Twilio is a cloud-based service that helps you build telephony-based services. In September it added more than 100 new features.
Using telephony-based APIs is new territory for many. We are always asking how telephony services are used. Developers use the Twilio API for alerts, changes to calendars, conferencing and a host of other uses.
To get a perspective, here are five ways developers are using the Twilio API:
Bad News Robot
Bad News Robot allows you to call someone with bad news without having to do it yourself. The robot does the talking for you.
Using Twilio, the service will call the recipient for the robot to deliver the bad news. The robot may have a "dude voice," or a "chick voice." The call costs 99 cents. Twitter and email is free.
Ringerous lets you post to your blog by phone.Your recorded message is added to the post with an embedded MP3 player for easy playback. There are a number of similar services .
From PW: "A toll-free number with support for multiple conference rooms, create rooms with a specific purpose and track the number of participants."
A very simple service and there are others like GroupCall that use Twitter for creating a conference calls.
From an interview with Pha on the Twilio blog:
"I built Conferous using Ruby on Rails with a slightly customized version of the Twilio gem from Webficient to communicate with the Twilio API. The Twilio API was so flexible and easy to use that I was able to develop the core functionality very quickly. In addition, I deployed the application on Heroku, which sped up the development/deployment process even more. On the front-end side, I used jQuery to create some of the UI effects and for AJAX interactions. You could say I'm a sucker for technologies that make my life easier and let me focus on functionality and not nitty-gritty details."
Mobile Commons is a service that is a page out of modern, political marketing. It provides advertisers and agencies quickly launch and manage mobile marketing campaigns from a Web-based user interface.
Can you see how this might be used in the next session of the U.S. Congress?
Voxilate provides the ability for a silent auction. Bidders can bid on items over the phone and are notified via text message when they are outbid.
From the Voxilate blog, a walk-through for how it works:
"All bid items are listed in a Google spreadsheet
Users at the silent auction enter their name, bid amount, and phone number on the auction sheets.
When the auction completes, on-site staff enter the winners into the Google Spreadsheet.
Bidders dial the Twilio-provided number and enter their phone number as a PIN (automatic if they send Caller ID). They are told whether they have won, and if so, what their total is (important for those who bid on multiple items!). They are then instructed to say their names, addresses, and other pertinent information and are of course thanked for participating.
This information is then transcribed and posted into the Google Spreadsheet (this is fun to watch in real-time!) The Twilio link to audio is also included in case the information needs to be double-checked.
On-site staff can then complete the checkout at their leisure.
We're using Google App Engine for serving the TwiML responses to Twilio, and the Google Data APIs for connecting to Google Spreadsheet."
The services we see range from the trivial to the truly useful. What they all offer is an example of how the telepehony space is rapidly becoming a platform for communication that sits on equal footing with the Web.