BuildingLink Reaches Residents During Hurricane Sandy With Twilio SMS

Jerry Kesterbaum

On Sunday October 28th, Mayor Bloomberg issued an evacuation of all Manhattan residents in Zone A. Jerry Kesterbaum, founder of building management web platform, BuildingLink, had just a few hours to send out SMS evacuation notifications to all residents in all 130  BuildingLink properties. He had to scale– and fast.

BuildingLink helps streamline communication between residents, building managers, and building owners. For example, if a tenant has a package delivered, a doorman can notify them via Twilio SMS through BuildingLink. With Hurricane Sandy approaching, Jerry had to scale BuildingLink from it’s typical day-to-day notification traffic to sending thousands and thousands of SMS notifications at once.

Jerry called Senior Support Engineer, Brian Levine to help. With Brian on the phone in San Francisco, Jerry working in New York, and Jerry’s programmer taking a break from a vacation in Paris to code new Twilio API Keys in a Parisian Cyber Cafe, the team got the job done and delivered all the evacuation notifications.

Jerry was calm, he had been in a similar situation before. He remarked, “This isn’t our first hurricane with Twilio.” Through the all-day evacuations on Monday, the power outages during the week and stretching into the weekend, BuildingLink sent regular updates to their tenants on the status of their building.

Jerry quipped “Thank god for cyber cafes in Paris.” He estimates that BuildingLink sent roughly 90,000 notifications through Twilio during the storm. When I spoke with him, yet another storm (a Nor’easter)  was about to hit New York and Jerry’s building was being evacuated. Jerry didn’t seem worried. “Having gone through our first hurricane with you guys, we are already looking forward to the next one,” Jerry said.