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Twilio solution aims to make unknown numbers thing of the past
Tue, 13th Aug 2019
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Twilio, a cloud communications platform, has released Verified to give consumers the confidence to answer the phone again.

The company is partnering with leading call identification apps to help more than 200 million consumers know exactly who is calling them and why to help them determine what calls are real and needed versus those that are unwanted.

Verified By Twilio is available in private beta for testing and adoption by other carriers, mobile operating systems and apps.

Twilio is working across the industry to both limit the unwanted calls that consumers get and improve answer rates for legitimate businesses and organisations.

According to industry reports, Americans are answering only a little more than 50% of the calls they receive on their cell phones.

Even more concerning, according to a recent Consumer Reports survey, 70% of consumers do not answer a call if the number shows up as anonymous. 

While that certainly can minimise the annoyance of unwanted robocalls, it also can mean that consumers don't get the calls that they want to receive – such as those from a doctor's office confirming an appointment, a child's school calling about an early closure, or a bank calling about an issue with an account.

One of the goals of Verified By Twilio is to make sure that consumers have the information they need to decide whether or not to answer the phone, so they don't miss the calls they want from legitimate businesses and organisations.

“At Twilio, we want to help consumers take back their phones so that when their phone rings, they know it's a trusted, wanted call,” says Twilio co-founder and chief executive officer Jeff Lawson.

“A lot of work is being done in the industry to stop unwanted calls and phone scams, and we want to ensure consumers continue to receive the wanted calls. Verified By Twilio is aimed at providing consumers with the context to know who's calling so they answer the important and wanted calls happening in their lives, such as from doctors, schools, and banks.

Twilio is working with industry-leading call identification apps such as CallApp, Hiya, Robokiller, and YouMail to provide consumers with more context about every phone call as it comes in.

More than half of calls to consumers' phones come from numbers that are not on the user's contact list, meaning that the caller information isn't displayed when a call comes and could be blocked or sent to voicemail as future initiatives to address robocalls come to market.

With Verified, every call will clearly verify the business or organisation that is calling and the reason for the call.

For example, if an airline company is trying to contact a customer about a cancelled flight, as the call comes in, the consumer will see the name of the airline with a short note indicating why they are calling. With that information, that person can make the decision about stepping out of a meeting or putting another call on hold to answer this critically important call.

Twilio is also creating a repository to host verified information of businesses and organisations and their associated brands that will populate the screens as a call comes in.

Through the programmability of the platform, businesses and organisations will also be able to dynamically assign a purpose for each call to give even further context.

Verified will also help ensure that calls are being placed by legitimate businesses and organisations in order to combat spoofing.

Businesses and organisations can expect better overall engagement with their customers by ensuring that their calls are more likely to be answered. This is the first phase of Twilio's broader initiative to build greater trust in traditional communications.

Twilio encourages consumers to download one of the call identification apps – CallApp, Hiya, Robokiller or YouMail – to start blocking unwanted calls today and to be prepared to receive information when Verified By Twilio is fully available in early 2020.

No costs are involved for businesses and organisations who would like to join the private beta.

Pricing for Verified By Twilio will be determined nearer the general availability date. Any costs for consumers are related only to what is associated with downloading the apps.