COVID-created digital acceleration drives new Twilio product announcements at SIGNAL 2020 event

They include Twilio Video Web RTC Go, a free toolkit for one-on-one video, EventStreams, which uses a single API to aggregate data from all Twilio powered experiences, Twilio Frontline for mobile workers, and Twilio Flex Ecosystem, a third party expansion of the Twilio Flex platform.

Different stages of Twilio Frontline

Today, at their virtualized SIGNAL 2020 event, Twilio is unveiling four new or significantly enhanced offerings. All are united by the broad theme of digital transformation from physical platforms, reacting to demands which have greatly intensified because of the coronavirus.

Twilio is a communications platform as a service [CPaaS] company with an API-first approach designed to give developers the tools to build out their own solutions to improve customer engagement.

“Compared to other CPaaS or SaaS providers, we focus on developer tools and building blocks with our API first approach,” said Quinton Wall, Senior Director, Platform and Developer Experience, at Twilio. “Most people know us from SMS and voice, but what we really focus on is that broad spectrum of customer engagement. We enable the ability of developers to build and create solutions they believe possible. We have combined everything into one single customer engagement platform. We have 200,000 customers using it – both very large and smaller creative companies, where video has become prominent. We can help developers make a unique experience with videos. Instead of buying something like Zoom, we provide the video building blocks for developers to build what they want.”

Twilio’s customers extend from large enterprises to certain kinds of startups.

“We are seeing a real mix, with huge adoption in enterprise by companies like Nike, who want the ability to connect with customers while stores are closed,” Wall said. “We also work with creative startups, like DoorDash and Uber.”

The channel accounts for a large portion of Twilio’s business.

“We look at channels across the spectrum, covering voice video and SMS,” Wall noted. “There is a real focus now on handling front line workers, enabling agile workers to make a conversation from anywhere.”

This uncertain larger context is explicitly framing Twilio’s SIGNAL announcements.

“COVID and the pandemic are influencing the event’s theme of responding to great digital acceleration,” Wall said “There has been a massive transformation of digital transformation because of COVID. 97% of people in a survey that we conducted said that it has accelerated their digital transformation by an average of six years. Because these times are so uncertain. its important to go back to fostering a builder mentality among developers.”

The new solutions designed to do this begin with the launch of Twilio Video Web RTC Go, for developers who use WebRTC as an open framework to build new video use cases,

“Twilio Video Web RTC Go is a free toolkit,” Wall stated. “We want to enable every single developer to add video into their toolkit. What we’ve done is deal with the complexity of WebRTC by abstracting away the complexity for developers building on top of it.”

Twilio Video Web RTC Go provides a new free tier of video explicitly for doing one-to-one video sessions.

“Enabling one-to-one video sessions is something that was created by COVID,” Wall said. “It’s not a trial program. It’s an upgrade, which will provide developers with about 1000 minutes of video time.”

Event Streams is another newly launched solution. It uses a single API to aggregate data from all Twilio powered experiences — Voice, SMS, Super SIM, TaskRouter and other services. This allows real time monitoring and reporting across every communication channel.

“We wanted the ability to unlock all potential information about customers interactions, so we rearchitected the platform to provide a single event-based AP with EventStream,” Wall said. “This is nodding to the first step of more customer intelligence. Before, a developer would have to get the information from a voice or messaging channel. Now we have a single canonical format for any event going across the channels. By using a stream approach in Kafka, we can push that out.”

The other two new offerings are targeted specifically at supporting the mobile workforce.

Twilio originally launched Twilio Flex, their cloud contact centre in 2018, to drive agile workforce movement, and they have added more than 100 new features since then. Today, they are broadening out the platform with the announcement of the Twilio Flex Ecosystem.

“Flex is a completely programmable cloud contact centre that lets companies be much more agile at a time when 75% of contact centres are still on-prem, heavy and complex.” Wall said. “The addition of the Flex Ecosystem further enables customers to transform their contact centre experience by providing access to validated partner solutions from more than 30 partners in our ecosystem.”  These include Google, Salesforce, Zendesk, and Calabrio. Twilio also recently announced the company’s first Global Systems Integrator partnership with Deloitte Digital.

Twilio is also announcing Twilio Frontline, a mobile application that is now in private beta.

“With the rise of the agile workers, who are not at their desks, companies need to enable connections between them,” Wall indicated. It takes the app routes incoming and outgoing customer conversations from WhatsApp, SMS/MMS and web chat and transforms them into a single mobile app on an available employee’s personal device.

“This can be downloaded from the Microsoft app store and given to frontline employees to give a seamless conversation with their customers,” Wall said. “In a use case like relationship management with personal shoppers, providing just in time product information, they can use the application to communicate with other people in the organization and quickly respond back to the consumer.”

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