SHARE



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Zeus Kerravala
Zeus Kerravala is the founder and principal analyst with ZK Research. Kerravala provides a mix of tactical advice to help his...
Read Full Bio >>
SHARE



Zeus Kerravala | December 04, 2012 |

 
   

Plivo Gets Some Cash to Expand Its Service

Plivo Gets Some Cash to Expand Its Service Plivo's cloud-based API service is another step in the direction of moving communications to a true software model.

Plivo's cloud-based API service is another step in the direction of moving communications to a true software model.

It's December and that means "tis the season" to give and receive, and receive is what startup Plivo did this week. The company announced on Monday that it had closed a $1.75M seed round financing from the investment firms Andreesen Horowitz, Battery Ventures, Qualcomm and SV Angel. Plivo has a Unified Communications platform that's delivered as a service and, if executed upon, could disrupt the (already disruptive) hosted telephony space.

Founded in December 2011, and live now for several months, Plivo claims to have dozens of enterprise class customers. Considering that they've managed to acquire these customers a single year after launching the company (not the service), it makes sense that high-profile investors would be eager to take a chance on Plivo.

So, what's so different about Plivo versus other hosted telephony and UCaaS providers? Plivo should be thought of as platform for enterprises and service providers to build messaging and telephony (both fixed and mobile) integrated applications. While they can provide the cloud-based call control, it seems the company would rather connect into another provider's cloud for that functionality.

Plivo provides developers with a robust API set for functions that enable web applications to perform tasks such as making calls, sending SMS texts, fetching number lists, checking account details, transferring calls, call center functions and other features. If it needs call control, then customers can choose to use what Plivo has to offer or use their existing solution.

Plivo's overall approach is somewhat similar to what Twilio has been doing in this space with cloud-based communications APIs, though the companies are pursuing somewhat different models, as this article states.

The approach Plivo took in building the service will make them a strong player in this market for years to come. The service was built from the ground up to provide communications platform services.

The company seems to have taken a best of breed approach when it comes to how the service was architected as well. Plivo has leveraged a series of best of breed partners to build anything that wasn't core. Partners include Softlayer, Rackspace, Internap and others.

This is a great example of how the cloud should be leveraged for anyone to build a service: Take a hybrid approach to the underlying network and IT architecture and then build on top of it. The result? A robust, rich service that took under a year to build from company launch.

So this leaves the question of whether what Plivo does will be something enterprises will actually buy or not. The answer to this depends on who you talk to within a company's IT department. The reason why we haven't seen many services like this before, nor have we really had a lot of demand for it, is because the industry simply wasn't ready for it. I think we're finally coming toward a mode where we think of telephony and UC as something that's architecturally different than legacy telephony.

Historically the phone systems we had were these fully integrated "boxes" that had all the functionality built right into them. We then shifted to IP and built exactly the same thing, just with IP interfaces on them. The name "IP PBX" was accurate, as that's what these systems really were.

Slowly but surely though, this industry has been shifting (more slowly than I think most of us would have liked) away from this model to one that looks and feels more like a real software model. Cisco, Avaya, Microsoft, etc. all have platforms that allow the buyer to build applications that interface with their systems. But what happens when a company really needs to build an application with a specific function and it's not available from the telephony provider? Wait six months for the next software release.

That's where a service like Plivo comes in. Leverage the cloud platforms for the additional functionality.

This model is becoming more and more common in the IT industry, which is the model that the communications industry has been following now for a number of years. The webification of this industry has the potential to unleash a wave of innovation that will create a "rising" tide for not just the likes of Plivo but the whole industry.





COMMENTS



Enterprise Connect Orlando 2018
March 12-15 | Orlando, FL

Connect with the Entire Enterprise Communications & Collaboration Ecosystem


Stay Up-to-Date: Hear industry visionaries in Keynotes and General Sessions delivering the latest insight on UC, mobility, collaboration and cloud

Grow Your Network: Connect with the largest gathering of enterprise IT and business leaders and influencers

Learn From Industry Leaders: Attend a full range of Conference Sessions, Free Programs and Special Events

Evaluate All Your Options: Engage with 190+ of the leading equipment, software and service providers

Have Fun! Mingle with sponsors, exhibitors, attendees, guest speakers and industry players during evening receptions

Register now with code NOJITTEREB to save $200 Off Advance Rates or get a FREE Expo Pass!

November 1, 2017

Your customers (internal and external) demand that you offer them the ability to connect by any means. With the adoption of cloud communications tools you now have access to an expanded portfolio o

October 18, 2017

Microsofts recent Ignite event had some critically important announcements for enterprise communications. Namely, Microsofts new Team Collaboration offering, Teams, will be its primary communicatio

September 20, 2017

Customer experience can make or break your business. But how do you achieve outstanding customer service when you're dealing with outdated organizational structure, lagging technology, dated proces

September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular BlogGeek.me blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.