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Table of contents
What is Real-Time? 
What are real-time applications?
Real-Time Applications in Action
Types of Real-Time Applications
Real-Time Applications in Different Industries
Advantages of Real-Time Applications
Challenges in Developing Real-Time Applications
Real-Time and Traditional Applications
Frequently Asked Questions
What are real-time applications?
Give examples of some real-time apps.
What are Hard RTAs?
Briefly explain the use of RTAs in the Medical Industry?
Last Updated: Mar 27, 2024

Real-Time Applications

Roadmap to SDE career at Amazon
Anubhav Sinha
SDE-2 @
25 Jun, 2024 @ 01:30 PM


Today real-time applications or RTAs have become an essential part of industries like finance, healthcare, transportation, manufacturing, etc., because of their accuracy and speed. This article will explore real-time applications in detail, along with their types, challenges, and advantages.

real-time application

Also see: Multiprogramming vs Multitasking and Open Source Operating System

What is Real-Time? 

Real-Time, with respect to real-time applications, refers to the capability of a computer system or software program to process and respond to data immediately or within a very short time stamp (in milliseconds) after it is generated.

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What are real-time applications?

A real-time application (RTA) is a computer system or a software program that responds to the input data within a guaranteed time frame. They sense, analyze, and act on streaming data. 

Real-time applications are based on an event-driven architecture (EDA) and process vast amounts of data asynchronously.

Real-Time Applications in Action

popular real-time apps

Real-time applications are all around us. Some of the popular real-time applications that keep us moving, connected, and informed at the moment are:

  • Whatsapp
  • Uber
  • Slack
  • Twitch
  • Google maps
  • Instagram and Facebook messenger

Types of Real-Time Applications

types of real-time applications

There are three types of real-time applications:

  1. Hard real-time applications: RTAs with strict time constraints are called hard real-time applications. Such applications respond to a particular input within a fixed time frame which, if not followed, may lead to the failure of the entire system. These applications are used in areas where safety is the topmost priority, like aerospace, defense, medical, etc.
  2. Firm real-time applications: Firm real-time applications also have time constraints similar to hard real-time applications, but occasional delays are allowed here. Here the applications are designed with certain prioritization and scheduling algorithms to set an order for the execution of tasks. They are used in finance stock trading systems, multimedia, video conferencing systems, etc. 
  3. Soft real-time applications: In these applications, the quality of results decreases with time. It doesn't matter if the deadline is followed; it is not strict with time frames. A video game can be used as an example here, as it depends on input from the user and a limited processing time.

Real-Time Applications in Different Industries

There are many Real-Time applications that are used in various industries to perform critical operations, support decision-making processes, and enhance customer experience.

1. Healthcare Industry: RTAs have saved many lives in healthcare industries. It is used to monitor the patient's health and vitals like heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen level, tracking medical records, MRI scan, Radiation therapy, etc, thus helping in medical emergencies and timely interventions and diagnosis.

2. Finance Industry: RTAs monitor stock prices and manage risks in finance industries. High-frequency trading systems and algorithmic trading platforms take real-time data as user input, helping in split-second decision-making and execution of trades.

3. Communication Industry: RTAs are used in the communication industry for video conferencing, instant messaging, and voice-over IP services. With the help of real-time applications, people enjoy an impressive and seamless user experience.

4. Industrial Industry: Real-time applications play a significant role in modern industries. Their use in automated car assembly plants and chemical plants has proved to be quite efficient and productive.

5. Defence and Aerospace Industries: Hard real-time applications are used in defense and aerospace industries. Real-time applications find their most potent use in these industries. In the defense industry, real-time applications like missile guidance systems and satellite missile systems are used to manage powerful missiles. On the other hand, real-time apps are used in the aerospace industry in flight control systems, avionics, and flight simulation.

6. Gaming Industry: In the gaming industry, while real-time game engines generate impressive graphics, the matchmaking system allows users to team up or play with opponents with similar skills and ranks.

