The after effects of Hurricane Sandy are still being felt throughout a large portion of the New England area, and as such, plenty of service disruption--from power to phone and beyond--is still taking place. But one company, Twilio (News - Alert), is looking to not only help out but also provide a critical point about just how important cloud services can be in a disaster. To that end, they're offering free phone service to businesses hit by Sandy until normal service can be restored.
Twilio is a cloud communications service, and one of the major names in the field, so the offering will be welcomed by those affected. But Twilio's not just bringing basic service, they'll also be bringing along a variety of extra features with those free phone numbers. Included in the roster of extra services that will come along with the phone numbers are voice mail services, call queuing, call forwarding, and several more besides.
When affected businesses sign up with Twilio--which they can do by either calling or texting Twilio at (718) 412-1334, or e-mailing Twilio at the account they've set up for hurricane victims, firstname.lastname@example.org will be able to automatically reroute calls made to their landline number, which may be out entirely, to their new cloud-based number. Previously, businesses were forced to forward calls only to a single phone, be it landline or mobile, leaving frustrated customers dropping messages into personal voice mail boxes or just getting a busy signal. With Twilio's service, businesses get a lot more flexibility, so customers of those businesses get access to the people they need to speak to at those businesses.
Twilio's nature as a cloud-based service provider, according to Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson, gave them the opportunity to provide a valuable service to hard-hit businesses since Twilio's service isn't quite so dependent on local conditions, but rather, more on the conditions where Twilio is located. Since Twilio is located in San Francisco, they're currently in much better shape overall than portions of New York.
The services will be provided "for the duration of the area's recovery", and those businesses who discover the advantages inherent in a cloud-based system will likely be invited to carry on their service at standard rates. This makes the situation a win-win for both Twilio and the New York businesses who carry on. But since Twilio actually has a fair amount of competition in the sector, businesses might elect to carry on with cloud-based telephony and the like, but not necessarily with Twilio.
Either way, Twilio had quite the idea offering up its services in such a fashion, and it's an idea that will likely be welcomed by businesses in the area. Cloud-based services have a lot of advantages, and the help they provide in disaster planning and business continuity are just two important points among many that Twilio is likely out to underscore with its offering of free service.
Edited by Brooke Neuman