US and China based real-time communications startup, Agora.io, has developed a platform that can offer a reliable telemedicine service even if there’s poor bandwidth or unstable cellular connections.
Agora.io was founded by Bin “Tony” Zhao, who is also the CEO, and a few of his friends in 2014 when they sought to develop their dream VoIP engine to ensure reliable real-time communications.
The result was a global real-time communications infrastructure for voice and video chat that can be embedded in websites or smartphone apps and can run on any device with a modern web browser.
According to Zhao, the platform overcomes any unstable or slow connectivity through transmission protocols that dynamically adjust when signal strength and bandwidth constraints vary, and by proprietary video and audio formats that function properly in reduced bandwidth situations.
Agora.io then monitors, routes and adjusts connections in real-time by moving video calls through its network of more than 80 global data centres instead of relying solely on the public Internet, which can cause delays in video streaming.
While it was essentially developed for social gaming, their platform has since expanded to offer solutions for telemedicine, interactive learning, video recruiting, real-time social media, real-time eCommerce and real-time customer service.
“Services like Skype and other video chat systems have existed for years, but we saw a real need for reliable real-time communications that could function for mission-critical applications when poor connections and dropped calls were not an option,” said Zhao in an interview with MedCity News.
“A choppy video chat might be okay for talking with friends in India, but it doesn’t work if you want to use the technology for areas like gaming, education or healthcare,” continued Zhao.
Agora.io’s platform provides a secure telemedicine-grade video chat that can be used in rural areas with unstable network connections, providing healthcare professionals real-time, secure and private access to patients, regardless of geographic location.
The benefits of such a telemedicine service in rural areas is that it can allow communities to access specialist and follow up care remotely, saving both time and cost.
The communications-as-a-service platform allows users or organisations to add reliable video chat in a pay-per-use model, where the first 10,000 minutes are free.