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Cisco's Planned Tropo Acquisition Signals Momentum for Communications PaaS

May 08, 2015

Cisco made a massive play in the cloud, mobility and IoT space this week, announcing the company intends to acquire California cloud API platform provider Tropo. Tropo’s offering enables developers to embed real-time communications within their apps, a huge boon and enhancement to Cisco’s real-time communications efforts.

Cisco plans to fold the Tropo team into its Collaboration Technology Group, providing the company’s communications platform on an as-a-service basis (PaaS). The offering will then be available to third-party endpoint and application developers through APIs. Because the solution will be offered on an as-a-service basis, developers will be able to easily create and sell new communications services – a win for Cisco’s developer network as well as Tropo’s own network of more than 200,000 developers.

For real time communications specialist GENBAND, the acquisition news affirms the company’s stamina around its own PaaS offering, Kandy. Launched nearly eight months ago, the real-time communications software development platform facilitates easy creation of communications apps and services, bringing WebRTC, cloud and mobility capabilities to the mix. The platform is already being used by major players like SAP, Tech Mahindra and Accellion, and GENBAND is working with IBM Connections to integrate social networking features.

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“This is further validation of our Kandy platform-as-service strategy,” said Patrick Joggerst, EVP and chief marketing officer at GENBAND, of Cisco's Tropo acquisition. “Market research firm IDC estimates that the cloud communications platform sector will grow at a 127 percent CAGR and will be an $8 billion market by 2018 and according to published reports and Twilio’s latest round of funding, the company’s value has been placed at over $1 billion.”

Twilio is another PaaS player with a focus on SMS and voice capabilities. The companies both participated in the WebRTC World Conference & Expo last June. GENBAND’s Kandy differentiates itself by incorporating real-time video, voice, presence and text features.

“With a simple click of a mouse anyone can embed real time contextual communications such as video, voice and chat into every day applications and endpoints – creating more engaging experiences for customers and boosting productivity and collaboration capabilities,” added Joggerst. “Kandy is backed by GENBAND’s carrier-grade communications and security technology. Our market validation is that we are working with global brands such as Tech Mahindra and SAP, and their tens of millions of power users. In fact, Kandy’s founder Paul Pluschkell just spoke to an audience of thousands yesterday at SAP’s SAPPHIRE NOW user conference.”

The PaaS model clearly offers a huge host of benefits for quick development of real-time communications apps. It remains to be seen how Cisco will fold the Tropo platform into its organization and rebrand it as a viable PaaS solution.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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