For this week’s startup column, Analytics India Magazine spoke to Ranganath Jagannath, Director, Growth at Agora, to understand how the Santa Clara-based startup is leveraging emerging technologies to provide the SDKs and building blocks to enable a real-time engagement platform.
Founded in 2014 by CEO Tony Zhao and Co-Founder Tony Wang, Agora is a Real-time Engagement Platform as a Service (RTE PaaS) whose interactive voice, video, and messaging SDKs are embedded into mobile, web and desktop applications.
With a head office in Bangalore, Agora offers a voice, video, and live interactive streaming platform. The platform provides developers with simple-to-use, highly customisable, and widely compatible 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.
According to Jagannath, Agora is the first RTE PaaS that enables the full spectrum of human interactivity, which can be fully contextualised 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).
What’s The Differentiator?
Jagannath mentioned three reasons why Real-Time Engagement (RTE) is unique and different from Real-time Communication (RTC)-
- Firstly, 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.
- Secondly, the interactions in RTE are contextual and often involve human interactions with digital content and the virtual environment.
- Lastly, RTE is ubiquitous.
Use of AI/ ML @ Agora
To provide customers around the world with high-quality interactive streaming experiences, Agora uses ML in a variety of ways. Software-Defined Real-Time Network (SD-RTN) is a proprietary network of Agora, which uses ML to dynamically manage the routing of voice and video to overcome severe packet loss incidents and provide uninterrupted streaming.
Agora leverages the computing power of ML and AI algorithms on devices to offer more clarity and sharpness during interactive streams. The company uses AI and ML to achieve lower bandwidth allocation during streams, which ensures that users in troubled network environments or emerging markets experience the best live voice and video possible.
Core Tech Stack
Real-time data transmission throughout RTE-PaaS is handled by the proprietary Software-Defined Real-Time Network (SD-RTN) — a virtual network overlay running on top of the public internet. The Agora SD-RTN runs on more than 200 co-located data centres worldwide. Using sophisticated algorithms, the SD-RTN continually monitors and optimises data transmission to minimise latency and packet loss as well as mitigating lagging and delays.
Jagannath said, “In addition, we provide built-in encryption methods that developers can use out of the box, as well as enabling customised encryption that developers can implement for higher levels of security. So, we engineer for security, but our customers have ultimate control over how they design for security.”
Recently, Agora was listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange with stock ticker API. In terms of guidance, the company is expecting full-year revenue to be in the range of $125 million to $130 million, unchanged from the last earnings report in August.
Jagannath said, “In India, we are looking forward to increasing our headcount in the coming days. Apart from the tech skills that one needs for the role, what we are looking for are people that have fire in their belly and the enthusiasm to take challenges head-on. And, the desire and drive to help our customers launch products that make a positive difference in peoples’ lives.”
“Agora will continue to focus on key verticals where RTE makes a huge impact like remote education, virtual events, and the like. Online learning is a significant opportunity where organisations can improve their experience. Even beyond the pandemic, a hybrid in-person and digital schooling model might be adopted. We are looking forward to partnering with businesses to integrate real-time engagement solutions.” said Jagannath.