Telecommunication API platforms are adopting WebRTC. Where are the carriers in this story?
When I think about communication APIs there are two companies that immediately come to mind: Twilio and Voxeo. These companies offer automation of the call signaling processes we have: dialing calls, receiving calls, etc. By doing that, they have allowed a large number of companies to customize the phone experience to fit their needs.
Both companies have targeted the carriers in recent times and are making strides in the carrier’s strategy of targeting developers. If we add video calling into the mix, then we can add TokBox which was just acquired by Telefonica. All 3 companies now offer WebRTC support:
- TokBox. Janko Roettgers quotes Iam Small, TokBox CEO from a phone conversation they both had: “Our leadership in the WebRTC space is one of the things that has attracted Telefónica to us.”
- Voxeo. Voxeo is very active in the WebRTC domain. They were one of the first vendors to offer a demo, they attend all meetings related to WebRTC, and they have made a point of adding WebRTC into their new Ameche offering (best writing about Ameche can be found on Dave Michels’ blog).
- Twilio. What better way is there than publishing a press release? Twilio announced their support of WebRTC (beta for now) just last month.
An important part of what carriers offer today is still communications. The last several years have shown that to thrive, companies need to shift to become platforms in order to stir innovation. Twilio, Voxeo and TokBox offer that opportunity of bringing innovation back into communications. Coupled with WebRTC – the disruptor of communication – this becomes an interesting opportunity.
And carriers aren’t waiting any more – they are integrating call related APIs by acquisitions and partnerships:
- AT&T partnered with Twilio
- Deutsche Telekom partnered with Voxeo
- KDDI just announced their partnership with Twilio for the Japanese market
- Telefonica acquired TokBox
This brings telephony APIs to a large set of carriers worldwide. I wonder who is going to be next in line and which approach will they choose: partnership or acquisition.