments require either hiring in-house developers or partnering with trusted third parties to create and manage API implementations. Additionally, companies must keep a running tab of which APIs are in use, which functions they support, and how they affect the communications stack as a whole.
What Level of Customization Do You Need?
CPaaS gives you complete flexibility to add specific features to the tools you currently use. Employing communications APIs, businesses can implement high-tech communications capabilities that may otherwise be beyond their reach to develop and implement — and that fit their particular needs.
For example, healthcare providers and government agencies can use CPaaS for automating reminders, managing appointments, and more. Transport and logistics companies can easily send status alerts for deliveries through SMS.
The travel and hospitality industry can integrate CPaaS with existing applications to offer contact-free services to guests, like in-app calling and messaging. And online learning providers, including schools and colleges, can easily access features like video calling, screen sharing, and call recording.
Explore Our CPaaS Technology
CPaaS may not be the most prominent of the "XaaS" acronyms, but with the customized communications benefits it can provide, it may soon become the most important one you know.
CPaaS combines essential communications features — phone calls, texts, messaging apps, video, live chat, email, and more — in a single cloud-based platform. Businesses enjoy the flexibility to easily add features into their proprietary apps, connect with customers in their preferred channels, and simplify communications with one vendor.
If you’re ready to take advantage of advanced communications features, Vonage is here to help. For more information and advice, get in touch with a Vonage expert today.
Want to know more about how CPaaS combines essential communications features into a single cloud-based platform? We’re here for you! Call us at 1-844-365-9460, or fill out this form! A dedicated specialist will show you how CPaaS:
- Lets you easily add features to your proprietary apps
- Simplifies communications via a single vendor, reducing the risk of incompatibilities, as well as your total costs
- Connects you with customers in the platforms and mediums they desire, from social media to video to SMS and beyond
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