Twilio Announces SIP and 2 Other Game Changing Features

Twilio Announces SIP, WebRTC SupportI just returned from TwilioCon where my lead software developer and I witnessed several exciting announcements. On Wednesday, October 17 there was a great deal of buzz about a couple product announcements that were to be made. There were actually three big announcements which I have summarized below.

SIP for Twilio

First they announced SIP support. Twilio has recognized the strong desire for SIP among it's developer community and they have now responded. In an effort to empower developers to leverage prior investments in legacy systems, Twilio now supports routing to SIP devices. So let's say you have a fancy IP PBX and a bunch of fancy SIP desk phones. Now you can use the <SIP> command in place of <DIAL> to route calls through your IP PBX and on to specific SIP devices. We were among the many attendees who were very happy to hear this news. The only thing we will have to continue to wait for is a Twilio supported outbound SIP. Although inbound SIP is now a reality, Twilio has not yet provided an official method for placing outbound calls via SIP devices. However, we have already conceived of ways to bridge the gap (develop a SIP out solution) with our own custom code and growing knowledge of Twilio. The good news is that although no official announcement was made about the support for outbound SIP, we had discussions with the Twilio guys that lead us to conclude that as long as the development community demands more SIP features they will continue to deliver.

Goodbye Flash, Hello Web RTC

The second big announcement is that support for WebRTC is in beta and an official release is coming soon. We were given access to the code library and were encouraged to start testing WebRTC immediately. If I remember correctly, the first official general release should coincide with the next Chrome release. Firefox is also focusing on WebRTC in upcoming releases. In case you are wondering why you should care about WebRTC, read on... Currently the Twilio Client uses Flash. Although it works, the seemingly perpetual updates to Flash and the inherent nature of Flash has made creating stable Twilio apps a bit of a challenge. In our experience we have built apps that worked great, only to see them crash with an upgrade of Flash. Further, the reliance on TCP/IP necessarily meant that the type of stability one would expect from a voice app was just not there. Again, we were extremely excited to learn about WebRTC as we believe this will quickly solve some of the biggest issues we have experienced to date that are all related to Flash.

Single API Call For Account Data, Plus Triggers

The third announcement was the ability to retrieve comprehensive account information with a single API call and the ability to set defined triggers. Prior to this new feature, it could have required hundreds of API calls to retrieve the data that you might need to analyze usage or billing information. This process is now as simple as a few lines of code. Additionally, you can now set triggers based on defined metrics such as usage or cost thresholds. This could come in handy if you want to get notified when a certain number of calls are made by a sub-account or specific user, when a certain number of SMS messages are sent, or if a certain cost has been reached.

Twilio Dudes are Cool

Finally, I just want to say that the Twilio team is comprised of a bunch of very smart, very cool dudes (and ladies). We have been working with the platform for about two years and although we have always felt like we were dealing with a solid company, there is nothing that can replace the process of meeting face to face to get a real sense of who you are dealing with. We were quite relieved to meet lots of really smart people who understood exactly where they were with the evolution of their platform and conveyed a genuine commitment to it's community of developers. They acknowledged the shortcomings of the present platform and were eager to sit down and learn about what we wanted next and what our use cases were. Further, they made sure we got face time with the top engineers and product managers who seemed very interested in helping us take our Twilio apps to the next level. Bottom-line... the Twilio guys are the real deal and I am more confident than ever that our leap of faith (when we ditched our old school asterisk solution and went all in on Twilio) a couple years ago was a smart decision. So if you were like us (a little nervous about whether Twilio was a viable solution that was ready for primetime) I can confidently say that my professional assessment is that they are in fact leading the revolution, and will continue to do so. They have the right people working to solve the right problems and in our case things are coming together just in time. If you have an interest in integrating Twilio into a existing application or creating a new app from scratch, we would love to hear from you.  

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