Hallo powers a new language learning experience with Agora.
Social learning app Hallo offers users a new way to learn and practice English by video chatting with native speakers.
There are 1.5 billion English-language learners around the globe. Though they make up nearly 20 percent of the world population, these learners have few options when it comes to finding a practice partner online. Millions turn to platforms such as Facebook, but the process of finding someone on the same level who is readily available is easier said than done.
As a Korean immigrant, Hallo CEO and Co-founder Joon Beh knows the challenges that come with learning a new language and the value of practicing consistently rather than simply reading a textbook. “The best way to learn a new language is by actually speaking, practicing and immersing yourself in the culture every single day,” he said. That’s what inspired Joon’s idea for Hallo, a free social app and live streaming platform for language learning powered by Agora’s live video calling solution. At the click of a button, users can interact and have real-time conversations with native speakers via live video chat. Users can also pay to have private lessons with native speakers.
While working as a consultant, Joon interviewed several Uber engineers and eventually realized that an “Uber for language learning” would solve many of the problems English-language learners face. He eventually quit his job, partnered with his co-founder Benjamin Dent to start Hallo in 2017, and the app officially launched in May 2019.
“As we continue to grow, we’re going to have hundreds of millions of minutes and even billions of minutes per month. So definitely scalability is our key to success.”
JOON BEH, CEO AND CO-FOUNDER, HALLO
The Power of Real-Time Engagement
The Hallo team initially tried developing its own web-based audio and video solution. While it worked well within the U.S., the results weren’t as successful outside of the country. After realizing they needed a real-time engagement platform that offers robust technologies that are readily available, the Hallo team chose Agora for its global scalability, ultra-low latency and high-quality solutions, and competitive pricing.
Scaling globally can be a challenge for product owners and developers that integrate real-time voice and video into their apps, as the user experience can vary based on location and the mobile device used. For Hallo, scalability is particularly important as its users live around the world, especially in countries like India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Vietnam, Brazil, and Egypt.
Global Reach and Scalability
Hallo is also growing at an explosive rate. Within three months of its launch, Hallo is averaging 13,000 new users per week and two million minutes in video calls per month. “As we continue to grow, we’re going to have hundreds of millions of minutes and even billions of minutes per month. So definitely scalability is our key to success,” Joon said.
With a global network dedicated to low latency, high-availability real-time audio and video, Agora provides Hallo with the global reach and scalability needed to ensure its users around the world have the same quality of experience (QoE) no matter their location.
“It’s important for us to put things out there and test them out as soon as we can. We developed something really quickly with Agora’s API and put it out there.”JOON BEH, CEO AND CO-FOUNDER, HALLO
Ease of Integration and Customer Support
Testing new features and products is a crucial part of the iterative process. As Joon said, “Everything is a hypothesis [at first].” With Agora’s live video chat solution, the Hallo team was able to quickly integrate the capabilities they needed to launch their app.
“It’s important for us to put things out there and test them out as soon as we can,” Joon said. “We developed something really quickly with Agora’s API and put it out there.”
Having worked with several companies across a variety of industries, Agora’s engineers and customer service team are well-equipped to provide the hands-on support customers need throughout the process.
“They have been pretty responsive and helpful in a way that whenever we need their help, they answer our phone calls right away, and they try to help us out as soon as they can. So it’s been really helpful,” Joon said.
Like Facebook, Instagram, and other major social platforms, the Hallo team wants to continue providing its main features free of charge. As an early-stage startup, Hallo needed a real-time streaming media provider that offered a fair pricing model, as well as a suite of services.
“Agora understands our situation [as a startup]. It’s a win-win for both parties,” Joon said. “Right now Agora provides pretty much most of the features that we need at a good price.”
If you’d like to know more about Agora’s SDKs or have any questions for us or for the Agora developer community, feel free to reach out on the Agora Slack Channel.
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