Tuesday, 17 April 2018 23:02

Twilio simplifies IoT connectivity


Cloud communications provider Twilio claims to have made it easier for IoT developers to arrange connectivity for their devices around the world.

Twilio Programmable Wireless makes life easier for developers creating IoT devices, the company suggested.

The API-based approach means developers can concentrate on the solution they are trying to create, rather than worrying about how the devices connect.

"Despite the hype surrounding the internet of things over the last several years, IoT has been largely out of reach to developers because there has not been a developer-friendly connectivity provider," said Twilio general manager of IoT, Chetan Chaudhary.

"Twilio Programmable Wireless makes connectivity accessible to millions of developers via Twilio's platform, empowering them to begin experimenting with IoT. We can't wait to see what they build."

According to the company, Twilio Programmable Wireless provides developers with a self-service, pay-as-you-go communications platform (data, SMS and voice) with extensive documentation, allowing them to begin building IoT solutions immediately.

Pricing was up in the air at the time of writing. During the initial period of limited availability, this is how it worked:

The US$3 SIM cards provided by Twilio work in more than 120 countries. There are no other upfront costs.

Ongoing costs comprise a connection fee (starting at US$2 per active SIM for up to 500 SIMs) and a data usage fee (starting at US$0.10 per megabyte for up to 100GB, pooled across active SIMs).

Inbound or outbound machine-to-machine SMS messages cost US$0.005 each, while voice traffic starts at US$0.013 per minute for the first 100,000 minutes.

SIMs can be suspended for up to three months at no additional charge, and after that the fee starts at US$0.35 per suspended SIM per month.

There are no contracts involved, so customers can scale up and down as needed, paying the prices applicable to the level of use during that particular month. The exception is that reduced data charges are available to customers that commit to a minimum monthly spend.

Full details of the new pricing model were not available at the time of writing, but the company did tell iTWire "we're introducing revised data pricing to better support popular consumption tiers in a self-service manner".

"We're also introducing a 'quota' based data pricing model that enables developers to support both high and low consumption IoT use cases globally, with better support for devices that travel across borders in a single billing period.

"You assign every SIM a data quota. By opting to increase the minimum data spend of a SIM, you'll receive discounted data prices in every available country."

So while the pay-as-you-go rate for data in Australia is US$0.10 per megabyte, accepting a minimum monthly spend of US$1 per SIM reduces that to US$0.05 per megabyte. The higher the commitment, the lower the per-megabyte cost.

Products and services already using Twilio Programmable Wireless include the iBeat heart-monitoring watch, the LimeBike bike and scooter hire service, Eatabit (provides a simple system for food delivery services to place orders with participating restaurants), and SystemOne (delivers medical test results to more than 1800 clinics in 40 countries).

Twilio Programmable Wireless is now generally available.


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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.



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