Video Chat App Development: Complete Guide
Video calls have become an integral part of today's communication with over 175% increase in regular live video usage among millennials in just the last 3 years under TokBox data. Thus video chat apps are hiking in its popularity with incremental speed as for businesses as well as for personal usage.
Moreover, as about business usage of video conferencing, according to a survey of 2019 responding said they could report an increase in cloud-based video conferencing application needs. These stats are telling. Video call app development and related technologies are on the rise.
What Are Some of the Benefits When You Build a Video Chat App?
Well, now you know these incredible numbers on video call usage for the last time. And you might ask why you need to consider your own video chat application development when there are plenty of competitors in this market. However, by building the right product and promoting it for the targeted audience, you can reach the numbers of Skype with its $8.5 billion market estimation. Besides, there are substantial benefits of building a video call app for business own usage instead of paying price for using some existing solution:
New Business Opportunity
For most offline businesses building their own video call app means the way to reach new audiences and expand their services over other locations. For example, our development team built a video conferencing software for legal agency NuLawyer. The solution allows them to make online meetings with their clients all over the world ensuring that the data is secured. Another industry where video conferencing is on the rise in healthcare with the establishment of another medical practice - telemedicine.
When customers use eCommerce websites or provide some services questions can arise. For instance, they might not be able to decide which products or services are better suited for their needs. Web meeting apps allow users to speak with sales managers. They can be assured that they’re making the right choice and that the product is an ideal match for them.
Online support is critical if you are running an eCommerce store or provide some high-level services. Having a well-constructed web-based conferencing app is a vital fallback option for providing customer support.
Increase Teamwork Productivity
In any kind of business, a video chat app for Android or iOS or web can serve as a platform to promote fruitful business collaboration and training. The more experienced employees can use it to teach newcomers how to deal with the various issues that may arise. The video chat app increases the remote team productivity and decision-making process at the company. Just look at how often employees use video calls over a day:
Examples of the Video Conferencing Apps: Top 6
You are probably somewhat aware of the names and qualities that make for a top video chat conference app. We’ll list a few of them so you can get an idea of which ones are dominating the market at this point. These examples of video conferencing applications are only a few of those that are out there.
- Facebook Messenger
This is a video messaging app with over 1 billion downloads on Android smartphones. Besides, the platform is integrated on the social network and records more than 10% of all mobile VoIP calls worldwide.
This one was developed by Apple Inc. with the initial release in 2010. It is meant to be used on iPhones, iPads, and other Apple devices. However, for the last year, the FaceTime app is infamous because of a bug with video feed enabled without the other users' acceptance. Though the bug was fixed shortly, it got a huge world announcement, even named “FacePalm" by security experts and mass media.
- Google Duo
Duo is a video chat mobile app released in 2016. And shortly by the end of 2018, it has reached over 1billion of downloads except for the number of Android devices where it is pre-installed.
This freeware, cross-platform messaging service is owned by Facebook. It became popular a couple of years ago and was first used by the younger generations. It was recorded that more than 2 billion minutes of voice and video call users to make on WhatsApp daily under the Chet research data.
Many of the most prominent companies in the world now use Skype, to the point that the term is now a verb, as in “lets Skype after lunch.” It is a useful tool for free face-to-face chatting that has lots of intuitive features. This might be the best teleconference app. Moreover, there were 1.55 billion Skype users by the end of 2019 under Statista.
This is an app with over 1 billion active monthly users according to the BusinessOfApp data. The application allows you to group chat, send video and text messages, and more. It is available for many platforms and is making inroads into an already crowded marketplace.
Tech Stacks and Steps to Create a Video Chat App
Well, know you know the benefits of the video app and an approximate number of their users. The next step if you decide to create your own video call solution, there are a few major steps of video app development process that impact on the solution success hugely:
Make sure you integrate all UX deliverables and methodologies into your app design process. Keep in mind, that the user experience should always be foremost in your mind. That means the interface should be intuitive and visually attractive. The features of video chat apps should never be convoluted or confusing. A novice should be able to understand and use it as easily as someone who is extremely tech-savvy.
Having the right design wireframes at this juncture ensures that there will be fewer functionality issues later and you can move ahead to choose your solution tech stack option. As you get started, you’ll need to create the server-side framework on which the app will be based.
In a nutshell, video conferencing functions can be developed using several technologies or ready-made solutions.
The most used technology for video connection between devices is WebRTC. The technology makes the deployment of real-time communication over iOS and Android chat apps possible. It’s an open-source technology that allows you to arrange real-time communication using simple APIs.
