How Latency plays an important role in Real-Time Engagement (RTE)6 min read
What is your reaction when a webpage takes a long time to load or a live video has delays? I am sure, it’s quite irritating when you experience a delay in your request. In today’s digital era, speed is important now more than ever. This is the main reason large companies and businesses consider the implications of different methods to influence latency, as customer experience matters a lot.
With the COVID-19 situation, society is moving from a consumption-based to a connection-based model, where low latency is very much required. Businesses can leverage the power of video and chat to engage with their audience, to enhance real-time communication.
This blog will give a better understanding of what low latency is and why low latency is essential in today’s digital world for a better customer experience (CX).
What is Latency?
Latency refers to a measure of delay. Generally speaking, it is the time taken to appear on screen from point A to Point B. In this way, it depends on the physical distance that data must travel through cords, networks, etc. to reach its designation. A simple example of video latency is the degree of delay between the time a transfer of a video stream is requested and the actual time that transfer starts. Latency is a key driver of user experience, so lower the latency, the better customer experience would be.
Why is it important to have a low latency?
For businesses, real-time communications represent a chance to meet customers in the now and they are unlikely to accept any delay. In today’s fast-paced world, businesses are learning to rely on video and chat to attract and engage the audience in a seamless way. It shouldn’t surprise you that there’s a need for faster, better, and more immediate response on video and chat.
When a customer is engaged with your business in real-time, it’s of utmost importance to have a pleasant experience, otherwise, the customer will back off. Lower latency is better because it is the delay between taking action and seeing the result. It is critical for many businesses and industries that rely on real-time applications or live streaming, including banking, weather forecasting, stock trading, research, video broadcasting, online gaming, etc.
When is Low Latency Essential?
Here are the most critical cases where low latency is absolutely required.
Two-Way Communication Streams: While planning live streaming, Q & A sessions, chatting, low latency plays a paramount role in user experience. Otherwise, users will leave the connection, thereby impacting your brand image and business.
Video-Chat: Users expect immediate responses on chat (whether coming from a chatbot or a real person). In video chat, a simple lag or interruption can cause a temporary communication failure.
Video-Streaming: With increasing usage of mobile devices, users expect to experience video content with high speed and clarity. High latency will lead to communication breakdown and users are more likely to move away with a bad experience.
Online Video Games: Online video games must return the action in real-time on the player’s display. Any time lag between the action and its display on the screen will trade-off the gameplay and user experience.
What causes latency?
Latency is caused by various factors such as the hardware, internet connection, remote server location, video player, type of camera, streaming server, etc. While high latency can be caused by something on the end user’s side like an out-of-date device, there are issues that are within the control of the developer.
How to reduce Latency?
There are various ways to achieve low latency. Here, are some examples:
- Using CDN (Content Delivery Network): CDN can bring resources closer to users by caching data in multiple geographically distributed locations.
- Using HTTP/2: Enlisting HTTP/2 reduces the server latency by minimizing response time from the sender to receiver and parallelized transfers.
- Encoding: A lot depends on the encoder, and it needs to be optimized to send a signal to the receiving device with as little delay as possible. Make sure you are using the best video encoder to reduce the latency.
- Less External HTTP Requests: This not only applies to images but also to other external resources like CSS or JS files. The external HTTP requests can increase latency of the third-party server in terms of speed and quality.
- Browser Caching: Browser caching can cause low latency by caching the website resources. This will decrease the number of requests back to the central server, thereby leading to a low latency rate.
- Pre-fetching methods: It enhances your website’s perceived performance, as latency-intensive processes run in the background while the user is browsing a specific webpage.
Now, thinking about how to achieve low latency? Well, there are various ways to accomplish this, out of which WebRTC leads the game. WebRTC (Web Real-Time Communication) was developed by Google for sub-second latency data exchange between browsers. WebRTC is an open-source project to enable real-time communication of audio, video, and data in web and native apps. Released in 2011, it supports voice, video, and generic data to be sent between peers, for smooth and efficient communication.
At BigStep, we have a dedicated team of WebRTC professions to add real-time communication capabilities to your application/website. With our enriching experience of WebRTC COE (Center of excellence), we have the right expertise to build such solutions, products, and real-time interactive experiences for you.
To know more about our WebRTC services, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org .
An Integrated Marketing Strategist with a vast experience in B2B & B2C industry in driving business growth and customer acquisition through Integrated Marketing Solutions as per the latest go-to-market (GTM) strategy.