7. Transportation Industry: Traffic monitoring, fleet management, and logistics are now easily possible due to the contribution of real-time applications in the transportation industry. While traffic monitoring systems help find the best route, reducing accidents, fleet management helps organizations reduce costs by enhancing their operations.

Advantages of Real-Time Applications

Real-time applications have several advantages, such as:

  • Immediate results: RTA provides a quick response, which can be very useful in industries like flight control, finance, and healthcare. For example, monitoring flight control systems or a patient's vitals are essential areas where immediate results are important.
  • Better decision-making: RTAs provide updated information at your fingertips. This is quite useful for organizations in making their decisions. For example, With Stock trading systems, finance organizations make decisions accordingly regarding their investments.
  • Enhanced user experience: RTAs offer an engaging experience to their users. This can be very beneficial for a collaborative business environment. RTAs are also used to create a more interactive experience, like chat applications, gaming, and video streaming.
  • Increased efficiency: The structured workflow of RTAs enables good coordination and hence helps organizations to organize their operations, thereby increasing efficiency and productivity.
  • Advantages for IOT devices: Real-time applications process huge amounts of data quickly, which can be very advantageous for IOT devices.
  • Competitive advantage: Real-time applications can significantly benefit organizations in their quick response time and accuracy.

Challenges in Developing Real-Time Applications

Despite the benefits of real-time applications, there are certain limitations and challenges in developing real-time applications.

  • Processing power: To analyze and respond to data immediately, real-time applications need unit power for processing it. This can be pretty challenging for large real-time applications where the application has to process huge quantities of data.
  • Complexity: Developing RTAs is quite complex as some multiple components and sections are inter-connected to work together. This can be challenging in terms of testing, processing, and maintenance of the application.
  • Latency: The topmost requirement of a RTA is to have minimal latency to process data. However, the delays and the noise during data transmission affect the accuracy and speed of the application considerably.
  • Scalability: Achieving the desired scalability for complex real-time applications can sometimes be challenging.
  • Security: RTAs deal with sensitive data most of the time. Hence, much effort is required to secure the data from cyber-attacks.
  • Cost: Building and developing large real-time applications is very expensive. It requires hardware, software, and trained software engineers. Hence organizations have to work within a very tight budget.

Real-Time and Traditional Applications

Real-time applications v/s Traditional applications.


Real-time applications

Traditional applications

Response time In real-time apps, users get an immediate response. Here users have to wait for a response.
Data processing Real-time apps process data as soon as it is generated. Traditional apps first store data and then process it.
Engagement RTAs offer enhanced user experience and engagement. There is no such enhanced user experience.
Scalability High scalability is required. It can work with low scalability as real-time data processing is not required.
Complexity They are more complex because they operate at high speed while simultaneously processing huge amounts of data. Comparatively less complex.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are real-time applications?

A real-time application is a computer system or a software program that responds to the input data within a determined time stamp. RTAs are known for their accuracy and speed and find various uses in the health, aerospace, defense, multimedia, and telecommunication industries.

Give examples of some real-time apps.

Some examples of real-time applications are Whatsapp, Twitch, Uber, Google Maps, Slack, Instagram, Facebook Messenger, etc. These applications allow bidirectional communication with minimal latency.

What are Hard RTAs?

Real-time applications having strict time constraints are called hard real-time applications. These applications respond to user input within a fixed time frame which, if not followed, may lead to severe consequences like the failure of the entire system. 

Briefly explain the use of RTAs in the Medical Industry?

RTAs have saved many lives in the medical industry. It is used to monitor the patient's vitals like heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen level. It is also used in tracking medical records, MRI scan, Radiation therapy, etc, thus helping in medical emergencies and timely interventions and diagnosis.


Congratulations on finishing the blog! The speed and accuracy of real-time applications are the reason behind its popularity in different industries. It is no doubt that real-time applications have brought an immersive and impressive experience like never before.

We hope this blog has helped you enhance your knowledge of real-time applications. Keep learning! We recommend you read some of our other Unix articles: 

1. real-time operating system

2. real-time cha app using firebase

3. React Js projects

4. Thrashing in OS

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