Emerging stronger with IoT in Homes and Buildings

In just about any customer satisfaction survey you can find, mobile carriers almost always rank at the very bottom. Most of us have our own horror stories of sitting on hold trying to get service from one of the giant telecom companies. Trying to resolve a problem, or even just understand charges on a bill, can become a research project. And this is just for one mobile device. Imagine how much more complicated it becomes when you have hundreds or even thousands of connected devices running on cellular data.

This is the painstaking reality for many companies creating smart building systems. Most of these smart devices use cellular connections to transmit information. So connecting a network in a building that includes hubs, door locks, thermostats, sensors, and more can become a major pain for the companies tasked to do so. It becomes even more complicated when these companies are asked to create these networks in buildings around the world, requiring different arrangements with different cellular companies. 

To help streamline this process Twillio has created a number of services aimed at helping technology developers take control over their cellular IoT network. Twilio’s founding mission was to migrate the world’s communications from its legacy in hardware and physical networks, to its future in software. They partnered with mobile network operators across the world, created a super network and virtualized the world’s communications infrastructure through APIs. With one API, developers could instantly enable global communications via voice, video, or chat. The company has been the technology powering the communications networks of large companies like Uber for years and is now turning their attention to PropTech with their new “Super SIM” service.

By giving developers control over cellular connectivity, and a scalable way to connect devices using a SIM card, Twilio is able to simplify cellular connectivity for smart building solutions. Developers and product managers get to choose from Tier 1 global networks to optimize their network quality, minimize cost, and ensure their smart home solution is highly available with multiple redundant network routes. Once deployed, they can leverage Twilio’s cloud-native and globally distributed network infrastructure, built to support massive scale. In Twilio’s developer-first fashion, Super SIM is complete with APIs to manage SIM status, track data consumption, send machine-to-machine SMS, and more. 

One of the PropTech companies that has used Twilio’s technology is SmartRent. When the pandemic hit, the smart building provider was inundated with requests to help property managers respond to the needs of their own customers with things like touchless access control and self-guided tours. By leveraging Twilio’s open developer kits, SmartRent was able to expand their offerings and meet the new demand—all without having to spend any time working out details with their network providers. 

A key aspect of SmartRent’s growth strategy has been its ability to offer a wide variety of connected devices for the entire complex. Being able to provide everything from in-unit tech like smart lighting to common area access control has allowed SmartRent to give one point of contact for all of a building manager’s needs. It also enables automation between building systems that would be difficult to achieve with disparate systems. SmartRent was able to build a complete smart building solution because developers had the piece of mind of knowing that they could easily add any new device to their network as long as it had a place for a SIM card. 


To give product managers & developers an idea of how they can take advantage of Twilio IoT for fast, COVID-impacting business pivots, Twilio is launching a webinar series, Emerging Stronger with IoT. In these monthly webinars, you’ll learn about how innovators of various industries are relying on IoT to emerge stronger from the pandemic. The first episode will go live on August 27th at 9 am PST where SmartRent’s Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer will explain how his company was able to utilize Super SIM to quickly develop and deploy an entirely new set of services in the early days of the pandemic.