Twilio unveils new platforms AutoPilot, Pay, makes Flex generally available

AutoPilot is a conversational AI platform while Pay is a programmable payment system that lets developers integrate payments into phone services.

Cloud communications provider Twilio announced a bevy of new products and platform updates at its annual developer and customer conference on Wednesday.

The new products include a conversational AI platform called AutoPilot and a PCI-compliant, programmable payment system that lets developers integrate secure payments into phone services. Twilio also announced the GA release of Flex, its contact center platform that covers multiple channels and allows customers to customize interfaces, routing, and reporting.

First up is the new AutoPilot platform, which Twilio says lets businesses build custom messaging bots, IVRs, and home assistant apps that work alongside contact center agents. Using Twilio's natural language processing engine, AutoPilot pulls existing data to train bots and make them smarter over time. Companies can deploy those bots, without additional code, across multiple channels including Voice, SMS, Chat Alexa, Slack and Google Assistant, and rely on the bot to adapt the message for the medium.

The next new product is called Pay. In partnership with Stripe, Twilio said Pay will provide customers with the tools needed to process payments over the phone while reducing pain points associated with becoming PCI-compliant. Twilio touts that the service requires only one line of code to activate, and relies on secure payment methods such as tokenization to ensure that credit card information is properly handled. While Stripe is the launch partner for Pay, Twilio will likely add more payment processing platforms in the future.

Finally, Twilio said its programmable contact center platform Flex is now generally available. This move, along with Twilio's recent acquisition of the contact center company Ytica, is part of Twilio's effort to disrupt the nearly $20 billion contact center industry, going head to head with existing call center infrastructure players that deploy on-premise call center hardware and software.

"It's been amazing to see the excitement Flex has created in the contact center market since our launch in March," said Al Cook, general manager of Twilio Flex. "As of today, we will be rolling out Twilio Flex to the thousands of companies who signed up during beta."

In terms of availability, Twilio Autopilot is available today in public beta in the Twilio console. Autopilot can also be accessed via a widget in Twilio Studio and integrated into Twilio Flex. Twilio Pay is currently in pubic beta and will be generally available in 2019 with pricing at $0.10 per transaction. Out-of-the-box, Pay will be supported by Twilio Flex and Twilio Studio.

Twilio Flex is rolling out with tiered pricing models. Businesses can use it for free with 5,000 active user hours, and then scale flexibly with two pricing options: $1 per active user per hour or $150 per user per month.

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