Using WebRTC in the app gives you the opportunity to enact audio and video communication and data transfer without any additional plugins. A fully-functional WebRTC package might include such features as peering, streaming, and video and audio codecs for communication arrangements between two or more online users. When you are thinking about the security of your video chat app, consider WebRTC firstly. Because it’s truly a reliable tech option for secured real-time video transferring even for such industries as healthcare, real estate, or finance.
For example, our dev team used WebRTC for building Telemedicine application with a multi-peer video connection that allows medical professionals to have safety meetings with patients or several colleagues.
What else is worth to be mentioned about this technology is that there are 4 API Interfaces to use in WebRTC
- MediaStream: with this interface, a client can chat with someone using either a webcam or a microphone.
- RTCPeerConnection: with this one, you can activate audio or video data transfer with encryption support and access control.
- RTCDataChannel: this interface provides users with a P2P communication network for data generalization.
- OpenTOK: this is a cloud PaaS platform that acts as a wrapper library. You can find it as part of some WebRTC toolkits. It is an open-source library that makes it possible to create cross-platform video chats on a WebRTC API-basis.
SaaS Solutions For Building Video Chat Application
Some apps can use ready-made SaaS solutions. However, most messaging app development requires more complex technologies. Therefore, it is better to create a new server from scratch. To develop video conferencing, there are a few handy technologies that you can use. If you want to create video chat app continuity, pay attention to these examples.
This site provides more than 70 data-streaming software development kits for websites and apps. It’s highly likely that you’ll find one that appeals to you as you begin setting up your application.
This was an experimental feature created and launched by Mozilla. It makes it possible for users to connect peer-to-peer. They can easily add live video and voice and messaging to the web, iOS, and Android apps.
It’s a powerful media server that has grown quite popular lately. It is aimed at audio and video streaming. It is a reliable and high-tech service upon which many companies have come to rely.
This platform is famous for its SMS, contact center solution, and WhatsApp APIs. In addition to all of that, though, they are a notable player in the video chat space. Their video chat SDK is built using WebRTC technology. The company also provides a well-designed cloud infrastructure.
This integration makes an interactive connection possible between the app and the server for real-time information exchange, such as what takes place during live streaming. With Socket, you can build a Starter or BaseProject kit which includes all the required features for many apps. Socket.io is one of the tools that can be integrated much faster today, and it’s useful in the creation of your own video chat application.
Programming Languages and Tools To Use For Video Chat App Development
For a video chat app on iOS, many developers see Swift as more accessible than Objective-C. That is especially true if they are attempting to create an iOS-exclusive video chat app.
Java and Kotlin
When it comes to Android-based applications, the top programming languages are usually Java or Kotlin. They both use Android SDK that is intuitive and straightforward.
Developers may opt for the Bambuser tool and its SDKs. In some cases, it will be enough to use native HLS methods. In fact, it is often easier and faster to build video chat apps using third-party services since they simplify the process dramatically.
SDKs and APIs
These can also be used to assist in the creation of video chat apps. They support all major mobile platforms. As ideally, mobile video chat apps should have the following features: multi-party audio and video conferencing, group chat capabilities, application sharing, and mobile-optimized codecs so that mobile users get optimal performance. All of those things are possible with SDKs and APIs.
While these are a few examples, there are many more tools that you might use to create a video chat app. Everything will depend on your specific requirements.
Read also how to create a video streaming platform.
Must-Have Video Chat App Features
To develop an outstanding video conferencing app and provide a superb and appealing experience for the users, you should consider the following features and functionalities. Ideally, this type of apps should have the following features: multi-party audio and video conferencing, group chat capabilities, application sharing, and mobile-optimized codecs so that mobile users get optimal performance. Let’s discuss these functions in details:
One-to-One Audio and Video Calling
Reliable one-to-one audio and video capabilities are a must-have. The calls should go through in HD video, and the audio should be crystal-clear. HD video conferencing bandwidth requirements are certainly something you will need to research. Users must be able to share information in real-time to avoid unnecessary expenditures and delays. Moreover, one-to-one video and audio call feature is not obligatory might be used in the messaging applications only. As an example, this function is used in the language learning app Polyfish, our team developed for the client. That allowed us to make the learning process much interactive with video calling and made the app truly helpful.
Group calling is an essential feature to have as well. Your app should support on-the-go conferencing for up to fifty users per call. It should also enable multi-peer video connections, with various functions for whoever is speaking, listening, and moderating at any given time.
