Twilio support for Apple Business Chat coming soon

We’re excited to announce that Apple Business Chat will be supported by Twilio. Soon, it’ll be supported in the apps you build on Twilio. Apple Business Chat is the latest Channel we’re adding to our messaging API, Studio, and Flex, our contact center application platform, allowing developers to easily add this emerging channel to all their Twilio applications.

What is Apple Business Chat?
Apple Business Chat allows customers to use iMessage to chat with businesses and quickly get answers to questions, book appointments, make purchases, and more. What makes Apple Business Chat special is its deep integration throughout the mobile OS, Siri, and Spotlight. Businesses can chat directly and instantly about their services, and allow customers to make purchases easily via Apple Pay in the iMessage app. Read more about the capabilities of Business Chat here.

Proliferation of channels for business messaging
There are a litany of channels to choose from. This makes life easier for customers, but leaves businesses with some hard problems to solve. Just as businesses were starting to implement customer engagement strategies for LINE, WeChat, and Facebook Messenger, last month RCS Business Messaging launched in the US and today Apple has launched Business Chat.

It’s both complex and costly to develop against all of these different APIs and protocols, each of which has its own unique capabilities, integration requirements, and considerations for support agent experiences. Businesses haven’t been engaging customers on their preferred channel because of this barrier.

Channels managed
Twilio abstracts this fragmentation in the messaging ecosystem for developers. Without writing custom code for every different channel, the same Twilio app can support SMS, MMS, Facebook Messenger, RCS, and soon, Apple Business Chat.

We recently announced Rich Messaging Extensions (in Developer Preview) that enable the different rich capabilities that each channel supports, in a uniform manner, through the same SMS API. Once available, Business Chat will be another channel that you can use via the Rich Messaging Extensions.

Studio, Twilio’s drag-and-drop communications builder, will also support Business Chat.  This enables  line of business owners to update and customize rich messaging workflows without writing a single line of code and accelerates the pace of innovation. Devs, don’t worry you can still customize these Studio apps by adding your own code with Node.js based Twilio Functions, a serverless runtime environment.

Finally, we are excited to add Apple Business Chat as the next Channel we’ll support in Twilio Flex, our fully programmable contact center application platform. As rich messaging applications become the norm, Flex will enable incredible customer experiences for both agents and customers.

Availability
Support for Apple Business Chat is coming in 2H 2018, available as a Channel and through our Rich Messaging Extensions API. If you’re interested in getting access when Apple Business Chat becomes available in Developer Preview, let us know and we’ll keep you up to date.

We can’t wait to see what you’ll build with Apple Business Chat.