Opportunities in real-time apps

Extraordinary data read and write speed

Real-Time technology has been developing very dynamically. Many large companies implement modern information transmission technologies to maximise the rate of transmission. Application users are under the impression that data are read and written on the fly, very quickly, virtually unnoticed and in the background. In times when we need and demand speed from technology, “Real-Time” is definitely worth our attention.

What is real-time in applications?

Real-time applications are characterised by extraordinary data read and write speed. In fact, these applications do not use the read function at all. We only subscribe and listen to events and actions triggered by the system or other users. Have you ever observed a live stock exchange listing? With Real-Time, you can achieve the data dynamics effect just like it happens in real life. The “listening” occurs on data changes, with the effect visible immediately on screen. In these applications, other users can change data, which will then be displayed on your screen without the need to refresh the website or without performing any actions whatsoever. The possibilities are virtually limitless. The stock market is one obvious example.

Typical real-life examples where “Real-Time” can be used

  1. Car sharing. Apps that support collective transportation serve as a great example. Thanks to the use of Real-Time, the app offers immediate feedback to the user regarding the exact location of their vehicle on the map, whether it is close or delayed. The application user is able to better plan the transport waiting time.
  2. Stock exchange. Stock exchanges are unprecedented leaders in providing live information. Brokers need the data on the spot, without delay, because for them every millisecond counts. In this case, applications using Real-Time data writing and reading gain a huge advantage over traditional applications.
  3. Match scores and betting. There are many websites that present live match results but informing fans about the course of an event at the speed of a sports commentator poses a big challenge. The speed of systems is crucial here. Real-Time will work extremely well in this case.
  4. Chat. Every single internet user has come across and used popular apps like online chats. This is a great example of the live interaction of two or more web users over the internet. Here, delays may be greater than in the case of the stock exchange listings or sports results, but also in chats the goal is to transfer information as swiftly as possible.
  5. Live games. The e-sport industry is developing at an extremely fast pace. Multiplayer games are gaining in popularity, which makes the developers search for new and ultra fast solutions. Immediate response time is of the essence.

How can Real-Time be used in business applications?

Business applications are no different than the previous examples. Everyone would like to see the results on their screen as soon as possible. The algorithms in web applications are often overly complicated, which translates into a decrease in application performance. The implementation of modern data processing technologies may contribute to increasing a system’s performance, thus resulting in greater profit. Real-Time applications perform very well when many users are working in one context. This is exemplified by Google text editing apps such as Google Docs. Users see their changes in real time and are able to jointly control the created content at the same time. Users interested in changes occurring in the app receive notifications as they happen.

An extremely useful functionality of Real-Time systems is the mutual informing of current users about new events that occur in the application on an ongoing basis, e.g. if somebody added a record or deleted some data, the system can show what has been changed in real time, block some elements or activate them without interaction from the person who wants to read the data.

An additional important element in such applications is asynchronicity. Nobody wants to wait for anything today, and if app events last too long, the users grow impatient. The ideal solution in this case is to postpone the procedure for it to run in the background, while the system user continues working in the app. Once the algorithm finishes its work, a status notification appears or the system reacts to the result itself.

The aforementioned functionalities may be obtained by using Firebase from Google. This is a very practical tool for creating applications. We can create any web- or mobile-based application using their Real-Time Database. Firebase itself can perform many out-of-the-box steps towards launching our new application as Real-Time. It is worth taking a look.

Nowadays, great emphasis is put on application response time. No user wants to stare at an endlessly loading app screen. There are numerous techniques for speeding up data loading as well as for improving application performance. One of them is the Real-Time concept, where the data are actually in constant flow. The users should feel that the application works amazingly fast, without unnecessary delays and, above all, reliably.

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