Communication Platform as a Service (CPaaS) is a cloud-based platform that enables human to human conversations in real-time – like sales calls and conferences. You can use a CPaaS with an API to get your real-time communications app up and running with AI fasting features for sending and receiving video, VoIP, or text-based communications in real time.
Voice and video streaming applications have quickly emerged as an integral feature in almost every aspect of life today. As a result of the global pandemic in 2020, a significant portion of the population suddenly had to start using some kind of video streaming app to help with work, school, and socializing. On the working from home (WFH) front alone, the number jumped from 7% working remotely pre-pandemic to up to 64% in the US.
It would be easy to dismiss this shift as a necessity and that things will return to normal once the pandemic ends, but there was a fundamental change in the overall attitude in how people worked once they were able to see that WFH didn’t, in fact, affect productivity. Even early on in the pandemic it was clear that remote working actually boosted productivity. By July, Twilio found that the pandemic had accelerated the digital communication strategies of companies by six years.
For a lot of people, it was the video streaming platform Zoom that carried us through the pandemic. They gained 100 million users between March and April alone. Agora.io, another video streaming company saw their revenue jump from $64 million in 2019 to $36 million in the first quarter of 2020. They were ready to go public by June of 2020
Zoom and other video streaming services like Agora.io and Skype are known as unified communications as a service (UCaaS) platforms. They provide complete functionality (video, chat, voice, etc.) out of the box.
But, if you’re looking for something that is a little more customizable and gives you the power to capture human to human conversations to analyze with AI, you need a communications platform as a service (CPaaS).
A CPaaS is a cloud-based platform that lets developers add real-time communication (RTC) features to their own applications, sparing them from building complex backend infrastructure and interfaces.
Buying a voice/video streaming app
It doesn’t matter too much which CPaaS you decide to work with. You can add an RTC SDK from this list from one of the major companies and move forward.
You can now use the existing development framework to build real-time communications features much faster and easier. Everything you need for an effective communications app comes right out of the box, ready to be applied to a variety of use cases, like:
- Video-enabled help desks
- Telehealth services
- Sales calls
This, however, just scratches the surface. Once you get it integrated, your primary focus on all things RTC doesn’t revolve around new features of the integration but conversations themselves that are rich in data.
Integrating an existing CPaaS or RTC platform makes it so that your primary focus remains the conversation. With the CPaaS out of the way, you focus on AI insights like the ones you access with Symbl.ai.
With a pre-built video streaming app, you gain immediate access to conversations and access to all of the features that Symbl’s conversation AI provides.
When shopping for a video streaming platform, think about what you need to do with it. For example, if you want transcriptions, you need to ensure that the platform can capture audio in a high enough quality format (preferably lossless), as well as capture each audio stream as a separate channel. Plus, you want an application that transfers at a decent bitrate (128 Kbps or higher), as well, although 5G and Agora’s SD-RTN is making this less of an issue than it once was.
For example, Dolby.io can be used to integrate pre-built noise suppression into your platform. This not only makes it easier to hear what people are saying in meetings, but it also makes it easier to capture high-quality audio streams for transcription or further analysis.
Don’t waste time on infrastructure
As a developer resources for developing your business are best spent on product focused features rather than your own internal RTC integration. Today’s CPaaS allows you to accelerate time to market and put your applications on the fast track.
With an internal RTC integration out of the way, you now have a chance to focus on what aspects of a conversation you would like to access rather than how to access that conversation in the first place. Your access to conversations at that point is straightaway.
When choosing a CPaaS, there are some questions you should ask before committing.
- Does the platform offer flexibility in terms of supporting API integrations? API integrations are where the magic happens with video streaming apps. The more APIs you can work with, the more insights you’ll be able to pull from your conversations. Even a basic CPaaS can become a powerful business tool if you’re able to customize it using APIs.
- Does it meet all of our requirements? You want a platform that is going to support your business. This means it has to be stable, provide maximum uptime, and excellent security. Look for a system that meets the requirements for standards like ISO 27001, GDPR, and SOC2.
- What’s the developer ecosystem like? As easy as it can be to start integrating features into a CPaaS, it helps to have a strong community behind the product. You’ll be able to troubleshoot any issues, learn about the best practices other devs are following, and you gain access to a treasure trove of new ideas for getting the most out of your CPaaS.
Starting Building AI into your App today
Buying a CPaaS lets you skip the line and get your app to market much faster. You avoid building your own real-time infrastructure and can jump straight to deriving business value from your audio and video streams. Then, all you have to do is integrate the right APIs, like Symbl’s Real-Time APIs, which sit on top of CPaaS platforms to swiftly analyze natural human conversations using advanced context understanding.
With Symbl, you can instantly enhance your app with the ability to surface action items, schedule follow-ups to meetings, analyze sales calls, provide contextual insights, and much more.