How to Make a Video Chat App – An Ultimate Guide

Nataliia Kharchenko
July 9, 2018
64 Views

Video chat apps became a real discovery for every person who searched for something similar to real face-to-face human communication. One of the most awesome features of these apps is they expand the reach of people an individual can talk to from those who are located nearby to every person in the world. Video call apps are also useful for business purposes. The same way that people use it to chat for fun, these apps can help you in sales, customer support or in сonducting meetings and staying in touch with your remote employees.

If you’re interested in video chat app development then you should know what features your app should contain to be demanded among users and stand out from the similar app analogs. In addition, we’ll showcase the common technical solutions you can utilize to build video chat apps and the ways of your app monetization.

What benefits can a video call app bring to your business?

  • Improving the client service

Utilizing video call app can be a great idea concerning the customer support of your business. Often, a communication via video calls considered by clients as a more reliable way to quickly solve their problems connected with the service they are utilizing. Beyond that, the support managers don’t only use the text explanation of the client’s problem. They can also see what is going on in the customer room directly to identify the problem better and faster. The opposite is also right, a customer can visually see from a support specialist about what steps to take to fix the issue.

  • A capability to establish a remote collaboration

It’s inevitable that you might need to conduct a meeting with your employees or business partners from a branch office located in another city or country. Either way, you may want a highly qualified professional to teach the novices remotely. The video calling apps give you an absolute freedom to not be tied with any geographical bounds.

  • Boosting your sales

The arrival of online shopping didn’t eliminate the need for a good sales manager. The customers still need a qualified advice of wise picking the product they really need. Searching for the right product may consume plenty of time. The purchasers may want to strengthen the reliability of their choice by reading all the product and similar products reviews, discover product specificities, examine prices, etc. The sales managers can take advantages of video calling apps to provide a lot quicker and better sales consultation. Besides, the key difference of video from the ordinary voice calls is that the customers can’t complain that they don’t see the face of the caller and the whole conversation seems like anonymous and obsessive.

  • Reducing your expenses

Summing up, the video call app helps you to save money because there’re no transportation costs. Thus, you can communicate with the people you need no matter where they are.

How the process of video chat app development looks like?

There are a number of stages needed to develop an app for video calls:

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Back-end development. This initial step is intended to develop a correctly working logic for your future app. For certain apps, you could utilize BaaS model to eliminate the need of purchasing on-site servers. But the video calling apps demand more complex technologies. Hence, the best decision would be to build your in-house server from the ground up.

UI/UX design. Another vital stage is creating an appealing and convenient design. Your app’s UI is supposed to be flashy to draw as well as retain your users’ attention. And the UX is supposed to be intuitively understandable so they wouldn’t have to spend hours searching for a certain feature.

Sockets inclusion. Sockets are needed to establish a mutual client (i.e. user’s app) – server link to interchange any data in real-time like live broadcasting. Sockets are a crucial element in the video calling app since they prevent the possibility of streaming lags, freezes, connection terminations, etc. Thus, they directly affect the user satisfaction that is an important indicator for every app.

Choosing a mobile platform. As you probably know, there are two major platforms: iOS and Android. The main difference between iOS and Android platforms is that different programming languages and SDKs are required. It’s also possible to create an app for both of them using a single code base by means of cross-platform development frameworks like React Native or Flutter.  

Software testing. The common misconception is that once the development stage has initially completed then the app is ready. Thus, the testing stage is considered as an additional and not obligatory step. In fact, if you neglect the testing stage, your app is sure to have full of bugs making it unusable. Thus, a normal amount of time spent on software testing in the whole development process is about 25%.

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Which features should a video chat app contain?

There are features that are a must-have for a modern video chat app. All of the current app analogs have them so you shouldn’t ignore them if you want the app to be in demand.

Account registration

There are currently two popular methods of account registration in apps or websites. A sign-up via e-mail which is more cumbersome and requires to fill in every detail manually like username, password, email, etc. Alternatively, there’s a sign up via social networks such as Google+, Facebook, Github, etc. It goes much faster since every profile detail is imported from your social network’s page automatically. The perfect scenario is to allow both of these registration methods so that the users can choose the one they like.

Finding contacts

The users need a way to seek acquaintances along with adding these people to their list of contacts easily.

User profile

The user profile is where the users can store the desired information about themselves. That’s the place for them to set up and replace an avatar, specify additional information about themselves, update their privacy settings, etc.

User status

It shows whether the person is ready for communication. Therefore, it allows the users to identify if the other user is busy or disconnected now.

Geolocation

Geolocation enables the users to automatically detect the country and city they are in as well as their exact location. Then the app can utilize this data to choose the suitable in-app localization automatically. The users may also choose to share their location with the others.

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Video and voice calls

Of course, video calls are the major feature that your video calling app is supposed to contain for sure. However, don’t forget about the voice calls either. They enable to communicate with foreign users while the ordinary phone calls can be сostly for this purpose.

Text chat and message status

Don’t neglect to add a communication via text to your video calling app. For instance, it can be utilized if a user has a slow internet connection.

The message status is an aspect that often strikes the users’ nerve. They are curious to be aware whether the message was delivered or has been seen by their communicator. As a result, it’s better to implement the message status.

Group video chats

Your video calling app should also allow video chatting with multiple people simultaneously. This feature proved itself useful for such tasks as video conferences, remote group training and many others.

Sync with cloud-based services

The sync is needed for keeping files such as images, videos, documents, etc. that the users generally post in a chat.

End-to-end encryption

You can provide this feature to make all conversations in your app confidential. Here’s how it works: the message gets encrypted when it’s being sent and decrypted only to the receiver of this message.

Automatic backup

If the app was uninstalled by the user whether coincidentally or intentionally, however, their data such as message history and received files should remain. This feature provides the safe and secure storage of this data.

Push notifications

Engage your users to launch the app constantly by sending them automatic push notifications. They can contain new messages that were sent to a user, changes in a chat or information about your app’s recent update.

Tools you need to create a video calling app

One of the common ways to embed video calls into your app is the open source API called WebRTC. It enables to conduct video/audio chats in real-time and no data transmission with the third-party extensions needed. The сomplete WebRTC set contains features like peer-to-peer data exchange, live streaming and audio/video codecs for communication coordination among multiple users online.

The WebRTC includes 3 API interfaces:

    • RTCDataChannel. It enables a peer-to-peer network for universal usage of data by each user.
    • MediaStream. It enables a microphone and webcam support for a client-side.
    • RTCPeerConnection. This API allows encryption and control of access for a video or audio data transmission.

OpenTOK. It’s a cloud PaaS platform with an open source that allows building сross-platform video chats that are based on WebRTC API.

Wowza. It’s a considerably known media server with a focus on multimedia streaming.

Of course, there’re numerous tools and their selection should depend on your particular requirements. However, we’ve mentioned some of the basic ones so that you know what the video chat app development looks like.

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How to monetize your video call app?

There are three basic monetization methods that allow raising money on a video calling app:

  • Chargeable voice calls. You can leave video calls and text messages to remain free or the users most likely won’t be attracted with your application. But you can make some services e.g. voice calls to be chargeable.
  • Promotion. Ads that are embedded into your app allow you to earn a sufficient amount of finances. It is even enough to remain your app free for your users.
  • Paid stickers. People frequently share various stickers or animations during their chatting to make their messages absolutely stunning. Thus, offering some of the sticker sets available for premium users can become a great source of income.

We hope you’ve found all the info you were looking for concerning video call app development. It’s also important to note that you keep in mind who is the target audience of your app. A video calling app for regular customers and for businessmen will require different design and features.

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