Choosing the Best Video Calling APIs and SDKs
What's the difference between APIs and SDKs? We answer that and compiled a list of 5 key factors one should consider when choosing the best video calling APIs and SDKs.
Join the DZone community and get the full member experience.Join For Free
Video calling is ideal for every type of industry and is considered one of the easiest and safest modes of communication. Because of this, several organizations around the globe are opting for live video chat apps and integrating real-time streaming chat software. The ultimate intention is to facilitate visitors on the website or portal and make communication easy and effective. But, how does an organization choose a video call service provider? And what are the factors to consider before opting for the best live video call APIs and SDKs?
Before we answer these questions, let’s get our basics right and understand what are SDK and API?
API vs. SDK: What's the Difference?
SDK stands for Software Development Kit. It is a set of tools, protocols, and procedures used to develop interactive applications for any online platform. The SDK includes directives through which developers can create a structured system and develop applications fitting to the needs of the organization. This means that to create a video calling SDK for Android — developers will need an Android SDK toolkit. Likewise, to build an iOS app they will need an iOS SDK, for VMware platform integration - VMware SDK is required, and to build apps for wireless products developers will require Nordic SDK.
On the other hand, API refers to Application Programming Interface. APIs are built firmly for easy, instant, and express use. It allows communication between two applications. An API is yet again a set of functions and programs that allows two applications to interact and access data with external software components, operating systems, or microservices. In simple words, APIs work as a carrier between the user and the systems — delivering user response to the system and sending the system's response to the user.
So, What is the Need for Video Call APIs and SDKs?
APIs and SDKs help build and streamline the entire process of cross-platform communication, through video conferencing software or video chat application:
- Faster Software Delivery — SDKs and APIs offer quick implementation of infrastructure and features that allow developers to build live streaming chat apps and deliver them faster.
- Saving Resources — With the use of SDKs and APIs, developers can access a wide range of code libraries, samples, and documentation to build the application. This makes integration easy and saves a lot of time and money in the process.
- Increase Productivity — Through video calling APIs and SDKs, organizations can optimize the built applications to consequently increase productivity and trust among the customer.
How Does Video Chat Work?
A person to communicate with another person through an interface. This interface allows the reception and transmission of voice and visual signals so that the users can communicate on a real-time basis. Video chat works with the help of technologies such as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), Web Real-Time Communications (WebRTC), Signalling Server, TURN Server, and STUN Server.
Features of Video Calling SDK and API
Video chat SDK and API with innovative features provide developers to create live broadcasting chat applications and live video chat solutions. Live video calling API and SDK with added features also allows developers to build apps ideal for all platforms such as Android, iOS, and Web application. The aim is to offer a user-friendly experience. Hence, video calling SDKs and APIs providers include a variety of features, some of them are listed below:
- Video Conferencing — Video conferencing helps scale up business communication and delivers real-time virtual communication. Organizations develop effective video chat platforms to integrate video conferencing into their business communication. Most API and SDK providers offer easy tools to enable video conferencing into an existing mobile or web application and host one-on-one meetings, group conferences, webinars, etc.
- Screen Sharing — Sharing the computer screen with another screen or multiple devices is an effective feature and mostly used for conducting sales or technical presentations. Screen sharing is among the commonly offered video call API features. However, the best video calling SDK or API providers ensure reliability and security while sharing screens, especially on large or public domains.
- Voice Calling and Text Messages — Real-time voice calling or text messaging is yet another important feature of video calling SDKs and APIs. It permits users to communicate instantly — before, during, or after the video call. Making only voice calls or sending text messages adds ease and convenience in communication and makes sure that users can interact on every level.
- Recording — In-app video call APIs and SDKs are used by a wide range of industries such as large corporations, HealthCare, IT, Banking, etc. Crucial data is exchanged and such interactions may often require backup. Hence, the feature of recording is integrated by video calling APIs and SDKs. Moreover, recordings are done in the most compliant manner to safeguard the data of the parties communicating.
5 Key Factors to Choosing Video Calling APIs and SDKs
1. Browsers Compatibility
Each browser is different and the technological complications involved within them need to be addressed distinctly. Hence, while choosing a video calling API or SDK, consider the factor of understanding if the opted technology fits with the various web browsers including iOS and Android. Choose video call SDK and API that offer full-featured solutions and automatically cater to all the browsers and platforms. Mainly, WebRTC technology is used as it supports all products of Google, Apple, and Microsoft.
2. Managing Bandwidth
While choosing the right video calling APIs or SDKs also consider if the given technology can manage bandwidth. Developers are required to deal with network issues, create a benchmark for quality, regulate each live video stream, and address bandwidth. If the selected API or SDK can manage bandwidth, developers can concentrate on other factors such as enhancing communication, uplifting user experience, and adding more features.
3. UI And UX
4. HIPAA Compliance
HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) compliance ensures apps adhere to the standards that define lawful use of data and protect the disclosure of health-related information. HIPAA is regulated by the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and is a must for apps related to Healthcare Services. Therefore, consider the usage of HIPAA compliant APIs or SDKs to guarantee that healthcare apps are built and handled in accordance with the law and universal standards.
Organizations must consider using secure APIs and SDKs while building video call chat solutions as their purpose is to offer services online and transfer data. Broken, unprotected, or easily hackable APIs and SDKs can be dangerous and create major data breaches. So, while choosing the best video calling APIs and SDKs determine that the technology is completely secured and by no means can expose data for public consumption.
Concludingly, whichever API or SDK you consider the definitive goal should be to make the process of video calling effective for the organization and help meet goals.
Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.