“Agora is the first RTE PaaS that enables the full spectrum of human interactivity, which can be fully contextualized and embedded into any application, on any device, anywhere” – By, Mr. Ranga Jagannath, Director of Growth, Agora, India and SAARC

Agora-Director-Ranganath-JagannathHow has the growth of the RTE PaaS industry been?

Real-Time Engagement Platform as a Service (RTE PaaS) is a relatively newer industry that has been pioneered by Agora and is growing at a rapid pace. Traditionally, video chatting features have been primarily available on standalone apps like Skype, Zoom, or FaceTime, falling under the category of Real-Time Communications (RTC). However, this came with its challenges making implementation difficult. RTE is changing that by enabling developers to build interactive video-chat-centered apps that can scale to millions of concurrent users on any device, anywhere in the world. With the increased adoption of such capabilities, the RTE PaaS industry is growing steadily.

How can RTE PaaS be leveraged in an increasingly digital and virtual world?

As the world becomes more digital, so is the way we are interacting with each other, be it business-to-business, business-to-consumer, or consumer-to-consumer. RTE PaaS, by being integrated into applications, helps bridge the communications gap in a digital world.

RTE PaaS can be leveraged in different ways based on the use cases and the industry one is trying to address. For example, in the gaming or esports industry, the requirement for a game producer could be to offer high-fidelity, seamless live voice capabilities. For e-commerce platforms, the focus could be on visual appeal and quality of the live engagement. For EdTech companies, reach, accessibility and optimal bandwidth consumption could be very critical whereas for telemedicine it may be a completely different set of parameters. Identifying the most appropriate use case, target audience, and picking up the right set of features are keys to successfully leverage RTE PaaS in a growing digital world.

How does real-time engagement score over real-time communication?

Real-time communication (RTC) includes voice and video chatting, pioneered by apps like Skype, Zoom, FaceTime, and Google Meet, dedicated specifically to communication and limited to point-to-point connections. RTE takes this a step further by introducing the aspect of shared context. To have a truly engaging experience requires shared context. The ability to share the same space, hear the same sounds, see the same sights—these are the details that build bonds. As RTE matures, we will increasingly see people interact with one another as well as with digital content in virtual environments. VirBELA is an example of a metaverse where people engage in a virtual shared campus.

Secondly, RTE delivers the full spectrum of human interactivity, including 1 to 1, 1 to few, and few to millions of people, while RTC is usually about 1 to 1, or 1 to few people. Social media influencers today post on-demand video content and hold live events that can reach millions. Worldwide, we are seeing an increase in demand for audience-to-host, host-to-host, and co-watching experiences provided by companies such as Scener.

Lastly, RTE is ubiquitous, allowing everyone to interact with anyone, in any app, anytime and anywhere. Whether you’re in your car, in the kitchen or at the park, you should be able to use any device to engage with your favorite apps powered by RTE.

Could you give us an overview of the Agora platform?

At Agora, we offer a voice, video, and live interactive streaming platform. This platform provides developers with simple-to-use, highly customizable, and widely compatible Software Development Kits (SDKs) and application programming interfaces (APIs) to embed real-time video and voice functionalities into their applications without the need to develop the technology or the underlying infrastructure for real-time engagement.

Agora is the first RTE PaaS that enables the full spectrum of human interactivity, which can be fully contextualized and embedded into any application, on any device, anywhere. The platform is easier to scale than a traditional Communications Platform-as-a-Service (CPaaS) and delivers RTE services closer to absolute real-time than a traditional Content Delivery Network (CDN).

The focus at Agora has been developer-oriented. We recently launched the Agora App Builder which takes a no-code/ low code approach by empowering both developers and creators with absolutely no coding experience to break out of one-size-fits-all video conferencing solutions and start building custom apps tailored to their specific use case and brand. We also use machine learning in a variety of ways to provide customers around the world with high-quality interactive streaming experiences.

Which sectors have seen high adoption of RTE?

Since the onset of the pandemic, we have witnessed a steep adoption curve in both education and health tech. In education, RTE platforms can ease the transition to an online education system seamlessly through live videos, a virtual whiteboard, screen share, and full-length recordings. Similarly, while we expected significant growth in telemedicine but were also pleasantly surprised to see the growth surge of real-time engagement for mental wellbeing and fitness. For example, MixPose, a streaming platform for yoga instructors and fitness professionals, used Agora’s API to build live streaming into its platform for yoga instructors leading real-time classes, allowing instructors and viewers to capture the experience of a guided session.

Other high growth sectors include gaming, esports, social media, entertainment, and OTT. The pandemic has propelled growth in gaming and esports which is also supported by the increase in usage of customers witnessed on the Agora platform. RTE has allowed gaming and esports companies to integrate live interactive voice and video capabilities with features such as in-game voices, live interaction streaming, and fun AR effects to create an engaging social experience around gaming. RTE is also providing a transformation in entertainment and social media. Social networking app MeetMe makes dating fun by adding live video streaming, and a new generation of workforce collaboration tools like Pragli and Airmeet are facilitating creative brainstorming and networking opportunities that were previously available only in person.

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