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The heart of the project lies in the communication as a service, where the user on the cloud can directly communicate with the other user. The user can even communicate with other people from the cloud via E-mails, Texts, Voice and Video Calls, chat box etc. This facility is developed from the point of view of the user. It helps the user to share their thoughts with other people, without logging in the other website or service providers. Thus from the cloud website alone the user can have the multiple options to communicate with the other users. The communication mode would be anonymous and authenticated. The API of the email clients and chat rooms would be provided for the communication. This project is mainly built up for the educational use so according to the criteria, facilities would be provided. The API’s are build on the java platform with the object oriented concepts and are the part of SAAS. The chat application is developed on the basis of the concept of Remote method invocation (RMI) and Ajax. While the E-mail facility can be provided by using SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) where user can send their E-mail using their login from any providers (E.g. gmail, Yahoo Mail, Hotmail etc.).

Communcation as a Service (Caas) is actually a Cloud Computing based deployment of telephony and typically, there are communication applications in the cloud computing service:

  • IVR – Interactive Voice Response
  • Unified Communications
  • Call Center

Communications as a Service (CaaS) is an outsourced enterprise communications solution that can be leased from a single vendor. Such communications can include voice over IP (VoIP or Internet telephony), instant messaging (IM), collaboration and videoconference applications using fixed and mobile devices. CaaS has evolved along the same lines as Software as a Service (SaaS).

CaaS brings social networking, cloud computing, and smartphones together, providing cloud-technologies that let users communicate via voice, text, and rich media on whatever device they prefer to use. To compete in this marketplace, software vendors, enterprises, and service providers must introduce communications-enhanced services that meet a surging need for value, efficiency, cost reduction, and convenience. Through the hosted model, the CaaS provider manages everything, from the telecommunications infrastructure to the software integration platform for delivering communications offered at a guaranteed Quality of Service (QoS). As a result, businesses can selectively deploy communications features, applications, and devices on a pay-as-you-go, as-needed basis, reducing risks while eliminating capital costs associated with new services.

CaaS offers flexibility and expandability that small and medium-sized business might not otherwise afford, allowing for the addition of devices, modes or coverage on demand. The network capacity and feature set can be changed from day to day if necessary so that functionality keeps pace with demand and resources are not wasted. There is no risk of the system becoming obsolete and requiring periodic major upgrades or replacement.

The CaaS vendor is responsible for all hardware and software management and offers guaranteed Quality of Service (QoS). CaaS allows businesses to selectively deploy communications devices and modes on a pay-as-you-go, as-needed basis. This approach eliminates the large capital investment and ongoing overhead for a system whose capacity may often exceed or fall short of current demand.

CaaS service offerings are often bundled and may include integrated access to traditional voice (or VoIP) and data, advanced unified communications functionality such as video calling, web collaboration, chat, realtime presence and unified messaging, a handset, local and long-distance voice services, voice mail, advanced calling features (such as caller ID, threeway and conference calling, etc.) and advanced PBX functionality. A CaaS solution includes redundant switching, network, POP and circuit diversity, customer premises equipment redundancy, and WAN fail-over that specifically addresses the needs of their customers. All VoIP transport components are located in geographically diverse, secure data centers for high availability and survivability.

CaaS uses cloud based technologies that allow users to communicate – with voice, text, and rich media on a variety of devises delivered as a fully hosted solution. With a CaaS solution, you can leverage enterprise-class communication services without the complexity, cost and time required to build a premises-based solution. CaaS is designed to include a utility-based pricing model that provides users with a comprehensive, flexible and easy to understand service.

CaaS requires little to no management oversight from customers. It eliminates the business customer’s need for any capital investment in infrastructure, and it eliminates expense for ongoing maintenance and operations overhead for infrastructure. With a CaaS solution, customers are able to leverage enterprise-class communication services without having to build a premises-based solution of their own. This allows those customers to reallocate budget and personnel resources to where their business can best use them.

How CaaS Works?

