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Signal 2019 Hopes and Expectations

I just arrived in San Francisco for the 2019 Twilio Signal conference, where Perficient is a Visionary Sponsor this year. It’s not quite been a year since the last Signal conference. But it’s really been an eventful ride for my team as we’ve been building out our partner practice.

Just over a year ago in late June, my colleague Shelby Hagman and I, along with our practice director Michael Greenlee, traveled out to Twilio HQ for our initial Flex partner training and hackathon. Flex was still very much in Beta and we were looking to get our first looks at the platform. By the time Flex went GA at Signal 2018 in October, we had already learned a lot and had worked on a sales demo used by the Twilio sales teams for training.

Just over a year later, we now have almost 30 developers working full-time on Twilio in some fashion, plus dedicated sales, sales engineering and managed services personnel. We’ve helped our first customers go live on Flex with several more slated to hit production in the next quarter. We’ve created MVPs of possible products or solution add-ons. And we’ve learned a lot in close partnership with Twilio by pushing the capabilities of the Flex platform, bringing our years of customer care and contact center experience into play.

There are a bunch of things I’m hoping to see at Signal (as well as Twilions who have become good friends and who i’m occasionally exasperated with my incessant questions). Here are a few things I’m looking for:

  • New options and ideas for deploying and maintaining Flex at scale. This has been one of our biggest pieces of feedback, both from Perficient directly and from customers. Curious to see how Patrick Kolencherry’s DevOps talk plays into this.

  • New capabilities in Messaging and how that service interplays with Flex Channels. Twilio has made a lot of strides in this area in the past six months. We’ve been using the Channels API a lot to unlock new channel experiences for customers.

  • Lots of SendGrid on the schedule this year. Definitely curious to see where things are headed post-acquisition.

  • Always encouraging and inspiring to hear what is up to, with their Twilio For Good campaigns

  • Auto-Pilot and AI/machine learning/natural language processing topics generally. We’ve been working closely with the AutoPilot team over the past few months. It’s come a long way since last fall from a somewhat theoretical Beta product to something we are actively using with customers. We’re getting lots of interest in bots, AI and self-service from customers, but there is still a lot of uncertainty over what’s possible and what will resonate most with consumers.

  • New developer capabilities, including the direction of the Twilio CLI that was recently launched publicly. Also any new options around standardized debugging or alerting across the Flex platform services as a whole.

Of course it’s always fun to hear what other companies are doing with Flex, as well as other Twilio services like iOT, Sync, Identity and so on. The Narrowband stuff that was introduced last year is still something I find fascinating. Living in rural Vermont, I haven’t had much opportunity to play with it yet (I’m looking at you, T-Mobile coverage in Vermont). Although our practice is very much focused on Flex, we are interested in all the Twilio services more broadly and are definitely hearing from companies who are interested in deep Twilio platform more generally. So I’m keeping my eye out for anything interesting being announced, even if it isn’t strictly Flex.

Come by and see us in the Expo hall, we’d love to talk about these topics or anything else you might be interested in doing on the Twilio platform.

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Curtis Swartzentruber, Director, Customer Engagement Solutions

Director of Customer Engagement Solutions, currently focusing on the Twilio Flex contact center platform and other Twilio services. My background spans 25 years including Microsoft and front-end application development, unified communications, enterprise architecture and services, Azure, AWS, database design and a little bit of everything else.

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