SIGNAL London and SIGNAL Singapore 2023: News for Developers

SIGNAL London and SIGNAL Singapore 2023: News for Developers
November 22, 2023
Written by
Reviewed by
Dave Esber
Paul Kamp

Following on from SIGNAL 2023 (which had plenty of announcements for developers), we hosted SIGNAL London in October, and SIGNAL Singapore in November. These events were in-person only, but if you didn't join us at the events, don't worry. In this post we'll recap the developer content and announcements from CEO and co-founder Jeff Lawson, regional leaders from Europe and Asia-Pacific, guest speakers, Twilio Developer Evangelists, and our robot companion Ameca

Plus, we’ll show you how Twilio is merging large language models (LLMs) with solid, compliant data to create even better customer experiences. At the end of the day, that all boils down to sending better communications.

Alright, let’s talk about SIGNAL!

Jeff Lawson watching Amy Holcroft speak on stage at SIGNAL London
Keynotes featured Twilio’s CEO and co-founder Jeff Lawson along with Chief Privacy Officer Amy Holcroft

Provide more personalised engagement with CustomerAI and Segment

Artificial Intelligence (AI) will revolutionise the internet and also transform how we, as developers, build solutions and tools for customers. AI integrations will be table stakes across the web.

You’re probably wondering: how can developers and companies differentiate themselves once AI is everywhere? It all starts with customer data.

Typically, customer data is siloed in various databases, data warehouses, and third-party SaaS platforms. To really delight your customers, you need to understand as much as you can from all this data about who they are and how they want you to serve them.

This is where Twilio Segment’s customer data platform (CDP) comes in. As the #1 CDP in worldwide market share for the fourth year in a row according to IDC, Segment collects real-time data across channels into unified profiles leading to more personalised customer experiences. And since customer data is most often siloed across dozens of systems, Segment helps build a single view of the customer—without having to write all the ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) operations.

With Segment, you can:

  • Gather data from Sources, such as websites or cloud applications
  • Track a complete view of your customers across their journey and deliver personalised experiences using Unify
  • Act on data and learn about your customers in real-time using Destinations

When you gather this data about your customers in Segment, you have the opportunity to infuse it into every interaction your company has with its customers. That’s what we do with CustomerAI, a set of capabilities woven throughout all our products that couples the power of LLMs and predictive AI with real-time customer data flowing through Twilio’s Customer Engagement Platform.

CustomerAI will help you to truly listen to your customers, interpret the signals they’re sending you across channels, and activate them through personalised experiences for every individual. Now you can inject some of AI’s reasoning ability to enhance your understanding of customers and create more personalised experiences.

A more enjoyable customer experience

To give you a better picture of what Segment and CustomerAI can do for you, our developer track featured a fictional Party Cookies store in a series of connected demos in which the website, WhatsApp, voice communications, and even Ameca had access to enough contextual information to chat about your recent orders and favourite cookie flavours.

Using AI without relevant customer data, the communications are intelligible yet generic. They lack personalization, such as the customer’s name or detail about recent orders, and require the customer to answer follow-up questions to gather more information.

When you have access to Segment and CustomerAI, relevant data, traits, and events are available to be passed to other systems and LLMs for a more personalised response. Because the customer’s data profile is already in Segment, we automatically understand the customer’s name and order details and make a prediction about the customer’s intent, creating a truly personalised customer experience with comms and offers which meet the customer's desires.

Wouldn’t you much rather shop at a place with an experience like this?

Attendee talking with Ameca, and AI-powered humanoid robot
Ameca giving attendees an experience of AI-powered communication

AI and fraud detection

With the rise in popularity of generative AI through models such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT, developers are harnessing the power of AI to help solve challenging problems. While generative AI focuses on making new content, predictive AI uses machine learning (ML) models to excel at decision making. And here at Twilio, we’re using predictive AI to proactively combat fraud.

SMS Fraud results in billions of dollars of charges each year at the expense of individual companies. One known attack, called SMS Traffic Pumping (sometimes styled Artificially-Inflated Traffic, or AIT), was projected to result in financial losses of $4.5 billion in 2021.

SMS Traffic Pumping is when fraudsters use phone number input fields for one-time passcodes, app download links, or other messages sent via SMS without adequate controls to inflate traffic and exploit your app. Using bots, attackers send thousands of messages controlled by a specific mobile network operator (MNO) to exploit the input field. As a result, the targeted business incurs charges and the attacker receives a share of the generated revenue from the MNO.

