The Difference Between UCaaS and CPaaS

April 27, 2022 // Product

The communications world is now full of “as a service” options. In the end, the traditional lines between UCaaS and CPaaS have gotten very blurry.

UCaaS stands for “Unified Communications as a Service” and is, generally, a one-size-fits-all option for cloud communications. Think of it as a turnkey option for your business that may include features like: voice & telephony, conferencing solutions (web, audio and video), messaging (email and unified messaging), as well desktop or lightweight web clients.

CPaaS stands for “Communications Platform as a Service” and delivers a fully-customizable approach to communications, empowering your team to build a wide range of features, functionality, business processes, and communications workflows into your existing architecture. This is all done using low code/no code (LC/NC) web portals or APIs (application program interfaces). The CPaaS, essentially, provides you with the building blocks on which to build the communications features that best fit your company’s needs.

Which One is Best for You?

In some cases, the UCaaS is a viable long-term solution. A few benefits of the UCaaS:

  • Shared infrastructure like data centers & server racks
  • Shared tools such as provisioning & network management
  • Per-user-per-month pricing
  • Ability to add or subtract users as necessary

UCaaS may be ideal for companies that are used to doing things in a more traditional way. Even with its inherent limitations (forcing you to stay inside one application for all communication needs), it can be a good option for certain companies.

Along the same lines, the CPaaS offers:

  • Effectively unlimited scalability
  • Incredible flexibility & customization
  • Shared infrastructure & data centers
  • Frameworks for building communications applications
  • APIs for deep integration into business systems and processes
  • Usage-based pricing

By utilizing the foundational CPaaS services, present in their software tools and APIs, you can essentially craft a customized solution for your organization (or integration partner) to implement.


UCaaS or CPaaS, call it what you want, the most important thing to consider is: does the communications provider check all the boxes you need both now and in the future? The UCaaS option is often a one-size-fits-all, out-of-the-box solution that may work well for some companies looking for a turnkey platform; whereas the modern CPaaS is highly customizable and able to solve an organization’s unique communication needs — today and tomorrow.

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