Twilio this week announced it will make its video services available for free for three months to developers who are building applications to address COVID-19 pandemic uses cases in the health care, education and nonprofit sectors if they sign up to use the platform before June 30.
Jesper Joergensen, general manager for voice and video at Twilio, said most of the applications being built to address the crisis benefit greatly from having video embedded in them. For example, a forms-based healthcare application could have embedded videos or include a button that would start a video chat with a healthcare professional. Alternatively, an SMS text could be used to request an appointment and also include a link to a videoconference that would enable healthcare professionals to diagnose a patient remotely. Those types of applications also could go a long way to make it simpler to navigate what are often complex healthcare procedures, noted Joergensen.
In the education sector, Twilio is already seeing institutions building a wide range of applications that rely on video to engage students and maintain business operations, he added.
While many applications are being built to address pressing issues, Joergensen said many applications that embed video are being built for the new normal. No one is quite sure when the COVID-19 pandemic will be over or whether it might flare up again. There also could be other pandemics in the future. Many organizations are now moving to make mobile applications that have video capabilities embedded within them a core element of their business continuity strategy, which is being updated in the wake of the pandemic, said Joergensen.
In general, he said embedding video capabilities within an application provides more context within an application. Otherwise, the end user needs to move off the application to launch a separate videoconferencing platform.
Twilio makes it easier for developers to embed video within an application using a software development kit for either Apple iOS or Google Android devices. The SDK allows developers to invoke Twilio application programming interfaces (APIs) to access the Twilio Video service running on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) public cloud. While organizations that build these applications don’t necessarily need to master best DevOps practices to build and roll them out, Joergensen said organizations that have embraced DevOps typically have the agile development skills needed to quickly build and test COVID-19 applications.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, online video has gone mainstream. Once the pandemic subsides there will be a much higher level of comfort with online video for a wide range of processes ranging from telemedicine to tax preparation. Applications that don’t embed video capabilities will appear antiquated by comparison. Video now has a major role to play in simplifying the customer journey, noted Joergensen.
It may take a while for organizations to adjust to the new normal once the current pandemic subsides, but it’s clear online video has finally been pushed across the proverbial chasm of adoption.