July 13, 2020
Member Spotlight: Meet Twilio’s Dirk Williamson .
From text messages reminding you of an appointment to multimedia messages sent to friends and family, the wireless industry works hard to maintain quality and consumer trust in communications. Dirk Williamson, Vice President of Carrier Relations at Twilio, sat down with us to discuss mobile messaging’s key role in the wireless industry, and his company’s part in protecting the quality of wireless communication.
What is Twilio’s role within the wireless industry?
Dirk Williamson: Twilio is a cloud communications service company that focuses on wireless communications. One of the major services we provide is simplifying the process for developers to create application programming interfaces or APIs. Essentially, we connect our customers to the variety of services around messaging, voice and internet of things (IoT) through a simple set of APIs.
What is Twilio’s main focus in the mobile messaging ecosystem?
Dirk Williamson: One of the most important aspects of mobile communications is consumer trust. Twilio wants to make sure that consumers have trust in communications so that every message they receive is a message that they want. We’re working very closely with our carrier partners to make sure that the messages that travel from our network through theirs to their end users are the messages that customers are looking for.
What are short codes and why are they integral to wireless communications?
Dirk Williamson: Short codes are 5-6 digit phone numbers that are typically used by organizations to send personalized messages or to relay information that is pertinent to the recipient. This alone makes them an important component of modern mobile communications. Additionally, messages from short codes are opted into, which elevates them into the category of wanted communications.
The fact that the text is going to the consumer’s direct cellphone already makes it more personal than an email, for example. Now this also means that the short code ecosystem must be protected, so that it doesn’t teeter into the realm of spam, or unwanted communication. Making sure that we deliver the clearest, most concise message at the right time for our customers is a big point for Twilio and the greater wireless industry.
What does Twilio look forward to most for mobile messaging?
Dirk Williamson: The key excitement for Twilio is always in the future—we can’t wait to see what our partners build! One of our main priorities at Twilio is setting the foundation for developers to grow and expand on mobile communications infrastructure. Their innovation is key not only to our future, but also that of the entire industry.
One company that works with us has enabled immediate notifications between teachers and students. That’s a critical communication path as it connects parents, teachers and students on things like homework, reminders for tests or updates regarding the school. Twilio enables that real-time communication through our platform, and we’re excited to see how the industry puts that technology to use.
What does 5G mean to Twilio?
Dirk Williamson: At Twilio, we see 5G as the next generation of wireless technology, and we’ve been very forward thinking about what 5G is going to enable for mobile messaging. There’s going to be a lot more connectivity and capability, and a lot more capacity. 5G really facilitates the industry’s thought process on what infrastructure and policies we’re going to need 10 years from now with regard to connected devices.
Why is being a member of CTIA important for Twilio?
Dirk Williamson: Twilio has been a member of CTIA since our founding in 2008, and that has presented us with unparalleled opportunities to work and collaborate with competitors, partners, community leaders and more on furthering the interests of the wireless industry.
Through CTIA, Twilio works to develop guidelines and standards on many components of the wireless industry such as trusted communications, which we see as critical to mobile communications. We’re really proud to be a member of CTIA.
This interview has been edited and shortened for clarity.