Agora announced this week that it would invest $ 100 million in real-time participation applications and tools, promoting technology as a major step forward in a more digitally connected world.
Executives from Agora and dozens of other people spoke this week at the company’s RTE2021 conference, announcing ways in which real-time participation technology has gained prominence, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
With millions of people stuck working and learning from home, Agora said there has been an explosion of interest in using real-time engagement for everything from health services to games, educating and even working.
The growth in the use of technology has coincided with the emergence of metaverse tools that seek to create digital worlds where people from anywhere can gather, share, and collaborate online.
Agora CEO Tony Zhao said the pandemic disruption motivated people to seek more natural interactions with each other and noted that many people are now fed up with simple video connections.
With real-time participation, people have been able to create a list of new tools, applications and solutions. Zhao said Agora’s internal data has shown that there is an explosion in demand for mental health services, as well as more social entertainment, gaming services and even fitness apps that can be accessed in any anytime and anywhere.
He noted that demand for telemedicine services grew more than 4,000% last year and real-time participation helped health officials simulate physical visits to doctors ’offices. The new metaverses also allowed people to work and learn together from around the world.
Zhao cited the success of Tribe XR as an example of the value that real-time participation can bring. Tribe XR CEO Tom Impallomeni explained that technology has allowed them to create a virtual world where DJs and music producers can practice, play and perform for digital audiences.
They use virtual reality systems to simulate DJ equipment and help people learn how to DJ using virtual reality headsets.
In collaboration with Agora, the company now offers users a way to upload music and act on Twitch, Youtube and by integrating with other metaverses.
Agora’s real-time interaction platform has helped Tribe XR create a video calling system where teachers and performers can connect with the audience from any device without using VR.
“Real-time engagement technologies take people out of their isolated islands and silos, connecting them in a more natural and meaningful way. From New York to San Francisco, from Bangalore to Dubai, physical distance is no longer it’s an obstacle, ”he said. Reggie Yativ COO of Agora.
Through the Agora platform, teachers have created applications that have enabled them to reach thousands of students in real time, while entrepreneurs and activists have been able to use interactive audio streaming and real-time streaming to create chat rooms, hold live roundtables, and participate in events.
From singing to dating, cooking and shopping can be done through real-time engagement platforms.
One of the most important areas of real-time participation is that you are interested in games. Barbara Pickering, head of innovation and technology at HP, spoke at length about the HP Omen gaming division, which has been working hard at Omen Oasis, which is part of the Omen gaming center software.
Pickering said HP is working with Agora to combine gaming experiences with video streaming. Although platforms like Twitch and others have become popular, many gamers only want to share video plays with a small group of friends instead of a wider, one-way audience.
With Omen, players can communicate via video, watch each other play through games, and spend time together.
Pickering said it has been difficult to facilitate because real-time playback and video sharing during games are demanding, as they require high-quality rendering and fluid movement.
“Our challenge is to bring games to a similar community space to see how someone plays an arcade game over their shoulder,” Pickering said, adding that real-time shared and interactive experiences have become a huge business. More than 60% of players want to share their game with other players, but most only want to share it with a group of 20 people or less.
“Players often want to share with their friends and make the experience interactive. To do this, you need a real-time solution. Agora wants to stream in real time, with latency in milliseconds and the investments they have made in Backend infrastructure and proprietary algorithms to optimize network traffic and video streams have helped, as Omen Oasis seeks to expand the gaming experience to become even more socially involved beyond typical multiplayer dynamics, ”he noted. Pickering.
“With Oasis we offer a very simple interface so people can share social games with a shared audio and video approach.”
Agora said mental health platforms like Talkspace and training platforms also use real-time participation.
Edward Krakus, senior vice president of product at Agora, promoted his creation of software-defined real-time networks (called SD-RTNs) that allow developers to scale quickly and deliver a fluid delivery of real-time media.
“The adaptive network transmission architecture combines variable bit rate transmission technology with proprietary logic that provides the best multimedia experience for each user,” Krakus explained, noting that the tool is designed to create experiences. for a wide variety of devices, video processing speeds and WiFi connections.
Krakus said Agora wants to make it easier for developers to use the company’s API for an expanded set of use cases.
With the API and SD-RTN, developers will be able to publish multiple streams from any device, control subscription flows, expand their channel management capabilities, and have access to advanced design controls that support sophisticated management. of video viewing as needed for virtual events and educational use cases, Krakus said.
“The ability to democratize access to RTE technology and speed up marketing time for developers is another area where Agora continues to invest,” Krakus added, noting that app developer Agora has been hugely interested. .
People have created video experience platforms and even flexible classroom tools to facilitate online learning applications.
The Agora extensions market also includes dozens of fun tools that can be added to applications such as face filters, voice filters, and content moderation tools.
Virginia Liu, senior vice president of ecosystems at Agora, said the company plans to invest $ 100 million in the RTE ecosystem, hoping it will continue to “change the way we work, live and play in the future. “.