Twilio has rolled out a new set of features designed to help developers build messaging apps using its platform. The telephony-based company has moved its Copilot offering out of beta and made it available to all of its users, allowing developers to conduct conversations using the best phone number without having to do a lot of tedious work.
“We believe that building SMS apps can and should be straightforward for developers,” wrote Laura Schaffer, a senior product marketing manager at Twilio. With Copilot, developers can tap into features to create a new user interface construct that automates the logic that goes into a messaging service. Twilio wants you to think of Copilot like a virtual personal assistant — like Siri or Cortana, but specifically for helping you build an app.
What Twilio wants to do with Copilot is deploy logic to send text and audio from a local number, something that the company admits isn’t easy. “Carrier routing and regulations can create a lot of extra work for developers to ensure messages are formatted properly for delivery,” Schaffer explained in her blog post.
Copilot was introduced in beta during Twilio’s Signal conference in San Francisco earlier this year. At the time, the company said nearly 700,000 developers had created apps on its platform, with “over 1,000 new developers” added every day. Many of these apps have become pretty popular globally, which meant developers started seeking easier ways to incorporate telephony capabilities, specifically SMS and MMS messaging.
Within Copilot, there are two processes that help deliver messages to users: leveraging the phone number, and content intelligence. The former looks at four features to determine what number to send from: geo-matching (using local phone numbers to send messages resonates better with users), scaler (distributing messages across a wide array of numbers instead of using one), sticky sender (sending messages from the same phone number to create a “consistent experience” and maintain conversation history), and reroute (if a carrier can’t receive messages via short code, revert to a long-code phone number).
Copilot also leverages content intelligence, which Twilio said will take the SMS messages and automatically compensate for carrier specifications and regulations. The goal is to make sure that the message sent is the one delivered, with the same quality as intended. Other features include protecting image quality when sent across networks, ways to convert MMS into an SMS message with a link to view the image, assembly capabilities to combine long messages, and more.