Bestowed with tropical gifts of the coziness of sunny beach and the romance of coconut trees, people in east-south Asia have plenty of spare time to enjoy their life. Under the restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic, young people, the so-called “Z-generation”, turn their eyes to the cyberspace. However Facebook is too old-fashioned, and Instagram is way too slow for response. The Z-generation desire for instant responses, and a live way to communicate. Those well-established behemoths cannot meet their expectation.
Recently, a new type of social platform with live voice and video chat features came to cater to the Z-generation’s needs. As a social platform with voice chat rooms featuring gaming entertainment, Knoknok is rising to satisfy Z-generation’s social needs. Knoknok has been viewed as a novel model for the industry to study and follow.
Knoknok is a social platform for dating. Instead of adopting popular ways such as live video streaming, Knoknok figured out its own way to woo its users by voice chat room with games. Basically, Knoknok’s voice chat rooms provide users with a means of instant chat that takes advantage of the natural intimacy that voice conversations can create. To make ice-breaking not a hard issue, games are embedded to let users play along while chatting with each other. Being a new platform, Knoknok has been rising rapidly thanks to its sophisticated and elaborate operations, finely designed gaming content, and powerful technologies. People in the field may wonder who the team are behind it.
Knoknok was started more than one year back by a team of serial entrepreneurs. With a size of less than a hundred people, the Knoknok team has created a social network platform with a user base of a million. After adopting the model of group voice chat plus gaming, Knoknok’s operational statistics have increased. In particular, the number of daily active users (DAU) has increased by 2% roughly, the number of real-time concurrent rooms have increased by about 9%. Overall, the total time length of voice chatting has increased by 25%, with surprisingly high user retention rate and average user online time. Currently, Knoknok focuses on its target markets—Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Knoknok has completed a couple of financing rounds and is poised to make a big leap in the year of 2022. Although Knoknok is still an emerging platform right now, its growth rate is steady and eyeball-catching, meanwhile it has managed to maintain its cost at a relatively low level. Knoknok’s model has been created to solve some issues commonly faced in the field, i.e., the high cost to acquire user traffic has undermined the profitability of social platforms.
Let’s take a closer look at Knoknok’s operating model. There are 2 types of chat rooms on the platform:
1) group voice chat rooms with games as side entertainment for 8 participants, with a host who leads the chat and gameplay and 8 other participants as the audience. In such rooms, users can chat along and share common fun while playing games;
2) group voice chat rooms with for users to chat only (without games), with a host who leads the chat and a number, which varies from 4 to 14, of other participants as the audience.
Gaming has been long proven to be a great way to activate and retain users. Like music, games are the common language for people from different cultures. One top of that, with games to play with each other, users tend to spend more time on the platform. And very importantly, games can significantly enhance a platform's monetization ability.
In regard to monetization, there are two approaches:
1) Virtual gifting, users can send virtual gifts, which they need to purchase with money, to their favored hosts or co-hosting participants.The platform takes a share of users’ spending on gifts as revenue.
2) Payment for gaming, users need to pay for the games that they play in a pay-per-play manner, which is another source of revenue for the platform.
Knoknok has paid great attention to its user experience. The user experience can be measured from different aspects, such as the smoothness, latency, and voice quality of users' voice conversations. Since the real-time voice experience is a main thread that goes through the whole user journey, it is paramount important to make sure that users can enjoy a broadcast-grade audio quality in their voice chats. And this is why Knoknok has chosen ZEGOCLOUD as its technology partner for voice chat rooms and gaming content.
Terrific user experience has been a strong edge that enables Knoknok outcompete its competitors.In knoknok’s voice chat rooms, users can expect a group voice chat experience with a voice quality comparable to face-to-face conversations. To achieve great user experience, Knoknok has to confront challenges arising from two aspects: the network infrastructure and end-user devices.With a global data network called MSDN (“Massive Serial Data Network”) and world-leading real-time data transmission technologies, the ZEGOCLOUD platform is capable of handling real-time audio/video streaming at a global scale with massive concurrency gracefully. Also, ZEGOCLOUD has done a lot of engineering to achieve full compatibility with a wide range of platforms and end-user devices and high fidelity of voice quality.
ZEGOCLOUD’s technological advantages cover four main areas:
1.A Massive Serial Data Network (MSDN) that enables ultra-low latency data transmission.
