Shane Jones Wins Twilio + Twitter Mashup Contest with 140Call

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After much debate among the judges, its finally is time to announce the winner of the Twitter + Twilio mashup contest from a couple weeks back.  To fill you in, Twilio has a developer contest every week (or two) encouraging developers to explore new use cases, integrations with other service and APIs, and creative ways to integrate voice communications with web apps.  Learn more on our contest page.

Use 140Call for Reminders & Wakeup Calls

140Call combines the power of Twilio and Twitter making it easy to send reminder and wake up calls to your mobile phone.  With a simple tweet to @140Call, you can setup a wake up call that gives you the weather in your city, a reminder call to pick up your dry cleaning on the way home from work, prep for an appointment or tweetchat, or whatever you need to remind yourself to do in the future.

How To Use 140Call

  • * Go to http://www.140call.com and complete the brief registration page.  The application will verify your phone number by placing an outbound call that requires you to press 1 to complete your registration.
  • * Follow @140call on Twitter (@140call will automatically follow you back) so you can send DM requests for reminder calls.
  • * Send a DM that includes the date and/or time you would like your reminder call with the option of the weather for your zip code and a custom message in quotes.  Example tweets: (8:30am weather “good morning, have a great day”), (9:45am weather), (10:00am “don’t forget to pick up milk at the store”)

Interview with Shane Jones

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How did you hear about Twilio?

I think I originally heard about Twilio on Fred Wilson’s blog more than a year ago.  I kept hearing good things about Twilio from friends and blogs that I follow and decided a few months ago to start trying it out.

What gave you the idea for 140call?

I’ve never really liked the wakeup calls you get in hotels.  They always seem so impersonal.  I thought it would be cool to have a wakeup call that did a little more than just wake you up.  Adding a weather forecast and a custom message seemed like a great place to start and a lot more useful than the standard wakeup call you get on the road.

How long did 140call take to build?

It took me about a week and half, working part time, to build 140Call.  The Twilio API was really easy to use and the libraries and example code were very helpful.  The Twilio developer community is great and the forums had answers to most of the challenges I faced when building the app.

What tools/technologies did you use?

I built 140Call in PHP using the Zend Studio IDE.  I found the Twilio PHP Library to be an excellent interface to the API and used it for all of my call functions.  140Call is hosted on Amazon EC2 and uses Amazon SimpleDB for data storage.  I built an app that monitors Twitter to retrieve any direct messages sent to @140Call and parses the DM to create a scheduled call for the user that sent the DM.  For the local weather forecast, I am using Google’s Weather API.  I’m looking to integrate other APIs to 140Call so you can get additional information other than weather.

If you had all the time in world, what would you build with Twilio?

There are a bunch of features I’d like to add to 140Call including flight status, stock updates, and custom voice messages.  Beyond 140Call, I’d like to build an instant community call center application where volunteers could register to take calls from a central queue.  I could imagine a service like that being very helpful for community events and festivals where you could get volunteer customer service people to answer calls from their mobile phone onsite.

Any other thoughts, ideas to share, or feedback for us?

I would just encourage people to dive in and give Twilio a try.  Voice and SMS applications can be intimidating for a lot of developers, but Twilio truly is a very simple service with a lot of power and potential.  You don’t have to be a telephony expert to build some pretty cool applications on the Twilio platform.