How demand for APIs represents the societal shift towards real-time engagement

REGGIE YATIV-01
Reggie Yativ headshot large (1)

“Agora can run on basically everything–because we’re an API, we’re platform-agnostic, and being ubiquitous is important when the world is full of options.” Says Reggie Yativ, CRO & COO of Agora, in an exclusive interview with ET.

ET Bureau- How has the increased global demand for real-time engagement (RTE) technology been beneficial for Agora?

Reggie Yativ- Agora has grown rapidly this year as the world has increasingly realized how RTE technology can create authentic engagement regardless of distance or location. As of June this year, our customer base had grown 85.5% compared to June 2019. 

This pandemic has been a tipping point to prove RTE is good for business innovation and human connection–not just in crisis and isolation, but also in times of stability. We expect our growth to sustain even after this pandemic. People now realize that our technology can create richer virtual experiences in our social lives, work lives, and everything in between.

Our customer base has also grown with new customers, but our existing customers are also working with our platform to add more innovative RTE features every day. The possibilities for RTE are truly endless, and the applications our developer and customer base have produced are extremely impressive.

ET Bureau- What are the different platforms and devices compatible with the technology?

Reggie Yativ- In short, Agora can run on everything–because we’re an API, we’re platform-agnostic, and being ubiquitous is essential when the world is full of options. Harnessing public infrastructure’s power strategically gives us a way to provide accessible, high-quality, low latency services to our customers.

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ET Bureau- What, according to you, are the best ways to socialize, while distancing during the pandemic?

Reggie Yativ- Many of our customers have created innovative, collective use cases that allow massive groups of users to interact in real-time. RTE helps capture energy and dynamism for virtual event use cases. Platforms like “Run The World” use our technology to engage viewers tuning in for live events like concerts. VirtualTaproom has used our technology to stream multiple ‘stages’ at a beer festival at once. The shared experiences in these use cases give viewers a chance to interact with organizations and other participants. We even partner with platforms like Pragli that create a virtual office environment and replicate the social experience of working in-person alongside coworkers.

ET Bureau- How can organizations’ conduct conferences and summits derailed by the pandemic?

Reggie Yativ- There’s no denying online events are where it’s at in 2020. But having a virtual event strategy isn’t just a short-term crisis management move to get through this pandemic. There’s a real opportunity in the events industry to adopt RTE technology to grow audiences beyond borders and include previously geographically limited people.

ET Bureau- What do you consider as critical features in an RTE solution?

Reggie Yativ- Until now, people have depended on “real-time communications,” namely daily chatting platforms like WhatsApp and Skype. These were disruptive when they first came out many years ago and allowed us all to connect globally. These apps were the springboards for RTE, but RTE evolution is very different and significantly more dramatic.

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For apps and platforms to meet RTE standards, they first need to provide a shared context. Think about a virtual classroom or business meeting where participants use a virtual “whiteboard.” Participants are not only engaging with one another but also interacting with content on the whiteboard as well. This shared environment creates a more meaningful experience that is genuinely shared, collaborative, and fully responsive in real-time.

The solution also has to be able to scale from one to many participants (many can connect millions)- and it must do so seamlessly, without sacrificing on quality. We saw a massive surge of people moving online through the pandemic all at once, and networks that couldn’t handle large surges in the activity performed poorly. For end-users, this presents as laggy video and audio, or worse, a video that crashes altogether and brings experiences to a sharp halt (which, as you can understand, is also not good for the business of such apps). Modern end users have no tolerance for poor quality streamed video experiences, lags, or lip-sync issues, so networks and platforms must deliver uncompromising performance.

As CRO & COO of Agora, Reggie leads the team’s go-to-market and global expansion efforts. Passionate about the endless potential an engagement-platform-as-a-service has for developers and users, he enjoys how such technologies can be used to spool up innovative ideas and bring them to life quickly. Moreover, he believes real-time engagement is a powerful tool to build inclusivity into the internet in every space from social streaming, education, gaming, entertainment, telehealth, and beyond.

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Megana Natarajan is a Global News Correspondent with OnDOt Media. She has experience in content creation and has previously created content for agriculture, travel, fashion, energy and markets. She has 3.9 years’ experience as a SAP consultant and is an Engineering graduate.