The growth of real-time communications is already reshaping the telecommunications world, but marrying it with platform-as-a-service models has the power to truly revolutionise how businesses engage consumers.
The challenge of effectively engaging customers has long been a battle for businesses of all shapes and sizes across multiple verticals. This has particularly been the case in the world of app development, where historically businesses have had to sift through countless platforms and frameworks to cobble together a bloated mass of code with questionable reliability and scalability – essentially resulting in an expensive headache.
But that is all about to change as the real-time PaaS model opens up a world of new application options for businesses, while helping them avoid lengthy and expensive development cycles. These new communications platforms allow a single developer to execute on an idea within minutes or days.
The mobile revolution has opened the door to a whole host of new, innovative ways of delivering services. One of the most exciting developments born out of this is the rise of innovative apps that are not only changing, but also saving the lives of people all over the world.
Mobile developers can now embed limitless human2human communications into their apps, transforming the technology in users’ hand from a simple tool for work and play into a trusted helper that can assist with some of life’s complexities.
By plugging real-time communications into their mobile apps, businesses can now make communication ‘more human,’ abolishing distance and facilitating immediate response to certain situations. Humanising technology in this way is ushering in a new stream of more contextual and customised communication which, in the real world, can make a huge difference to peoples’ everyday lives.
Real-time communications in action
The healthcare industry is a key beneficiary of this growth in real-time communications. New applications are emerging on a daily basis that have the power to dramatically change and even save the lives of people in every walk of life – including motorists, the sick and those in need of clinical medical care.
One area where this technology is driving significant benefits is with people who suffer from diabetes and require continuous glucose monitoring. Regularly measuring glucose readings and sharing information with doctors is critical for these patients’ health, but having to attend multiple appointments makes it difficult to lead a normal lifestyle.
The simple implementation of real-time communications has removed these limitations. One example is mobile app Diabetic Kandy, which enables diabetic patients to share their glucose readings with their doctor anytime and anywhere, limiting in-person visits without having an impact on the care they require. Doctors are given instant access to all the data they need and can also text, voice or video call with their patients at will.
The use of real-time communications is also proving potentially life-saving in working with patients that have depression or are at risk of suicide. MindMe is a suicide prevention application developed by the TelePsych Alliance, which uses a secure, real-time communications platform to allow patients and therapists to connect instantly. A user in distress can use the app to assess their state of mind and access approved strategies for addressing negative emotions. Throughout this process they are connected to a trained therapist, who can help mitigate the situation and provide relief for the patient at risk – all via the patient’s device of choice.
Frank Fleming, MD of Interlecta, which founded MindMe along with equal partner Cornell Medical College, has spoken about the huge benefits of real-time communications for their app: “WebRTC platforms are literally enabling life-changing interactions. It was key for us to select an option that combined these capabilities with advanced mobile communication DNA in order to build the application we envisioned.”
Aside from enhancing patient to doctor relationships, real-time communications are also helping to resolve crisis situations, such as roadside assistance to an accident. Mercury, which claims to be the road emergency response angel, is revolutionising response to road incidents by enabling hospitals and emergency responders to collaborate with victims through web-based real-time video conferencing.
Mercury uses car sensor data to analyse and share information via social media, while recording all elements of the video conference to provide responders with an assessment of the situation before they even arrive on the scene. This also allows claim adjusters and insurance companies to view the entire incident at a later date.
Next steps for real-time
The healthcare industry is leading the way in showcasing the benefits that real-time communications offers businesses for their future communications strategies. The apps discussed above are just the beginning of a revolution in mobile communication and app development, and the onus is now on technology companies to ensure they realise the value of this proposition.
The real-time revolution will increasingly provide a more intuitive, fluid and personalised era of communications that helps to make peoples’ lives simpler, better and healthier.
Paul Pluschkell, Kandy founder, and EVP of Strategy and Cloud Services at GENBAND
Image Credit: Shutterstock/Lenka Horavova