What Is Communications Platform as a Service?

Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS) is a cloud-based platform that allows businesses to communicate in real-time, whether that be by text, voice or some other means of communication.


Cloud computing generally involves three principal services: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS).

With IaaS, a provider offers their hardware, or infrastructure, to host software, storage, servers and more per a metered subscription.

Although we use servers every day, you probably haven’t put any active thought into doing it. SaaS, on the other hand, is more easily recognizable. SaaS refers to the cloud-based software you use. When you want to save something, instead of creating a storage application, you save it in the cloud. When you want to write something, you don’t draw up a code for a text editor, you use an online text editor. Companies provide this software to you as a service.

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How Does It Work?

Before CPaaS, apps could not communicate with users via messaging. Now that the potential of CPaaS is clear, it’s prompted new sectors of communication that are instantaneous and incredibly easy. Social applications you use every day to call or chat with friends and colleagues probably have CPaaS as the foundation of their main operations. The mechanics of CPaaS have application programming interfaces (APIs) at the center. 

Communication-oriented APIs allow developers to implement telecommunication functionalities into software or applications. APIs are routines and protocols that help applications communicate effectively with one another. In this case, platform as a service APIs work together with Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) networks. The definition of VoIP is hardware and software that lets users transmit the voice data of a phone call over the internet. To put it another way, the APIs of a CPaaS can give an application or any other internet-friendly device the utility of a telephone.

What’s more, CPaaS has the capacity for real-time analytics. This means the details of any communication are available immediately, such as delivery time, call usage and more. And access can be granted from a user-friendly interface.

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What Are the Different Types of CPaaS Providers?

CPaaS is becoming increasingly popular in the telecom industry, and its market size is larger than ever. In 2018, the CPaaS market was worth $3.3 billion, and its growth is predicted to rise exponentially to $17.2 billion by 2023. Globalization and digital communication platforms work hand-in-hand to provide businesses a wide range of options when it comes to picking the best platform as a service provider.

Select your company’s communication platform based on what your business specifically needs from a CPaaS provider. Every platform is not the same. Though voice and text messaging are standard, features like 911 emergency routing, instant messaging or video conferencing are rarer. There are two different types of CPaaS providers: API providers and API providers that also own networks.

  1. API providers focus on only one line of business. For this reason, they are ideal for startup companies. As they generally have less customizability, they are best if you need fast time to market, have straightforward specifications and your network traffic is low. However, if you are part of a bigger company, you might prefer a more complex model for greater scalability more direct support from the developers.
  2. API providers that are network owners are often called enterprise-grade and typically offer more features. They likely started as network owners and implemented API later. Owning the network allows them to have specialized services like a dedicated customer support team that is always on call and advanced features that could vary depending on the client. Your business might appreciate these services if you think a more comprehensive business-to-business relationship is crucial to your company.

Both sole API providers and network owners can provide the basics of any telecommunication service. The difference is in what you’re looking for — something quick and easy, or something hands-on and intensive.