About Reducing Twilio Costs and Best Practices
- The goal of this article is review techniques that you can take advantage of within your alarms on DicksonOne that can help you reduce Twilio costs.
- Twilio pricing is based on usage. The more usage you have will impact costs.
- You can always review more information about Twilio pricing here.
- Twilio costs only pertain to SMS/Texts and Phone Call notifications.
Reducing Usage and Twilio Costs
Review Your Alarm Conditions and Make Changes if Applicable
When you create alarms for your high and low points, e.g., when your temperature is above or below a certain threshold,
it is important to take into consideration what your normal conditions are. Alarm conditions that are too close to your normal conditions can lead to an increase of triggered alarms.
- For example, we see that the Laboratory temperature is typically between 24°C to 26°C on average, and we see a peak at 25°C.
- Setting your alarm condition to When the lab Temp is below 25°C may not be a big enough buffer. This can lead to continuous notifications being triggered if the alarm becomes active over and over.
- Evaluate your high and low points for normal conditions, and consider what threshold might be appropriate for your alarms. For example, you can make the condition When the Lab Temp is below 27°C or a value that is not close to your normal conditions.
- This can help reduce triggering spammy/false alarms.
No matter what changes you are making to your alarm configurations, we always advise that you please take your SOPs and regulatory bodies into consideration.
Determine the Appropriate Alarm Delay.
You have a lot of flexibility to notify your users and contacts at different intervals called Escalations. The delay is determined by the # of readings you set times the sample interval that the device is set to. This is how long the condition has to last for in order to begin triggering alarm notifications.
- For example, we see that 1 reading at a 1 minute sample interval will trigger an alarm anytime the system receives only 1 reading that is out of range.
- A reading that is in and out of range multiple times can cause numerous notifications to be triggered within a short period of time.
- Changing the delay from 1 reading to 10 readings will make sure that the system only triggers an alarm notification after 10 consecutive readings have been out of range.
- Instead of being notified as soon as a condition is out of range for 1 minute, the condition has to be out of range for a full 10 minutes before an alarm is triggered and you are notified.
Space out your Notifications/Escalations.
When creating alarms, you will be able to create escalations with different delays so that you can send notifications to your users/contacts at different intervals based on how long the alarm conditions last.
- In this example, when the alarm conditions are met for 1 minute (1 reading), the system will trigger the first alarm notification
- If the condition continues for a full 3 minutes (3 readings), the system will trigger a second alarm notification. Going from a delay of 1 minute to 3 minutes is very short and we recommend spacing the delays out a little bit more, if possible.
Instead, we recommend spacing out your escalations so that there is enough time between when individuals receive the first notification and the second notification.
- As soon as the alarm condition is met for 1 minute (1 reading) the system will send out the first notification
- If the alarm continues on and last for a full 30 minutes (30 readings) then another notification will be delivered
This is the difference between being notified twice immediately and being notified only once immediately and if the alarm conditions continue being notified a second time.
Notify the Appropriate Audience.
When creating alarms, DicksonOne allows you to determine who should be notified when alarms are triggered and there is no limit to the amount of users/groups you want to notify. However, the more users/groups you notify will impact your Twilio usage costs.
- For the 1st alarm notification, we are sending an SMS and phone notifications to two individuals. Each individual will get both an SMS text message and phone call notification. We might consider only using SMS text message or phone call in this example.
- For the 2nd alarm notification, we also repeat sending both SMS and phone notifications to the same individuals.
Instead, we can determine which method would be best for each individual to reduce cost. We can choose either SMS/text message or phone call, and we can also go ahead and change which individuals should be contacted at different escalations. The more users/groups you notify, the more it will impact your Twilio usage costs.
- We made a change to the 1st notification so that only 1 individual is contacted, which is Jessie in this case. We also made a change so that Jessie only gets an SMS text message notification and not both phone call and SMS text message.
- As the alarm condition continues, for the 2nd notification, we now notify Jessie via Phone call and we also bring in a second individual, which is Jesus to get an SMS text message notification.
When we compare the two examples, we reduced 8 notifications to 3 notifications.
We recommend that if possible you notify only the audience that requires attention when alarms are triggered. In addition, we recommend that you bring backup or notify important individuals at a later escalations as conditions become critical.
Take Advantage of Email Notifications.
Email notifications can be a great alternative we recommend taking advantage. You can mix and match the way you notify your users/contacts by notifying via Email, SMS text message, and phone call.
- For the 1st notification the alarm triggers, users Jesus and Jessie are only notified via Email
- For the 2nd notification the alarm triggers, user Jessie is now notified via phone call, Jesus via SMS text message, and we also Email the Lab Director.
We recommend that these examples serve as a guide for best practices we recommend for how individuals are contacted and notified when alarms are triggered in your DicksonOne account. We ask that you take into consideration how flexible you can be with your alarm configurations, what auditors and regulators require of you, as well as SOPs and your organization's requirements.