Cloud Communication platforms
Updated: December 30, 2020
2020. Omnichannel communication platform MessageBird raises $200M
MessageBird, the Amsterdam-headquartered cloud communications company, has raised $200 million in Series C. Originally seen as a European or “rest of the world” competitor to U.S.-based Twilio — offering a cloud communications platform that supports voice, video and text capabilities all wrapped up in an API — MessageBird has since repositioned itself as an “Omnichannel Platform-as-a-Service” (OPaaS). The idea is to easily enable enterprises and medium and smaller-sized companies to communicate with customers on any channel of their choosing. Out of the box, this includes support for WhatsApp, Messenger, WeChat, Twitter, Line, Telegram, SMS, email and voice. Customers can start online and then move their support request or query over to a more convenient channel, such as their favourite mobile messaging app, which, of course, can go with them.
2020. Twilio launches an app for frontline workers
Twilio, which provides communication API for messaging, voice and video, has launched a new API - Video Web RTC Go. This free video service allows you to add 1:1 video chats to your web and mobile applications. The company notes that this is not a free trial, but you are limited to 25 GB of bandwidth through Twilio’s relays per month, or about 100,000 participant minutes. Twillio says that it's a free tier and a free offering for developers to get started building those one to one video connections for things like distance learning, client consultations — all of those things that companies might have a need for in these new use cases that we’ve seen evolve through the pandemic.
2020. Microsoft challenges Twilio with the launch of Azure Communication Services
Microsoft announced the launch of Azure Communication Services, a new set of features in its cloud that enable developers to add voice and video calling, chat and text messages to their apps, as well as old-school telephony. The company describes the new set of services as the “first fully managed communication platform offering from a major cloud provider,” and that seems right, given that Google and AWS offer some of these features, including the AWS notification service, for example, but not as part of a cohesive communication service. Indeed, it seems Azure Communication Service is more of a competitor to the core features of Twilio or up-and-coming MessageBird.
2018. Twilio adds support for LINE
Communications API platform Twilio announced that it has added support for messenger LINE. With this, Twilio developers now have the ability to reach users on this service. The LINE support also extends to Twilio Studio, the company’s drag-and-drop app builder, and Flex, Twilio’s recently announced contact center solution. Twilio allows sending and receiving messages and supports many of the most popular messaging platforms, ranging from Facebook Messenger and Slack to WeChat, Kik and the new RCS text messaging standard. Missing from this list are the likes of WhatsApp and SnapChat, though they don’t have APIs that Twilio could easily integrate.
2016. VoIP platform provider Twilio launches add-on marketplace
Twilio announced the launch of its add-ons marketplace. Using these add-ons, developers who use Twilio’s API to power the messaging features of their apps and services can easily combine Twilio’s services with those of its partners. Twilio will handle the billing for its partners and developers can access their services with a single API call. For now, Twilio is working with 18 partners, including the likes of IBM Watson, NextCaller, WhitePages Pro, Mobile Commons and Payfone. These add-ons are available for Twilio’s Programmable SMS, Programmable Voice and Twilio Lookup services.
2015. Communications platform Twilio raised $130M
Twilio, the developer-centric communications platform, has raised a $130 million Series E round. Twilio says the new round will allow it to accelerate its global expansion plans and expands its efforts to get into the enterprise. The company also says that it will likely use the new funding to ” execute on strategic opportunities such as the company’s recent acquisition of Authy.” Twilio’s innovative cloud communications platform is changing the way businesses communicate with their customers and Salesforce Ventures is excited to help Twilio continue to accelerate their growth. With this round, the company is also clearly setting itself up for an IPO. In total, Twilio has now raised $233.7 $240 million and while it’s not talking about its valuation, it’s an easy guess that we are now talking about more than $1 billion.
2015. Cisco acquires cloud VoIP platform Tropo
Cisco announced its intent to buy Tropo, a Twilio-like communications platform for adding telephony, messaging and other communications tools to any application. Tropo's APIs are making it simpler for developers to add a range of functionality to applications very quickly and one function developers love to include is an ability to communicate. Twilio is probably the best known of the communications APIs, but buying Tropo gives Cisco immediate access to a community of more than 200,000 developers (according to numbers provided by Cisco). Tropo offers its product for free to developers, and then makes money from each communication made via the Tropo platform. This purchase gives Cisco a platform to attract developers to its wider ecosystem, and that’s important for a mature company like Cisco, trying to avoid the brutality of disruption.
2015. Twilio acquires 2-factor authentication service Authy
Communications API provider Twilio has acquired Authy, a service that offers two-factor authentication to end users and enterprises. Authy is a natural fit for Twilio, that over the past few years powered components of the authentication and verification experience for brands like Intuit, Box and GitHub. Integrating Authy’s service with Twilio will give users a better self-service and policy-management experience, as well as features like mobile phone-based TOTP [time-based one-time passwords]. A number of Twilio customers, after all, have already built their own two-factor authentication services that use Twilio’s SMS and voice services. They will soon be able to do away with those (after a bit of engineering work, I would imagine) and choose Authy as a product option on Twilio.com.
2014. Twilio adds MMS messages to its API cloud
Twilio, the cloud service that allows developers to easily integrate text messaging and VoIP into their apps by way of a set of simple APIs, is today adding a new feature - MMS picture messaging. For example it will allow employees to take pictures of interesting items that have come into the store, and instead of sending MMS messages of these pieces using their own direct numbers to share them - use their work numbers, provided by Twilio. Another use case - is letting customers contact companies by way of their apps to send pictures of broken products to get refunds or for technical help. Twilio MMS will work on all standard phone numbers across the U.S. and Canada, with prices starting at $0.01 per message to receive and $0.02 to send — and going down based on volume.
2014. Twilio and Google want to turn Google Chromebooks into call centers
Twilio and Google are collaborating on a new product called Twilio CX for Chromebook, which is a Google Chromebook that comes loaded with the Twilio client and has the ability to embed VoIP-phone into a webpage so users can make their phone calls in a browser. This Chromebook also come with a Plantronics voice headset and 7,500 Twilio minutes per month and can be had for $75 per month as well as an additional fee to be determined by Twilio’s partners who sell the device to the public. LiveOps, the cloud-based contact center, is the launch partner but Twilio said it would expand the program to other partners.
2014. Twilio launches new offering to help companies deliver more messages
Cloud communications company Twilio launched a new offering called Message Delivery Information, which the company says will allow its customers to reach more of their audience. It allows to improve delivery rates and reach a higher percentage of your customers. Using this new tool, you’ll see critical details for each message you send. If the message is sent successfully, you’ll see a confirmation. If the message wasn’t delivered successfully, you’ll see an explanation. For example, if your message violated carrier guidelines, or you sent a text to a landline, it will be indicated in Message Delivery Information. Message Delivery Information is free to use for all communication sent using the company’s messaging APIs.