Screen and Desktop Sharing
Your app should make it possible to do screen and desktop sharing that helps much for team collaboration or making online consultations. That way, any document can be displayed on your device or computer so that those who are using the app can see it. The better applications of video conferencing technology always have this.
Mobile chat app development should also include comprehensive security services. That is especially true if you are building it for an industry such as healthcare or finance. Ensuring the security of video consultations might be realized with such means as NAT, firewalls, encrypted protection, and only PIN access as we built for MedRealTime telemedicine platform features all of those things.
A Video Viewer Feature
Video Viewer features help the customer to preview the incoming calls. That way, there’s no mistaking that this is indeed the call for which they were waiting if you had a scheduled time to speak with them. If you are building a chat app for Android from scratch, make sure that you have this functionality.
Custom Masks, Animations & Effects
If you are going to develop a video messaging app for personal usage in the B2C segment you need to care that it be pretty engaging for your audience. What does it mean?
To stand out from the crowd with your application build in some features such as custom masks, filters, video maker capabilities, other kinds of personalization. For example, our developers’ team implemented a custom mask adding feature with a range of other effects users can apply for their video when we dealt with JibJab app development. That set of features makes this app truly extraordinary on the market and loved by users.
Like Skype or WhatsApp, the most popular video chat apps these days also allow you to do text messaging with your clients and others within your company. Without that, your app can’t truly be considered an all-in-one workplace solution. When you make a chat app in Android Studio, this should be a part of the finished product.
Instant Voice or Video Messaging
You might feel the need to leave a voice or a video message for someone within your company or one of your clients in the middle of a chat. Instant Voice and Video Messaging functionality is to be expected from chat apps.
The data transferred during video calls should be absolutely secured and protected from being stolen or modified. End-to-end encryption in the app should be used for that. It works in a next manner: the data from the sender is transferred firstly to the server, where it is encrypted and then sent to the receiver.
Synchronization with Cloud Service
The majority of companies these days understand that to make sure their sensitive data is protected, they need to have a cloud service backing up everything in case their system crashes or is hacked. Such a system allows you to store user files. Those might include pictures, docs, videos, and any other potentially sensitive or valuable information that might be exchanged.
This is an obvious feature for you to have. If a user deletes the app accidentally, they shouldn't lose data such as their chat streams or sent and received files. Automatic backup ensures that everything will be there for them when they need it.
These will allow users to receive notifications about new messages or changes in any of their chat threads.
Read also how to build a telemedicine app.
How Much Does It Cost to Build a Video Chat App?
What about video chat app development pricing it depends on the complexity of your project and required specialists. This type of app development process usually requires back-end and front-end engineers, designers, and QA specialists. Thus as for their payroll range, the back-end developer salary is around $8 500 per month, while front-end developer salary is almost the same around $8 600 in the USA according to the Glassdoor data. The designer for your app development project will cost around $7 000 while the QA specialist costs around $4 500 per month. The terms on your project development depend again on its complexity and scope of features.
What is worth to mention, that deployment of functional video and audio features made from scratch is understandably going to be more expensive than installing a SaaS-based audio and video chat app that already exists. Some of the communication platforms that are out there provide built-in WebRTC features with pay-as-you-go capabilities. These cost an average of $0.0015/min per participant.
That might not sound like a lot, but it might be a worthy investment, as there is a range of ways to monetize your video app.
Read also about cost of telemedicine.
How Can You Monetize the Building of a Video Chat App
The ultimate purpose of every video chat app is to generate profit. There are several modern monetization methods.
The integration of brand advertising on video chat apps is something that makes a lot of sense. It creates a casual interaction between users and brands which can pay off later in the form of valuable brand recognition.
- Premium Stickers
Branded premium stickers in places where users will find them engaging will add some color to an app that would otherwise seem common and drab. Users paying a nominal fee for their favorite stickers is a logical progression of this.
- Paid Voice Calls
Making calls over the internet is possible now, but you can also still make calls through a traditional wired system. It makes sense that if one is monetized, the other should be as well.
- Premium Features
If you create a video chat app that is not strictly for use within your company, and instead, you are marking it to the public, then you can have premium features as add-ons. You will have to get creative and come up with some that you think consumers will enjoy.
See our complete guide on how to develop a healthcare app.
At this point, we’ve gone over examples of video conferencing apps and the full development process to make a great one solution to the market or develop it for your enterprise only. Besides, if you still have some points you hesitate on, drop us a line, and our business analytics and developers team designs a personalized quote on your custom app development project. Anyway regardless of what you decide, in the results you need to have a video messaging app as a reliable, secure and developed keeping its purposes in mind. Then your solution will for sure revolutionize the market.