A recent IDC industry report by analyst Elisabeth Rainge explores this question. In the report, Rainge notes that, while the recent downtime experienced by Amazon’s AWS underscored the cloud’s risks, “the economic benefits of cloud along with the technology advances reflected in cloud services are significantly more attractive than the operational cost models of traditional communications services.”
Rainge points out that while communication service providers (CSPs) are already using the cloud for operational resources like billing and salesforce automation, voice communication is not yet widely treated a cloud-ready service. But, she argues, the cloud’s economies of scale are too powerful to ignore. At Twilio, we couldn’t agree more. We are leveraging the cloud to provide communication applications to customers.
“One possible example coming from the Web developer community is Twilio. Like Ribbit (which IDC discussed in Ribbit Leapfrogs the Rest: The Next Step in Voice, IDC #210591, January 2008), Twilio suggests a way for telcos to leverage infrastructure into innovative services, but in the context of today’s application innovations. During the Amazon Web services outage, Twilio stayed up and blogged about its design principles. A key difference in Twilio’s Web service API for voice and SMS apps is building on the application of voice services to relatively ordinary uses, and leveraging the increasingly ubiquitous connection device.”
In the report, Rainge states that CSPs are beginning to evolve- however they are less about the underlying technology (and its limitations) and more about the application of these technologies to users needs.
“In the innovative services using the Twilio service, the usefulness of the voice and messaging services is notable. As news started to break of Microsoft’s planned purchase of Skype, the mainstream media quickly embraced the usefulness of the voice service in gaming, messaging and other applications. Just as quickly, users are making the connections between communications services and other applications, but CSPs remain all too focused on significant traffic issues such as the bottlenecks in mobile backhaul and the need to provide coverage to subscribers.”
Ultimately, the benefits grossly outweigh the potential risks, and soon CSPs may see voice as a standard cloud application.
You can read the full industry analyst report here.