Twilio launches Programmable Wireless service for IoT developers
Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson

Twilio launches Programmable Wireless service for IoT developers

Cloud communications platform Twilio has announced the global availability of Twilio Programmable Wireless.

The company claims it is the first cellular communications platform that uses simple APIs to power a range of connected functions, so that developers can minimise delays and complexity when building new IoT projects.

Via the service, developers can order a SIM for two-day delivery and begin working on IoT projects immediately, said the company today. The service has been in private Beta since being announced two years ago as a US-focused partnership with T-Mobile.

Up to 30 billion connected devices may be online by 2020, by some estimates. But according to Twilio, many connectivity providers have outdated ordering, billing, reporting and documentation systems, which deters developers and slows adoption.

“Despite the hype surrounding the Internet of Things over the last several years, the IoT has been largely out of reach to developers because there has not been a developer-friendly connectivity provider,” said Chetan Chaudhary, head of the IoT business at Twilio.

By making cellular connectivity programmable, the company said that it “empowers developers to focus their time and energy on building innovative connected solutions while Twilio handles the complexity of dealing with carrier business models”.

Using the system, developers can see where and when SIMs are connected and monitor data consumption in real time with individual SIM reporting. In addition, Twilio says that developers can minimise data costs by using the Commands API to send and receive machine to machine (M2M) commands by SMS.

Launch partners

In private Beta, Twilio customers have built a range of IoT services in healthcare, transportation and hospitality, said the company.

For example, connected bike-hire startup LimeBike has integrated the company’s SIMs into its bikes and scooters. Via the platform, LimeBike is able to monitor the status of each individual SIM, making it easy to keep track of the location of Limebike’s fleet and detect problems as they emerge.

Meanwhile, iBeat is a healthtech wearable designed for people who are susceptible to heart problems. Via Twilio, the device can alert paramedics, family, and iBeat’s network of one million trained CPR volunteers in the event of an emergency.

Another launch partner, System One is a disease intelligence provider that delivers test results to more than 1,800 clinics in 40 countries. Because Twilio’s platform automatically fails over to another network if it encounters problems, System One was able to improve reliability and ensure that test results are delivered between clinics. As a result, it is now able scale operations quickly without having to manage carrier relationships in every region, according to the company.

Internet of Business says

Today’s announcement is evidence that rather than introducing unnecessary complexity, the IoT may actively help to remove it. The key with connected/IoT services is that they are swift, low-cost, power-efficient, and scalable, making use of edge technologies and intelligence. So any service that removes obstacles to developers and helps speed solutions to market is a positive move.


Chris Middleton
Chris Middleton is the editor of Internet of Business, and specialises in robotics, AI, the IoT, and technology strategy. He is former editor of Computing, Computer Business Review, and Professional Outsourcing, among others, and is a contributing editor to Diginomica, Computing, and Hack & Craft News. Over the years, he has also written for Computer Weekly, The Guardian, The Times, PC World, I-CIO, V3, and The Inquirer, among many others. He is an acknowledged robotics expert who has appeared on BBC TV and radio, ITN, and Talk Radio, and is probably the only tech journalist in the UK to own a number of humanoid robots, which he hires out to events, exhibitions, universities, and schools.

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