Video chatting is something that people have loved doing for ages. It allows staying in touch with family and friends even from miles away. The popularity of video chatting grows steadily with the development of better video chat apps.
With the outbreak of Covid-19 impacting most of the economies things like social distancing, home office and virtual events have become our new reality. Many businesses opted for video conferencing technologies to host events or meetings safely. The technology helps to strengthen relationships by keeping in touch with business partners and employees while saving time and boosting productivity.
A video calling feature can be easily integrated into any existing application, allowing to leverage the functionality in order to improve productivity. This is a great idea for saving money and development time. To do so all we need to do is integrate the API or SDK for video calling into the existing software.
So do you want to integrate a video conferencing API into your application now? This article will explain it all.
Table of Contents
What is a video chat API/SDK
Video chat API is a video-audio integration tool that makes a device capable of using real-time video chat. The API provides a technical infrastructure to set up video communication. API is an interface that allows different types of software to communicate with each other and exchange data.
An SDK (software development kit) on the other hand, is a set of tools that makes building apps easier. SDK provides tools like libraries, visual editors, debuggers and APIs.
Among the top features of video calling SDK and API are:
- various conferencing formats
- screen sharing
- voice features
What Are the Benefits of Web Conferencing for Businesses?
The ongoing pandemic has definitely forced enterprises to rethink the way they operate. They transformed the way they stay connected and turned to digital platforms like Zoom. Video conferencing is the closest alternative to a face-to-face meeting allowing to quickly exchange messages and address concerns on the spot. Let’s talk about the benefits of web conferencing.
- convenience - thanks to video conferencing you no longer need to travel to see colleagues or clients. It can be utilized to quickly connect during time-sensitive or pressing situations. Users can seamlessly talk to individuals in different time zones outside of standard work hours from the comfort of their homes.
- money and time savings - travelling can consume big chunks of time and budget. Although some meetings should be held in-person, most of them can be easily held during a video conference.
- more personal online meetings - if compared to email or audio calls, video conferences takes it to the next level. You are able to make use of facial expression cues and build a more personal relationship.
- recording tools - the majority of video conferencing platforms allow meetings to be recorded. This ensures that important points form the meeting are not missed and can be shared with those who were unavailable at the time of the meeting. What is more, platforms like Verbit can generate live transcripts of video calls, for example, to help produce summaries of meetings.
- employee onboarding - video conferencing can be used in the education of new employees. HR departments often use it during onboarding and offboarding. Remote training has proven to be the most effective and engaging when using video tools.
- accessibility - thanks to tools like live captions or transcription video conferencing gives all employees equal opportunities to engage and participate. Those tools guarantee that remote employees or those with disabilities like hearing loss can effectively participate in meetings.
- digital workforce - video meetings help to maintain human connections and speed up the decision making process through global collaboration.
Who needs video conferencing?
Ready-to-integrate SDKs make it possible to implement video conferencing technology quickly in any business use case. Integrating it into the existing solution gives you:
- more security - video conferencing APIs and SDKs have built-in security standards that can be automatically implemented in the product at the time of integration
- added capabilities - some of SDKs and APIs for video conferencing come with AI/ML capabilities which can, for example, allow generating analytics for video calls
- reduced costs - you do not need to develop an entirely new solution from the ground up
Now that you know what are the benefits of using video conferencing and implementing it into your existing software, let’s discuss which businesses particularly need such a solution.
More than one and half of the hospitals in the US use telehealth apps. Live video conferencing is one of the types of telemedicine applications. It is used for a two-way interaction between a patient and healthcare specialists. It is often used in treating common illnesses or to determine whether a patient should go to urgent care. Live video-conferencing can be used instead of a visit to the doctor’s office. It saves travel time and waiting time in the long queues at hospitals or clinics. You can read more about that in How To Build A Telemedicine App From Scratch?.
Many schools and universities opted for online teaching amid the Covid-19 pandemic. It allows them to seamlessly collaborate without physical contact. What is more, LMS can make use of the recording tool to give access to webinars and presentations at any time.
CRM and digital commerce
Thanks to tools like Zoom for Close you can launch and review the video calls since they are automatically attached to the appropriate lead. You can see every interaction that you and your team have had with leads and customers.
