Will Ben Sims
10 mins read
Will Ben Sims
10 mins read
Let’s go back to the times when WhatsApp was introduced to us; how excitedly we used it remember? Back in those days, Viber also came into the picture and allowed free video calling around the globe, which was so fascinating for users, isn’t it? Video calling a person became no less than a fantasy for us.
Gradually, WhatsApp also introduced video calling, and then in 2018, WhatsApp allowed video calling up to 8 persons! Then came the year 2020, where the Covid-19 induced fear made each and every one of us stays in lockdown. We wanted technological tools to work, communicate and keep in touch with our loved ones. And to combat that situation, eventually, video calls became a part of our lives. Either to work from home (WFH) or just to be connected with our family & friends, video calling became a preferable option for many of us.
Video chat apps like Zoom, Teams, Skype, HouseParty, Discord witnessed a prominent spike amid the pandemic. The global downloads of skype and zoom increased by 100 folds from February to March 2020.
So if you’ve ever wondered about how to make a video calling app, then now is the right time to hit the button. Unsurprisingly, the industry of video conferencing & video chat is encouraging. Nonetheless, the market to build video conferencing apps in 2021 is buzzing with names like Google Meet, Houseparty, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and many others.
How can you build a video calling app that can stand against the already raging competition?
We have curated this article to help you understand how to make a video call app, avoid costly mistakes and pave the way to a successful app more easily.
Before we dive into the business point of view and the technical aspect, first, let’s understand the types of video calling applications.
A video calling application’s main objective is to stream your video from either your front or back camera to others in the call. In order to achieve the best results in your video calling application, it’s necessary you target your specific audience.
There can be an app for everyday users who simply want to communicate with their loved ones; they can be friends or families. On the other hand, we can create a video calling application for companies or enterprises who need to conduct frequent meetings with clients or among employees.
Keep the target audience in your mind, and make sure to build a video calling application that satisfies your target audience’s needs. Because in the end, your target audience is what matters.
Let’s discover the several types of video calling applications.
Users generally use such kinds of video calling apps for professional purposes. Video conferencing app involves collaborating with many users (almost 500) to speed up the entire communication process and fill the remote working or distant learning gap. Generally, these apps even allow users to participate from different locations.
The basic idea of video conferencing apps is to support numerous users in one single call and from different locations. The foremost requirement for building a video conferencing app is high-quality (HD) videos and audios. Along with it, the quality of the video should adjust with the internet speed of users.
A famous example that is leading the game in video conferencing apps is Zoom. Zoom was launched in the year 2013 but rose to fame in the year 2020. It supports 500 participants in the conference call. The monetization policy it follows is allowing 40 minutes of uninterrupted conferencing. Still, if the enterprise/organization wants to bypass the 40-minute time, a subscription must be purchased. Screen sharing, encryption, and live chats are some of its prominent features. Zoom even permits users to change their backgrounds and adopt virtual backgrounds provided by them. When it comes to the view, Zoom authorizes 49 open windows on a single screen.
Another well-known example is Skype. It is a video chat app and rather an app for messaging. The video conferencing feature of Skype grants up to 25 users at one time. It has free voice/video calling options and lets users share multimedia and texts. One of the first video calling players, Skype is a Microsoft product leading the app industry game.
Thus, if you want to dive into the video calling app industry, your video calling app concept should be strong with unique features.
Pro Tip: Incorporate elements that allow more than 500 participants at a time.
Some apps are majorly developed with messaging/chatting features but also beholds video calling features. Regardless, these apps are especially for messaging, but still, they have features that support video-calling. Whatsapp messenger or Signal app can be considered as examples of video-calling app. This app doesn’t allow many users to connect at one time, but instead, a group of 4-8 users or a one-to-one video call can be carried out by it.
These apps basically help in personal communication with family members, groups of friends. As apps like this can not support many participants, they are not meant to be used for professional commitments which need conferencing with more participants. But they’re good enough to keep in touch with close groups.
Video chatting apps that also host entertainment features are witnessing quite a rise in the digital era. The entertainment video call/chat apps allow users to chat/call and even play games or do entertaining kinds of stuff together from a distance.
Houseparty or Discord, or Snapchat can be examples of entertainment video call/chat applications. Houseparty is a multi-user platform; it is mainly for a group of friends who can interact with each other on the app. Whenever one of the users/friends comes online, the other users receive a notification or even send invites to join the group party. The app also hosts games for the group of friends to play together while chatting or calling.
These apps can also assist you in communicating and help you get rid of boredom.
Now that we know the different types of video calling apps, let’s move to the steps that can help you build a video calling application.
Right now, you know the types of video calling apps that are running in the market.
You may have even selected the type you want to develop. But there may be a situation where you just want to integrate the video chat feature into your ready-made app. In that case, it’s advisable to get assistance from a top mobile development company that can help you fully with the integration process.
For instance, apps for telemedicine are better functional when they have a video chat feature.
