The Cloud Communications Alliance annual event, Cloud Connections 2023, was held Jan 16-18 at the W Hotel in Ft Lauderdale, Florida. Leaders from around the industry came together for two days and shared experiences and knowledge that were helpful for all that attended. Arguably the most popular session of the event was the CPaaS Showcase Challenge hosted by the CPaaS Acceleration Alliance, which showed interesting new applications developed on top of CPaaS that are commercially available today.
The session included demo presentations from four different contestants and was judged American Idol style by five judges with $15,000 worth of prizes on the line for the winner. The judges were made up of top industry leaders: Michael Tessler (North Point Advisory), Clark Peterson (CCA Chairman), Evan Kirstel (Tech Influencer), Jordan Rupar (Managing Director at Q Advisors) and Kevin Nethercott (Managing Partner of the CPaaS Acceleration Alliance).
Kevin kicked off by sharing the fact that the CPaaS market is expected to double from $15B to $30B over the next 4-5 years, that is a lot of growth! He helped explain how that growth would come from SMBs beginning to consume new enhanced services to deliver improved customer experience to a new part of the market. He also got a reaction from the crowd when he shared the advice to never use the word “CPaaS” when selling CPaaS, but instead to focus on the use cases that help improve efficiencies for companies and their customers.
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BroadSource was first up and presented a working demo of being able to use both voice and data during a call that enabled a consumer to securely input their credit card information through touch tone DTMF on their phone. A very practical use case that got high marks on its commercial value from the judges.
BroadSource received the best reaction from the crowd when they showed an old facebook picture of CCA President, Joe Marion, that wasn’t maybe his best hair day and asked “would you give your credit card information to this guy?” The clear answer was a resounding NO! This clever slide helped them win the best presentation category.
Next up was CPaaS Application provider Braidio, one of the new Charter Members of the CPaaS Acceleration Alliance. Unfortunately Braidio’s exec team was called away to Dubai for an exciting customer launch and so was only able to share a greeting and product video with the group. The video showed a very robust business messaging CX experience that is sure to be a hit in the market.
Radisys went next where they, according to our audience, presented the most innovative use case of the show; realtime translation of English to Chinese in a voice conversation. Seeing this in real life was very impactful and I believe the audience very quickly realized the many use cases where this could be applicable, not the least of which would be with my Uber driver.
Finally, Vonage played clean-up and presented a call center use case with translation from English to French along with sentiment analysis. The sentiment analysis was very interesting as you could track word for word the impression the agent was having on the end user. This call was also connected into Salesforce.com giving Vonage the win for the most integrated use case.
And the Winner Is…
The audience was part of the show as well as they had the ability to vote real time on the different categories through a web app provided by Gamify. Gamify delivers the gamification of sales KPI data to manage spiffs and internal competitions. The feedback by the audience about being directly involved was fantastic.
The judges helped keep the contestants on their toes by asking pointed questions while giving in almost all cases positive feedback on what they saw. The audience picked the winners as presented above but everyone needed to wait until that evening during the dinner cruise to find out who the final winner was. After dinner and before dessert it was announced that there was a virtual tie and it took two tiebreakers to choose the final winner. In the end, it was Broadsource that walked away with the victory and the grand prize of a free membership from the CCA and a strategic CPaaS workshop from the CPaaS Acceleration Alliance.
Congratulations to all of the contestants as they really showed off some super cool use cases that can be taken to market today and provide substantial business opportunities and end user results.
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