Monday, 31 January 2011

Why choose Tropo over Twilio? | Johnny Diggz Blog

A few weeks ago I was in Portland at the CivicWebs Hackathon talking with Amber Case and Aaron Pareki when Amber asked me why Tropo is better than Twilio.  She acknowledged that while she and Aaron love Tropo and built their GeoLoqi app on Tropo’s API, a lot of other people seem to like Twilio.   “So why is Tropo better?” she asked.

I responded with all the certainty, aloofness and charm I could muster: “Because we are!”

For most normal people, that answer might suffice, but Amber Case is a Cyborg Anthropologist.  It’s hard to win her over with just charm.  So I started laying out some of the reasons why Tropo is just plain better, and I figured rather than just keep them between me and Amber and Aaron, I’d share…

1) Features – Twilio for pranks, Tropo for business

This is where Tropo really blows Twilio away, and even Twilio’s own people acknowledge it.  At an API vendor shootout session at Internet Telephony Expo earlier this year, Danielle Morrill, Twilio’s head of marketing, said that Twilio would never be able to keep up with Tropo on features.

Twilio is great for making prank phone calls

Tropo offers a ton of advanced features that Twilio just can’t match: Voice recognition, SIP connections (critical for integration with other VoIP systems), Skype integration, instant messaging, short codes, hosting, numbers in 41 countries, speech in multiple languages, and a host of other things.

Furthermore, Tropo is a unified API. The days of needing one app for voice calls, another for SMS and a third for conferencing are over.  The same code you use to say something over the phone can also respond via SMS, IM, and Twitter.

2) Tropo’s Extreme Support

Twilio works on a credit system that requires developers to pay to play.   Tropo is and always will be 100% free for developers.  No credits, no limits on minutes, no ads played to you or your callers.  Every developer gets 24×7 support from engineers that know how to write code.  Paying customers measure their response times in minutes.  Our support team is consistently ranked the highest in customer service and satisfaction, at the top of not only our industry, but above all other software and telephony companies.

3) Scalability, Reliability and Portability

Twilio’s service is based on Asterisk, a free and open source telephony framework and runs on Amazon’s EC2 network.

Tropo runs on Voxeo’s SIP Cloud, the largest worldwide voice application host. Voxeo has been running phone+web applications for 10 years.  Because Voxeo’s been doing this stuff for so long they know that business customers demand security and reliability, which is why Voxeo manages their own datacenters that connect directly to major carriers and delivers tens of millions of voice minutes a day for the largest companies in the world, including half the Fortune 100.

Portability is another factor.   If someone develops an app on Twilio, they’re pretty much locked in to Twilio.  Hopefully it will be a happy marriage, but what happens if they want to switch providers?   Tropo, on the other hand, can be run in your own network.   You can even run Tropo on Amazon EC2 (if you want to).

If you haven’t tried out Tropo, you should give it a whirl. Here’s a great tutorial to help you get started: How to build a Twitter Bot using Tropo and JavaScript

Related Post:  Twilio vs. Tropo AKA A little more noise for Dave McClure

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