Greytruck Makes Databases Friendly, Instantly Accessible Via Twilio SMS

A mangled motorcycle gave the Greytruck CEO, Eric Xavier the opening he needed to dive into entrepreneurship. One of Eric’s riding buddies missed out on a ride when he forgot to take a lock off the wheel of his motorcycle before riding. When he took off on the bike, he was launched off it, injuring himself and mangling the bike. Eric and his brother saw a problem and founded a company to solve it, RoadLok. They sold locks built on to the brakes of the motorcycle, eliminating the need for a freestanding lock, and eliminating the risk of forgetting to take your lock off. After selling the company, Eric switched his focus from solving mechanical problems, to tackling technical ones. He saw another opportunity to jump on: third party logistics. With Twilio’s API in his toolbelt and a wealth of entrepreneurial experience behind him, he founded Greytruck.

Greytruck is a third party logistics company that helps their clients do anything from alerting them via SMS when their warehouse is running low on a certain product, to giving fire stations information on their response time. SMS is a critical component of the several apps they offer clients. When clients need data fast, Greytruck relies on Twilio SMS to send them that information.

Greytruck has an army little robots they call “robits” that give their clients insight to critical data. The robits monitor databases and trigger and SMS based on a rule. For example, one of Greytruck’s clients is a fire chief in Washington who relies on Greytruck to deliver him stats on the fire house’s average response time, the number of fires responded to, how many calls they’ve gotten that week, etc. Using Greytruck, the chief gets a text via Twilio SMS containing all of that data, scraped by Greytruck’s robits.

“It blows my mind because [Twilio] is such an easy integration. When you’re talking to someone who doesn’t work with a database, but relies on the data and you can tell them to send a text to get an answer from a database, it’s like anthropomorphizing a database that they previously didn’t have insight into,” says Eric.

Eric took anthropomorphizing databases one step further for the fire chief in Washington. When Eric looked at Greytruck’s Twilio logs, he saw that the fire chief typically responded to each text he got from Greytruck with a “thanks” or “great.” Eric built what he refers to as a “crude version of Siri” to respond back to the fire chief’s reply with texts like “No problem!” or “You’re welcome.”

A simple text via Twilio gives Greytruck’s users insight and understanding of a once intangible resource – their database.  With Twilio SMS, Eric is hoping to show more of Greytruck’s users how to make the most out of their data, and even have a conversation with it.