n recent years, instant messaging and video calling have become inseparable parts of our daily lives. Be it to have a fun video chat with family or friends or to discuss issues on official grounds, live video call has become one of the most demanding and trending technologies, both personally and professionally.
As a result of which, many enterprises regardless of their size are taking a step toward video chat applications. Subsequently raising the bar for developers to build the best video chat application with features like never before or integrate a top-performing video API and video SDK to any app.
So, in the article below, let us see a quick walkthrough of how efficient it is to integrate APIs into live video call apps and the different market players.
What is a Video Calling SDK and API?
A video call API (Application Programming Interface) is a tool or an interface that allows communication between software. A video chat API gives the technical infrastructure to establish video communication in web or mobile apps. If there’s a need to add any specific video calling feature to an app, then an API is used to integrate only the particular feature.
Whereas, an SDK (Software Development Kit) can include an API with other components like libraries, visual editors, and debuggers that are required to build an entire video chat application from scratch.
Now, the next big question:
Should I Add a Video Call API or Build a Video Chat App from Scratch?
Before you plan to build an app, your first thought should be whether to create a video chat application from scratch or to easily find the best API provider and integrate their video calling APIs to your application.
Because building an application from scratch can have the following challenges. Like,
- Requirement of high capital investment for development and infrastructure.
- Need dedicated in-house developers and need to pay for their contribution.
- Can take several months to years for development. Thereby, reducing the time-to-market margin.
- Requires full to-do knowledge about planning and execution.
- In-depth training on different security measures and hacking-related concerns.
- Doubt whether scalability and integrity can be achieved.
Understanding the challenges in the above-said option, many developers are setting their sight toward integrating video SDKs to their Android and iOS apps.
Pros of Using a Video Chat API
Here’s a short list of the pros:
- Easier Implementation: All thanks to the widespread API providers in the tech field who have made integration of video chat into any website or platform easier. Some providers even assist developers during the implementation.
- Low Cost: With different models like SaaS and SaaP, using an API has become much cheaper than building your application. Hosting costs too are reduced upon choosing the integration option.
- Improved Security: Considering that security is an important parameter, many API-coding enterprises are coming into full compliance with SOC, GDPR, and HIPAA. Also, they use E2E standards and other encryption protocols.
- Limitless Customizations: It is not like you buy an API and that’s the end. SaaS models let developers request limitless customizations.
Well, if you are planning to step ahead with integration of online video SDK, you should see whether your choice of API includes these features.
What Features Should a Video Call API hold?
The best customizable video call API will at least have the following features:
- File Sharing – Lets you to share files or any multimedia attachment during a video call to other users.
- Auto-reconnect – Should have the capability to auto-reconnect when a network is down during a video session.
- Switch to Video Call – It should give its users the benefit to switch from a voice to high-resolution video call and vice-versa during an on-going session.
- Video Frame Capture – Images captured via front or back cameras are eventually displayed at specific frame rate frequencies that are expressed in frames per seconds (fps) for an enhanced video experience.
- Incoming Call Notifications – Users should be notified about any incoming video call when they are either online or during an offline mode.
- Peer to Peer & Group Calling – Users can have a face-to-face video calling session with other users or with a group.
Now, it is time to step into the tech arena!
How to Integrate Video Calling in Websites or Mobile Apps?
To integrate a video call API for a website or mobile app, the below steps are required. Let us look at each in detail:
- Setting up the Video SDK Account
Credentials are very important when you create an application. It tells the system who you are. Thus, it is integral to have credentials approved before using the SDK and embedding it into any type of application.
You can either register to the SDK dashboard page using your Google or GitHub credentials. This will eventually let you create a business account.
- Generate Application’s API Key
The API key is necessary to identify the type of service you are using and to note the application’s traffic. You can go through the list of APIs available in the dashboard and select your required API. A key will be generated. You will be billed based on the API service you avail.
- Add the Code to your Website
- Get Live
That’s it, run the appn and in a few minutes you are ready to go live. Ask your users to engage in a reliable and robust video call with their friends or colleagues. It’s that simple!
So, to this text, we have learned the importance of an API and how to integrate it to any video chat app. Now, it’s time to talk about the real stuff.
Best Video Calling APIs And SDKs For Businesses
Must say that there are thousands of video calling SDKs and APIs canned in the market. Finding which API provider would suit your business needs would be difficult. So, below we have curated the top five SDK providers. Beware, those listed below are of no particular order.
1. Contus MirrorFly
MirrorFly is an API provider which yields the best in-app communications to its users. Its high-end video calling APIs and SDKs are compatible with Web, Android, and iOS platforms. Packed with rich benefits like HIPAA and GDPR compliances, E2E encryption mechanisms, and robust features such as file sharing and quality streaming have indeed helped developers to build a fully functional video chat app.
In addition to these, MirrorFly offers a dedicated hosting space that other API providers miss providing.