To combat fraud, such as SMS Traffic Pumping, and improve your SMS one-time passcodes (OTP) conversion, we introduced Twilio Verify Fraud Guard. Fraud Guard uses AI to proactively help detect SMS pumping fraud and prevent attacks. Twilio has data across hundreds of thousands of customers and billions of text messages, and our model can discern good actors from bad actors to proactively block fraudsters. We are so confident about this feature that we offer a 100% guarantee on this Verify feature[1].

Fraud Guard is already paying dividends for our customers. We estimate we saved customers over $30 million in fraudulent charges, blocking over 141 million fraudulent attacks through 7/14/23.

Verify Fraud Guard is one of many features to combat SMS Pumping attacks, including SMS Pumping Protection and Lookup SMS Pumping Risk. Currently in public beta, Lookup SMS Pumping Risk provides a risk score for phone numbers and allows you to act on the result—potentially saving you from dealing with SMS Pumping Fraud before it even begins.

SMS Traffic Pumping is when fraudsters send multiple messages through an input field, then receive a share of the generated revenue.
SMS Traffic Pumping is when fraudsters send multiple messages through an input field then receive a share of the generated revenue.

AI and data privacy

With the amount of data that companies harvest, it’s no surprise when customers have concerns about data privacy. That’s why at SIGNAL, Twilio announced the adoption of a set of CustomerAI trust principles and privacy ladder framework to guide the responsible development, use, and deployment of predictive and generative AI across all of Twilio’s products and features.

Twilio's CustomerAI Privacy Ladder
Twilio's CustomerAI Privacy Ladder

The Segment Privacy Portal takes a proactive approach to privacy. It allows you to gain real-time visibility into what personal information you’re collecting, where you’re collecting it from, and where you’re sending it. Then, you can set up rules to automatically protect it.

Privacy Portal gives developers the out-of-the-box ability to identify PII data, create their own identifiers, categorize them, and block incoming event PII data, right at the source. Segment encourages an architecture where you're thoughtful about getting data out, applying a layer of governance, layering privacy controls, and getting your data where it needs to go.

Voice Intelligence

For many reasons customers will sometimes want to call and speak to a representative from your company. These conversations will naturally be for more complex issues, sometimes multiple themes in a single conversation. To help extract valuable insights and signals from these unstructured conversations, we showed how Twilio Voice Intelligence can be used to transcribe voice calls and use AI-powered language operators to infer intent.

Screenshot of Voice Intelligence recognising that a caller is asking about low interest rates and mentioning a competitor
Voice Intelligence extracts structured data from unstructured conversations

We also showed how to use a newly-completed transcription as a trigger for a Twilio Studio Flow, which gives a low or no-code programming environment to determine which actions to take next based on your operator results.

Google Business Messages will end of life on July 31, 2024. We recommend SMS, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger as alternative channels for user-initiated conversations. For additional information, review our changelog.

Content Template Builder

At SIGNAL London, we were happy to announce the General Availability of the Twilio Content Template Builder.. The Content Template Builder enables you to create and manage rich messaging templates and use them across all supported messaging channels, including SMS, WhatsApp, Google’s Business Messages, and Facebook Messenger. Send engaging rich messages to users no matter where you reach them with the Content Template Builder.

New features:

  • Build rich conversational experiences with content templates in Studio
  • Send personalised outbound campaigns and notifications at a future time using content templates sent with Message Scheduling
  • Create content templates with dynamic header text for WhatsApp

Combined with Segment and CustomerAI you can make sure your customer communications are as functional as they are helpful.

What’s next?

For developers at SIGNAL London and SIGNAL Singapore, we created self-paced workshop tutorials on Messaging, Voice Intelligence, Segment, and Studio, all available to explore in your own time. Learn how Twilio can help developers get the most out of AI, rewatch the Developer Keynote from the U.S. event, and catch up on what’s possible to build with Twilio, now available on-demand for free on the SIGNAL platform. We can’t wait to share what’s next!

Matthew Gilliard is a Staff Developer Evangelist for Twilio based in the UK, specialising in Java and other JVM languages. When he's not coding you can find him writing about code, at a meetup or other developer event, or at home scaring himself with a horror movie.

[1] Terms and Conditions Apply.