Last week TextIt had the honor of being featured at one of the biggest events in the telephony industry, TwilioCon. This was the third and biggest installment of the conference yet. For the uninitiated, Twilio is a company founded to alleviate the pain of integrating with carriers, enabling developers to instead code against a cloud API when they want to do innovative things with SMS or VOIP. To that end, they've done a great job of really lowering the barrier for new and interesting ideas to emerge on their platform.
Unfortunately, here in East Africa (and anywhere outside of the US, Canada, and the UK) we don't have the full benefit of Twilio. While their platform can send messages to local numbers here, there's currently no way for people to respond to a local number. So this means the opportunity to be the Twilio of Africa is still up for grabs. I have to say though, after spending time with CEO Jeff Lawson and the rest of his team, I really hope that Twilio becomes the Twilio of Africa. They are a developer-focused, no shenanigans operation that we can really identify with. In fact, TextIt was born out of a similar mission to reduce barriers to innovation. The key difference is that TextIt enables people who aren't developers to easily create SMS campaigns anywhere in the world without the time and money required to integrate with carriers. No matter where you are, you can take advantage of our exclusive flow engine by simply downloading a free Android application.
To kick off TwilioCon this year, Lawson led off his keynote by highlighting TextIt and how organizations are using it for a lot of social good in the developing world including programs focused on health, education, and governance. While we are extremely proud of that, the value of TextIt doesn't stop there. It's also being used to help corporations both large and small engage with their customers all over the world.
There were quite a few announcements at the conference this year but the most exciting was twilio.org which promises make it easier for non-profits to do meaningful work with less of a financial burden. Even though Twilio only allows two-way SMS in the US, Canada, and the UK, they do allow voice-enabled phone numbers in many more countries and can terminate those calls anywhere in the world. What's even better is that TextIt flows for easily building IVR (Interactive Voice Response) applications are already in beta. So this means that if you are a non-profit, you can for example, have a TextIt IVR application call India for only $0.025/minute, get $500 of free credit to get you started, and you can deploy it instantly. This blows the door wide open for doing low-cost IVR systems that can be deployed in any country. We are super excited about this. If you are a non-profit and interested in doing SMS or Voice applications, please get in touch, we'd love to help you get started with this stellar program.