Why the Amazon WebRTC and UCaaS dish should interest you
For several months, Amazon has been continuously publishing open jobs around WebRTC, SIP, Web, media and UC. Every time I looked, there were over 15 open positions, most of them posted just a few days or weeks ago.
Apparently Amazon is building a pretty big team comprising R&D and customer facing R&D people.
Smartly they are placing their bets on WebRTC.
Here is a snapshot of some jobs posted.
Take a stab at this yourself.
Here are 2 snippets of job descriptions.
Software Development Engineer
Interested in developing and implementing next generation unified communications platforms? If so, then Amazon wants to talk to you. We are looking for engineers with experience in creating robust and scalable distributed, real-time, systems. You will work on solutions hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS). You will be focused entirely on unified communications: WebRTC, SIP, RTP, VoIP, and video. Successful candidates should be passionate about providing an exceptional customer experience and producing high quality technical documentation.
Media Software Development Engineer, AWS Apps
The Amazon Web Services Enterprise Apps team is looking for a seasoned software development engineer to help us build and operate a new service that addresses our enterprise customers’ needs. We can’t talk about specifics just yet, but the things we are working on are in response to loud and clear feedback from customers about the daily pain points they deal with in collaborating, communicating and sharing information.
The Amazon WebRTC UCaaS initiative
Amazon and public clouds in general are great for cloud service companies and for enterprise IT. All public clouds in some way or another introduce challenges when it comes to real-time communications. Challenges around the “real-time” part of the service that are basically networking related.
We run SwitchRTC on several public clouds (amazon included) and there are many other real-time communications services running on public clouds. All these services need to deal with these challenges and work around them.
A public cloud provider has the benefit of fully controlling those challenges and giving himself an unfair advantage over other services. It therefore makes perfect sense technically for Amazon to offer real-time communications services provided by Amazon.
On the business side it is also a perfect fit.
Amazon is already selling to enterprise IT, it can be an additional service that they offer.
From reading the Amazon open job positions it looks like Amazon is cooking one or both of the 2 following services.
Hosted messaging & UC – In an attempt to solve the “daily pain points they (enterprises) deal with in collaborating, communicating and sharing information” it looks like a combination of Slack and Skype for Business.
Telecom API – This is a pretty wide category as it includes also SMS and other communications services. The market accounts for several tens of billions of USDs today and is expected to reach 310B USD according to a market report. The Amazon API service might not offer all the services accounting for this market size but in any case, it is a big enough market to attract Amazon.
To PSTN or not to PSTN, and how?
PSTN connectivity is one of the Things Amazon is probably looking at for both of these services. There are regulatory limitations Microsoft had to deal with when they tried to provide global PSTN connectivity to their customers as Microsoft is not a registered service provider in each country. This led Microsoft to offer PSTN connectivity only in a few select countries. For the rest they are offering the Cloud Connector Edition (CCE) which connects the Microsoft cloud PBX service with the local PBX of the enterprise which provides the local PSTN connectivity.
Assuming Amazon faces the same regulatory challenges as Microsoft, it has a few options for PSTN connectivity.
- Go the Microsoft route
- Partner with local service providers for the PSTN connectivity and connect with them via SIP/WebRTC
- Ignore PSTN
Why this is important?
The Amazon WebRTC UCaaS and API platform initiatives apparently taking place at Amazon are a threat and opportunity, it just depends to who.
It is clearly a threat for UCaaS and API platform service providers. UC vendors are already threatened by the move of UC to the cloud. This will only intensify this shift.
For technology vendors this might be an opportunity. Amazon is not always happy to use 3rd party technology but some areas might be relevant, many things that are not in the core of the service.
Given the PSTN connectivity analysis mentioned above, service providers offering local PSTN connectivity might have an opportunity depending on the approach Amazon takes for tackling PSTN.