An Enterprise-class IVR in 2 Days

When Eric Rockenbach sat down this spring to add an interactive voice response system to an automated trading platform, he was in for a pleasant surprise.

His goal was to use the Twilio API to send out alerts, for example, if a trading position reached a certain size or there was an unexpected drawdown in capital. He also wanted to create a second set of alerts to monitor any changes in the trading engine.

Rockenbach, the founder of logixTrade who has also authored technical books, estimated it

New York’s curb-side trading platform in 1920 (Courtesy of the Library of Congress)

would take him about two weeks to create the robust, fail-proof alerts he needed, without adding the dimension of user input. Instead, it took him just two days. “Using Twilio is absolutely amazingly easy,” he said.

The new Interactive Voice Response System (IVR) lets a user respond to the alerts. For example, a user can choose to suspend an alert for a specific amount of time, like 15 minutes or an hour.

To build the IVR, Rockenbach populated an alert class from the trading engine and serialized it and stuffed it into a centralized messaging queue. A Windows service monitors the queue, generates the Twilio XML and publishes the file to a web server. The Windows service then places the call to the user and gives him or her the option to respond, for example, to suspend the alert for a certain interval of time.

“At logixTrade, it is crucial that our alerts system deliver carrier-grade reliability—we can’t afford for our systems to go down—that’s why we chose Twilio,” Rockenbach said.

Thanks to Twilio, Rockenbach can walk away from the trading platform and have the peace of mind that he will be instantly notified of any important changes. “The whole idea of an automated system is that you can leave it alone, so you are not tempted to start trading,” he said. “At the same time, it’s imperative, that if something happens, you know about it right away.”