We’re back from Twilio: SIGNAL 2019, have (almost) caught up on our rest, and we’re ready to share.
First, who’s Twilio and what’s SIGNAL?
A very quick overview for the uninitiated few: Twilio is a cloud communications platform as a service company that allows developers programmatically to make and receive phone calls, send and receive text messages, and perform other communication functions using its web service APIs. SIGNAL is their annual customer and developer conference and 2019 marked their fifth year hosting it. More than 4000 people were in attendance including names you might know like Chloe Condon and Macklemore. We planned to attend because people who use Twilio are the type of people we think will enjoy teaching Misty skills so it was icing on the cake to get as involved as we did with TwilioQuest.
TwilioQuest is the full RPG-style gamified training to teach developers how to use Twilio APIs like SMS, Voice, and Video. While it began as a companion app for live training sessions, TwilioQuest is evolving to be a completely on-demand experience; to ensure developers have some sort of guidance, they’ve incorporated NPCs (non-player characters) including a guide named Cedric. Guess who needed a real-world avatar body to inhabit so they could attend SIGNAL.
During SIGNAL, attendees could complete TwilioQuest challenges to earn XP points. If the XP points added up to a certain amount at the end of the conference, the hero Macklemore would be released from the grasp of the evil Legacy Systems organization hold so he could perform on the final night of the conference.
Misty’s SIGNAL 2019 demos
But, Misty wasn’t there just to fill a role — you can actually use Twilio APIs in your code for the skills you build. For example, we set her up to be an event photographer.
Using Twilio’s Autopilot API, people could text, “Hey, Misty could you get a picture of me?” or “Selfie time” then pose in front of her and commemorate the event with a photo. For those feeling a bit camera shy, we shared how they could use the same Twilio API to control Misty via text with phrases like, “change led green”, “move forward 30cm”, “say I am enjoying Signal”, and “turn -45”.
Some of the other demos we had on-hand you may be familiar with like Text-to-Speech using Microsoft Azure and the Follow-Ball Skill. Because the Follow-Ball Skill is one of our most popular, we incorporated it into the design of our SIGNAL t-shirt and (while supplies last) you can get your own simply by posting a skill idea to the Misty Community.
As if being an actor and photographer wasn’t enough, Misty became a triple threat when she was teamed up with tech magician Doug McKenzie to leave SIGNAL attendees scratching their heads…
Hello, World with Misty
One of the things we kept hearing during the conference was, “Your booth is so cool because it’s not just a screen!” This is great to hear for a company focused on bringing your code to life in the 3D space.
More than 50 people, most of whom had zero experience in robotics, worked hands-on with Misty in our 1:1 developer sessions by completing a Hello, World tutorial. (Shoutout to everyone who provided valuable feedback to our team!)
After finishing their tutorials, some wanted to keep going and built their own integrations. For example, a developer from TypeForm built a survey that sent commands to Misty via her REST API and a developer from Twilio built a skill that had Misty take a picture and save it to a database via the Twilio API when he pressed Misty’s bump sensor.
We’ve got more sessions like this in the works, so if you’re interested in working hands-on with Misty, subscribe to and Watch Community Forum Events. You can also propose that we host sessions and workshops like this near you, so if you don’t see one you can make it to, don’t be shy to suggest a location.
Live-streaming from SIGNAL
Twilio’s Evangelist Team was in full-force on their Twitch channel throughout the conference giving viewers a behind-the-scenes view of both Day 1 and Day 2 Keynotes, the Community Hall, and interviews with developers. All the videos are worth a watch but we humbly recommend you start with Twilio Developer Evangelist Brent Schooley’s discussion with our founder, Ian Bernstein.
Ian gives an overview of some of the things you can do on the Misty Command Center and the API Explorer, shares a few ways that beta Misty’s are currently being tested out in the wild, and answers a couple questions that came in via live chat regarding Misty’s security and price point.
If the sign of a great conference is a 50/50 balance of exhaustion and exhilaration, then SIGNAL 2019 nailed it. The data backs that up, too: in a span of three days, our team spent 80 hours directly engaging with developers. Those conversations are invaluable — Thank you.
And finally, a huge shoutout to everyone from Twilio including Jeff Lawson, Kevin Whinnery, and Brent Schooley for making SIGNAL 2019 such a great experience for everyone — We’ll see you again in May 2020.