How To Create A Video Chat App

・17 min read
How To Create A Video Chat App

Video calling technology has become an integral part of every business. The last 10 to 15 years that we have seen video calling have immensely used not only on a corporate level but also at the individual level for personal uses. If we look back, the technology has a history of 50 years, started with the Picturephone, released in 1964 by Bell Labs (now known as AT&T). At first, when the Picturephone was first showcased in a modern marvel fair, it was considered as a miracle of technology. It drew a lot of praise for its quality and experience, but never took off due to its expense. Today, the technology is almost free with apps like Skype, Hangout, and Zoom, anyone can make a video call.

Do you want to create your own Video Chat App? Here’s a brief guide on how to create a video chat app. In this guide, you will find everything you need to know about the video chat app.

Let’s begin with:

Importance of Using Video Chat Applications

Video chat applications have many benefits, from feasibility to affordability. It enhances the performance of any corporation, saves time as well as money.

  • Video chat has become a critical element for every business communication.
  • Most businesses have become heavily dependent on video chat technology for conferences and meetings with remote employees, small units, and branches abroad as well as discussions with the executive level.
  • A video chat technology helps businesses eliminate the need to travel, strengthening the company relations with stakeholders, and, to some extent, with clients.

Let’s discuss the abilities of the video chat app in detail:

Market abilities of video chat apps

Here’re some of the greatest advantages of video chat apps:

Enabling the Digital Workforce

With video chat technology, companies can create a strong digital workforce. These video chat apps can help businesses to develop a collaborative meeting culture and maintain human connections.

Simplifying Management and Usability

Today the technology has advanced so much that using a video chat is like a child’s play. These apps are simple to use and allow users to use features like screen sharing, file sharing, and keeping the notes of the minute. Some apps also offer features like record the entire conversation or meeting for future reference.

Rally Communication and Culture

A lot of cues are lost when speaking over the phone. With video chat technology, businesses can now manage remote employees. Bringing remote workers to face to face with office workers can boost productivity.

Increase Communication Reliability

Using video conferencing software provides a fast and secure way to communicate with people. Video chat apps have eliminated the need to travel for meetings and conferences. It not only saves time but a lot of money as well.

Do you know how many types of video chat apps are available in the market? Well, here’s an overview for you.

Types of Video Chat Applications

Video chats are developed for one main purpose: to stream a video from the user's front or back camera to others. There are several types of video chat apps, but the most common types are:

Video Conferencing Applications

This type of video chat app normally used to cater large audience up to 500 or more. These apps can be used for business, work, and e-learning.

You cannot build a video conferencing application without having a superb video and audio quality. One example of this type of video chat app is Skype, which has an excellent mobile client but a shaggy desktop version. Zoom is yet one of the best conferencing video chat apps to get inspiration.

Video Calling Applications

Video calling apps are often distributed as an add-on to common chat applications like messenger or WhatsApp. The main disadvantage of this solution is that it is not good at handling multiple participants - the number is strictly limited to a few users.

The best example of this type of video chat apps are Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Viber.

Entertaining Applications

It is a type of video-conferencing application that allows users to enter a video chat; for example, users can chat while playing games. In entertaining video chat applications, users can create a contact list. Whenever anyone from the user’s contact is online, they receive a notification and can invite them to join the video chat and the game.

Discord is an example of this type of video chat application.

Now, let’s move further and check out the best video chat applications available in the market.

Best Video Chat Applications Available at Market

Here’re some of the best video chat applications available in the market.

Facebook Messenger

Pros:

  • Available on iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac [via web]
  • Connect up to 50 people via a video call
  • Universally used
  • Works standalone even without a Facebook Profile
  • Free of charge

Cons:

  • Lacks advanced features

Messenger is a great video chat app. It is free and used by many multinational corporations. You can make a voice or video call using this app very easily.

Google Meet

Pros:

  • Complete Google Duo Package
  • Integrated with Google Calendar and Gmail

Cons:

  • One-to-one solution
  • Not widely Use
  • Free only until September 2020

It is an integrated service of Google Duo. The app can be used separately for one-to-one video chat only. As of May 4, 2020, Google announced that Google Meet could be used for free with any Gmail ID until September 2020.

Discord

Pros:

  • Best video chat for gamers
  • Apps for PC and mobiles
  • Connect up to 10 people at the same time (free)
  • High-quality video

Cons:

  • Less work-friendly features

Great application for gaming and making online presentations as it allows share your screen very easily.

WhatsApp

Pros:

  • End-to-End Encryption
  • Connect up to 8 users at same time
  • Free of cost

Cons:

  • Video calls limited to mobile

Cross-platform video calling solution, one of the most popular messaging alternatives on smartphones today, allows you to join the service using only your phone number.

