What Is the Difference Between UCaaS and CPaaS?

By: Chris Darr
June 20, 2022

Technology is right up there with marketing when it comes to the industry’s fondness for acronyms. If you’d like to decode these two easily, as well as many, many others, “aaS” stands for “as a service.” For example, Cloud as a Service is abbreviated CaaS, Disaster Recovery as a Service goes by (DRaaS), and Artificial Intelligence as a Service is AIaaS. As you can imagine, it’s a big aaS list, and it’s only getting bigger.

What Is the Difference Between UCaaS and CPaaS?

Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) and Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS) sound similar, and the acronyms certainly don’t help much. They are both cloud-based communications tools, but they operate much differently and fulfill different needs. Let’s explore each of these services a bit further.


UCaaS combines the functionality of a private bank exchange (PBX) with voice over internet protocol (VoIP) and is one of the oldest aaS abbreviations there is. UCaaS bundles video conferencing with phone service, messaging, hot desking, scheduling, project management, and a host of collaboration tools, so your staff can more easily track conversations and collaborate on documents in real-time, from just about anywhere.

As sophisticated as UCaaS is, it’s also exceptionally easy to use, and no development skills are required. Companies that use UCaaS just pay for the platform and typically use it to communicate internally.

As businesses have had to embrace remote and hybrid work, it’s no surprise that UCaaS has grown increasingly popular. However, even before the pandemic, this service was helpful for business travelers who wanted to access their entire suite of tools on any smart device seamlessly.


Like UCaaS, CPaaS is a cloud-based service that helps facilitate communication. But while UCaaS is a ready-built platform, businesses primarily use CPaaS to design their own apps or enable communications within apps.

And while UCaaS is usually used for internal communication, CPaaS is often more helpful for facilitating customer-facing communication. For example, health care providers may use CPaaS in order to send out appointment reminders by text message or check in with patients after a visit. In addition to text messages, companies can also use CPaaS to drive engagement with customers through chat, audio, video calling, and more.

CPaaS is a far more recent addition to the long aaS list, but its popularity is exploding for businesses with sufficient programming skills to make the most of it.

Which Service Is Right for Your Business?

If you want a ready-made solution that’s great for internal use but isn’t designed to communicate externally, UCaaS is the clear winner. If, on the other hand, you want a custom-built service that can integrate well with other apps and engage with your customers (and you have access to skilled programmers), CPaaS can fit the bill.

Marco’s experts have put together this free guide to provide you with more information about UCaaS. You’re also welcome to schedule a consultation with one of our communication specialists, who will take the time to get to know your organization before making a recommendation about which communication technology might be best for you.

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Topics: Phone & Collaboration