Chris Kranky

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Twilio rolls along with WebRTC Video

The ride continues with Twilio Video

Chris KoehnckeChris Koehncke

Twilio announced today their public beta of their video service offering which of course uses WebRTC with support for a desktop JavaScript library and native mobile SDKs. Twilio had announced a series of IP initiatives back in May 2015 which included WebRTC voice, video as well as IP Chat all of which were initially in private beta (meaning they decided if you could use it).

In the last weeks, Twilio has released both IP Messaging and WebRTC Video into public beta (meaning open to anyone) and has amp’d up the noise around IP messaging with an incessant stream of blog articles on how to use this new service to create everything from Slack like apps to community driven Pokemon.

The WebRTC video announcement is simply that they’re moving to public beta. The actual offering isn’t long in the list of what it does today and likely a longer list of what it doesn’t do. Similar to the recent Cisco Spark, it’s a continued statement of direction and intent with a handful of initial deliverables.

"But I still think this is important. Here’s why."

Twilio is well respected by the developer community. Wanna send an SMS, make or receive a phone call. Your road quickly leads to (and mostly ends) at Twilio. Their support of WebRTC is an indication of more to come in terms of communication service offerings.

Twilio invests in education. Whether thru their evangelist team, meetups, webinars, blog, speaking engagements, or simply emailing them a question, Twilio undertook to educate & support the developer community on how to implement communications into their application. This is a long road to start down which few start-ups can undertake.

Twilio invests in the documentation. Documentation is neither fun nor cheap, but poor documentation often is thin or makes too many assumptions about what I already know. Twilio is well known to have good documentation and plenty of examples to help you get going..

promotion03 copyPreis Gunstig. A German phrase which means good price. Twilio has a self-service business model and has had transparent pricing. What you see on the website is what you get. Twilio pricing has always been reasonable and the WebRTC video pricing starting at $0.0001 (yes that many zeros) and has “the price it low and stack it high” Walmart philosophy. Twilio has excelled at making all of their services reasonably accessible, whether you’re spending $10 or $100,000 a month.

Twilio is fundamentally an API company. Every service today has an API, that’s not a big deal. But Twilio’s entire construct is API driven both externally and internally. I don’t know anything about programming API’s, but I do know that developers rave to me about how well thought out Twilio is with their APIs (and I’d expect the same for all the new products).

But more importantly.

I saved the best for last. Twilio has an enormous reach to over 800,000 developers worldwide. These are developers who are already interested in communications and to have Twilio yapping it up about WebRTC can only be good news for all of us collectively. I suspect many of the developers are only tangentially aware of WebRTC today.

Let’s see if Twilio helps change that. The Google Trends data from January 2011 to December 2015 with Twilio (red) and WebRTC (blue) is shown below, I’ll revisit this in a couple of months to see the impact for both Twilio & WebRTC.

trends

Twilio has for some time offered a WebRTC-to-SIP or PSTN service. Puts me to sleep just thinking about it. Boring as it may be, people actually use it because (1) it works, (2) it’s not expensive and (3) lots of application for this (think legacy call center built a decade before WebRTC existed). Twilio announced they’re well on the way to over 1 billion minutes on their WebRTC product alone.

I’m pretty excited about this, making WebRTC and Internet Communications, in general, widely accessible to educated developer community is bound to pay dividends in terms of faster and more innovative applications. And to steal Twilio’s tagline, I can’t wait to see what they will build.

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