New Buzz: Communications as a Service (CaaS)

The last thing the tech world needs is another acronym. But I was rather intrigued to learn about a managed service provider that offers so-called communications as a service (CaaS). The telecom company, Cypress Communications, is successfully branding CaaS as a way to describe hosted unified communications and VoIP services to customers. Here's how.



First, let's look at a recent customer win. Atlanta-based Cypress says it has scored a CaaS contract with Pantich Schwarze Belisario & Nadel, an international law firm based in Philadelphia. Here's a snapshot of the win, and the CaaS services Cypress offers.

Cypress says it provided the law firm with C4 IP, a hosted VoIP and unified communications system that includes voice and data access, desktop phones, soft phones, unified messaging, Outlook integration, real-time presence, chat, as well as audio, video and Web conferencing, according to a company release.

Although Cypress didn't disclose the value of the deal, the company says C4 IP is a fully hosted CaaS solution, so the law firm didn't have to make any capital investments, nor does the form need to pay ongoing maintenance fees. (Note: I assume that means all costs are rolled into one monthly fixed fee for the firm.)

Cypress has been polishing its CaaS strategy for quite some time. The company is roughly 20 years old and has more than 6,500 customers across the United States.

Telecoms Moving In

Cypress caught my attention for several reasons.

First, I've struggled from time to time to explain how unified communications and VoIP are converging with the managed services market. I think CaaS is a simple term to explain that convergence.

Sure, there's nothing new about "communications" being a "service." We're all used to paying monthly fees for cable, telecom, etc. But I think CaaS is a way of explaining that communication services now include the application layer.

Second, there's no doubt that telecommunications companies (and cable companies) are moving into the MSP market. That subject popped up earlier this week on SMB IT Pros, a blog run by Mike Cooch, co-founder of Everon Technology Services, a managed service provider with offices in Massachusetts and Colorado.
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