Anish Kahnzode Ships American Idol Style SMS Voting System With Twilio


AnishAnish Kahnzode (pictured right) built an SMS based live voting system for an audience of 4,000 in less than three weeks. When he volunteered to help out a local non-profit, The New England Marathi, build a voting system for their singing competition, he thought it would be small scale — it wasn’t. Anish used Twilio SMS to scale fast and make The New England Marathi’s event a night to remember.

Anish had little time to scale a lot of traffic. He had the app up and running in just a few days. Anish built the voting system using the Twilio SMS API to receive and reply to votes and Volt DB’s database to store the voting information. He credited Twilio’s “scalable platform and customizability” for prototyping the app so fast.

His ten-digit number would need to handle 400 SMS requests per second. When it came time to load test, the voting system passed with flying colors. Not a single SMS was dropped, and Anish was able to display voting results in real time.

Time To Take The Stage

The night of the singing competition, Anish paid attention to a different kind of performance.
He sat with the audience and watched his app in action. The audience texted in and saw the results of their voting pop up on the projector screen in real time. It went flawlessly, with no SMS failures.

The night of the event, Anish watched a different performance – a realtime voting system. As the audience cast their votes via SMS voting, they could see the results instantly on stage. If Anish had any stage fright before the show, it all dissipated as the app performed perfectly.

The app handled over 5,500 SMS requests that night, well above the traffic Anish initially expected. After hacking the whole thing together in 3 weeks, Anish hopes to bring the app to other nonprofits to use for their events.