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EDITORIAL CPaaS gaining traction with SMEs – the next big telemedia opportunity?

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The move to offering content and monetisation platforms as a services (CPaaS/MPaas/CMPaaS – take your pick) has already garnered a lot of attention in telemedia land and the model of aggregating content, messaging, payments and even social and OTT engagement and marketing into a single solution is one that is already reshaping the industry.

Until now, these offerings have been put to MNOs and increasingly brands to help them ramp up their digital services for locked down consumers. Until now. Now SMEs are starting to take note of these platform-packaged offerings as a way of not only improving their own efficiency, but also bringing a levelling of the playing field when it comes to competing with the big boys.

The Internet has always had a democratising effect. Ecommerce, very early on, made it possible for a woman making her own jewellery in her back bedroom to be able to compete with the largest jewellers and brands.

As online marketing and technology got better, and as more big names invested in online, that playing field tilted again in favour of those with clout (and deep pockets). However, the shift to digital that the coronavirus pandemic has wrought worldwide has seen this shift shift again. And this time it isn’t just in ecommerce.

Across the board, digital content and services are where everyone is heading for entertainment and, increasingly, inspiration and education. While big brands and telcos has been quick to tap into these CPaaS plaform offerings to get ahead of the curve, they also make it easier for much smaller and more niche businesses to also start to tap into the movement.

By the PaaS model’s very nature, it is a commoditised offering that can be something of a pick and mix. While there are economies of scale for big players, smaller businesses are also seeing that they too can play through buying just some of the parts that are on offer from these platforms.

SMEs can also start to look at whether it is effective to have content and gaming, or mobile payments. They can also look at these platforms as a key way to add messaging and engagement through WhatsApp, other OTT services and, even, RCS.

In fact, communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS)  are forecast to exhibit exponential growth between 2021 and 2031, with the market projected to reach US$ 5.28bn by the end of 2021, according to a study by an ESOMAR-certified market research and consulting firm.

It suggests that the US will remain a highly lucrative market for CPaaS, accounting for nearly 86% of the market in North America, while growth in UK will happen at an impressive pace. In 2021, the market is expected to register 15.7% YoY growth in the UK. Germany and France will also exhibit considerably high demand for CPaaS.

This chimes with the moves being seen to add not only comms services, but also content and everything else as a platform model, driven by the need to move fast as consumer habits morph in the Covid-19 era.

And where CPaaS had been viewed as a lucrative market for telemedia players looking to service the MNOs and larger brands, suddenly there is an opportunity now to open this up to many more businesses indeed.

Suddenly we are now not just looking at a trend that will spread across the industry, but perhaps we are witnessing a fundamental change in how all the services telemedia companies offer are delivered and deployed – as well as who uses them. This could, in fact, mark the very shift to making these things mainstream that the industry has so long craved.

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