Business users opting for CaaS can selectively deploy communication features (hardware and software) throughout there office on a pay-as-you-go basis. CaaS vendor designs comprehensive, flexible and easy to understand service plans for their users.

The quality of communication service is assured by the CaaS vendors under the service level agreement. CaaS is a fully hosted solutions that are practised on the cloud-based technology which can be implemented over multiple types of operating system such as windows, Linus, Android & iOS. Because of this, the CaaS can be accessed through multiple types of connected devices such as mobiles, handsets, tablets, TV sets, laptop, PC etc. CaaS has brought the revolutionary change in method of communication from person to person, person to machine and machine to machine.

CaaS abstracts the networks capability to handle peak load for their customer which make it flexible. The network capabilities can be extended to raise the network capacity, devices and area coverage based on the demands of the CaaS customers. However, the network capabilities can be extended dynamically according to customers demand so that the resources are not wasted.

Features of CaaS

1. Integrated and Unified Communication

The advanced unified communication features include Chat, Multimedia conferencing, Microsoft Outlook integration, Real-time presence, “Soft” phones (software-based telephones), Video calls, Unified messaging and mobility. Nowadays, CaaS vendor introduces new features to their CaaS services much faster than ever before. It has become economical for providers to introduce a new feature to their CaaS application faster because the end-users are benefitting from the provider’s scalable platform infrastructure and ultimately the many end-users using the provider’s service shares this cost of enhancement. 

2. No Investment Required

As we have learnt above it is the sole responsibility of CaaS vendor to manage hardware and software deployed to provide the communication service to their customers. The customer only has to pay for the service he is getting from the CaaS vendor, not for communication features deployed to provide communication services.

3. Flexibility & Scalability

The customer can outsource the communication services form CaaS vendors. The customers pay for what they have demanded. The customer can extend their service requirement according to their need. This brings flexibility and scalability in communication services and even make the service economical.

4. No Risk of Obsolescence 

The CaaS vendors keep on updating their hardware and software that provide communication services to meet the changing demands of the market. So the customer using the services does not have to be worried about the service obsolescence.

5. No Maintenance Cost Incurred 

The customer outsourcing the CaaS service does not have to bear the cost of maintaining the equipment deployed for providing communication services. 

6. Ensure Business Continuity 

If due to any calamity your business’s geographical region is affected then how long can you continue your business? That’s why nowadays companies distribute their data to the geographically dispersed data centre which maintain the redundancy & help them in recovering soon after any catastrophic event. The same feature is adopted and implemented by the CaaS providers in order to provide voice continuity or communication continuity even if any catastrophic event strikes.

Architecture: 

Communications as a Service (CaaS) provides Software as a Service (SaaS) for communications. There is no standard specification as to what is included in CaaS. Implementations vary. CaaS could include unified communications, broadcasting, individual calls (voice and video), conferencing (voice and video), voice over IP (VoIP), messaging, and so on. CaaS extends the principles of software as a service (SaaS) architecture by adding a control layer based on the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP).

cloud computing

Advantages of CaaS

From the handset found on each employee’s desk to the PC-based software client on employee laptops, to the VoIP private backbone, and all modes in between, every component in a CaaS solution is managed 24/7 by the CaaS vendor. Let’s look as some of the advantages of a hosted approach for CaaS.

Hosted and Managed Solutions: Remote management of infrastructure services provided by third parties once seemed an unacceptable situation to most companies. However, over the past decade, with enhanced technology, networking, and software, the attitude has changed. This is, in part, due to cost savings achieved in using those services. However, unlike the “one-off ” services offered by specialist providers, CaaS delivers a complete communications solution that is entirely managed by a single vendor. Along with features such as VoIP and unified communications, the integration of core PBX features with advanced functionality is managed by one vendor, who is responsible for all of the integration and delivery of services to users.

