Twilio Connect Makes Selling Twilio-Powered Apps Less Complicated

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Today at the oh-so-aptly named Twilio Conference, Twilio announced a convenient new feature: Twilio Connect. (Go ahead, just try to squeeze the word “Twilio” into that sentence one more time.)

Twilio, as you may know, is a pay-as-you-go cloud communications service which allows developers to integrate phone calling/text messaging support into their mobile/web apps by dropping in just a few lines of code. The problem thus far, though: How does a developer properly charge the app buyer for usage? What if one user needs 100 minutes of call time through your app each month, and another needs 100,000? Things can get complicated.

Twilio Connect simplifies things. Allowing users to connect Twilio-powered applications to their own Twilio accounts, Twilio Connect lets developers charge an up-front cost for their app and never worry about who’s using what.

To be clear, the intention of Twilio Connect is generally to charge the one implementing the app, not the end-user. For example: if you sell a Twilio-powered call center package for small businesses, this allows you to have the small business handle their own usage fees — not have each user who calls in pay for their own talk time on their own Twilio account. That would be silly.

Twilio gave a few examples of where Twilio Connect already works:

  • Optimizely, an A/B testing solution for your website, uses Twilio to generate multiple phone numbers. You can place one number in each test layout, and can then measure which placement generates the most calls. With Twilio Connect, they don’t need to worry about whether users are getting 10 calls or 10,000.
  • Data analytics GoodData uses Twilio Connect not for the billing, but for the data access. By tying into just one user’s account, GoodData is able to analyze the data from every call or SMS that has ever gone through that account.

Twilio Connect should go live for developers to play with starting today.