How to create a video chat app

Posted on by Elena Kvitkovska

We live in the informational age of digital life and online communication. Information delivery is changing, and today video calls are a global trend. Using a video chat app, you can call colleagues, clients, and partners, handle online consulting sessions, and the like.

Why you need a video chat

Video chat is becoming an essential part of live chat software helping businesses enhance the customer experience. It can help a lot in improving sales provide better support. According to lifesize, video calling brings significant benefits to the working process:

  • 99% of respondents think that video calling improves communication and enhances productivity;
  • 90% of respondents say video calling helps them to get their point across;
  • 89% of respondents agreed that video calling helps them to complete the tasks faster;
  • 87% of employees that are not present for a meeting feel better engaged through a video call.

Live video chat is applicable to any business area: online commerce, consulting, finance, e-learning, etc. Healthcare industry is widely adopting video calls – global healthcare trends, like telemedicine, telepharmacy, and telepsychiatry are entirely based on it.

Let’s see how you can strengthen your business by using the custom video chat system.

Improved customer service

If a customer has a question, they visit your website and try to contact the support team via live chat. Video communication makes it fast to fix any issues because support managers can assist their customers immediately. Video calls can help them to tackle any challenges they may experience while using your product. When a customer needs you most, you’ll be right here.

Minimizing costs

Speaking about online support, we all agree that it may be challenging to explain the problem via a chat. Imagine, how much money the company loses when it is impossible to solve the issue from the first time? A video call can solve this challenge since the visual form is clearer than text instructions. Video chatting enhances remote work management. This decreases the operational costs of office management and organization of business trips.

The growth of sales

Online video chatting is erasing your geographic boundaries. You may expand your audience, explore new markets and be in touch with clients from all over the world. Surfing your e-shop, customers may experience difficulties selecting the product they need. Via a video chat app, your employees may connect with the customers and help them select the necessary product.

Enhanced teamwork and productivity

Video chatting also enables regular and clear communication between team members, even if they are not located in the same building or even the same country. This helps cut down on in-office costs and increase the productivity of remote team members. Many negotiations and conversations can happen well over a high-speed video call. In one click, you can arrange a meeting with your employees, clients, and partners without the necessity of leaving your room.

Main features of the video chat app

The video chat development process does not differ much from the development of a regular application, but there are some nuances that you should study more carefully because your success depends on them. Let’s start with the most important thing.

First, you should consider the most essential features of your application. None of video chat apps can exist without the following functionality:

User registration & profile settings

Give your users a convenient way of getting started in your video chat service. You may ask them to fill the sign-up form from scratch or allow to register via a popular social network. The video chat app should also provide an interface for managing the account details and settings.

Search and add contacts

This feature will allow your users to find people they need and start using your application.

User and message status

It is convenient to know whether your companions are online and if they have read your message. Perhaps, the chat system failed to deliver the message and you should try one more time?

Push notifications

As we’ve already mentioned, push notifications allow you to always stay in touch with your users. The users will benefit as well – thanks to pushes, they will never miss an important chat message or application update.

To enhance the capabilities of your video chat application, consider adding additional features that will stand your product out of competitors:

  • End-to-end encryption – ensures the complete security of user information;
  • Cloud services synchronization – storing the user attachments on your servers;
  • Automatic backup – to avoid accidental loss of important information;
  • Support for various data formats – text, video, audio, emoticons, pictures, photographs, stickers, etc.

This is a basic set of desired chat features based on user preferences. After promoting the MVP of your app, you will get the first reviews and see how you can improve it.

How to create your video chat app

To develop the chatting functionality, you can use one of many ready-made solutions. This will save your money and the time and effort of your development team.

Backend development

Most of the video call applications are developing using WebRTC. It is an open-source project built and maintained by Google, Mozilla, Opera, and others. It allows you to build real-time communication software in your browser and is standardized at the W3C & IETF levels.

There are two ways to develop and run a video call application using WebRTC: On-premise and using a CPaaS, or Communication-Platform-as-a-Service, provider.

  • On-premise variant means that it is your job to develop the application and manage its server infrastructure.
  • CPaaS provider will offer you to use their ready-made infrastructure. This will allow you to focus on the development process and save a considerable amount of time and money.

Let’s consider the ways of dealing with each strategy:

On-premise – Peer-to-peer approach

To deploy any software using the on-premise model, you will need your own physical servers. They can be located in your organization or you may rent a server in any data center.

On-premise solutions are the most secure way to store the data. You also can access any information you look for at any time you need. But you must ensure the continuous work of the servers, their maintenance, and security. In case of the P2P approach, the system capabilities are limited to 5-6 users. To implement the group calls, recording, saving the data, you will need a media server.

On-premise – Media Server approach

A media server remains between the call participants and helps them to exchange the data. This approach allows you to add some advanced features, such as recording, simulcast and multi-party calls.

Using the media server approach, you will need to add the signaling layer and STUN/TURN servers. Also, you will have to buy or rent the hardware to include the media server itself and to configure it.

Using a Communication-Platform-as-A-Service (CPaaS) Provider

It provides you its own infrastructure. Typically it includes different software tools, APIs, sample code and other out-of-box solutions. It allows you to focus on the development without setting up your own infrastructure.

UI/UX design

A good application should have an attractive and intuitive user interface and user experience. The users shouldn’t spend lots of time to understand how to perform the action they need. As for the video chat interface, it should have a clear and catching design without lots of buttons and icons.

Cross-platform video chat application

The main step of video chat development is adapting it to different platforms (Android, iOS, and web). To make a cross-platform chatting app, you may use React Native or Flutter frameworks.

Integrations

To build your own chat app, you may use third-party solutions like QuickBlox. They make it possible to real-time client-server communication and information exchange, like streaming. The necessary part of a video chat application is organizing a stable internet connection. QuickBlox solution is one of those tools that can be easily integrated into our application.

Conclusion

Video call apps give people an opportunity to always stay in touch without any effort. For businesses, it means easy communication with clients and partners, as an efficient workflow. A video chat application can be a sustainable service or part of your own infrastructure specific to your business needs.

If you are thinking of adding a video call feature to your platform or building a new video chat app, browse QuickBlox’s SDK and API documentation. This can make the development process a bit simpler since you don’t need to code from scratch. For more details, feel free to contact our sales department right now!