Real-time Technology Glossary

An ever-growing repository of technical terms around real-time technology and beyond.

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Ajax (Programming)

Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (Ajax) is a web development protocol that serves as a technique used to effectively send and retrieve data in the background without having to refresh a webpage.

APNS (Apple Push Notification Service)

Apple’s Push Notification Service (APNS) is the iOS implementation of Push messaging to deliver asynchronous messages from a server to an iOS device.

Augmented Analytics

Augmented Analytics is the integration of AI-enabled cognitive services (natural language processing, knowledge engines) to provide a new way to analyze, process, crunch, and derive insights from data.


Authentication is the process of verifying the identity of a user, server, app or device to proceed to log in to a system and access its resources.


Authorization is the process of granting permissions to a user, application, or server to access and modify resources on a system.


Batching Requests

Batching requests is the process of combining API calls or data to decrease the amount of requests a client has to make.

BOSH (Protocol)

Bidirectional-streams Over Synchronous HTTP (BOSH) is a transport protocol that creates bi-directional TCP connectivity between client and server.

Business Associate Agreement (BAA)

BAA (Business Associate Agreement) is a contract between a HIPAA-covered entity (the organization who is delivering the product), and HIPAA business associates (the organization or vendor working with the entity to store, transmit, or process PHI).


Chat API

A Chat API is a collection of programmable building blocks that can be used to provide real-time chat features to an application or website.

Chat UI Components

A common feature of user interface (UI) and development frameworks is to provide high-level building blocks so developers can reuse common functionality without writing everything from scratch with each new application. These building blocks are called Components.


Collaborative applications enable multiple users to interact with one another in real-time.

Comet (Programming)

Comet is a web application design paradigm that describes a continuous, two-way interaction between a server and a web browser using native HTTP methods.

Connected Device (IoT)

See IoT (Internet of Things)


Delivery Application

See Real-Time Delivery Application

Digital Twin

By simulating and analyzing the performance of the physical object or system in various conditions, digital twins can help optimize design, optimize operations, and predict maintenance needs in real-time.

Directions API

A Directions API is a service that software developers can use to plot routes between places on a map and provide guidance on how to get there.



eCommerce or electronic commerce is when a transaction occurs using the internet. An example is when a customer (the buyer) purchases one or more products or services online from a virtual storefront (the seller).


eLearning is when learning happens online using digital resources. eLearning can replace or supplement a traditional face-to-face school classroom with online courses or course content (called blended learning).

Explainable AI (XAI)

Explainable AI is an AI service whose outputs can be explained, and all processes and machine learning are accessible to be analyzed.


Fan-out (Software)

Fan-out is a messaging pattern where messages are broadcast in a one-to-many arrangement. A basic example of this pattern can be seen in the functionality of a Publish/Subscribe messaging system, as Pub/Sub implies the ability to route messages from a single sender to multiple receivers.


Faye is a publish/subscribe messaging protocol that is built on the Bayeux protocol, a messaging system utilized for transporting asynchronous messages over HTTP.

FCM (Firebase Cloud Messaging)

Google’s FCM (Firebase Cloud Messaging) is the Android implementation of Push messaging to deliver asynchronous messages from a server to an Android device.

Firehose API

The firehose API is a steady stream of all available data from a source in real time

Fleet and Vehicle Tracking

Fleet and vehicle tracking is the process of equipping vehicles so they can be tracked and monitored by a remote administrator.

Functions as a Service

FaaS is a category of cloud capabilities that contributes to the pursuit of serverless computing.


General Data Protection Regulation

The General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, has created new privacy rights for EU consumers while raising new challenges for businesses, advertisers, and ad networks.


Geocoding (also known as forward geocoding to distinguish it from reverse geocoding) is that it is the process of converting addresses (e.g. a house number, street name, zip code), into geographic coordinates (latitude and longitude).

