Okay, I got a question for you. How often do you associate your smartphone with making actual phone calls? Do you often feel that it’s more often used to play with the numerous applications you have on there? One problem that you, as a user, might experience is having to switch from your app to the phone — there’s no way to conduct business or do what you need to do easily right from the app. Well, if you’re a developer who wants to combine the best of both worlds, then look no further because Twilio has just released a very important solution to all the world’s telephone problems. Now, communication on your mobile device has just stepped it up a notch.
Introducing the Twilio Client iOS SDK
Twilio, a Cloud communications company, dead-set on reinventing telecom by creating an industry and world where Cloud computing, web services, and telecommunications are merged together, released a new product that will be very important for developers and companies to build what they call “rich communication experiences” right from their app. The Twilio Client iOS SDK will make it possible for any mobile application to make or receive phone calls while also providing real-time presence information about contacts within the application on the consumer’s iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch device. Essentially, they’re bringing Voice over IP, or VoIP, right into the power of your hands.
ReadWriteWeb’s Dan Rowinski gives us an interesting look at the potential of the Twilio Client in his post:
Imagine playing a game of Scrabble on your iPhone against your mother. You and Ma are competitive and these games tend to turn into rabid battles for literary supremacy. Also, she’s your mother so you want to talk about how things are with the family, your nephew and if Pa is taking that new job in Chicago. So, you press a button in the app and create a voice connection running over your data connection. No dialing, no minutes used. Just a data connection straight from the app.
All of this done right through VoIP?
But what is VoIP?
Voice over IP (VoIP), as defined by Wikipedia, is “a family of technologies, methodologies, communication protocols, and transmission techniques for the delivery of voice communications and multimedia sessions over Internet Protocol (IP) networks, such as the Internet.” It’s also synonymous with Internet telephony.
What Twilio is doing with their new release is taking the traditional phone and powering it through the Internet. No longer will users need to subject themselves to the land lines, instead phone calls can be done cleaner, quicker, and cheaper, through the use of the Internet and Cloud communications. And there’s definitely signs that say that VoIP is a big success and will grow over the next few years–in fact, chances are that you’re already using one of the most successful applications: Skype.
Mobile VoIP Trends
But if you need further proof…according to Sangoma, a leading provider of hardware and software components powering IP communications, they believe that one of the main proponents of the VoIP trend is the proliferation of 4G technology, probably due to increased data connection speeds and the near real-time delivery of communications. Technology publication VentureBeat also believes that mobile VoIP growth will be making some news in 2012. In a guest post by Andreas Bernstrom, CEO of Rebtel, the world’s largest independent mobile VoIP company, VentureBeat states that “with 4G finally rolled out across the U.S. and technology improvements from companies like Rebtel and Viber, dropped calls will become a thing of the past. mVoIP will therefore go from being a fad, to something that is embraced beyond the digerati, and finally catching on with the mainstream.”
Smartphones are definitely going to play a big part in adoption of mobile VoIP as well–a 2011 Juniper Research study states that the mobile VoIP clients downloaded onto smartphones will account for four-fifths of the 640 million mVoIP users by the end of 2016. Carriers will still feel uneasy about mVoIP and will not be partnering with specialists anytime soon, says the study. But with this proliferation, the number of mobile video calls by users will grow to more than 130 million by 2016, all spurred by the launch of mobile video calling by major players and technology improvements. Even VoIP specialists (the ones that carriers probably won’t work with), like Vivox (and maybe even Twilio now) are working on exploring their alliances with social media, gaming, and software companies.
To put it another way, according to a Morgan Stanley report on Internet trends, if VoIP market leader, Skype, were a carrier, it would be the largest “carrier” in the world. There’s a lot of promise for mobile VoIP services to breakthrough and disrupt the traditional carriers. Hell, even Facebook is even getting involved. It’s garnering a rising share of the communication all through the main device you have in your pocket. From messaging, chatting, wall posts, status updates, sharing videos/music, playing games, and even making VoIP calls–this can all be done right from your mobile device.
So what does Twilio’s Client iOS SDK offer up?
By integrating the Twilio Client SDK into your applications, you’re going to be able to use the iOS device’s data connection (either 3G/4G or Wi-Fi) to call other mobile apps, web browsers, or even phones! The landline isn’t (totally) dead…Twilio wants to marry both the Internet and the telephone together. For developers, if the app has a desire to communicate with anyone or anything, Twilio’s service offers up an easy way to integrate this capability in a “ready to install” package–no creating code from scratch. If you have a better way to improve or build the next Skype or a powerful Google Voice competitor with a twist, then you might want to take a look at the Twilio Client. According to GigaOm, over 2,000 of Twilio’s 75,000 developers have already signed up for Twilio’s SDK beta program.
But what about the pricing? Twilio’s pricing page indicates that those that are using Twilio Client will still only pay a quarter of a cent per minute for inbound or outbound calls when done in a browser or mobile app. All a developer is apparently going to need is a few lines of code provided within the Twilio Client, add it to their application, and they’re off and running. According to Twilio:
Your users’ interactions become even richer with Twilio Client because your app has access to built-in presence and location data. Now every call is not just a call – it’s a rich communication between your users while they play a game, get customer support, or just call mom. With our native SDK, you have complete control of the experience.
Photo Credit: Hypercup.org