Much before the turbulent events of the past two years, technology was already reshaping the world. The pandemic has powered exponential growth in technological advancements; what might have taken more years to build and adapt initially, we accomplished in just two years. In 2020 and 2021, we saw shifting customer preferences due to increasing online consumption, forcing companies to rethink their strategies. The need of the hour was to keep customers at the forefront and build seamless online experiences to bridge the gap between real and virtual worlds. At the backbone of this revolution are real-time engagement (RTE) platforms enabling this virtual shift for consumers and businesses alike.
Real-time Engagement powering the virtual shift
At the onset of the pandemic, live chats, voice, and video calls made it possible to shift businesses to an online model. However, these were initially available through standalone apps explicitly dedicated to communication and limited to point-to-point connections. Voice and video calls were more of a utility than an immersive experience and this set the stage for RTE. To have a genuinely engaging experience requires shared context, and RTE enables this to create engagement directly inside the apps commonly used.
During extended lockdown periods in the last two years, there has been an exponential growth in apps that leverage live interaction as they keep people socially connected and meet business needs. For example, India’s leading online higher education provider, upGrad, introduced the new upGrad Live platform. The platform replicates a real-time classroom learning experience for upGrad learners by providing greater interactivity, real-time doubt resolution, in-class concept check, and session analytics. Similarly, WedMeGood, a pioneer in India’s wedding marketplace, used RTE to bring the in-store model onto a virtual platform and initiated a series of live shopping festivals.
What’s in store for 2022?
RTE has enabled a fundamental shift in engagement in the last two years. In the coming years, RTE will go beyond voice and video calls. We foresee these trends as the holy grail for businesses to leverage RTE successfully.
- Connecting metaverses: Metaverse has been the buzzword for the past few months. Presently, metaverses exist in isolation in their digital island. This year, real-time engagement technology will enable connectivity between metaverses creating a more connected and engaging experience for users. RTE will also reduce entry barriers by simplifying access to the metaverse to something as ubiquitous as a web browser.
- A boom in live and hybrid events: As the pandemic continues, we will transform how events are consumed in-person and virtually. More robots will traverse the conference floors providing ‘on-the-ground’ information and visuals to viewers worldwide. Drones will stream information from above audiences offering even more incredible real-time experiences sending streams from above and on the floor to participants and audiences.
- Moving beyond voice and video: We will see more real-time use cases across the metaverse, gaming, IoT, and data transmission. These industries will embrace RTE and extend its capabilities well into the future.
- RTE at the fingertips of businesses: The early adopters of RTE are app developers and digital-first companies. In 2022, we will see more traditional enterprises adopting RTE, thanks to the rise of no-code/low-code tooling. No-code and low-code tooling will empower enterprise agility, quicker development turnaround times, and accelerate business outcomes.
2022 and beyond will see a brand-new world of work and business that demands a holistic approach for agile growth. Platforms like RTE will enable innovative business models, high-value collaboration, and innovation. To be future-ready, organizations must seamlessly combine business context, customer experience, and emerging technology to capture the hybrid, virtual world successfully.
Views expressed above are the author’s own.