Geographic Information System (GIS)

A Geographic Information System (GIS) is a database and management hub containing a collection of spatial or geographic data.


Geohashing is a geocoding method used to encode geographic coordinates (latitude and longitude) into a short string of digits and letters delineating an area on a map, which is called a cell, with varying resolutions. The more characters in the string, the more precise the location.


Geostatistics comprises a collection of statistical methods used to model spatial/temporal data and discern patterns in geographical phenomena, which by nature are subject to space-related and time-related variations.

GPS Fleet Tracking

See Fleet and Vehicle Tracking



Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) ensures the protection and confidentiality of protected health information (PHI).

HTTP Long Polling

HTTP Long Polling is a variation of standard polling that emulates a server pushing messages to a client (or browser) efficiently

HTTP Streaming

HTTP Streaming is a push-style data transfer technique that allows a web server to continuously send data to a client over a single HTTP connection that remains open indefinitely.


HTTP/2 is the new version of HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol), superseding HTTP/1.1 with several optimizations designed to improve the speed of web communications.


HTTP/3 is an IETF standard (Internet Engineering Task Force) that was formally adopted in June 2022 as the new version of HTTP.


In-App Chat

In-app chat is a chat interface within an app or product, enabling users to communicate in real time privately or in a group.

Industrial Internet of Things

Smart Contracts are self-executing digital contracts encoded with the terms of an agreement and can automatically enforce those terms without the need for intermediaries.

Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)

IaaS is a model of cloud computing in which all physical infrastructure to support a computing environment is provided by a third party.

IoT (Internet of Things)

The Internet of Things, frequently shortened to IoT, refers to physical devices fitted with sensors and network connectivity which connect and exchange data with other devices and systems.

IoT Devices and Sensors

See IoT (Internet of Things)

IP Address Location

See Geocoding

IP Messaging

IP Messaging describes the general use of TCP/IP (the Internet protocol) to provide messaging capabilities to web and mobile applications.



JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) is an open standard messaging format used to exchange data between, and within, all types of web applications and servers.


Live Auction Apps

See eCommerce application.

Live Bidding Apps

See eCommerce application.

Live Event Chat

See Virtual Events

Live Events

See Virtual Events

Live Marketplace

See eCommerce application.

Livestream Chat

See Virtual Events


Localization (l10n) is of making something specific to a particular location, including language, culture, legal and compliance, imagery, or financial modifications. 


Map API (Mapping API)

A map API allows developers to build location-based apps and features including: geocoding, reverse geocoding, geolocation, directions and navigation.

Map Marker

A map marker is a symbolic pin or place marker that identifies a location on a map.

Messaging API

Messaging API refers to any service that enables developers to implement messaging technologies in an application via a single programmable interface.


See Virtual Spaces


A microservice is a special form of SOA in which apps are built in terms of distinct modular services, each responsible for a specific function.


MQTT is a lightweight protocol typically used with IoT devices that are designed to be power efficient and consume minimal bandwidth.

Multi-user Spaces

See Collaboration


Navigation API

See Directions API


ngrok is a cross-platform application that enables developers to expose a local development server to the Internet with minimal effort.


PHI (Protected Health Information)

PHI (Protected Health Information) is a category of information that includes all individually-identifiable health information.

Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)

Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) is a model of cloud computing where a ready-made computing environment is made available to developers to test and deploy apps.

Predictive Maintenance

Predictive maintenance is a powerful maintenance technique for maintaining equipment and machines that utilizes data, analytics, and machine learning to predict when a piece of equipment will fail.

Privacy Shield Certification

The Privacy Shield program is a data protection framework for US organizations who seek to become compliant with current European and/or Swiss privacy regulations regarding the transfer of EU residents' personal data to the US.

Push Notification

A Push Notification or Push Message is an asynchronous message typically sent from a server to a device instructing the device to perform some action.