Slack

Pros:

  • Great features
  • A complete corporate platform
  • Google Drive and Dropbox integration options

Cons:

  • Very expensive; not free

This application might be the best for office chat and one-to-one communication. It was built for team communication, and it’s a great way to share files. User-friendly apps are available with autocompletes friends' names making tagging them simple.

Zoom

Pros:

  • Available for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android
  • Comprehensive feature set
  • Video conferencing facility available

Cons:

  • The free version limits only three users

It is a cloud-based video conferencing service. It is ideal for large group video conferencing. One of the features is that it allows you to see all users as a tile on your screen. The free version is limited to only three users, and the video call will end in 40 minutes.

Skype

Pros:

  • Available for all Platforms
  • Max 50 people can connect at the same time
  • Free
  • User-friendly UI

Cons:

  • Blocked in Middle East Regions
  • Business Tier costs money

It is a service developed by Microsoft, which remains the most popular way to make a video call. It is an excellent choice to make a video chat with this app when you need convenience during cross-platform calls - The application is available on every popular operating system and mobile platform.

How to create a custom Video Chat App

But if none of these applications meets your expectations about the functionality, you can build your video chat application. Here we will explain how to do it.

Before starting the project, you will need to do detailed research on your target audience and the market demand.

Do Research on your Target Audience

If you do not understand your target audience, you will fail to make your video chat application successful. You must know the age of end-users and design your application accordingly to users’ needs.

You also need to understand the market where you will be marketing your application. For example, if your application is to be used by businesses, it is very important to make it look professional, give users confidence that video calls are secure, and rely on them.

Research about the required platform is also very important for the success of your video chat app. It would help if you considered what platform the application should be running, cross-platform service, or an application that is dedicated to one or a few specific platforms.

At this stage of planning, you should make a list of expectations that the end-users might have from your video chat application.

After researching the targeted audience, users’ requirements, and market, you should go to the next stage of this article, making a list of MVP features.

Create a List of MVP Features

The first step of your planning should be to create a list of video chat MVP (Minimum Viable Product) features. The list of the most basic features will help you understand how much work you will have to do before launching it officially, and what features your product lacks compared to your competitors, and how to improve it.

Let’s get through the basic features needed to develop a video chat app.

  • Registration – It is an optional feature. Some video chat applications do not require you to register like Zoom. If you are adding it to the list, keep in mind that a registration process should be simple and easy. You can also consider registration by social profiles like Facebook and Gmail.
  • Group Calls – You need to decide if you want to make an app that will handle group calls or only one-to-one calls. Nowadays, it is common that many video chat applications offer group chats by default. It is quite standard that today’s application should handle about 50 users group video chat.
  • Chat – Text chat is a handy feature that helps users in a scenario where they might be in a poor-coverage area or the meeting and cannot accept a video call. It also happens that sometimes, during a video call, the user might need to write something to another person. Hence proved, text chat is an integral feature for a video chat app.
  • Profile Management - Registered users need to manage their data. The profile management feature will help users make more personalized profiles with names, memes, pictures, email IDs, mobile numbers, etc.
  • Contact List – A video chat app cannot be built without a contact list. The question is how to display the contact list? When designing so, you should think about the layout of it, search engine to seek some contact on the list. In some particular cases, it might be useful to integrate video chat application with the device contact list to make it easier for the end-user to seek contacts.
  • Notifications – It is common to get a push notification whenever there’s a message or any other request. It would be best if you decided how the feature should behave - in what scenarios the notifications should be displayed.
  • Encryption – Due to rapidly increasing cybercrime, users are more concerned about the application's privacy and security. In such a case, you need to add end-to-end encryption with a secure firewall or protocol.
  • Screen Sharing – It is not a basic feature as such, but considering the increasing competition, it has become now. When building a video conferencing application, it is important to have screen sharing functionality. It is very useful during online presentations or courses.
  • Noise Cancellation – Adding a virtual noise cancellation feature in the app might be a game-changer. The feature will help a lot when you want to reduce background noise that causes a disturbance during the call.

When you are done creating the list of all MVP features, it is time to move on to the next stage, and that is choosing a technical stack of your video call application.

Choose Tech Stack - What is Best for your Video Chat App

When deciding to build a video chat application, you can choose to build each part of the application on your own. You can also use SaaS software and external services that provide you with APIs that you can smoothly integrate into your application.

Many technologies can be used to develop a video chat application, but those listed below are the most important during the development of video chat applications.

Backend Frameworks

  • Ruby on Rails
  • Node.js
  • NestJS

Mobile Application

  • React native for both Android and iOS platforms
  • Java/Kotlin for Android platform and Swift/Objective-C for iOS platform

Web Application

  • Next.js
  • Angular.js

Databases

  • PostgreSQL
  • MySQL
  • Oracle

Chat Encryption Protocols

  • AES-256
  • HMAC - SHA256

Video Streaming Protocols

  • WebRTC - It is one of the best video streaming protocols. If you are building a video chat app to offer real time communication then WebRTC protocol is your option.
  • RTP - It is also an amazing video streaming protocol, used in streaming solutions where little latency is maintainable and causes no problems.
  • RTMP - Another great option for video streaming protocols, used for both real time communication and latency.

