As part of the effort to engage customers more at a time when most of them are spending more time online than in the office, organizations of all sizes have adopted various types of live streaming digital platforms to host online events. The hope is those digital events will, at the very least, make up for in-person events that were largely canceled in the last year.
The challenge is the platforms employed to host those online events are costly and often challenging to deploy. Twilio this week announced that it would reduce the cost of hosting an online event by making it possible for developers to involve application programming interfaces (APIs) to invoke Twilio Live, a cloud-based platform that promises to enable developers to embed live, interactive audio, and video streaming into applications and Web sites with sub-two second latency.
Twilio Live is essentially an extension of the video and audio services that Twilio has been providing developers via Amazon Web Services for years now. Twilio at its core enables developers to invoke those APIs to build applications that engage end-users more deeply. Most of those services are used across a broad range of customer engagement applications that are driving various digital business processes, says Hakim Mehmood, general manager for voice and video at Twilio. “We are a customer engagement company,” he says.
Early adopters of Twilio Live include Reddit, which is adding a live audio feature, dubbed Reddit Talk, that will enable conversations between visitors to the social media site.
As digital business transformation initiatives continue to evolve, it’s become apparent that every application experience being provided will need to include multimedia. In some instances, it may make sense for an organization to acquire and manage a platform to, for example, host a multiday online conference. However, there are many more use cases where a cloud service invoked via a set of APIs is going to be more than sufficient.
There are also large numbers of smaller businesses that, in the absence of a cloud service that can be invoked via APIs, would not have the resources required to acquire and maintain a dedicated platform, notes Mehmood.
When it comes to digital business transformation, most organizations are now more inclined to building application experiences that are specifically tailored to meet the needs of their customers. It’s often simply too difficult and expensive to customize a general-purpose platform provided by a vendor that may have made available a software development kit (SDK). The Twilio APIs are, in contrast, easily accessible to any class of developers, says Mehmood.
Regardless of how interactive application experiences are created using audio and video, developers are being asked to upgrade their application development game. The days when two-dimensional applications were considered sufficient to meet the needs of end-users are all but over. The challenge now is how to design an application in a way that seamlessly integrates interactive audio and voice capabilities as smoothly as their programming skills will allow.