Real-time Technology Glossary

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

What is Real Time Data?

Real time data is any data that represents a recent change in an environment, whether the environment is physical (natural processes) or virtual (instant messaging, social media). It is distinguished from archived or historical data, and real-time data typically needs to be input, processed, and output to recipients within seconds or milliseconds in order to be useful. For example, you might receive a notification on your mobile phone when your smart coffee machine switches on. Real-time data is information as it happens.

The basic architecture of the Internet, founded on a client-server (request-response) model, was not designed for real time data sharing. However, with the rise of push technologies, real time messaging APIs, and message-oriented middleware, continuously streamed real time data in any field imaginable is now not only possible, but ubiquitous.

Web, mobile, cloud, and IoT frameworks all place strong emphasis on real time data as a means to achieve live, synchronous interaction with the world. Data must be efficiently processed and delivered to produce a responsive, real time experience in the following areas, amongst others:

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