Twilio is one of today’s “it” companies. In addition to its approximately 30,000 customer accounts and a successful entry into public markets earlier this year, the company boasts the third largest SIP Trunking install base in North America, less than two years after launching the offer.
Twilio is definitely one of the winners in the cloud communications space because it leverages technologies that deliver Over-the-Top (OTT) applications without touching the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) and charges to move these sessions from the web to the PSTN. It has also built its business model by making it easy to embed “sessions” and reselling services like SMS or MMS to those session purveyors.
So despite counting multiple Communications Service Providers (CSPs) among its customers, Twilio is encroaching more and more on their revenue streams. Can these providers fight back? Yes they can!
To beat Twilio at its own game, here’s what CSPs need to consider:
- Go to market with a web-based messaging platform supporting voice, text, video and enterprise customers, and work with systems integrators who can also leverage these services to create their own embedded solutions using developer-friendly APIs and mobile SDKs.
- Leverage turnkey solutions that enterprises and systems integrators can simply “reskin” or easily embed into existing workflows, ERP, web, social and mobile apps – for example concierge, live expert support solutions, click-to-chat, click-to-call, and click-to-see (video and visual applications). Instead of having to build them, CIOs can leverage reference web and mobile apps. If customization is needed, they can do it themselves or via system integrators.
- Cut out the middle man and sell the solution along with services, including into Twilio’s enviable base of large enterprise customers and growing number of small and medium businesses. Carriers own the network, the last mile and the interconnect connectivity and can easily introduce more competitive pricing while keeping healthy margins. As an example, 2FA on WhatsApp accounts for approximately 10 percent of Twilio’s revenue. This is a huge opportunity for a carrier with a large SMS network.
- Create revenue for developing and implementing solutions, with a long tail of recurring revenue for supporting high quality and reliable service. In fact, quality of service (QoS) is yet another area where carriers have a built-in advantage. Owning the network and the last mile enables them to offer higher, end-to-end QoS to their customers, which in and of itself opens up the possibility of deploying higher-end, enterprise-grade services.
- Reinvent mass communications deployments, for example in the growing contact center world, but with new more flexible software-based architectures leveraging new standards like WebRTC.
- Extend service reach by opening their up APIs and potentially federating with other CSPs (via a common API/SDK platform. This opens up the opportunity to sell Real Time Communications (RTC) services beyond their territory and drive more network consumption. One example is selling SIP Trunking within the CSP’s home geography and extending that reach across other geographies with support from federated carriers.
- Today’s world is about rapid service creation. Yet for many carriers, internal OSS/BSS and IT complexity make agility difficult. By leveraging cloud-based service enablement systems, carriers can launch new digital business services in weeks versus months and years. It’s even easy to try it before buying it, so carriers can fail fast, fail forward and if successful bring the solution in-house within their private cloud via an NFV-compliant CPaaS solution.
When CSPs make the right moves, they are in a position to rapidly build even more profitable businesses, beating Twilio at its own game. In fact, by integrating turnkey solutions for better customer engagement, improved customer service and Two Factor Authentication (2FA) for enhanced security, they can rapidly accelerate their offerings and immediately drive revenue.
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