“I spent last week with CPaaS leader Twilio at their SIGNAL event in San Francisco, learning about their new developments and product roadmap going forward in the future. It was my first time at SIGNAL and was a different experience from many of the other events we attend – the show was focused on what their customers have built instead of what they have built for their customers.
Presentations from SouthWest Airlines, Treksystems, Target and Netflix showed the breadth of their customer base and all were utilizing Twilio’s APIs in different ways to enhance customer experiences. Twilio’s key messaging was around more interactions (bringing email with SendGrid into the portfolio), more programmability with Flex, and more conversation with messaging and their extensive case studies show the range of use cases utilising Twilio’s API platform.
Jeff Lawson, highlighted how they were looking to make sure that their growing number of developers building on their platform continues on the same trajectory, growing their base of developers from 5m to 6m over the past 12 months). As a developer first organization, the agility of Twilio’s platform was highlighted in their speed to release code and enhancements with over 125k production releases over the past 12 months. With 160k companies currently using Twilio, driving 32,500 calls a minute and over 13,000 SMS a second (double last year’s figures!), growth is still happening at a phenomenal rate and Lawson sees this all as enabling “legendary customer engagement”.
From Cavell’s point of view, the most interesting announcements from the show were:
SendGrid brings email into the equation
The SendGrid acquisition bought email in as a new channel API which has now been fully integrated into Twilio’s communications channel portfolio. Twilio highlighted the importance of email as a core communications channel, especially in the marketing campaign automation. 80k companies use SendGrid for marketing campaigns and customer engagement, sending 50b emails every month. Twilio not only added email to their portfolio but also launched SendGrid Ads, aimed at extending their existing email campaigns to a broader set of channels by building highly targeted display and social ad campaigns within the same platform they are already using.
Contact Center growth and execution on Flex
Since Flex was launched last year, Twilio has bought on a number of large brands such as Lyft, M&S and Shopify onto their contact center platform, driving their attack on both the premise and cloud contact center market.
Flex was built for those enterprises that really need a contact center that was built for them and the way they work. Releasing over 65 enhancements since last year, embedding Autopilot and bringing bots into the contact center, enabling live transcription on calls, launching more communications channels and enhancing the programmability of their platform, Twilio are investing heavily into this product and making sure that this is at the forefront of the market in terms of features.
Twilio are having to make changes to their route to market, as partnerships will be key in the success of Flex. Twilio was built by developers, for developers and Flex as a product is no different as is still focused on the developer market but will require SI’s and ISVs to take the product onboard instead of inbound sales which has been the basis of Twilio’s success in the past. The last year saw them take on 250 SI partners and expect this number to grow substantially if they continue on this trajectory – an opportunity for those looking to offer a unique and differentiated CCaaS product to their customers.
‘Verified by Twilio’ combatting Robocalling
As per our previous blog and research note, robocalling has become a huge issue in the US market and the FCC is bringing in regulation to try to halt the rise in unauthorized calls. Over 48b robocalls were made last year and Twilio’s research shows that ¾ calls go unanswered in the US. Twilio’s ‘Verified by Twilio’ API checks whether the caller owns the numbers and creates a real time protocol to make sure that the information is delivered to devices in real time. As long as the call runs through their platform, Twilio are just able to verify if the call but add the branding and messaging to the call. Use cases of this are clear as callers are able to add context to the call, enabling the receiver to know whether an unsolicited call from an unknown number is actually something that they want or need to take.
‘Bring your own Carrier’ launched
Twilio also launched a BYOC to their platform, enabling businesses that have ongoing SIP Trunking relationships or contracts to start to build on Twilio without having to break those contracts or pay double for their usage. For some organizations, they are not yet ready to change PSTN or SIP provider or may find it difficult to get out of contracts with their telco, especially if bundled with other critical services as a managed offering.
Twilio are still in a rapid growth phase and will be interesting to see if they can grow their VAR channel and execute on their bring products to market like Flex. Continuous product launches, a wide range of customers, products and use cases show that Twilio are at the forefront of both innovation in the communications industry and enabling those that work with them to innovate.”
Cavell will continue to cover Twilio and keep you up to date with new developments – if you have any questions please contact Dominic Black with any further questions.