Knoknok covers more than 30 countries in Southeast Asia and the Middle East, where the quality
ZEGOCLOUD has deployed thousands of servers on public clouds with more 500 BGP nodes, so as to construct a layer of proprietary transmission network called MSDN, covering more than 212 countries and regions all over the world. The ZEGOCLOUD MSDN features proximity-based service access (i.e., establishing connection through nearest access point), dynamically back-to-source, and Intelligent routing. The ZEGOCLOUD MSDN significantly accelerates data transmission with stability and reliability. For example, to transmit data between Manila and Kuala Lumpur, the RTT will be about 300ms if data packets go through routes on public networks, while it will be reduced to about 100ms if data packets are accelerated by MSDN.
2.Optimization of transmission over congested network, enabling smooth voice and video chat in weak network environments with up to 80% packets loss
Internet is the kind of network that is fairness-oriented and offers service at best-effort. However, congestion happens all the time, especially in countries with inferior network infrastructure, which leads to loss of packets and jitter of arriving time intervals, and in turn it results in lagging, suttering, missing or repeating audio. ZEGOCLOUD adopted a framework of real-time transmission, and a set of sophisticated strategies to improve QoS, even when 80% of the packets are lost. Knoknok’s users are delighted to enjoy a smooth voice chat even when the wireless signal of their smart phone is weak.
3.Compatibility with more than 20,000 end-user device models, and special optimization on low-end smart phones.
When it comes to the end-user devices in different countries in Southeast Asia and the Middle East, there are a large number of models of mobile hardware and plenty of tailored versions of the Android OS, most of which are low-end smart phone models with poorly designed acoustical architectures, and those tailored versions of Android OS might have degraded compatibility. It is challenging to fine-tune the algorithms of acoustic echo cancellation (AEC) and automatic noise suppression (ANS).
ZEGOCLOUD has done a huge amount of optimization of its products for over more than 20,000 models of end-user devices. Particularly, in terms of optimization at software level, the ZEGOCLOUD team dug into the level of c language source code of Android OS and started the optimization bit by bit from there. In terms of optimization at hardware level, the ZEGOCLOUD team fine-tuned its terminal engine to compensate for the weakness of hardware design and lifted the processing burden on hardware by shifting usage from CPU and GPU. Also, the ZEGOCLOUD team adopted some strategies on the selection of encoder/decoder and bit rate level to improve hardware performance.
4.Terrific audio quality, delivering wonderful listening experience.
ZEGOCLOUD has developed a proprietary voice engine with the capabilities of AEC, ANC and AGC to proceed voice data. The voice engine supports full-band (from 16k Hz to 48k Hz) voice processing and achieves ultra-high fidelity of voice through various technologies, including automatic gain control,ultra-long-distance sound pickup, intelligent recognition of steady-state/non- steady-state noises, and noise suppression by quick convergence.
According to psychology of human hearing, people may not feel perfectly comfortable in an environment without a single bit of noise, we like to hear voice with a certain proportion of noise for our psychological reason. In this regard, ZEGOCLOUD has achieved a well-balanced mix of noise and voice carrying valid signals while realizing high fidelity of voice.
In terms of algorithm of echo cancellation, the challenges of single-talk and dual-talk scenarios are quite different. ZEGOCLOUD’s voice engine is able to recognize either scenario preciously and handle them respectively. ZEGOCLOUD provides group voice chat solution with wonderful listening experience even when multiple persons are speaking at the same time.
In regard to voice beautification, by combining acoustic and psychological methods, ZEGOCLOUD provides dozens of special voice effects through the voice terminal engine. To name a few, there are charming voice, hoarse voice, and ethereal background sound.
With a common insight with Knoknok that the new generation of social platforms must leverage the synergy between voice chat rooms and gaming content to make a success, in partnership with 3rd party gaming content providers, ZEGOCLOUD also provides high-quality mini-games that are fit for voice chat room scenario as value-added service to its clients. Currently Knoknok have integrated 3 mini-games in its group chat rooms provided by ZEGOCLOUD.
ZEGOCLOUD is an international company founded in 2015, with more than 600 employees currently. It provides a set of real-time engagement technology solutions, such as voice & video chat room, voice & video call, live video streaming and gaming content, aiming to help social platforms to boost their operation performance. In the last 7 years, ZEGOCLOUD has served more than 4 thousands clients globally, including but not limit to a few big names, such as Liveme, Uplive, Oasis, Yalla, Starmaker, Mico and Blued.
Empowered by ZEGOCLOUD’s cutting-edge technologies, Knoknok pioneered and developed the model of group voice chat room plus gaming entertainment. Looking forwards, more and more social platforms with the novel model of combining real-time engagement ability and gaming content, as represented by Knoknok, will emerge.
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