Twilio and AT&T Ready for PrimeTime?

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Last week I posted on NoJitter.com  AT&T And Twilio Join Forces, it was based on some exciting news posted on both of their websites. The story also ran on GigaOm, TechCrunch, Fierce, and several blogs such as Opus and LarryLisser.

It was pretty big news really. In a nutshell an idea submitted through an AT&T suggestion box ended up as a funded project within AT&T Business and Home Solutions called Advanced Communications Suite or ACS. According to the Twilio website:

AT&T’s ACS offers a web portal for business customers that is equal parts app shop and workshop. Customers can select from pre­-built third-­party communications applications like appointment reminder services, polling and surveying collections tools, ad­-hoc conference calling and group messaging, business continuity and geo­smart messaging through this portal…ACS is the…first time Twilio is available through a reseller relationship.

From the AT&T site:

Developing and managing a successful business is no easy feat. When it comes to improving business processes through communications, there are an overwhelming number of products to
choose from and even more strings attached for how they’re to be implemented into a business. Designed with the customer in mind, AT&T Advanced Communications Suite (ACS) is a suite of
discrete self service web based cloud applications aimed at providing enterprise customers with simple ways to communicate with employees, partners, suppliers, and customers.

Powered by Twilio’s cloud communications services and API platform, ACS offers a Web portal for AT&T business customers to browse from a collection of voice and SMSenabled apps — such as appointment reminder services, polling & surveying data collection tools, adhoc workgroup calling & messaging, business continuity, and geosmart messaging. These applications are
discovered, learned about, purchased and used all online from the Web supported by hasslefree ecommerce purchasing experiences. With ACS, nontechnical users use these applications for specific communications scenarios, or technical users can build voice and SMS applications with the Twilio API offered through ACS.

Most of the original posts had links to both of these pages. But something odd happened. Both AT&T and Twilio took down their posts early this week. AT&T redirected their site to a different page (check URLs) and Twilio reworded their post. I’ve been trying to get official word on why, and I don’t have anything to share – however, it’s beginning to look suspicious. The hero in this story is Jon Spinney at AT&T, he’s local so I tried to reach him to chat. He directed me to Media Relations which has been responsive.

It was implied that there was some issues at AT&T with the post (“flagged by internal legal teams to review”). Both companies assured me nothing is changing , and AT&T will have the post back up likely be end of Day Monday Oct 2. But that hasn’t happened. There’s been about three end of days and no new posts that I can see.

I don’t know what’s up, but since I reported last week that all was great – I thought I better provide an update that maybe it isn’t. Last I heard from AT&T this morning was a new page would be up about six hours ago.

I truly hope all is well. I just got back from Startup Camp at ITExpo that Twilio sponsored. It’s been great to see Twilio grow over the years and this is quite the validation of their hard work. It was a pretty bold move by AT&T and a big win for Twilio. I plan to be at TwilioCon later this month – expect updates as this story develops.

 UPDATE OCT 8

AT&T restored and updated its page with the announcement (same URL). Comparing the pages side by side, the major differences are in the first section where it discusses Twilio and below where it discusses the future. There is no longer any mention of the Twilio API, reselling Twilio, or any form of partnership. The new text reads:

…in close collaboration with Twilio and application developers, to pursue AT&T Advanced Communications Suite (ACS), a suite of Web-based communications applications to help business users communicate with their employees, partners, suppliers, and customers with voice, SMS, email, and more. These easy-to-use applications could be available to businesses in minutes through a common Web portal with a hassle-free e-commerce purchasing experience.

The Future section was also reworded with minor changes. Less emphasis on video.

The Twilio page did not update again, and the key phrase “first time Twilio is available through a reseller relationship.” has not returned.

Both companies downplay the changes, but it seems that the news was exaggerated (by both firms), pre-announced, modified, or something has gone wrong. I confirmed that the initial media coverage was accurate (including my post on NoJitter).  The big news of an AT&T Twilio partnership appears to be in danger or on hold. In the meantime, we have ACS as a project that utilizes Twilio and may or may not become generally available. AT&T also added a disclaimer: “This document is not an offer, commitment, representation or warranty by AT&T and is subject to change. Any product ultimately offered by AT&T may contain features and functionalities different from those described.”

 

Dave Michels