February 23, 2024

Twilio moves its peer-to-peer video calling service into public beta

Twilio has opened up its video calling capability to more people. The company announced that Twilio Video is now available to everyone as a public beta. Both its iOS and Javascript SDKs can be accessed via the account portal, giving developers the ability to incorporate peer-to-peer video chat right into their applications.

Unveiled in April, Twilio Video is the newest extension from the company that has spent the past few years helping create apps that want to leverage telecommunication technology, specifically voice and text-based messaging (SMS and MMS). After all, now that you’ve done well with the spoken word and static image, why not go after live motion conversation? The product puts Twilio in direct competition with video platforms like Tokbox.

“We are stoked about the potential of in-app video calling — because it enables use cases that are much more than just a traditional face to face video call,” explained Ari Sigal, Twilio’s product manager for video, in a blog post. “Traditional video calls — where video is a standalone service — have only really gained serious traction within the consumer space. For consumer to consumer interactions, video calling is game changing … but in a work environment, I don’t want you to see me for the sake of it. I like you being unaware that I wear a onesie when working from home.”

Sigal said that since the release of the developer preview, there has been a “hugely diverse” set of use cases that have emerged, specifically around health care, where in-app visual support and tutoring emerged as the most common application. What makes this interesting is that while many states require physicians to have a “face-to-face” meeting with their patients prior to writing a prescription, one way apparently to circumvent this is through peer-to-peer video meetings — something that isn’t necessarily new, with the rise of services like Doctor on Demand or the experiment that Google had with Helpouts.

But besides health care, other applications could include customer service or enabling productivity apps to incorporate video calling right into their apps — perhaps do an impromptu chat within your Slack channel? Or develop your own version of Google Hangouts or Skype? Whatever you want to do with video is likely at your disposal with Twilio Video.

Today’s announcement highlights how the company has put its stake in the ground to show that it now covers all the communications needs that a developer has. Could its next step be positioning itself toward an eventual IPO? Chief executive Jeff Lawson hasn’t denied the idea that Twilio could go public, and the company has raised serious capital to help get it to a point where it has a large contingent of developers using its service. Clearly it’s not going away anytime soon.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *