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Best CPaaS of 2021: Communications Platform as a Service providers

Best CPaaS
(Image credit: Image Credit: Geralt / Pixabay)

The best CPaaS (Communications Platform-as-a-Service) makes managing integrated communications with your business simpler and easier to manage.

The best CPaaS providers

While there has been a growing shift toward unified communications as a service (UCaaS), the difference with CPaaS is that it looks to integrate communications directly into key business applications.

This has become possible as computer giants increasingly provide open access to their IT architecture and cloud-based services. Using APIs, business systems can be customized and configured to suit, and even better is that CPaaS can run above any existing legacy systems.

As with all things PaaS, CPaaS offers the advantage of scalability with businesses only paying for the services they actually use, which can make it much more cost-effective than investing in on-premises hardware.

Additionally, APIs aren’t simply about connecting to the cloud but about virtualizing communications and integrating them with open architecture services, with many big vendors now easily accommodating this.

While there is inevitably some overlap between CPaaS and UCaaS and CCaaS - contact center as a service - really CPaaS is about designing the engine behind communication services, rather than just providing them.

Here, therefore, we’ll look at the leading providers when it comes to providing the best CPaaS services currently available.

(Image credit: RingCentral)

1. RingCentral

The leading CPaaS provider

Reasons to buy
+Built for the cloud+Library of APIs+Strong functionality

RingCentral may not have been the first service to offer CPaaS, but the RingCentral developer platform has become one of the leading services when it comes to cloud communications.

Unlike some established providers who built their systems for on-premise hardware, RingCentral has built their services from the ground-up in the cloud. This has made them an industry leader, and they recently signed a deal to power Avaya’s UCaaS.

The RingCentral Connect Platform contains an existing library of APIs for customizing and configuring all aspects of communications, not least for integrating existing RingCentral Office features into other applications.

While the platform doesn’t aim for simplicity the way some other CPaaS providers do, what it does focus on is functionality, making this a powerful suite of services to use with its main RingCentral Office service.


(Image credit: Twilio)

2. Twilio Flex

The disruptive CPaaS provider

Reasons to buy
+Industry leader+Wide range of applications+Voice, chat, video, and SIP

Twilio Flex is a leading platform in the development of CPaaS services. Rather than simply look to unify communications, they provide the means to completely customize how your communications work.

Although this means using some form of coding, it’s actually really simple and intuitive to use, and makes it incredibly easy to create a single API that can control your communications features.

Alternatively, if you only want a programmable solution to a single channel, such as voice services, that can be done, too. In fact, Twilio offer separate pricing for voice, SMS, email, chat, and video, as well as specific APIs for WhatsApp and SIP trunking.

Pricing for Twilio Flex depends on the actual services required and the number of hours required.


(Image credit: Brightlink)

The outstanding CPaaS solution

Reasons to buy
+Focus on ease of use+Test environment+Strong CPaaS platform

Brightlink is already an award winning providing of VoIP and UCaaS, but it also offers the Brightlink CPaaS Platform as well. What the company manages to do with this, though, is find a good balance between features and functionality, with simplicity and ease of use.

The result is a really strong CPaaS offering that allows for communications functionality to be integrated into all kinds of CRM and marketing tools, for example, using various API’s.

From Brightlink this means for voice, messaging, and SIP, with an additional “command center” which functions as a library for documentation and resources, as well as a test environmental for your API configurations.

The result is an opportunity for enterprises to not only integrate communications across their business, but also provide turnkey access to network services, without the process becoming overly complicated.


(Image credit: Amazon)

4. Amazon Connect

The big cloud CPaaS provider

Reasons to buy
+AI services+Security layer+Visual editor

We’ve already mentioned that CPaaS allowing for easy integration with cloud services, and Amazon haven’t been slow to latch onto this by providing their own CPaaS offering through AWS, called Amazon Connect.

At its heart Amazon Connect is simple, scaleable, and reliable environment for working with communications integrations. While advertised as a cloud contact solution, that would be understating both the tools and power of this platform.

For a start, Amazon Connect taps into the same AI and dynamic processes that powers Alexa, making for not just a connected platform but a smart one, too. Additionally, Amazon try to make workflows and integrations easy to set up and use by providing a visual editor, so that teams can easily customize what they need without programming anything.

Amazon can do this by having APIs built into its core, but these can still be customized as required. Additionally, integrations are easy to add for other open access platforms such as CRMs.

The result is an easy way to build your own rules and integrations with the simplest voice platform, and because it runs through AWS it means there are the additional benefits of utilizing other parts of this service, such as security and AI, as well as only paying for the resources you use.


(Image credit: MessageBird)

5. MessageBird

The omnichannel CPaaS provider

Reasons to buy
+Omnichannel APIs+Global carrier network+Simple customization

MessageBird is another CPaaS provider worth taking note of, because a couple of reasons: firstly  the way they try to keep the whole process as simple and easy to use as possible by providing a visual editor to develop your APIs; and secondly, because of their focus on providing a truly omnichannel experience.

So while other CPaaS services tend to focus on voice, texts, and emails, MessageBird also looks to integrate a comprehensive range of chat applications and options on top of these core services.

Another plus is that Messagebord also has a huge direct-to-carrier infrastructure that allows it to not only provide high quality voice and video communications, but also provide this service global.

This mix of features really makes MessageBird stand out as a CPaaS provider, the simple dashboard tools it provides can only make it attractive to a wide range of businesses for the fact that they are not going to have to hire or divert IT staff simply to carry out their integrations.

Surprisingly, their pricing is competitive in many areas too, especially by comparison to other UCaaS or CCaaS providers.