Today Dialpad announced they raised $50 million more from a group of prior investors and one new one. Skype, which is seeing a flattening on user growth, announced a more mobile like version for the desktop, while giving the prior version an end of life date of September 1. At the same time 8x8, a perennial player in the VoIP world, announced the general availability of their new X Series platform.
With all this news you would think that good old VoIP was back in vogue. But it's not. What we're seeing is the staging of the future unfold before our eyes. While Skype may be stagnating at 300 million monthly users, and not seeing much forward progress, what Microsoft is doing is establishing the long time disruptor as being the front end to their blend of cloud based TEAMS and Office 365 offerings, being the unification of real time interaction via voice, video or text. 8x8 with X Series is looking to pull together the pieces of Calling, Collaboration and Contact Center, all into one homogeneous platform, after years of siloed existence. And for Dialpad, the raise basically offsets the money spent to acquire VoiceAI player, TalkIQ., if it was all cash, and now provides the powerhouse with enough in bank cash to grow and expand their AI based platform (Note I am a Dialpad investor/shareholder.)
The news though from Skype, 8x8 and Dialpad serves to show how different the VoIP world is getting. There's those in the real cloud like Dialpad which uses Google Cloud and Skype which rides now on Azure, those like 8x8, Vonage and Ring Central who provide cloud services and then the rest of the bunch who basically run a hosted service in the cloud.
To accomplish what Dialpad, 8x8 and Skype are doing means having all the smarts in the cloud to handle the interaction with other services like Office365 or Google's G Suite, SalesForce, ZenDesk, Service Now and more while keeping the voice traffic on the more terrestrial level as the cloud is not yet ready for real time calling due to latency issues that will go away in a few years.
Add in AI to voice, text, collaboration, and call center activity which RingCentral, 8x8 and Dialpad have all announced, as has Skype surrounding events, and you begin to have the next generation of what "a call" or "session" will become.
Let the games begin.....