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 >>

Zeus Kerravala | August 01, 2018 |


Vonage Moves into Video with TokBox Acquisition

Vonage Moves into Video with TokBox Acquisition Company's OpenTok platform to fill void in Vonage's CPaaS portfolio.

Company's OpenTok platform to fill void in Vonage's CPaaS portfolio.

UCaaS provider Vonage this morning announced it has acquired TokBox, a Telefonica subsidiary, for $35 million in cash. As one of the leading WebRTC video API providers, TokBox will complement Nexmo, Vonage's communications platform as service (CPaaS).

As I wrote back in May 2016, Vonage acquired Nexmo to move into the CPaaS market. Nexmo's strengths lie in the areas of calling, SMS, and social messaging, with no video capabilities whatsoever. But with video, particularly mobile video, increasing in popularity given the simplicity of consumer applications such as Apple FaceTime, Vonage was left with a hole in its CPaaS portfolio. TokBox fills the video void, and enables Vonage to address a wider set of customer needs.

TokBox expands Vonage's total addressable market for the Nexmo CPaaS. IDC has pegged the video PaaS portion of the overall CPaaS market to be $1.7 billion by 2020. I believe this is a conservative number. Over the past five years, video has seen strong adoption, primarily as a standalone application. But users are much more likely to use video if they can just tap to video chat with their financial advisors, doctor, professors, or whoever else they'd like rather than having to leave the apps they're in and switch to a dedicated one. TokBox facilitates this tap-to-video capability by enabling video to be embedded into applications for retail, telehealth, higher education, financial services, and many other use cases.

Say I'm in a video call with a financial advisor regarding some questions in my account. If video isn't an embedded feature, I'd need to constantly be flipping between the two applications to get dates, transaction times, or other relevant information. If video is an integrated feature, I'd see everything on a single screen.

One of the lessons I've learned is that the barrier to get people to try video is high, but once they do try it, usage begets more usage. The ability to build video into apps lowers the barrier to entry so usage and growth of VPaaS should accelerate.

The TokBox OpenTok platform includes the following components:

  • Live video API enables developers to create customized video-enabled apps and websites. In addition to the "see you, see me" capabilities, the API also includes recording capabilities, screen sharing, and a SIP interconnect for WebRTC and voice interoperability.
  • Interactive broadcast API gives the ability to embed broadcast events in branded websites and applications. It supports up to 3,000 participants and supports broadcasting directly into Facebook Live,, YouTube Live, and others through RTMP streaming. While this is primarily aimed at broadcasters, businesses could use it for something like employee communications.
  • Video chat "embeds" are pre-built code that enables developers to drop videos into a website with a single line of code. Instead of having to use the API, a developer creates an embed with a specific height and width. The developer then drops the HTML code that's generated into a website, creating a video-enabled page in literally a few minutes.
  • Insights provide full visibility into the performance of OpenTok-enabled applications. Information includes usage, call quality metrics, and error information, available through a customer dashboard or via an Insights API (currently in beta). The dashboard is customizable and can be filtered so trends can quickly be identified and problems solved.

Vonage has been on quite a roll of late. It recently announced the release of Vonage Business Cloud; its team messaging application, Flow; and now Tokbox, giving it a hat trick of needle-moving news this year alone. The Vonage led by CEO Alan Masarek, who joined the company in late 2014, has had a nice mix of acquisitions and home-grown innovation to fuel product growth, and financial results speak for themselves. Since acquiring Nexmo, for example, Vonage has seen its stock price more than double. The addition of video via Tokbox should fuel another growth wave of growth for a company that I believe is the most undervalued of the publicly traded UCaaS providers.

Follow Zeus Kerravala on Twitter!

Related content:


October 24, 2018

With disparate workplaces and ever-expanding volumes of information to manage, the challenges for collaborating effectively are only intensifying. Many critical applications are not integrated, and

October 10, 2018

Businesses are growing across international borders quicker than ever, but scaling operations to follow suit can be a harder, longer process.

This webinar focuses on scaling your next-generat

September 26, 2018

Join Kevin Kieller, Microsoft UC&C expert, along with Ribbon Communications and Polycom, for an update on Microsoft Ignite, and a focus on critical things you need to know about your voice deployme

March 12, 2018
An effective E-911 implementation doesn't just happen; it takes a solid strategy. Tune in for tips from IT expert Irwin Lazar, of Nemertes Research.
March 9, 2018
IT consultant Steve Leaden lays out the whys and how-tos of getting the green light for your convergence strategy.
March 7, 2018
In advance of his speech tech tutorial at EC18, communications analyst Jon Arnold explores what voice means in a post-PBX world.
February 28, 2018
Voice engagement isn't about a simple phone call any longer, but rather a conversational experience that crosses from one channel to the next, as Daniel Hong, a VP and research director with Forrester....
February 16, 2018
What trends and technologies should you be up on for your contact center? Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center & Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2018, gives us the lowdown.
February 9, 2018
Melanie Turek, VP of connected work research at Frost & Sullivan, walks us through key components -- and sticking points -- of customer-oriented digital transformation projects.
February 2, 2018
UC consultant Marty Parker has crunched lots of numbers evaluating UC options; tune in for what he's learned and tips for your own analysis.
January 26, 2018
Don't miss out on the fun! Organizer Alan Quayle shares details of his pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon, TADHack-mini '18, showcasing programmable communications.
December 20, 2017
Kevin Kieller, partner with enableUC, provides advice on how to move forward with your Skype for Business and Teams deployments.
December 20, 2017
Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research, shares his perspective on artificial intelligence and the future of team collaboration.
December 20, 2017
Delanda Coleman, Microsoft senior marketing manager, explains the Teams vision and shares use case examples.
November 30, 2017
With a ruling on the FCC's proposed order to dismantle the Open Internet Order expected this month, communications technology attorney Martha Buyer walks us through what's at stake.
October 23, 2017
Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
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 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.