Interview

Real-time Engagement Redefining Communication Across Industries

Real time engagement, the practice of connecting with people through contextually appropriate messaging instead of attempting to predict their intentions beforehand gained significant traction ever since the lockdown began last year. SME Channels talked to Ranganath Jagannath, Director-Growth, Agora about how real time engagement has affected the way businesses, medicine, gaming and education sector interact digitally.

How has real time engagement helped ensure business continuity in this pandemic situation?

When the pandemic struck in early 2020, organizations had to quickly pivot to an online mode. In order to do so, businesses started to realize the power of leveraging real-time engagement (RTE) in keeping people socially connected along with meeting business needs. From live streaming, to broadcasting, to video chat and beyond, RTE technology is helping businesses bring new services and communication capabilities to the masses in newer ways.

RTE has found incredible traction in all industries as consumers demand the ability to connect with others instead of sitting idly before a screen. With the right content and live audio and video solution, businesses can create inspired experiences that increase engagement, brand awareness, customer loyalty, and sales. The key strategy used by businesses is to seamlessly replicate real-life experience into an online channel to avoid customer churn and retain brand loyalty.

[quote font=”tahoma” font_size=”13″ font_style=”italic” color=”#262626″ bgcolor=”#f9f9f9″]

“RTE has found incredible traction in all industries as consumers demand the ability to connect with others instead of sitting idly before a screen.”

Ranganath Jagannath,
Director,
Growth Agora

[/quote]

For example, during the lockdown, India’s leading online higher education provider, upGrad introduced the new upGrad Live platform, built to replicate a real-time classroom learning experience for learners by providing greater interactivity, real-time doubt resolution, in-class concept check and session analytics. Similarly, retail companies like Lisa and Popshop are using real-time engagement to offer live-stream shopping experiences to customer engagement and conversion. This has allowed businesses to maintain resiliency amidst the pandemic by pivoting their engagement strategies as well as unearth new avenues of engaging customers.

Telemedicine has gained more traction this year, how has live engagement enabled the same?

As a result of the pandemic and coupled with the National Digital Health Mission, a long-awaited reform of India’s public healthcare, digitization has been on the rise. In the future, patients will have the opportunity to speak with their doctors directly in a secure environment through real-time engagement tools. In the past year, telemedicine has enabled medical professionals to offer care and diagnosis without clinical visits while reducing the risks of exposure for patients as well as doctors.

With voice, video chat and streaming, doctors and patients are virtually brought together in real time. Capabilities like crystal clear audio, smooth, real-time video and integrated functionalities allow patients to share their medical history, doctors to make the appropriate diagnosis and mental health professionals to conduct remote sessions with patients.

And this technology is becoming easier to implement with relatively low barriers to entry with low-code and even no-code technology tools that allow healthcare providers to easily implement voice, video, and chat streaming into their platforms.

Not only does live engagement impact telemedicine, but it has also given a rise to telehealth apps for mental and physical wellbeing. 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. Agora’s video SDK pairs with MixPose’s AI functions to evaluate the yoga poses of participants, helping to offer guidance and track progress.

How are technologies like real time engagement boosting the gaming sector?

According to a report released by Deloitte earlier this year, India’s online gaming industry is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 40% to $2.8 billion by 2022. This growth is fueled largely by factors such as increased smartphone penetration, affordable data and disposable incomes.

During the pandemic, gaming burgeoned as a social activity. Advanced technologies like AI, AR and VR enable the transformation of a remote multiplayer game into a social platform, allowing for the enhanced user experiences. For example, the emergence of low power consumption helps reduce battery drain without sacrificing quality has allowed for a better gaming experience. Similarly, advanced capabilities like low-latency 3-D spatial audio using proximity-based sensing are used to determine another player’s distance and position—just like you would in the real world.

With AR facial masks and filtering, players can customize their physical appearance to fit their role in the game or to match their mood. Coupled with live engagement and voice or video chat, players can see each other’s reactions, cheer each other on, and socialize while they play games and create memories together. One such example is Rooter; a sports community app seeking to connect and personalize sports content for its users. Rooter leverages real-time engagement to pioneer India’s first and biggest community-led content platform for sports and gaming.

What has been the impact of real time engagement in the education sector?

Real-time engagement platforms have the capability to ease the transition to an online education system in a seamless manner. For example, Applejax, an online tutoring platform blends the aspect of conventional day-to-day social human interactions through newer and engaging ways of delivering education continuity. This is made possible with an integrated approach that incorporates live video, a virtual whiteboard, screen share and full-length recordings backed by multilayer security for data protection.

Similarly, live online education continues to build the internal personal interactions between students and teachers through fun and interactive sessions. This includes tools such as voice effects from sound mixing to reverb —and the ability to include local background sound and sound effects. With AR facial masks and filtering, students can even play with their physical appearances.

In the near future, concepts like metaverse will be able to create digital avatars for students to experience a real classroom virtually. VirBELA, an immersive platform that offers virtual campuses for offices and educational institutions, is redefining the future education with RTE capabilities. Using 3D technology, VirBELA creates dynamic virtual campuses that allow groups of people to engage in real-time through avatars.

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