Twilio one-stop shop for building connected devices

  • October 7, 2020
  • Steve Rogerson

Cloud communications firm Twilio has introduced Microvisor, an IoT connectivity and device management platform that offers embedded developers a one-stop shop for building connected devices, keeping them secure and managing them through their lifetime.

California-based Twilio aims to accelerate IoT adoption by providing as much critical but common infrastructure as possible, so IoT teams can focus on delivering unique value to businesses and consumers.

To deploy a fleet of connected devices, IoT builders have to solve for device security, reliable connectivity, over-the-air firmware upgrades and connectivity issues, all of which require specific domain expertise and none of which contribute to the product experience of a device. This complexity contributes to a high rate of failure for IoT projects.

Microvisor abstracts away many of the common infrastructure challenges burdening IoT developers by offering:

  • Lifetime managed security: A one-time fee will take care of constant monitoring of vulnerabilities and applying security patches to the devices and involved cloud components, performed by Twilio.
  • Fail-safe over-the-air code debugging and updates: Developers can debug devices remotely, wherever in the world they are deployed, and push code updates frequently and safely, without worrying about breaking the device with a bad update.
  • Support for any language and embedded OS: The architecture of Microvisor lets developers reuse any existing embedded code and continue developing in the language and embedded OS of their choice. This is achieved using Arm TrustZone hardware isolation technology, which is now becoming available for Cortex-M microprocessors, and is supported on select ST Microelectronics chips.

With Microvisor, IoT builders can expect lower development costs, faster time to market and the agility to innovate, while relying on Twilio to maintain the critical security and the ability to push code updates not only at deployment time but for the lifetime of the device. Microvisor brings the agility and resiliency of cloud computing to the world of embedded devices and IoT.

To build the world’s leading customer engagement platform, Twilio developed expertise interfacing with telecommunications networks around the world. This expertise enabled Twilio to make Super SIM for global cellular IoT connectivity. With Microvisor, Twilio expands its IoT ambitions to leverage the company’s true secret sauce: developer experience, developer relations and the creation and operation of a mission-critical developer platform that scales from innovators to enterprises.

“While Super SIM solved the cellular connectivity challenge for IoT builders, we quickly learned that customers were still wrestling with the other foundational aspects of embedded software that are unique to IoT,” said Evan Cummack, general manager of Twilio IoT. “Microvisor is the only platform that offers embedded developers the conveniences of a fully managed IoT platform, while giving them the freedom to craft their embedded software exactly how they’ve always done.”

Freespace built a return-to-work product on Twilio using IoT sensors and digital signage that allow facility managers to re-open large office spaces safely during the pandemic.

“Twilio IoT has enabled us to adapt to disruptive industry trends and build new IoT solutions fast, without compromising critical security or reliability,” said Raj Krishnamurthy, CEO at Freespace, a workplace technology company. “Whether it’s taking care of critical security or allowing us to write embedded code that will work reliably and long-lived, Twilio has proven to be a rock-solid partner for the long run.”

Millions of developers around the world have used Twilio to unlock communications to improve human experiences. Twilio says it has democratised communications channels such as voice, text, chat, video and email by virtualising the world’s communications infrastructure through APIs that are simple enough for any developer to use, yet robust enough to power demanding applications.