Real estate industry
Real estate can leverage video conferencing technology by enabling its customers to visit properties virtually via video chat. This means more customers will be able to see the property in a shorter time. This also allows investments in various states and countries as borders no longer matter.
More and more people are ordering essentials via contactless delivery to retain social distancing. This meant a decline in the sales of electronic appliances that require installation and demos. By integrating a video conferencing technology to your digital platform you can allow your engineers to help customers through a video call.
Video calling in HR
HR departments can reduce delays in the recruitment process by adding video conferencing technology to the existing process. They are able to connect with candidates as soon as they are shortlisted. This is also very useful at times like this when a global pandemic suspends recruitments.
Challenges of video calling solutions
Video conferencing can be very beneficial for businesses, but only when used correctly. Some of the platforms may seem easy to handle, but training sessions are a must to ensure employees are aware of the features available and how to best use them.
Lighting and sound quality play a significant role in effective communication. Proper setup can take time, so it is important to address the possible issues beforehand. What is more, business leaders should equip their employees with a strong Internet connection.
One of the best practices of video conferencing is setting a clear agenda and communication points before the conference to ensure all viewers stay on track.
In this article, we talk a lot about integrating a video calling feature into an existing application. But what if you decide to build a solution from scratch? There are a couple of points you should be aware of.
- longer delivery time - it will take longer to build a solution from scratch and test it properly before releasing
- operational complexity - you will need to deploy and manage an entire infrastructure
- cross-service security - when building from scratch, you need to ensure that the solution meets all necessary regulations and compliance requirements
However, building your own solution will enable you to customize it to your needs, implement functionalities that fit your requirements and create a one-of-a-kind design.
Top video chat APIs
There are various mobile APIs that help to implement video chatting. Here are the most popular ones:
Twilio is a cloud communication platform ideal for building video and voice-based apps. It allows making and receiving phone calls using video chat APIs. What is more, Twilio supports the development of open-source apps that allow configuring phone numbers to route phone calls. It is a reliable, well-documented yet simple solution.
Twilio also provides a web service ‘In the Cloud’ that allows integrating real-time phone calls into apps. It is the best way to develop business by leveraging a telephone system in a cost-effective manner.
Quickblox is a ready-to-go module like push notifications and video calling. It allows developers to build their own video chat app. The company also sells various communication tools to app builders. Quickblox is used by many social networking apps and enterprises. It is easy to integrate and provides features like content settings, users, location or ratings.
Amazon Chime SDK
Amazon Chime SDK is a set of real-time communication components that allow developers to quickly add audio and video calling as well as screen-sharing capabilities to an existing mobile or web application. Thanks to Amazon Chime SDK you can eliminate the complexity and costs of building and maintaining your own real-time communication services and infrastructure.
Sinch SDK can be implemented to an existing mobile or web application to enable video conferencing. It provides video chat APIs and SDKs that supplement applications with video, voice and real-time communication APIs.
How video SDK interacts with your application
This is a step-by-step process from creating a room to attending a video conference.
Creating a room:
- Server Application asks Video SDK to create a meeting room.
- SDK validates the provided information and creates a new room.
- Video SDK responds with the Room SID (a unique identifier which can be used in API requests).
Client 1 gets an Access Token
Clients have to have an access token for connecting to a meeting room. It ensures that the client application has control of who is authorized to join the meeting room.
- Client 1 requests an access token from the application server. Usually through the HTTP request from the client app.
- The application server uses Video SDK account credentials to generate a secure access token.
- Client 1 obtains an access token.
Client 1 gets connected to the Meeting Room
- Client 1 connects to the room with the Video SDK connect interface and validates using the fetched access token
- Video SDK verifies the access token. If it is valid a connection between the room and the client is established. The client becomes a participant in the room and can subscribe and/or publish media tracks from other participants.
Video calling has become easier and easier. Businesses are recognizing the benefits of using video conferencing in place of face-to-face meetings. Video conferencing is used in industries like education, healthcare, real estate and eCommerce.
It is possible to integrate an already existing app with video conferencing functionalities thanks to SDKs and APIs. Ready-to-deploy SDKs and APIs like Twilio, Quickblox or Sinch can reduce time-to-market and costs, however, a custom solution will give you more flexibility.
If you want to transform your product and equip it with video conferencing capabilities or build new software from scratch, book a call with Selleo developers. With years of experience in programming, our fully-fledged teams will provide you with a top-notch solution.