Fight for the Future Defends Net Neutrality with Programmable Voice and SMS
“It’s the free speech fight of our generation.” Evan Greer, Deputy Director at Fight for the Future, doesn’t mince words about the importance of net neutrality. “We see [the rollback of net neutrality] as something that will determine not only the future of what the internet looks like, but what the future of what our society will look like.”
Battle for the Net
Net neutrality is a deceptively simple concept with broad implications. Essentially, it’s the principle that internet service providers (ISPs) should treat content equally. Without net neutrality, ISPs can treat the internet like T.V., where the voices you hear are those that can afford to pay for access, whether that’s your latest Netflix binge, a startup’s homepage, or independent journalism. “Net neutrality protections are ...
The Bike Project Delivers Critical Mobility to Refugees in the UK
Jem Stein is on a mission to get every refugee on a bike.
Each year over 13,000 people seek asylum in London. Many arrive fleeing war, religious persecution, and government oppression. Once in the UK, asylum seekers face new challenges adapting to their new home. Among these, a lack of affordable transportation creates a virtual wall between refugees and basic resources like food shelters and health services. Led by founder Jem Stein, The Bike Project is breaking down this barrier, two wheels at a time.
The Difference a Bike Makes
Jem’s mission began after he witnessed the importance of transportation to refugees firsthand. “I mentored a Darfuri refugee named Adam at university and saw the difficulties he faced getting around London.”
Government accommodations for asylum seekers typically reside on the ...
Notifica provides Urgent Support for Immigrants with the Touch of a Button
In deportation events, every minute counts. Immigration enforcement raids can happen at any time, anywhere. When an arrest occurs, family members get separated without being able to tell loved ones what happened, or let their employers know where they are. And connected to each person directly affected by a deportation are communities around the country that lose friends, family members, coworkers, and teachers.
There are approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States and 800,000 who are at risk of losing legal residency status currently provided under the DREAM Act. For these people, connections to their communities, families, and attorneys are essential to ensure that they receive fair treatment during and immediately following an immigration raid. Through their bilingual mobile app, Notifica, technologists at United We Dream seek to ensure ...
Celebrating Women Who Drive #Tech4Good
To celebrate Women’s History Month and the awesome work of women in the Twilio community, we wanted to take a minute to recognize some of our personal heroes. This is in no way an exhaustive list, but a small cross section of amazing developers, entrepreneurs, CEOs, and all around badasses that are building the future of social impact through communications technology.
All of us here at Twilio are grateful for the opportunity to work with such inspiring people and look forward to seeing the history each of them continue to make every day.
Led by CEO and founder, Meena Palaniappan, Atma Connect enables people in Indonesia to share real-time information about issues affecting their communities, including floods, fires, jobs, and education. With a text-based alert system, users can stay ...
Age UK fights loneliness among older people with a telephone befriending service
Nearly 1.2 million older people in the UK say they’re chronically lonely. Roughly 3.9 million say that TV is their main form of company. And some 200,000 haven’t had a conversation with a friend or family member in more than a month.
London-based charity Age UK set out to reduce chronic loneliness in 2005 with its Call in Time service. Once a week for 30 minutes, Call in Time connected older people with volunteers over the phone, providing companionship, advice, and support to the people who needed it most.
Although Call in Time had helped thousands of people, the service’s manual call system was labor intensive and couldn’t scale to reach the number of people Age UK wanted to help. It plateaued at 3,500 ...
Redfin: Redefining the real estate experience
I popped into Redfin’s HQ in Seattle last week, partly because I wanted to snap a few photos to highlight their developers on our website. But mostly to feed my curiosity on a development team that just keeps churning out new innovative ways to engage customers.
I walked away with a real appreciation of their approach using small development teams to continuously improve the Redfin customer experience.
For the uninitiated, Redfin is a national real estate brokerage. But in reality, they’re much more than that. They use technology to redefine the real estate experience to center on the customer — combining their own full-service employee agents with their own technology to deliver service that’s faster, better, and costs less. Every Redfin agent is backed by a team of real estate professionals who take care of everything for the customer. There’s always someone available.
A big part of ...
Autopilot Lets You Control SMS Conversation Flows with No Code
You don’t have to take a coding class to build that new feature. Autopilot just launched a drag and drop feature that allows you to control SMS with a visual editor.
When a user sends a text to your Twilio powered number, that’s logged in Autopilot. Using a drag and drop interface, you can set up a logic for Twilio, and other third party services, to follow when that text comes in. This gives you the ability to create a friendly bot that can communicate with your users, and also log leads.
Let’s say you’re running an ice cream shop and want to let people know about the grand opening. When a user text the number you’ve advertised, the bot can reply “Hey thanks for texting in, what’s your name?” When the user responds with their name, it becomes a variable that the bot ...
Streem Brings Augmented Reality, 3-D Mapping to Twilio Video Chat
The first mistake is thinking you can fix it yourself. A kitchen sink is an understandable device, one you can surely wrangle. 30 minutes later you are down a sink, and looking for a plumber.
In those moments, you wish that the world shared your sense of urgency to remedy your problem. That wish might not be granted but your other wish will be. Streem can beam an expert into your (augmented) reality to help you assess your damage.
When you contact a plumber, they can send you a Streem invite link via SMS. Once you download the Streem app, you press one button and you’re connected with that plumber in a video chat. The plumber can see and assess the damage you ...
TxDOT Cuts Down the Commute with Traffic Updates via Programmable SMS and Notify
Can a text message create a safer, shorter commute? Researchers at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) think so, and they’re proving it to thousands of Texas drivers each day through a support contract with TxDOT to bring innovation and best practices to a major highway reconstruction effort.
Some 60,000 to 132,000 vehicles travel the hundred-mile stretch of I-35 from Hillsboro to Salado daily. An eight-year, $2.1 billion project is currently underway to increase mobility and facilitate economic development along the corridor, as well as make commutes safer for Texans. During construction, getting timely, accurate information to travelers about slow-downs and traffic incidents has been a primary goal.
As part this communications effort, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) recently implemented real-time alerts about construction-related issues via text ...
Good Call Supports Through the Arrest Process When One Call Must Connect
Imagine you’re arrested and your cell phone is taken away. You have only few minutes to make one phone call through a public line to a number you know by heart. Who do you call? Have you memorized their number? Do you have a qualified lawyer available to represent you?
These are the questions that four social tech entrepreneurs set out to solve with Good Call, a free 24/7 legal hotline serving New York City’s Bronx borough.
“We heard dozens of stories from people arrested for either really trivial reasons, like hopping a turnstile or forgetting to pay a ticket, or for no reason at all—just for fitting ‘the description,’” explains Gabe Leader-Rose, co-founder and project manager of Good Call. “They all said how hard it was to ...