The Center for Data Innovation spoke with Kieran Kilbride-Singh, head of product marketing at Ably, a London-based company offering a real-time data delivery platform. Kilbride-Singh discussed how the velocity of data matters for business organizations.
Christophe Carugati: How does Ably deliver data in real-time?
Kieran Kilbride-Singh: Using Ably, organizations power synchronized digital experiences in real-time over a secure global edge cloud network of data centers and edge points of presence (PoPs)–access points to the Internet that are physically located closer to end-users to decrease latencies. Our platform underpins use cases like virtual live events, real-time financial information, and synchronized collaboration in documents. Ably offers a feature-complete platform for developers, covering protocols like WebSockets and providing additional functionality such as stream resume, stream history, device presence, and managed third-party integrations. There is no infrastructure to provision or manage—just simple yet powerful and versatile software development kits (SDKs) and application programming interface (APIs) that make it simple to build, extend, and deliver digital real-time experiences at scale.
Carugati: Which kind of infrastructure do you need to deliver data in milliseconds around the globe?
Kilbride-Singh: Delivering data in milliseconds requires infrastructure that can continue to operate even if components should fail, can scale up and down on-demand in an elastic fashion, and has rigorous uptime guarantees. To ensure a snappy user experience, events are sent over a global edge network that is engineered to deliver predictable performance at scale and is distributed across 15+ core routing data centers and 205+ edge acceleration PoPs. Organizations can scale effortlessly with low complexity and minimal engineering and infrastructure overhead. Since its inception in 2016, Ably has guaranteed the delivery of more than six trillion events.
Carugati: Why is the velocity of data an important asset?
Kilbride-Singh: Our everyday digital experiences are in the midst of a real-time revolution. Whether attending an event in a virtual venue, receiving real-time financial information, or monitoring live car performance data—consumers simply expect realtime digital experiences as standard. As a result, synchronized data in real-time is business-critical for many organizations. The same is true for making business decisions: they need to now happen in the moment rather than down the line.
Carugati: Which industry do you help in building real-time features?
Kilbride-Singh: Every industry requires real-time data synchronization in some form or other–it’s the next stage of digitalization. Common cross-industry real-time use cases range from live updates and results, GPS location tracking, multi-user virtual spaces like classrooms or online events, chat and notifications, Internet of Things (IoT) device monitoring and control, to live charts and dashboards.
But some industries are leading the way and which many of our customers represent, from EdTech, automotive, logistics, and mobility, B2B and developer platforms, healthcare, IoT and connected devices, sports and media, social media and audience engagement, gaming, to e-commerce and retail.
Carugati: How do you expect realtime delivery will evolve in the future?
Kilbride-Singh: Ably has always strived to remove real-time complexity for developers while providing an unrivaled quality of service for their end-users. We started out solving the core real-time communication problem by making technology decisions to provide a global edge network engineered for performance, integrity, reliability, scale, and ease of use. But we are not done.
With wider adoption of real-time data synchronization and the rise of synchronized digital experiences, there are new engineering problems that need to be solved. It is our mission to abstract this complexity away for developers so they can build the digital experiences that come next without worrying about infrastructure. Our Series B funding allows us to focus on this mission.
While Ably already guarantees delivery of trillions of events per year for millions of devices worldwide, the opportunity ahead is much larger for Ably than it was when the company was started five years ago as more of our digital lives play out in realtime.