CXO Bytes

Building New Age Startups with Real Time Engagement

The pandemic has redefined communication, altering how brands and customers interact with each other. Currently, the top technology companies are investing heavily in the future of user engagement. Real-time engagement, or RTE, has been a big focus for industries, from adding new integrated communication features to going all in on the metaverse.

Voice and video chats have brought a breakthrough in the world of communication using standalone apps like Skype, Zoom, and FaceTime not only in India but across the globe. However, these apps come with the challenge of being limited to point-to-point connections. Essentially, they serve more as a utility than an immersive experience for users. Alternatively, RTE is a technology that helps create shared and immersive experiences between users.

In a recent survey by Agora, when asked if RTE technology will be the solution to creating a more engaging and connected experience for the metaverse, 72% overwhelmingly believe it will be critical. Only 5% think it won’t be a prominent factor, and 22% feel neutral about it.

Real Time Engagement- the need of the hour

RTE has three elements: shared context, interactivity at scale, and ubiquity.

Shared context means that all human-to-human or human-to-technology engagements share the same content, context, and environments. For example, in an online classroom, participants can share the same teaching material with everyone and be able to engage with each other using interactive whiteboards.

Secondly, from one-on-one to group engagements with thousands of audiences, RTE technology can scale the engagement experience. For instance, social media influencers produce live content for millions of audience members. If one can add the engagement layer in between, which includes the shared context for every user, RTE will ensure that all users have the same experience despite how large the audience is.

The last element is ubiquity- at any time, anywhere, and in any app. With RTE, engagement is possible with other users irrespective of whether one is in a car or a park or is using a VR device or a mobile device.

Scaling Startups with RTE

It can be prohibitively expensive and challenging to develop RTE frameworks and features by oneself. However, setting up the server and creating the framework for the application allows startups to focus on scaling the user base instead. Ultimately RTE can bring user engagement, user retention, and flexible integration with other technologies to your app.

– User Engagement

RTE mainly focuses on engagement among users. Applications that can either have practical uses or help increase engagement and entertainment. The use cases for this are unlimited. An example is a live video stream added to e-commerce platforms to enable interactive and immersive shopping experiences. Another example is that of users being able to add group videos to a media streaming platform to watch the same show together. By adding multiple live video streams into your sports application, users can instantly switch between different camera angles of the live sports and discuss the scores with other fans.

User engagement makes applications more fun and helps to distinguish them from other competitors.

– User Retention

User retention is almost equivalent to revenue in the startup world. The more time users spend on your application, the more potential you have to generate revenue from the traffic.

Suppose your core product is a team-based mobile game that is very effective in obtaining new users but has no integrated audio chat. In that case, users will use other platforms like Discord to subsidize this feature. The product is essentially missing out on essential data sources and monetization opportunities, even if it does not impact the product initially. When RTE is a part of your product/application, users don’t have to shift between different platforms.

– Flexible Integration with Other Technology

Competitive and innovative products usually do not rely on a single technology at a time. Integrating RTE into the product allows one to modify and integrate with other technologies such as AI, AR, VR, and the metaverse. For example, to develop a virtual office solution, RTE can be integrated instead of using a standard video conferencing platform to enable AI-based features like live transcription, live translation, emotion analysis, etc.

RTE can bring new engagement and growth to your product or service. Choosing the right RTE provider for a startup is a very crucial step. One must explore other resources and programs to get maximum support for their product. One can save a lot of effort and money if the vendor has developer-friendly resources and technology to provide a low-code/no-code platform to launch your solution. Having a professional support team at an affordable rate by your side and a supportive community helps maintain a strategic partnership, eliminating unnecessary stress.

(The author is Mr. Ranga Jagannath, Senior Director-Growth, Agora and the views expressed in this article are his own)

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