Wednesday, August 11, 2010

PND Technology: twilio

This is week two of my recap of some of the interesting technology I've heard about at the tech meet-ups I've been going to (NYTech)

Over the years, I've had the dubious distinction of being responsible for several office moves and, aside from the bickering over who gets the bigger office and what type of furniture we buy, some of the more problematic issues related to dealing with the old telephone pbx. Twilio can't help with the baser issues but they have eliminated the hardware problems inherent in the old phone systems and pushed a powerful and easy to use set of applications to the cloud that can manage the most sophisticated phone applications.

Here's how they explain how their system works:
We're always building web applications, and sometimes we want those apps to be able to interact with phone callers. Maybe we want a customer to be able to call in and get information, or maybe we need to coordinate our employees more efficiently. Before Twilio, you would have had to learn some foreign telecom programming languages, or set up an entire stack of PBX software to do this. At which point, you'd say "aw, forget it!" Twilio lets you use your existing web development skills, existing code, existing servers, existing databases and existing karma to solve these problems quickly and reliably. We provide the infrastructure, you provide the business logic via HTTP, and together we rule the world.
The demos at NY Tech meet-up are only five minutes long however in a demonstration of how easy their tool is to use they wrote a simple script that created a dial in conference call, selected (purchased) a specific phone number and then created an invite to which they asked all the audience to dial in to. Programmed in simple xml this took 2mins of fast typing. The system naturally collects all the dial in numbers and as a follow-up demo they used the application to call back everyone in the room who had dialed in to the conference number.

There are all kinds of business applications that can be created almost on the fly and certainly specifically directed to a business issue or situation. Some of the examples include, polling, status updates such as weather problems or power outages, reminders such as appointments, as well as the typical voicemail transcription and sms functionality.

There are many more practical examples noted on their blog including:
MedTaker takes advantage of the ubiquity of the phone to help people remember to take their medication while at the same time periodically checking in on their wellbeing.
Life is full of so many little details that need attending to all the time. Would you rather be coding up your next prize winner Twilio app, or assembling IKEA furniture? What about getting a ride to the airport, or grocery shopping. Fortunately, with TaskRabbit you can delegate these tasks to "runners" who you pay by the hour to help you get things done.

Diner Connection is a complete online solution for restaurants. You can contact your customers via text messaging, collect patron visit information and connect with your patrons more effectively using Diner Connection.

DropConf is an on-demand conference calling application -- you pay per conference call. The idea is that small business or freelancers for example might only need one or two conference calls a month. Some months they might not need any conference calls. All the other paid options out there have monthly fees -- so people are paying for a service they don't need.
And many, many more.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the mention of Diner Connection. We of course love the Twilio functionality and love developing with it. They have a fantastic support staff that are ready and willing to answer questions.

-Geoffrey Simpson