- File Sharing
- Adaptive Frame & Bitrate
- Call History
- Video Frame Capture
- Incoming Call Notifications
- Media Storage
- Call Signaling
- Peer to Peer Calling
- Group Calling
Twilio helps build memorable video experiences for its users. It enables them to customize video chats as per their requirements with layouts and virtual backgrounds using their feature-rich video calling APIs and SDKs. All of which are compatible across different platforms. It also includes network quality API tools in their package to monitor network performance and bandwidth for crystal-clear video streaming.
Additionally, Twilio’s video chat API delivers a robust, scalable, and reliable interface built atop a cloud-based infrastructure.
- Screen Sharing
- Live Broadcasting
- Cloud Recording
- Workflow integration
- End-to-end Encryption
- Cross-platform performance
- GDPR Compliance
Sinch video chat SDK makes it easy for developers to add video calling features to their mobile apps to any location. Built on the powerhouse of VoIP and WebRTC, their APIs and SDKs are the most cost-effective solutions that offer 2500 free minutes per month, all at a rate of just $0.003 per minute. Additionally, they are compatible with Web, Android, and iOS platforms.
They are in full collaboration with tech hughies like Uber, Truecaller, and Tango.
- Seamless Integration
- Cross-Platform Integration
- Pause and Resume Stream
- Extensive Platform Documentation
- Data Calling
A SaaS-based video chat API provider that allows developers to easily integrate video calling features into platforms like Android, iOS, and Web.
CometChat uses REST API protocol for the integration of video chat functionalities into the application. This type of API alleviates that video calling process and makes it compatible across varied languages and platforms. Further, they make use of WebRTC js for their live video call feature.
- Cross-Platform Performance
- 92+ Integrations
- One-On-One or Group Video Chat
- Video Calling
- End-to-End Encryption
And considerably more.
Apphitect is a powerful, new-age platform whose video chat API and SDKs offer reliable and robust video solutions. All thanks to the tech stacks that it makes use of. Plus, Apphitect can be used either as SaaS or SaaP based on the needs of the business and has not left a stone unturned with its good security features.
Catering its services to huge verticals, they come in full compatibility across mobile and web apps. In addition to these, developers can make use of their UI kits.
- Call muting
- One-on-one/Group video conferencing
- Video frame capture
- Option to Switch to Video Call
- Call Reconnecting
- Screen Sharing with media sharing
Considering that you got a hold on the best API players, let us see the benefit of integrating APIs into different use cases. Starting right with:
Use Cases That Video Call APIs & SDKs Cater
Real time video chats have immensely been used across different sectors to drive user engagement and productivity. And, here are the verticals they cover:
Education sector was in great peril during the Covid-19 pandemic and for a smooth learning process, virtual classrooms came into existence. To create an effective e-learning platform easily, integration of video SDK and APIs are always a hit. Doing so builds an ideal collaboration between students and teachers by keeping them engaged through live sessions, online tutoring, and seminars.
About 75% of emergency cases and hospital services are being attended via voice and video calls for a prime reason- patients need not wait in long queues for getting medical assistance. Besides these, building a healthcare app by integrating video call APIs can add facilities like file sharing, create broadcasting messages for sharing health tips, and label chats for categorizing them under medical categories.
Reshape the gaming environment by creating an engaging and exciting video chat platform for gamers to connect virtually with others. Integrate video SDK to any chat app to create live group video and conference calls, and send emojis and stickers, to up the game of players.
Drive more transactions and engagements into any social app by creating successful real-time interactions between buyers and sellers. Integrate a customizable video call API to develop an engaging network in the marketplace. Let buyers virtually connect with sellers over a product discussion, query, or product launch through 1-to-1 or group video calls.
As said, enterprises are using real-time communications for meeting their daily productivity, and options like video calling and conference calls can help teams to monitor tasks, and discuss targets, issues, and strategies. In final words, the online video call SDK has transformed the way businesses operate.
Well, these are a few of the major verticals where video call APIs can be used. But, did you wonder, with the pace with which APIs and SDKs are being adapted, will they have an impact in the future?
Let us find out!
How will Video Chat API leave an impact in the Future?
It is a known and proven fact that video calling is expected to rise in popularity in the mere future. Video chats will forever remain as the best visual communication mode from what it used to be a nice-to-have tool.
It has become competitive with businesses struggling and juggling to offer the best video chat applications to their clients and users. And, the developers are being tasked to offer features like advanced collaboration, broadcasting, and real-time transcriptions in communication software.
These can either be built or bought using a video chat app. The future is expected to resemble a multiverse with different visual communication technologies offering uncompromised security, quality, and integrity.
Video calls will indeed have a lasting impression!
Hmm.. We saw a lot here, from how to integrate a video chat API to the providers who offer best services to the verticals they cater to. Video calling APIs are creating a niche in the business sector helping developers in every way possible.
But this doesn’t have to be the end, because video calling APIs are being developed every other minute with advanced features to meet the demands of businesses. So, let us meet again in yet another blog post, maybe to explain about video conferencing or a new feature that’s to be launched in video calls.
Till then keep reading and keep integrating!!