Twilio and Electric Imp Come Together to Solve Tough IoT Challenges

July 09, 2020
Written by

Twilio Acquire Electric Imp

This announcement appeared first on the Electric Imp blog.

We are really excited that Electric Imp is now part of the Twilio family.

Twilio & Electric Imp have been hard at work solving different aspects of the IoT problem, and in our regular conversations we acknowledged how complementary our offerings were, and also how alike our approaches were.

A significant partnership for IoT

This partnership brings together two critical aspects of IoT: reliable global connectivity and a mature application platform, enabling our customers to build solutions in less time than ever before - and deploy them worldwide.

There are few companies as developer-centric as Twilio – just like Electric Imp, much of Twilio’s business grew from enabling developers to experiment with new applications. At Electric Imp, we realized the combination of our platform with Twilio’s trusted brand, services, huge developer base, and global reach could enable the creation of thousands of new IoT products and services.

But first, a bit of history...

Solving the toughest challenges in IoT

In 2011 when we founded Electric Imp, we were pretty sure that two major issues would reveal themselves in the IoT market.

First, that IoT would be a security nightmare. Maybe this one was easy to predict, because most areas of computing have had their own security disasters – but IoT is unique in that devices stay around for long, long periods of time compared to computers or phones. You can’t fix that without a completely new approach.

Second, we knew that IoT would be full of complexity. IoT sees a lot of half-baked applications and failed projects, because the breadth of complexity – spanning as it does from microcontrollers to high availability cloud services – often means there are weak points or roadblocks. Teams are stretched thin trying to build tools and services they didn’t even realize would be required at the start of their project.

So, we came up with our unique architecture and built the Electric Imp platform, providing managed, secure connectivity-as-a-service. Our customers are able to concentrate on their unique business applications, while we provide the essential infrastructure that links it all together.

In the eight years since we shipped our first product (which continues to be fully supported), customers from small innovators to multinational companies have built over a million devices on our platform.

What did we learn in that time?

The importance of trust

When you’re so deeply embedded within a customer’s product or service, the customer has to totally trust you – and trusting a startup is always a leap of faith.

We’re very proud that so many global public companies chose Electric Imp for their connected product lines over the years, and we delivered the performance and scalability they needed to be successful. Twilio, as a public company powering billions of customer experiences globally, is perfectly placed to continue building this trust with customers.

Continuing the innovation

Today, we’re also unveiling our next generation imp – the imp006 – that joins the line of fully supported imps that stretches back to our first product in 2012.

Unlike previous imps, there is no “imp module” – the imp is simply a secure MCU placed directly on the product’s PCB, connected to any combination of pre-approved cellular or WiFi radios, significantly reducing cost and increasing design freedom.

The imp006 has all the characteristics that imps have always had – managed security, easy fail-safe OTA, built-in power management, cloud agents, and a wide range of I/O – but the board-level integration means it’s far more cost-optimized than any competing solution.

Our simple pricing model that includes both security maintenance and our unique cloud middleware ensures that our customers’ IoT journeys are both successful and predictable, no matter whether the data is flowing to a custom enterprise backend or a major cloud provider. As with other Twilio products, an individual developer can prove out their application in our production-grade environment and be assured that scaling “just works”.

Interested? The imp006 breakout board is available now and can be found in our store, and comes with Twilio’s new Super SIM on-board to enable hassle-free global connectivity as well as dual-band WiFi, BLE and GNSS location functionality.

Now that Twilio and Electric Imp have joined forces, we’re more excited than ever to see what you build.

As a co-founder of Electric Imp, Hugo Fiennes was an early pioneer in secure IoT platforms. Today, he continues his expertise as a Senior IoT Architect at Twilio, helping design and build the next generation of IoT solutions for Twilio's customers. Prior to Electric Imp, Hugo managed the iPhone hardware team at Apple & architected the first Nest thermostat. If you look back to the last millennium, you could find Hugo building the first in-car MP3 player, writing the first Soundtracker player for the ARM processor, and building software for Symbian phones and the Oracle network computer. Obviously, he's a builder. He can be reached at hfiennes [at]