Using PowerShell and Twilio API for Efficient Communication in Contact Tracing

Piyush Tripathi

The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of rapid and reliable communication technology. One vital application is in contact tracing efforts, where prompt notifications can make a significant difference. This guide focuses on utilizing PowerShell in conjunction with the Twilio API to establish an automated SMS notification system, an essential communication tool for contact tracing.

Integrating Twilio with PowerShell

Before diving into scripting, you need to create a Twilio account.

Registering and Preparing Twilio Credentials

Once registered, obtain your Account SID and Auth Token. These credentials are the keys to accessing Twilio's SMS services. Then, choose a Twilio phone number, which will be the source of your outgoing messages.

PowerShell Scripting to Send SMS via Twilio

With your Twilio environment prepared, the next step is to configure PowerShell to interact with Twilio's API. Start by storing your Twilio credentials as environmental variables or securely within your script, ensuring they are not exposed or hard-coded.

$twilioAccountSid = 'Your_Twilio_SID'
$twilioAuthToken = 'Your_Twilio_Auth_Token'
$twilioPhoneNumber = 'Your_Twilio_Number'

After the setup and with the appropriate Twilio module installed, crafting a PowerShell script to dispatch an SMS using Twilio's API is straightforward:

Import-Module Twilio

$toPhoneNumber = 'Recipient_Phone_Number'
$credential = [pscredential]:new($twilioAccountSid,
    (ConvertTo-SecureString $twilioAuthToken -AsPlainText -Force))

# Twilio API URL for sending SMS messages
$uri = "https://api.twilio.com/2010-04-01/Accounts/$twilioAccountSid/Messages.json"

# Preparing the payload for the POST request
$requestParams = @{
    From = $twilioPhoneNumber
    To = $toPhoneNumber
    Body = 'Your body text here.'
}

$invokeRestMethodSplat = @{
    Uri = $uri
    Method = 'Post'
    Credential = $credential
    Body = $requestParams
}

# Using the Invoke-RestMethod command for API interaction
$response = Invoke-RestMethod @invokeRestMethodSplat

Execute the script, and if all goes as planned, you should see a confirmation of the SMS being sent.

Preparing Data for Automated Notifications

Before we can automate the sending of notifications, we need to have our contact data organized and accessible. This is typically done by creating a CSV file, which PowerShell can easily parse and utilize within our script.

Creating a CSV File

A CSV (Comma-Separated Values) file is a plain text file that contains a list of data. For contact tracing notifications, we can create a CSV file that holds the information of individuals who need to receive SMS alerts. Here is an example of what the content of this CSV file might look like:

Name,Phone
John Doe,+1234567890
Jane Smith,+1098765432
Alex Johnson,+1123456789

In this simple table, each column is separated by a comma. The first row is the header, which describes the content of each column. Subsequent rows contain the data for each person, with their name and phone number.

Automating the Process for Contact Tracing

Once manual sending is confirmed and the CSV file is ready, you can move towards automating the process for contact tracing:

Import-Module Twilio

$contactList = Import-Csv -Path 'contact_list.csv'

# Create Twilio API credentials
$credential = [pscredential]:new($twilioAccountSid,
    (ConvertTo-SecureString $twilioAuthToken -AsPlainText -Force))

# Twilio API URL for sending SMS messages
$uri = "https://api.twilio.com/2010-04-01/Accounts/$twilioAccountSid/Messages.json"

foreach ($contact in $contactList) {
    $requestParams = @{
        From = $twilioPhoneNumber
        To = $contact.Phone
        Body = "Please be informed of a potential COVID-19 exposure. Follow public health guidelines."
    }

    $invokeRestMethodSplat = @{
        Uri = $uri
        Method = 'Post'
        Credential = $credential
        Body = $requestParams
    }
    $response = Invoke-RestMethod @invokeRestMethodSplat

    # Log or take action based on $response as needed
}

By looping through a list of contacts and sending a personalized SMS to each, you're leveraging for mass communication—a critical piece in the contact tracing puzzle.

Conclusion

In this post, we've reviewed establish a bridge between PowerShell and Twilio's messaging API to execute automated SMS notifications. Such integrations are at the heart of communication technology advancements, facilitating critical public health operations like contact tracing.

References

 

This article was originally published by Microsoft's PowerShell Community. You can find the original article here.