An increase in video communication technologies has sparked its wide adoption in medical, entertainment, education, healthcare, and other industries. It is now a viable method to manage businesses.
Including a ready-to-use solution in your product will be the simplest approach to deploy real-time communication. That’s where video-conferencing API integrations step in. By leveraging the power of these APIs, developers can enhance the communication experience, enable remote collaboration, and streamline business operations.
In this article, we will explore the features, benefits, and best practices of integrating video-conferencing APIs, empowering organizations to harness the full potential of this technology.
What is Video-Conferencing API?
Video-conferencing API is an application programming interface that enables developers to build video conferencing functionality into their applications. It allows users to connect and communicate with each other in real time through video, audio, and chat.
This technology has become a safety net during the COVID-19 pandemic, providing a secure and convenient way for individuals and businesses to collaborate remotely. Take a look how Zoom’s revenue stream changed withing that period.
Video-conferencing APIs typically leverage web-based protocols like WebRTC signaling servers to facilitate real-time online communication. This technology provides a wide range of features and functionalities, such as screen sharing, virtual backgrounds, recording, and file sharing, among others. Developers can embed these functionalities into their applications, giving users a seamless experience without switching between different platforms.
Moreover, video conferencing API offers a high degree of customization. Developers can build their own interface and control the elements and features of their application. As a result, they can tailor the video conferencing experience to the specific needs of their users and businesses.
Fundamental Video Calling Features for Businesses
Here are some fundamental video calling features that can benefit businesses.
- Video Conferencing with Large Participant Capacity: Businesses often require many participants in a video conference, and video calling features that offer hosting capabilities for 250+ participants at a time are essential. Multiple participants can quickly join a video call from any application, and the source quality is guaranteed to ensure effective communication.
- Live Broadcasting: Businesses can enhance their reach by broadcasting their sessions live. Live broadcasting features include the ability to involve unlimited participants directly across the platform with low latency, irrespective of bandwidth. With high-definition video quality, live events can be transmitted to a broader audience and enhance brand awareness.
- Screen Sharing: Screen sharing is essential in video calling, making the session more informative and engaging. In a business environment, this feature is crucial in presentations, live demonstrations, and webinars. Sharing the desktop screen during the presentation with other participants enhances understanding and improves productivity.
- End-to-End Encryption: In a business environment, confidentiality and security are paramount. Video calling platforms that offer end-to-end encryption ensure that businesses' conversations and data are encrypted at all levels, providing secure communication.
- SIP & VoIP Calls: The capability to make voice calls to network carriers from mobile applications or browsers brings cost-effectiveness to businesses. This feature replaces the traditional carrier network calling and ensures low-cost communication.
- Adaptive H264 Codec: Quality video or voice is essential in video calling, and adaptive H264 codec helps provide continuously high-quality video/audio at low bit rates without reducing complexity.
- Low Latency: Video calling features with low latency allow businesses to consume lower data levels and transfer them within a short time. This feature enhances communication efficiency and reduces the time moving conversations from one end to another.
- Cross-Platform Support: With the rise in remote work and offices in different geographical locations, cross-platform support is essential for businesses. Video calling features supporting all platforms, including iOS, Android, and web apps, enable companies to communicate seamlessly with their colleagues and clients.
- One-on-One or Group Calling: One-on-one or group video calls are fundamental for businesses as they enhance collaboration. High-quality calls are guaranteed across devices, making communication effortless.
- Own Turn Server: The Turn server acts as a medium to route connection properly between the client and user, ensuring bandwidth usage. This feature provides uninterrupted communication at all times, and businesses require it to ensure they can communicate effectively.
Benefits of Video-Conferencing APIs for Businesses
One of the most significant advantages of this technology is convenience. With video conferencing, individuals no longer need to travel to meet colleagues or clients in person. This saves time and money, making it an excellent option for organizations with limited travel budgets. Additionally, video conferencing allows users to connect quickly during time-sensitive or pressing situations, making it a valuable tool for organizations that need to make crucial decisions rapidly.
Another significant advantage of video conferencing is that it allows users to talk to individuals in different time zones outside of standard work hours. This eliminates the need to schedule meetings during odd hours or force individuals to work beyond their usual schedule. Furthermore, video conferencing enables employees to participate in meetings from the comfort of their homes, which is convenient for remote workers, freelancers, and those who travel frequently.
