CPaaS and UCaaS | What is the difference?

The current times have brought with them a paradigm shift in the way we communicate and conduct our business. Companies are starting to migrate from on-premise to cloud-based communication technologies. The question remains, as with other technologies; what and how to build an effective communication stack?

The choices:

An allrounder off the shelf communication solution such as UCaaS.


CPaaS for building new and highly specific functionality into existing technology.

UCaaS or Unified Communications as a Service comes neatly packed under a single ready-to-use toolkit. Via UCaaS, business owners like you can select the desired tools and features suited for your business model.

These can include messaging services, voice and/or video calling, setting the lower and upper limit of attendees, etc.

CPaaS or Communications Platforms as a Service takes a different approach here. CPaaS offers flexibility to business owners via handing them the Software Development Kits and the required communications APIs, which they can build upon or configure with their existing business model.

From this point onwards, it’s on the inhouse development team to build their own real-time communications platforms for being in touch with their stakeholders around the globe. CPaaS gives the option to start from level 1 instead of scratch in case you opt for it.

I would like to point out here that UCaaS comes in the category of SaaS whereas CPaaS comes under PaaS. They both have some shared features and some distinct set of benefits. Let’s focus on the similarities first which will then be followed by the differences.

Shared Benefits of CPaaS and UCaaS

RGB stripes on a screen

Now that we have introduced both the platforms, let’s look at some of the legit commonalities that the two share:

Variety of Customization options

Both are cloud delivery models and can be highly customized based on business requirements. You may opt for audio calls only, add extra security layers for internal and external communications, set up passcodes for meetings, etc.

Cost Efficient Solutions

You don’t have to pay for the features that you know are of no use to you. Perhaps you are looking for a solution for a small team of 15-20 members. You don’t have to shell out extra dollars for a higher number of attendees if that is not your current need.

Easy Scalable Models

All cloud based models come with great flexibility, UCaaS and CPaaS are no exceptions. You can scale up or down as per your requirements. You can configure chatbots, team messaging and collaboration options, embedded communications, etc all on the cloud which can eliminate the need for internal infrastructure and its maintenance.

Enhanced Connectivity

Since both these models are cloud based, they can connect your teammates anywhere anytime and with any device. This ensures that devices, geographic proximity, and even network bandwidths are not an issue for smooth collaboration.

So, how do these two differ?

two pigeons on a roof

Well, to begin with, UCaaS represents the plug and play model whereas CPaaS requires custom development before you can reap its benefits.

The UCaaS model offers two options namely Single-Tenancy model and Multiple-Tenancy model. In the Single-Tenancy model, every customer can customize the solution as per their needs. And in the Multiple-Tenancy model, multiple customers use the same software making this model a little less reliable.

The CPaaS leaves the development and deployment to the clients and lets them work with the SDKs and APIs as per their needs. Clients can add features according to their requirements.

Another point here is that UCaaS does not necessitate skilled and experienced developers whereas if you are to work with APIs and SDKs, this is a default requirement.

UCaaS completely focuses on leveraging cloud infrastructure. CPaaS can be used as an extra layer of features to complement the on-premise systems.

So what’s the ideal scenario for using these technologies?

Experts believe that these technologies can be used complementary to each other. When your business needs are highly customizable, you can opt for CPaaS, but you need to have the expertise to customize it. CPaaS also lets you secure your communications in your way. You also have the option of integrating AI and ML into your products.

For more generic communication (mainly external ones) with stakeholders where the plug and play option suffices, you can go for UCaaS. It is more time saving and you need not hire highly skilled developers for its implementation.

So here is a summarized version that you can present to your team for making the right decision.

A comparison chart

UCaaS and CPaaS are certainly not the different sides of a coin, rather they both have their respective places in the industry. In case you are looking for further clarity on these said models or wish to opt for one, we can help you with it. Feel free to contact us here.

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