Twilio‘s CEO Jeff Lawson gave a passionate keynote today at his cloud telephony startup’s conference today peppered with big stats and quotes like “Communications is now in the domain of software. We focus on the user, and we will win.”
Twilio now powers big names in tech like Uber, eBay and Hulu, has 150,000 developers and is expanding internationally to disrupt ye old telecom industry.
The news was unveiled today at TwilioCon, Twilio’s developer conference in San Francisco, as co-founder and CEO Jeff Lawson took to the stage to proclaim Twilio’s success in disrupting the carrier hegemony. “In telecom, the playing field has been leveled,” he said, because of the shift away from expensive hardware to cloud-based software, such as kind that Twilio offers.
Twilio today announced that there are now 150,000 developers using its APIs, with almost 1.5 million phone calls a day and 500 million phone calls done on the Twilio platform. [Correction: Twilio has processed 500 million total phone calls and 1.5 million phone calls per day, not 1 billion total and 1.5 million API calls as we originally published].
And Twilio is on track to accelerate with the introduction of local numbers now into 20 more countries that will take its total footprint to 40 countries. This is a significant addition, considering that in the past Twilio has ramped up in increments like this. You can see the full list of supported countries here.
The expansion means that Twilio can now offer developers local phone numbers on every inhabited content [excepting Antarctica], reaching markets where it has not been before such as Australia, parts of Asia and Latin America. (Australia, notes Lisa Weitekamp, associate product manager at Twilio, had been the most-requested country of all the ones where Twilio did not offer numbers.)
Though it has momentum, this all doesn’t mean cloud telecom is a one-horse race. Veteran telephony API provider Voxeo Labs has 200,000 developers in its Tropo dev community — more than Twilio does today. There’s also talk from competitors that Twilio has lost some key talent around developer relations, which could mute optimism about the company.
The company is taking on carriers around the world with its innovative API-based service, which lets developers create cloud-based phone numbers in web and mobile apps that cost less than similar services offered by carriers, and are significantly easier to deploy across multiple geographies — users do not need to strike country-by-country relationships for one thing.
But carriers are now starting to get with the program: Telefonica, for example, has its Blue Via API effort, which recently added its first outside carrier, Telenor, with plans to extend that to more in the near future. (Interesting side-note, Telefonica’s former head of developer relations for Blue Via, James Parton, now works for Twilio in Europe.) Twilio announced its biggest partnership yet with AT&T last month, though the integration’s deployment seems to be on hold as some materials about the deal were retracted.
These partnerships are leading Twilio to start focusing not just on more universal services — such as this 20-country expansion for voice, but also to focus more on the quality of its service. To that end, today it also announced a new Global Low Latency (GLL) and quality service created by “employing geographically strategic data centers and intelligent routing”. In layman’s terms, this ensures that calls made on its network are only cost-effective but also that they sound good.
It also potentially introduces the idea that Twilio may at some point start offering different quality-of-service levels for users, similar to the way that carriers do.
Weitekamp notes that Twilio is starting with voice but is looking at ways of extending other services to more markets as well. SMS, she notes, needs separate mobile agreements in many countries, which will take some time to iron out. She would not comment on whether and when Twilio would roll out entirely new services such as video calls or billing.
“Striking carrier deals and deploying infrastructure around the globe was a significant undertaking,” said Thomas Schiavone, director of product management at Twilio. “But we knew we’d be measured by our call quality and this is only way to ensure the best experience for our customers around the world.”
Twilio continues its goal to deliver one API with global reach. In July, the company announced outbound SMS to over 200 countries, and support for a variety of languages, such as Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Greek, Russian and dozens more.
The big message of Twiliocon was the idea of prioritizing customer experience. Lawson praised Twilio developers, exclaiming “You’re focused on the user instead of the scaffolding. Others are shackled to big hardware and big software. You’re going to win.”