On Christmas Day, my Mom’s phone rings off the hook. Every member of my gigantic family is calling, wishing her a happy birthday, and wishing our family a Merry Christmas. The phone is passed from me to my sister, to my other sister (We’re triplets. Poof pictured at right), to my Dad, and occasionally my dogs even get a turn to bark at my uncle or cousin.
This holiday season, I decided to use Twilio Conference so all my relatives, triplet sisters, dogs, cousins, and uncles could all talk to one another on one line. This cuts our Christmas Day phone calls down by approximately 1000% I’ll show you how to build your own Twilio Conference line for the holidays, or any day.
If you haven’t registered for a Twilio Account, you can register for a free account here. Once you’ve purchased a number, it’s time to get started setting up the conference line.
When you click on your number, you’ll see a field for Voice Request URL. That’s the code that Twilio will execute when you call your number. I used TwiML bin to host my code but you can use any hosting service you’d like. Now onto the TwiML.
Getting Familiar with TwiML
To build this conference line we will use four basic Twilio Verbs we lovingly call TwiML
<Response> What Twilio does in response to your request
<Say> reads the text greeting I wrote for my family members
<Dial> adds another party to the call after they’ve called into the conference line
<Conference> is a subsection of <Dial> that allows you to set up a conference room.
Building The Conference Line
First, use <Say> to write what you want your caller to hear when they dial in. Here’s the greeting I wrote for my family.
After you greet the caller, connect them to the conference room using <Dial>, and start the conference using <Conference>
Where Donna Summers Comes In
To create custom wait music for your callers to listen to, set up a wait URL that will play an MP3, WAV or TwiML document. This all happens inside the <Conference> verb. My mom loves Donna Summer so I chose the MP3 “Last Dance.” You can choose whatever song you like.
As soon as you cap off your TwiML with </Response> you’re done! You’ve got a holiday line with a custom greeting and wait music ready for anyone to call into.
Try out the conference I set up by calling 202 800 1675.