Real Time Computing

Real time computing, or reactive computing, is a concept that describes any computing system that must respond to changes in the environment according to definite time constraints, usually on the order of milliseconds.

Real Time Messaging

Real-time messaging refers to the distribution and delivery of messages that are designed to be consumed or otherwise used in real time (i.e. as events occur and no later).

Real-Time Data API

A real-time data API is a collection of APIs that provide data that represents an immediate change in an environment.

Real-Time Delivery Application

A real-time delivery application is an application that provides the end-user with delivery updates in real-time as circumstances and conditions change.

Real-Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP)

RTMP or Real Time Messaging Protocol is a proprietary system that is utilized for streaming live video feeds to devices running Flash.

Ridesharing Company

A ridesharing company matches drivers of vehicles for hire with passengers using mobile or web-based applications


Server-Sent Events (SSE)

Server-Sent Events (SSE), are a way of pushing messages to a client (or browser) without having to poll for the information.

Serverless Compute

Serverless compute refers to the practice of running application code on servers that are provisioned as-needed by a third party cloud provider.

Service Event Monitoring

See Fleet and Vehicle Tracking


Microsoft ASP.NET developed SignalR, a software library that utilizes traditional HTTP connections that allow real-time connectivity between server and clients.

Smart Contracts

Smart Contracts are self-executing digital contracts encoded with the terms of an agreement and can automatically enforce those terms without the need for intermediaries.

Smart Notification

Smart Notifications is a concept used to describe the various techniques designed to make real-time, push-style messaging (such as Push Notifications) more relevant, useful, and appropriate for individual users.

SMS (Short Message Service)

SMS (Short Message Service) is a way to send short, 160-character text messages from one mobile device to another over the cellular telephone network.

SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol)

SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) is a messaging protocol that comprises a strict set of rules governing data transfer between clients and servers.


Socket.IO is a cross-browser JavaScript library that provides bidirectional, event-driven communication for use in real-time applications.

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)

Software as a Service (SaaS) is a model of cloud computing in which complete applications are hosted in the cloud (i.e. on the Internet) and offered to consumers on-demand, usually via web browser.


With the challenge of exchanging information online growing in difficulty due to the sizes of video and picture files, the SPDY protocol was developed by Google to aid in efficient data exchange, especially as websites continue to grow more robust.



Telemedicine is real-time and remote medical, diagnostic, and treatment of health and health-related services.



Unity is a powerful, cross-platform engine that has created for more than 50% of the world's video games.


Video Chat

Video chat describes visual, remote communication between two or more parties, each equipped with a camera and microphone to see and hear the other participants.

Virtual Events

A virtual event is any event where participants engage remotely with centrally delivered content. Virtual events may be interactive, where attendees can engage with each other and the host or can be purely passive, with attendees just watching the content.

Virtual Spaces

Virtual SpacesVirtual Spaces are where real-time interactions and experiences happen online.  Every modern app, regardless of industry, starts with a Virtual Space to create online places where people can engage with each other just as authentically as they could face-to-face.Put another way, a Space is the logical representation of a virtual or physical interaction where a user or group of users collaborate and communicate. A Space might be a long-running entity where members work together to achieve a quarterly business...



In Web3, internet users will build, operate, and own content instead of tech companies


A webhook is a technique used by a web application to send notifications to a specific, user-defined URL when something happens.


WebSocket is a transport protocol defined by a persistent, bidirectional communication channel between server and client that takes place over a single TCP socket connection.

What is a Geolocation API & how is it used?

A Geolocation API is a communication interface between a client device or application (client-side), and an application or service (server-side) that identifies and returns information about the client’s geographical location.

What is Publish-Subscribe (Pub/Sub)

Publish-Subscribe is a software design pattern that describes the flow of messages between applications, devices, or services in terms of a publisher-to-subscriber relationship.



XMPP (Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol) is an open source, decentralized messaging protocol that was born from Jabber, an early real-time chat protocol.

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