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Twilio Studio eases customer communication by tweaking existing apps

Cloud communications company Twilio has released a more user-friendly version of its service this week, at its annual Signal conference. Twilio Studio is designed to help non-developers build customer-facing communications and edit them after they go live.

Patrick Malatack, Twilio’s VP of product, describes cloud communications as “Taking the communication infrastructure and realising it’s part of every app experience.”

Twilio describes itself as ‘doing for communications what AWS has done for compute and storage’. It creates APIs that companies can use to integrate communications into their own applications. One such is John Lewis, which uses Twilio’s APIs to connect trade professionals like electricians with end-users who need work done. It is also used in services like Box and TransferWise.

Integrating these APIs into app experiences is relatively complex, and the traditional business professional struggles to work with them. This reasoning was behind the development of Twilio Studio, which can be used to change experiences after developers have built them. “You shouldn’t need to hire external experts just to change your call centre,” said Malatack.

Businesses can use Studio to constantly iterate on their customer engagement experiences, without building a brand new one. For example, they can change when and how push notifications are sent and what they say from within the application. A visual interface, with drag and drop functionality, further simplifies its use. 

A common trend in IT today is flexibility, and Twilio is bringing that to Studio with a pay-as-you-go model; every engagement will cost 1p. “We love this because it allows any organisation to try out any ideas that they have,” said Malatack. “Instead of a $1 million licensing fee, you pay for what you use. We wanted a business model that aligns with innovators and agile working; pay-as-you-go fosters innovation.

“The biggest barrier to innovation is all the ideas that can never get tried,” he concluded.

Twilio will launch Studio as a developer preview this week and bring customers on board slowly after that. The beta will go live in Q4, and the final version will be launched early next year: “probably” Q1.

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