In this new world of all people and things connected, the science fiction of yesterday is becoming the reality of today. Take a step back and you can see how fast we’re moving into the future we’ve been envisioning for decades. It’s as if we’re all looking through virtual reality headsets watching the designers assemble the future. With so many appealing technologies to engage with it’s easy to miss the technology that’s always running in the background, helping all of this innovation work — Real Time Communications (RTC). RTC enables the connections and the collaboration necessary for humans to communicate with both humans and machines in meaningful ways.

So, let’s leave the VR headsets on and take a look at five technologies that are changing the way we do everyday things and how RTC enables all of them.

1. Let’s ride
Autonomous cars will need to be connected to work, taking in petabytes of data to operate safely and provide the services consumers expect. Watching movies, messaging friends, attend video conferences, make appointments — all of these applications will be built into the car’s form factor. New functionality and features will be wirelessly continuously downloaded as it navigates through traffic using apps like Waze, which provides navigation suggestions through crowdsourcing — other drivers and passengers reporting everything from traffic jams to potholes. Hundreds of thousands of drivers collaborating on the fastest way to get to get around traffic is massive RTC at work. RTC’s voice, messaging, video and collaboration technologies make future of not driving in traffic possible.

2. Changing venues
Everyday experiences are now going beyond local and personal to live and collective.  Streaming interactive content is one thing, but it’s another to support contextual interactive sessions securely and simultaneously with multiple parties located anywhere in the world.

Virtual Reality (VR) technology has jumped well beyond gaming and is being used in private networks like the military, hospitals, construction to change how we learn and where we work. VR is being used to perform surgical procedures remotely, train fighter pilots, conduct criminal trials and even train teenagers to drive. IBM’s Watson delivers solutions for emergency rooms which makes it possible to intake a patient in distress in minutes, measure their vitals and contact their physicians. RTC makes it possible to retrieve and share medical records in an instant collaboration session, including video conferencing and screen sharing.  The value of this level of collaboration helps spotlight the critical nature of “the network” and RTC’s ability to support data, media and signaling in dynamic new ways.

3. Exchanging in the cloud
Stock exchanges have been around a since 1602 beginning in Amsterdam when printed stocks and bonds literally changed hands inside a single building. These exchanges have come a long way, but perhaps the most significant move to date will be switching from land-based communications systems to the cloud. Exchanges are looking to migrate their large private networks securely to the cloud to keep pace with the companies and economies they keep. RTC and the cloud to help simplify trader connections and empower them to collaborate as a part of new strategies.

New modes of business
Millions of companies, organizations and artists are getting financial support directly from individuals. Platforms like Kickstarter, Fundable and IndieGoGo have funded thousands of startups. Organizations like KIVA connect individual lenders to people around the world. PledgeMusic is supporting thousands of independent musicians and commerce solutions that flip the business model of record labels back to the artists. These highly interactive, immersive platforms have RTC as their backbone, supporting messaging, video, communications and commerce.

Finding virtual partners
When you need another brain in the room to collaborate with, having access to a network of qualified, like-minded people who are ready to help is priceless. A little company called Collaborizm has thousands of inventions being built by mechanical and software engineers around the world. This web-based collaboration platform has attracted more than 110,000 developers in less than two years who are designing, prototyping and even commercializing ideas together. RTC is essential to vibrant communities like these, connecting people and ideas across borders and time zones with tangible R&D time and cost efficiencies.

The pattern across all of these business and social concepts is that RTC —– voice, video, messaging, collaboration — enhances every digital platform and will continue to be essential to enable and improve the next wave of very cool applications.



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