Fully Integrated, Enterprise-Class Unified Communications: With CaaS, the vendor provides voice and data access and manages LAN/ WAN, security, routers, email, voice mail, and data storage. By managing the LAN/WAN, the vendor can guarantee consistent quality of service from a user’s desktop across the network and back. Advanced unified communications features that are most often a part of a standard CaaS deployment include:

  • Chat
  • Multimedia conferencing
  • Microsoft Outlook integration
  • Real-time presence
  • “Soft” phones (software-based telephones)
  • Video calling
  • Unified messaging and mobility

Providers are constantly offering new enhancements (in both performance and features) to their CaaS services. The development process and subsequent introduction of new features in applications is much faster, easier, and more economical than ever before. This is, in large part, because the service provider is doing work that benefits many end users across the provider’s scalable platform infrastructure. Because many end users of the provider’s service ultimately share this cost (which, from their perspective, is miniscule compared to shouldering the burden alone), services can be offered to individual customers at a cost that is attractive to them.

No Capital Expenses Needed: When business outsource their unified communications needs to a CaaS service provider, the provider supplies a complete solution that fits the company’s exact needs. Customers pay a fee (usually billed monthly) for what they use. Customers are not required to purchase equipment, so there is no capital outlay. Bundled in these types of services are ongoing maintenance and upgrade costs, which are incurred by the service provider. The use of CaaS services allows companies the ability to collaborate across any workspace. CaaS can also accelerate decision making within an organization. Innovative unified communications capabilities (such as presence, instant messaging, and rich media services) help ensure that information quickly reaches whoever needs it.

Flexible Capacity and Feature Set: When customers outsource communications services to a CaaS provider, they pay for the features they need when they need them. The service provider can distribute the cost services and delivery across a large customer base. This makes the use of shared feature functionality more economical for customers to implement. Economies of scale allow service providers enough flexibility that they are not tied to a single vendor investment. They are able to leverage best-of-breed providers such as Avaya, Cisco, Juniper, Microsoft, Nortel and ShoreTel more economically than any independent enterprise

No Risk of Obsolescence: Rapid technology advances, predicted long ago and known as Moore’s law, have brought about product obsolescence in increasingly shorter periods of time. Moore’s law describes a trend he recognized that has held true since the beginning of the use of integrated circuits (ICs) in computing hardware. Since the invention of the integrated circuit in 1958, the number of transistors that can be placed inexpensively on an integrated circuit has increased exponentially, doubling approximately every two years. Unlike IC components, the average life cycles for PBXs and key communications equipment and systems range anywhere from five to 10 years. With the constant introduction of newer models for all sorts of technology (PCs, cell phones, video software and hardware, etc.), these types of products now face much shorter life cycles, sometimes as short as a single year. CaaS vendors must absorb this burden for the user by continuously upgrading the equipment in their offerings to meet changing demands in the marketplace.

No Facilities and Engineering Costs Incurred: CaaS providers host all of the equipment needed to provide their services to their customers, virtually eliminating the need for customers to maintain data center space and facilities. There is no extra expense for the constant power consumption that such a facility would demand. Customers receive the benefit of multiple carrier-grade data centers with full redundancy—and it’s all included in the monthly payment.

Guaranteed Business Continuity: If a catastrophic event occurred at your business’s physical location, would your company disaster recovery plan allow your business to continue operating without a break? If your business experienced a serious or extended communications outage, how long could your company survive? For most businesses, the answer is “not long.” Distributing risk by using geographically dispersed data centers has become the norm today. It mitigates risk and allows companies in a location hit by a catastrophic event to recover as soon as possible. This process is implemented by CaaS providers because most companies don’t even contemplate voice continuity if catastrophe strikes. Unlike data continuity, eliminating single points of failure for a voice network is usually cost-prohibitive because of the large scale and management complexity of the project. With a CaaS solution, multiple levels of redundancy are built into the system, with no single point of failure.

Submitted by shiksha.dahiya on June 15, 2021

Shiksha is working as a Data Scientist at iVagus. She has expertise in Data Science and Machine Learning.

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