Push Notifications

  • Apple Push Notifications service
  • Google's Firebase Cloud Messaging

SaaS Software

  • Krisp - This technology is used to reduce background noise
  • Firebase Cloud Messaging - The technology is great to integrate for text chat functionality
  • OpenTokRTC - It is an open source solution for building video chats applications

Now, let’s move on to the practical steps of the process. The first step is to make/design UI/UX.

Steps to Build A Video Chat Application

Step # 1: Make UX/UI Designs

  • User Experience (UI) is very important, and it should be pleasant. Complicated and cluttered UIs are “BIG” disappointment for users. So, while building a video chat app, you should give priority to your UI, UX.
  • The video chat app design should be well-thought and as per the nature of the target audience. It should be minimalistic, not cluttered with too many buttons and messages. Users can easily navigate through the options and find the required features with just fewer clicks.
  • The application should be intuitive to users.
  • As the application launch after the installation, there should be a walk-around tutorial for users.
  • Usage of application should be convenient to all users, may it be a tech-savvy user or a non-tech savvy one.
  • Think about a platform where you can share designs with other developers to discuss them easily, usage of a platform like Zeplin or Figma might be of greater help.

Step # 2: Start Developing the Video Chat App

You have already completed 80% of your homework by creating a list of MVP features, deciding the tech stack, and making a design for UI/UX. Now, you need to decide your approach to build the app. Do you have the technical knowledge of building the app alone? Will you assign the task to your in-house employees? Or, will you hire a third-party developer to build the app?

Secondly, you need to decide how you will organize the development process. Do you want to use SCRUM methodology and take advantage of the opportunities that it offers?

When you have everything ready, and the plan is communicated to everybody in the team, then initiate the development of a video chat application.

Step # 3: Test the Application

During the development process, it is necessary to test the application to see if everything is working. You should hire a QA engineer that will track the progress of product development from start to end. QA engineer will perform testing of each stage of the product development lifecycle to ensure that the development is being done properly.

Step # 4: Launch the App Publically

When the application is ready with all the core features and passed all the QA tests, you can release it to the market. In mobile apps, you will have to go through the process of releasing the application to Apple and Google stores. In the case of the web application, you should deploy the application to a server on which it will be running.

How much will it Cost to Build a Video Chat Application

The cost of building a video chat application depends on many factors, such as:

  • For what platforms are you building the app? Do you want to build a chat platform only for a mobile device, or should it be cross-platforms?
  • What technology and tech stack you choose to build the app? For example, if you are developing a mobile application in a native technology like Java or Swift, it will cost more than the process of development in hybrid technology like React-native.
  • The cost of hiring a team with which you will work on developing the application. In ideal terms, the team should have a Project Manager, mobile developers, backend developers, designers, and QA engineers.
  • The cost to develop or integrate the features you choose to build into the application. More features mean more expense.

In the beginning, we mentioned the first step is to do detailed research. In this research, you should also create a cost estimate to eliminate surprises. It is very important to know an estimated cost; you might end up spending everything without the app ready.

How to Earn Money on the Video Chat App?

If you want to earn money on your video chat application and develop your product constantly, you should generate some income. There are a few possible ways to achieve this goal.

First of all, you should do some effective advertisements for your application. Get more and more people to download the app. Once you have an adequate number of users, you can ask the advertisers to run ads on your app. You can market the slot on your app during the whole video chat. Just remember, it should not be annoying not to scare users away. You can also run ads, not during the chat, but at the launch of the application or by adding a slider to run ads.

You can add subscription fees. You can decide to make your app as a freemium application. It means that the free version of your video chat application will have some limitations; it might be the length of a call or number of participants in an online presentation. For example, up to 3 users can connect in a free version, but the subscription fee will be charged for every additional member. You can also add time limits and cost to add it for each call.

You can also add a paid call option as Skype has for mobile and landline calls.

Conclusion

The Pandemic of COVID-19 has increased the demand for video chat applications. During the six months of this Pandemic, Zoom has obtained a record number of subscriptions. It is one of the most used video chat applications globally. The need for a video chat app has increased at the corporate level and on a personal level. With social distancing and strict lockdown, people arrange meetups over video conferencing, and in some countries, people are getting married over video chats.

The business of video chat application has blossomed since after the Coronavirus issue. It is the right time to enter the market and develop a mind-boggling, featured-rich application. You need less investment but the right people to help you build your dream app. The development process is complicated, and you do not want to compromise on features you have in mind.

Let Selleo help you achieve your goal. We can be your guide throughout the process and deliver you what you have in mind.

Contact us to get more details on how to build an excellent video chat app.

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