Video conferencing APIs also offer excellent money and time-saving benefits. Business traveling can consume lots of resources, decreasing productivity and increasing expenses. However, with video conferencing, most meetings can be held easily, eliminating the need for travel and saving time and money. This benefits the organization and the environment through reduced carbon footprint.
Top APIs for Video Communication
The video-calling API market is highly competitive and crowded, with a plethora of options available for developers looking to integrate video-calling features into their applications. However, a few platforms stand out as the top contenders in the market due to their stability, versatility, and comprehensive features.
Zoom has become a household name during the COVID-19 pandemic, offering reliable and easy-to-use video conferencing features for remote work and virtual events. Meanwhile, TokBox's API platform is designed to embed live video chat into web and mobile applications, making it an ideal choice for social networking and customer support use cases. Finally, Vonage's API solution is known for its attention to security and privacy, boasting end-to-end encryption and identity verification features.
In addition to these major players, other video-calling APIs are also gaining traction in the market.
- Twilio enables developers to add real-time video chat functionality to their applications. It provides a cross-platform solution that can be used on web, iOS, and Android devices. Pricing for Twilio Video starts at $0.0015 per minute per user and includes a free developer option and free trial.
- Agora provides a global network infrastructure for real-time engagement. It enables developers to add voice and video calls, group chat, and screen sharing to their applications with minimal latency and high scalability. Agora's HD Video service has a pay-per-use price that starts at $3.99 for 1,000 minutes. Free minutes per month, as well as volume discounts, are offered.
- CometChat is a chat SDK that provides voice and video calling functionality to mobile and web applications. It offers a cross-platform solution that can be used with iOS, Android, and web applications. CometChat offers features like push notifications, file sharing, and moderation tools. CometChat has a free plan available. Paid plans begin at $109 per month and increase as MAUs increase.
- Sinch is a cloud-based communications platform offering video, voice, and messaging APIs. It provides an easy-to-use SDK that can be integrated into mobile, web, and desktop applications. Sinch's video calling API supports screen sharing, HD video, and noise reduction. Sinch offers a free trial, but there is no information online about the cost.
- EnableX is a video calling API that provides scalable and secure real-time communication solutions for web and mobile applications. It offers features like screen sharing, recording, real-time messaging, etc. The costs of various video conferencing capabilities, such as live streaming and recording, vary. A free trial is available, and video calling rates start at $0.004 per participant per minute.
- Apphitect is a web and mobile app development company that offers a video calling API as part of its suite of communication tools. The API is designed to provide real-time video chat functionality to businesses and enterprises, with features such as screen sharing and file sharing. No pricing or free trial info is listed on the website; you should contact their support team to get more information.
- MirrorFly is a messaging and chat API provider that offers video calling functionality as part of its suite of services. It provides a fast and secure real-time connection for video calls, along with features such as screen sharing, file sharing, and high-quality audio and video. MirrorFly offers a trial period, a free chat SDK, and no-cost tiers. The monthly fee starts at $399 and increases with the number of MAUs.
How To Integrate APIs Into Your Video Calling App (Android And IOS)
There are several crucial steps that you need to follow to integrate APIs into your video-calling app for Android and iOS.
Step 1: Choose the Right Video Call SDK that supports API integration. There are numerous video call SDKs in the market, each with unique features, pricing, and API integration support. Selecting the right one is crucial as it will determine the success of your app.
Step 2: Obtain Credentials that serve as a means of checking whether you have proper authorization to use the API. For instance, in the case of video call integration, credentials are used to validate whether a client has permission to access a specific meeting room.
Step 3: Create a Server Application where the video call SDK will run, taking advantage of third-party account credentials to provide access to video services.
Step 4: Ensure Client Application on mobile devices or web applications and use third-party SDKs to capture, publish, subscribe, and execute real-time communication data. The client application also communicates with the server to provide the data required to access the video call services.
Step 5: Integration of APIs is an essential step in incorporating video call services into your app. You can use APIs to manage user authentication, access pre-built components, customize user interfaces, handle notifications, and more.
Step 6: Create a Room. Before creating a new room, you need to ensure that the SDK validates the provided data credentials. Once validated, the video SDK creates a meeting room and responds with the Room SID that can be used later with API requests.
Step 7: Obtain the Access Tokens required for the meeting room. To obtain access tokens, the first client requests an access token from the application server using HTTP requests from the client application. The application server then utilizes the video SDK account credentials to produce a secure access token granting the client access.