Summary:

Twilio wants to become the universal translator of communications protocols in the cloud. The new service acts as a bridge between the SIP-based world of enterprise PBX networks to any other type of calling technology.

Cloud communications outfit Twilio can already connect any application to most any carrier’s voice or SMS networks. Now it wants to do the same with enterprise communications. On Monday, it announced the general availability of SIP from Twilio, which can connect enterprise private branch exchange (PBX) IP voice systems (think of all those Cisco phones in office cubicles) to its cloud communications platform.

Session initiation protocol (SIP) is the signaling system used to manage IP-based voice and video calls and messaging capabilities in many carrier and enterprise networks, but it’s a protocol foreign to most developers. “What’s exciting about this news to the common geek is that Twilio is further establishing itself as the bridge between disparate forms of communication,” Twilio director of product management Thomas Schiavone told GigaOM.

Schiavone readily admits that no developer currently unfamiliar with the arcane ways of SIP is likely to pursue the protocol, but there are plenty of enterprises and enterprise developers that do, and they’re looking for easy ways to link their insular business networks to A broader range of public and private communications tools.

SIP from Twilio graphic

The idea is that Twilio can perform the complex translation of different kind of calls or messages in the cloud. A regular phone call from a landline, a VoIP call from softphone client or a WebRTC call from a browser could all pass through Twilio’s application programming interfaces (APIs) and connect as a SIP-based call on an office extension. “Twilio sits in the middle, allowing you to mix and match all these forms of communication,” Schiavone said.

Twilio’s SIP service, which launched as beta in October, aims to become more than just a translation service. Twilio claims that by connecting its cloud platform directly to legacy PBXs, companies can move the application logic of their communications platform into the cloud, where they can build new features without having to upgrade or reconfigure their hardware.

Feature image courtesy of Flickr user 2 Much Caffeine

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