Why Agora is the ‘Best’ Solution for Live Audio & Video Streaming
With over 2.6 billion downloads worldwide, TikTok continues to take the social media space by storm. Meanwhile, another star player, ‘Clubhouse‘, emerged in the social scene last year, becoming an instant internet favorite. Seeing this audio app’s prominence in the social media landscape, mainstream players like Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit are also scrambling to develop ‘live audio chat’ features to capitalize on the surging interest in such experiences.
Real-time audio and video engagements are increasingly becoming the preferred medium to millennials and Gen Z who want to experience real-time interactions. What’s more, ‘users’ want these real-time experiences (RTEs) to take place within a single app without having to shift between apps. And third-party audio/video-hosting platforms like Agora have catalyzed an easy creation of such experiences powering the likes of recent internet star ‘clubhouse’.
Taking the bone-tiring coding from scratch out of the equation, Agora has made it easier to embed live video, audio, and other forms of engagement in apps.
Agora’s Origin Story
A group of programmers started Agora as a small initiative in a garage in Silicon Valley.
That was in 2014. Today, Agora’s state-of-the-art, real-time audio and video SDKs and APIs are used by app developers based in more than 200 countries. Many businesses big and small are leveraging Agora’s technology to create mobile apps allowing anyone from any part of the world to easily connect and interact in real-time without feeling any technical or physical difficulties.
The genius behind the technology, Tony Zhao, who is also the co-founder and CEO, founded Agora after being inspired by his previous work experiences (at NASDAQ-listed firms).
Agora currently has a leading market share in the broadcast industry with clients spread out across North America, Europe, India, China, Middle East, and Southeast Asia.
Let’s dissect Agora and review all the reasons that make it the best technology available for real-time communication.
What makes Agora the best solution for real-time communications
Why are apps like Clubhouse and Talkspace leveraging Agora’s real-time audio and video? Let’s take a deeper dive into Agora to grasp a better understanding of all its offerings.
Offers a simple-to-use, developer-friendly, customizable set of APIs
Real-time voice and video solutions are not easy to develop. Not only are they extremely challenging to build but very costly too as they require bulk amounts of data across network operators. Building from scratch is not without challenges either.
Let’s keep in mind here that there are limitations to these apps as well i.e. a slow response time, and the fact that these apps use large amounts of data to make live streaming a possibility.
As for users, they look for high-speed and high-response solutions. Even more so, they don’t want to shift to a third-party voice and video application, they want to be able to engage with their loved ones, acquaintances, or business associates within their preferred app. This is one of the key reasons why we decided to use Agora when building the news and video debate app ‘Erupt’ for the Emmy-winning film producer Edward Walson and former ABC News/GMA producer Bryan Keinz. Because interactive video streaming is the app’s most distinguishing feature, we knew it had to be just perfect; without lags, glitches, or any sort of loss of quality.
And Agora turned out to be the perfect tool. It empowers developers with its easy-to-use and scalable APIs to integrate real-time video and audio into their apps without creating the entire architecture from scratch.
To put it another way, it’s developer-friendly; allowing developers to move forward quickly and effortlessly.
Delivers quality video and audio with its self-built network infrastructure & codecs
Poor network infrastructures hamper real-time communication. And public internet with its instability is one of the biggest challenges. As in this case, the internet itself is the “best-effort network”- network infrastructure that sends data packets to their intended destinations. There’s no guarantee that the sent packet will be received with public networks at all and on time.
Which can lead to data loss or corruption. It’s one of the biggest challenges faced in the world of real-time communication. And to get to the bottom of this very issue, Agora created its very own software-defined real-time network.
Agora’s Software-Defined Real-time Network (SD-RTN™) is presently the only network infrastructure in the world that was created specifically for real-time communication.
It’s one of the foremost reasons why Agora stands out from its peers.
To provide reliable and fast connectivity with the lowest possible latency, Agora’s algorithm monitors traffic in real-time and picks the most efficient path available. The average end-to-end global latency for Agora is 300 milliseconds.
What’s more, Agora’s self-built audio and video codecs give it a competitive edge over other platforms. NOVA, Agora’s proprietary solution ranks highest in the industry.
NOVA facilitates narrowband, broadband, and ultra-high frequency, and seamless switches between different modes, including adaptable, high-quality, low energy consumption, super high frequency, and ultra-low bitrate.
Simply put, it would be justified to surmise that Agora is the king of high-quality, consistent audio, and video streams.
Offers numerous SDKs & APIs to add features such as live streaming, video and audio calls
Agora’s smorgasbord of features has something for everyone. For instance, Agora’s Video SDK makes it easy to embed real-time video chat into your web, mobile, and native apps.
Its Video Call APIs allow devs to add fun features like AR facial masks and sound effects to social apps. It offers features like screen sharing, audio mixing, and whiteboards for business and education apps.
With its SDK for interactive live streaming, the developers can easily integrate features like co-hosting, in or across channels (audience interact with the host or hosts interact with other hosts), screen sharing, audio mixing without loss of quality.
Similarly, Agora’s Voice Call API lets you integrate high-quality, stutter-free interactive voice chat into your app and makes it easy for you to add new features like voice effects and 360-degree surround sound, noise cancellation, and active-speaker recognition.
Agora is HIPAA-compliant: secure and reliable
Not only is Agora HIPAA-compliant, but it also ensures complete security of the transmitted data. Agora provides encryption for both audio and video data.
Developers can either use algorithm presets like AES-128/AES-256, or use customized encryption algorithms to encrypt data transmission.
Aside from that, Agora checks network infrastructure regularly to look for and remove security holes. To defend against attacks, Agora also configures anti-DDoS firewalls in each core cloud data center. Each of Agora’s 200 shared data centers around the world ensures that it has the necessary resources and capabilities to mitigate the threat of DDoS attacks.
In addition to the aforementioned, they provide great customer service.
‘One thing I really like about Agora is their technical team’s responsiveness. They are always willing to work hand in hand to deliver solutions for complex business use cases. Our team truly enjoys working partnering with Agora’s dedicated and innovative team.’ says Tayyab Mahmood, CitrusBits Engineering Manager.
And that’s precisely why Agora continues to be businesses’ top choice!
Having worked with Agora’s easy-to-use and scalable SDKs and APIs to build mission-critical social video apps like Erupt, a news and video debate app we built for the Emmy-winning film producer Edward Walson and former ABC News/GMA producer Bryan Keinz., CitrusBits highly recommends Agora for creating real-time interactive voice and video streaming experiences. With its diverse set of real-time communication capabilities including interactive live audio streaming, interactive video streaming, Agora is the best all-in-one real-time communication solution for all your RTC-related issues.
If your business is looking to create or upgrade its social video or audio mobile app, we invite you to reach out to CitrusBits for a free consultation. We have extensive experience with Agora and other popular third-party service providers, and we’ve built business-critical mobile app solutions for many enterprises in the US.