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September 28, 2016

Flowroute Co-founder Explains How APIs Are Impacting Telecom

Use of messaging is on the rise. WebRTC has great potential. And new APIs now make it possible for newcomers to leverage telecom resources in new and efficiency-enhancing ways. That was the message from Sean Hsieh, co-founder and chief product officer of Flowroute, in his session this morning at AstriCon.

Flowroute is a carrier and a software company that provides developers with direct access to telephone number resources including advanced signaling, inbound and outbound calling, and phone numbers. AstriCon is an event that Asterisk inventor Digium is holding this week in Glendale, AZ.

Juniper Research indicates messaging is on the rise, and that 99 percent of all SMS messages are read by recipients, Hsieh said. P2P; A2P, which includes short codes and American Idol-style voting; and E2P, in which the E stands for enterprise, are the three kinds of messaging, he explained.

Meanwhile, we’re now beginning to see WebRTC applications emerge in the marketplace, he said. The value of the WebRTC marketplace today is estimated at $152 million and is forecast to be worth $4.45 billion in 2020, Hsieh added.

While carrier voice revenues have been in decline (Juniper Research said they were at $100 billion in the U.S. in 2008 and at more than $80 billion in 2013), over-the-top voice is growing – at $2 billion this year and poised to be worth $10 billion by 2020.

And recently an exciting new space called communications platform as a service (CPaaS) has emerged to enable the communications to continue to evolve and become more innovative. Among the players in the CPaaS space are twilio, plivo, nexmo, and zang.

“Recently we’ve seen the CPaaS market kind of explode,” said Hsieh. “They take what IP carriers offer and abstract it for developers.”

Hsieh also talked about a handful of use cases these CPaaS providers and APIs can enable. They include the following:

Multi-factor authentication

If a person travels but wants to log into his Google account using a friend’s laptop, multi-factor authentication could enable this person to do so. For example, if this person has a Google account, he’s already set up a phone number as an additional means of authentication, and that lets him log in using someone else’s account. Banks and others also employ multi-factor authentication.

Appointment reminders

Businesses like doctor’s offices can leverage texting or voice calls to remind patients and customers of their appointments. “This has significantly brought down the number of no shows in the industry,” said Hsieh. Chili’s To Go also uses this kind of functionality, so its customers know when their to-go orders are ready.

Identity masking

This helps keep customers’ identities safe. Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb are among the companies that use it, so when customers call their driver or host, the number the driver or host sees is not the customer’s actual number, but rather a proxy phone number.

Edited by Alicia Young
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