Twilio – The GrandCentral Killer?

By Chris in First Look, Launched

Twilio launched in private beta last week (and is now available for all), and is promising to bring some radical changes to web telephony services by enabling web developers through its simple REST API, and a simple pay as you go billing philosophy.

Thanks to Twilio you no longer have to deal with complex infrastructures, telecom programming languages, and stacks of PBX software to implement inbound and outbound phone applications.

Twilio’s CEO Jeff Lawson says that while many other web telephony services already exist (like Asterisk, an open source project), these technologies tend to be very complex and difficult to use, even for experienced developers. Lawson says that Twilio is looking to commoditize these phone services by making them much more accessible to developers, by introducing a set of very intuitive commands.

The Twilio REST API primarily consists of 5 commonly used phone actions:

  • Say
  • Play
  • Record
  • Dial
  • Gather a phone number

Thanks to these, its very easy to replicate some of GrandCentral’s core functionality in only around 15 lines of code!

Twilio is adopting the cloud service model, where no contracts are required and where you are charged flat fees for calls depending on the number of minutes used and the number of phone numbers needed.

We really like Twilio, as it has comoditized what used to be a dark art which usually involved a lot of hardware, software and lines of complex code to achieve. Plus its a perfect example of a really attractive startup prime for an aquisition, featuring a great idea, great packaging, a talented team, and some great team experience (CEO Jeff Lawson was a Product Manager for AWS).

Check it out at Twilio.com

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