How & Why Integrate Zoom Video Conferencing SDK in Your Software or App
Let's talk about the Zoom Video Conferencing SDK. The company has recently updated its devkit for providing audio chat and video calls added more features and revamped its payment options. This move is part of their overall push to foster relationships with developers, earn more reliable, long-term users, and re-establish this line of business in the market.
In this post, we will weigh the Zoom Video SDK's pros and cons, talk about how to add video conferencing to your app or website, and how other businesses are leveraging integrated video chat to engage and grow.
But we should back up for a second fist.
Video chat is the future
Is the future virtual? All signs point to "yes." As global restrictions on travel, in-person events, and office work wind down, remote teams, telehealth, and virtual events are still growing in popularity.
A recent report by the Boston Consulting Group on the impacts of COVID-19 notes in its conclusions that hybrid remote/in-house working models are here to stay. Over 70% of surveyed businesses expect video conferencing tools to be crucial for business operations after the pandemic.
High security standards, video quality, and other improvements to the tech work for the popularization of video calls. As we mentioned previously, internet video traffic as a whole is expected to increase four-fold by 2022 in comparison with 2017. Integrating video conferencing to your website or app may be necessary to stay in line with consumer expectations.
What is the Zoom Video Call SDK?
An SDK, a Software Development Kit, is a set of tools for developers to be used when building or integrating a given feature set in an application or website. Zoom Video SDK integration enables your team to use Zoom's HD video and audio capabilities in any app on the web, iOS, Android, macOS, or Windows.
Zoom's SDK allows you to use a significant number of features:
- Capability for users to launch a call instantly on performing a specific action
- Screen sharing and broadcasting the call to streaming services
- Send text messages in the chat
- Full access to raw video and audio data
- New analytics dashboard with details of user activity
What are the Zoom Video SDK alternatives?
When considering integrating Zoom Video SDK for video chatting, you should acknowledge the drawbacks of using Zoom.
If you ask Zoom’s PR office about security, they’ll tell you it’s into their DNA. Still, it seems like there was hardly a month of the last year without data leak or security failure. Still, the Zoom team constantly improves this crucial part of their product (built into its DNA though it may be) and has added end-to-end call encryption last year, a crucial security measure.
Although the earlier versions of their product have been known to fail, the new Zoom is very much up to the task of hosting conversations that need moderate security. You shouldn’t discuss state secrets on Zoom, but then again, if you need to make a video chat app for state secrets, you wouldn’t be considering Zoom.
Read more about Zoom's security here.
|Zoom||Lightweight and customizable SDK by the communications giant.||Flexible pay-as-you-go plans, from $0.00035 per-minute.||Video and audio calls, custom UI support, raw data capture, text chat, screen sharing and broadcast.||Web, iOS, Android, macOS, Windows||HIPAA, GDPR, SOC2, FedRAMP||HIPAA, GDPR|
|VidRTC||Softermii's proprietary solution for video and audio call integration based on WebRTC.||Custom quote, SaaS model.||Video and audio calls, calendars, planners, text messages, screen sharing and broadcasting. Up to 49 users on the same media server, unlimited broadcasting capabilities.||Web, iOS and Android||DTLS and SRTP encryption, HTTPS||HIPAA, GDPR, AIPA SOC|
|MirrorFly||A rising contender from Indian company CONTUS that offers full customization.||Custom quote, SaaP model||Video and audio calls, channels, file transfer, push notifications, location sharing, screen sharing and more.||Web, iOS and Android||256-bit encryption||HIPAA, GDPR||
While Zoom has proven to have longevity and can handle massive scale, those benefits do need to be weighed against the security drawbacks. VidRTC is a flexible, highly customizable solution best suited to products in the healthcare, real estate, and event management industries. MirrorFly is feature-rich and works on a one-time payment instead of a SaaS model.
But what if you decide to develop your proprietary solution in-house and on-premises?
The pros and cons of SDK technology
Do you need a video conference SDK to add video conferencing to your app at all? It depends on your goals and priorities.
Let’s take a look at the benefits of using your own code. As a business, adding to your IP is generally considered a good idea. Not having to admit the merits of a solution that's known to have security issues is great, too. Implementing your own solution instead of relying on an outside vendor to run a critical part of your service is something to boast about, especially at scale.
The downsides are correspondingly significant. Hiring a suite of developers or sidetracking the ones you have to a project that may take months to implement is expensive. Sure, you'll save by not SaaSing your money away, but this is not the budget solution (unless you hire a remote team).
Ultimately, it would help if you weighed the capital expense versus the operating costs involved in this process. Creating on-premise video chatting capability from scratch is a costly, time-consuming endeavor compared to embedding Zoom into an application.
The scope of work involved in creating your own tailor-made solution will depend on the features your specific use case requires. You will likely to do the following:
- Tweak or completely rework your back end to add video and audio streaming capabilities. If you want to integrate video or voice chat into an application that already exists, changes to the front end won't be the only thing you need to worry about.
- Manage scaling issues, manually updating and refreshing tech as needed. You'll also need to keep up with innovations in the sector that cloud providers offer at no additional cost.
- Solve security issues. SDK solutions offer satisfactory security and come compliant out of the box, though you may want to look into an in-house solution if you have strict infosec policies and simply cannot rely on outside vendors.
It's likely that you still have questions about costs and development times. Those will vary with every case, so feel free to contact us for more info.
How to integrate Zoom Video Conferencing SDK into your business
To Integrate Zoom Meetings with a website, you'll need to follow these steps:
Decide what you're buying
Zoom offers two different solutions: the Zoom Video SDK and the Zoom Client SDK. Please don't confuse these, as they are made for entirely different purposes.
