Five things we learned at Twilio's developer conference

Last week the Textline team attended Twilio's annual developer conference, Signal 2017. The event was aimed at software developers building apps on Twilio's platform. To be sure, Twilio CEO and cofounder Jeff Lawson opened his Thursday morning keynote with a somewhat risky live coding demonstration. Guest speakers included Salesforce Chairman and CEO Marc Benioff, as well as experts from IBM, Airbnb, Amazon, Microsoft, Zendesk, Google, and many more. Here are five things we learned:

1. Twilio powers the Internet of Things (IoT) around the world. For example, bike-sharing service LimeBike is creating a network of lime-green colored connected bicycles powered by Twilio SIM cards. A smartwatch from iBeat detects cardiac arrest and automatically calls for help. Connected devices using Twilio can now talk to cell networks in almost 200 countries.

2. Twilio is committed to social impact programs. The Twilio.org Impact Fund delivered its first $1 million to nonprofits and social enterprises to help people in need, to make government more accessible, and more. Read about the first eight recipients and get inspired to make a difference.

3. Your old-fashioned landline can do SMS. Twilio has expanded the ability to send and receive text messages using landlines, and we are incorporating these improvements into Textline. If your business wants to text-enable an existing voice number in the US or Canada, contact us.

4. Alexa learns quickly. Developer Jesse Friedman demonstrated how to build a simple "skill" for the Amazon Alexa platform using Twilio. When a user asks an Amazon Echo, "Where's my phone?" Alexa calls the missing phone so its owner can find it.

5. Security and privacy are constantly evolving. Signal 2017 featured at least a dozen sessions on topics like encryption, two-factor authentication, data retention, fraud and cyber attacks, data anonymization, and more. Friends don’t let friends reuse passwords.

Other hot topics at Signal 2017 included chatbots, global SMS, and speech recognition. We can't wait for Signal 2018!

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