The Video SDK is not compatible with Zoom meetings, has support for custom meeting UIs, and is generally suited towards integrating video conferencing into a website or app. If your use case involves connecting users on your platform, this is the one to go with.
On the other hand, the Client SDK is used to Integrate Zoom Meetings with a website or app. This toolkit does not offer raw video or audio data that will look just like you expect Zoom to look, and can be used to connect your user to the more extensive Zoom infrastructure. A use case for this SDK may be for an online event organizer who wants to get an easy-to-use solution that comes scalable out of the box.
More info about the differences between the two SDKs can be found here.
Choose your plan and register an account
Zoom has two plans for its Video SDK users:
- $1,000/year with 30,000 minutes included per month and a per-minute rate of $0.0003 thereafter;
- A pay-as-you-go plan with no upfront fee that includes 10,000 minutes per month and a per-minute rate of $0.00035 thereafter.
The Client SDK is available to all Pro, Business, and Enterprise accounts with no additional cost.
Visit Zoom's site to get more info on plans or contact sales.
Set up a developer account
Following payment, Zoom's site will lead you to create a developer account. Note that if you already have an existing developer account, you cannot use it with the Video SDK and will require separate credentials.
Follow the steps outlined here to set up your developer account.
If you're using the Zoom Client SDK, go here to set up an SDK App on Zoom's marketplace
To download the SDK package and get started, you need to log into the Zoom App Marketplace, click on "Develop", then "Build App", then "Create" and follow the instructions from there.
Troubleshooting and FAQs
All your questions and more are answered in Zoom's SDK documentation found here.
Along with a revamp of its SDK, zoom recently launched a developer forum for those working on implementing video conferencing. The portal has a lively community that includes Zoom support staff eager to answer questions and provide guidance.
5 use cases for integrating video conferencing
As mentioned above, we believe that the future is virtual and video is inevitable. Here to argue our case are 5 products developed by Softermii, that leverage video to connect users and enable growth.
We've noted before that video tours can be a competitive differentiator in your real estate app. Live video tours provided by a real estate agent or owner are more personal and therefore engage the user better than streaming video or photos can.
While individual owners may choose to conduct these over WhatsApp, FaceTime, or other app, home rental companies may look toward Integrating Zoom Video SDK for video chatting and keeping the user's communication in their own software.
We took this into consideration when developing our Apartmii engine for real estate mobile apps. It enables Softermii developers to easily add features such as VR, AR, and yes, embed proprietary video chat built to scale with the app's user base.
COVID gave telehealth the same push into mainstream that it did to video conferencing for work. Once the population of the world became apprehensive to meet in person, we all quickly had to learn how to make do with the limitations — doctors included.
Massive regulation shifts in Spring of 2020 involving HIPAA privacy requirements allowed telemedicine to scale quickly and can only spur the industry to grow further. Telehealth offers better access to specialists, less time in the waiting room, eliminating trave,l and providing on-demand services, gives better access to healthcare, especially in rural areas. Both consumer and capital have gotten a taste, so telehealth is here to stay for good.
HIPAA Video, a product made by Softermii, is an excellent case of a product in this space built around video. Harnessing the power of WebRTC, our team put together a web app that works on desktop and mobile way back in 2018. Today, HIPAA Video is a unique product in its category and is widely adopted around the world.
PetRealTime, also a project we worked on, aims to bring the same benefits to veterinarians and their patients. Hosting video communications in-app (as opposed to encouraging users to connect elsewhere) allows you to achieve the necessary level of security, and makes managing the process easy for both the doctor and their patient's guardian. This is all not to mention the superior analytical insights that can be gained by the app's team.
Once the initial shock of lockdowns and event cancellations wore off, organizers around the world scrambled to move their industry online. When it was clear that it may not be safe (or legal) to gather in large numbers anytime soon, a whole new industry of online conferences sprang up. And as Zoom's recent deal with Formula 1 shows, digital events are where the world is going.
Take Events10x, for example. The product is another solution our team worked on. They are a hybrid event organizer aiming to combine the benefits of online events (easy joining, worldwide distribution) and offline events (better personal connections, networking). Their platform, aimed at corporate users, allows organizing events for audiences up to 15000.
Scoby Social, one of the latest additions to our portfolio, is a social experience app that aims to connect its users through video and audio chats. Their goal is to create authentic connections in a socially stressed world separated by a pandemic. The mobile app launched in December of 2020, and we're proud to play a part in its success. Learn more about the Scoby story and what role Softermii played in our recent webinar.
Our tremendous experience developing video-based products and integrating video conferencing into websites and apps of all kinds dictates that the future of online communication is in the video. More video-first services are surely coming in the future. If market trend forecasters are to be believed, the video communications market as a whole is expected to grow to $8.67 billion by 2025 with a CAGR of 9.5%.
Softermii’s CEO takeaway
The lesson that millions of businesses took from the pandemic is "if you're not digitized, you're not prepared." We have already crossed the threshold from the proliferation of e-signature and document process automation to the ubiquity of video conferencing. The future is virtual, and the cutting edge present is, as well.
Video communication has just in the past few years technologically advanced to a point where it is relatively cheap and relatively easy to implement. It's no point-and-click, though, so whether you choose to integrate the Zoom Video Conferencing SDK or go with building your own solution, you need experts on your side.
Get in touch with us and future-proof your business by integrating video conferencing or any other WebRTC solution to your product with Softermii.