Let’s define the steps that can guarantee a successful product:
For now, it might be seeming an excellent idea for you to create an app like Discord or Zoom. But in reality, copycatting often leads to your application being doomed.
Take time to explore the video calling industry.
The best thing you can do is to decide on what your Unique Value Proposition will be. By UVP, we mean your app should have something different from the other apps available in the app market. Think of a unique proposition to define your video calling solutions.
Just think of it this way - “Your app has been released in the market, ‘word of mouth has spread’… Now, what should be word of mouth - “Download this app; it has some very extraordinary features!”
Decide on something which is not available in the market. Another pro tip is to check feedback on the popular video calling apps, look out what users want in an app. Checking out what users desire will open doors to some exciting avenues in your app. The advantage of video calling apps is you can add fascinating features that your users expect. Then you can bring in more downloads. Consequently, there should be something extraordinary unique proposition that defines your app.
Decide on the UVP first and then embark on the app development journey.
Here comes an important part.
Choosing the type of video calling application you want to go for.
Ask yourself the below questions to plump in for the best video call type you can choose.
Answer all the above questions. Take a note of it.
Now that you have answered. Decide which video call type you want to go for.
Doing so further paves the way to the successful development of your application.
Now that you have selected the type of video chat app to choose. It’s time that you decide the monetization policy you want to adopt for your app and the mobile app development company you can choose for your project.
Most of the developing companies advise that deciding the monetization policies should be done at the promotional stage. But believe us selecting the monetization policies from the start gives you & your development company a clear goal.
Here are some of the monetization policies you can follow:
Zoom is a video conferencing app that allows only 40 mins of free conferencing. However, they have a plan for $149.90 per year if the users want to surpass the app’s time limit! Unsurprisingly, their revenue also quadruples by adopting this monetization strategy.
Thus, you can also integrate in-app purchases into your app. Monetization goes a long way in generating revenue.
This monetization strategy ensures that you get your ROIs while your users also get a free app. For that, integration of PPC is a must, or you can work with companies/brands and promote them by placing their ads on your app. Advertisements work as a great way to make money because you’ll get revenue per click, per ad view, per downloads, and many other ways.
This strategy is most implied, and users totally love it. Freemium involves going free but also charging the users. What you can do is provide the basic features for free and charge them when it comes to advanced features of video calling apps. Doing so will give you users that require your app for advanced purposes. Freemium is a great way to earn users as well as money.
Features of Video Calling Applications
The next move in the video chat app development process is to decide on the features to include in your video calling application.
We have segregated the features based on the basic features and the advanced features:
Registration should be pleasant rather than filled with do-to lists. It should be simple and convenient for users to accomplish the main task: having a video call. Let users add their names before entering the call for an easy-peasy registration process. The other way round for registration is to let users signup with their email id or social networks; this should be a short manual process. Engaging user experience for registration is a must.
Profile management, as we see, is one of the features of video calling apps. To enable end-users to interact with other end-users, profile management is a must. Through profile management, a user could easily manage its personal details such as emails, phone numbers, direct profile, passwords, etc. For paid apps, profile management should contain a detailed section of payment details.
For a more engaging experience, integrating the phonebook with the app will allow users to call the other user from the app directly. However, asking permission from the user to ‘sync contacts’ is a must. The ‘contact list’ feature should directly pull out contacts from the phonebook.
What is the prime thing we are focusing on? Yes, video & voice calling. Both voice & video calling features in the video chat app should be included. Accordingly, comprising the voice call element in your video call app will help users who are distant from each other to remain in contact. Foreign calls are expenses so that the in-built calling feature will be light on the user's budget on both sides. Taking care of real-time connection, quality of audio & video is necessary for the application. End-to-End Encryption There are already many apps discarded by users due to a lack of security in that app. It would work wonders for you to offer an end-to-end encryption security system and help your app in the long run. End-to-end encryption gives users a sense of security while using the app, integrating this feature will up the chances of your app being downloaded. Adopt protocols that support end-to-encryption.
Geolocation - geolocation is a prominent feature to add if you are planning an entertainment app. With geolocation, users would be able to find users near them and interact with them easily.
Push notifications - with push notifications, the app can effortlessly notify users about upcoming events, calls, messages to join in. Even missed calls or any updates can quickly be notified to users with integrating push notifications. Mobile app development companies consider push notifications a powerful tactic to engage users in using the app in minimum effort.
Screen sharing has become a must-have feature in every video calling application. Integrating the same will allow users to share information present on the screen with other users who are on the call. More importantly, this feature has become a prominent one for better collaborations of projects & tasks among multi-users.
Working from home has become the norm. In that scenario, picture backgrounds that can replace the original environments can make users go gaga over them. Virtual backgrounds should allow users to change their original background to something innovative. For example, a user who wants to sit in front of the Eiffel tower should easily change the virtual background.
Background noise can ruin conversations, but integrating virtual noise cancellation can come as a saviour to many of your users. Thus, your app can have virtual noise cancellation software.
Now that we have covered the features, let’s move to an essential point.
The app development cost depends on numerous factors. We have listed some of the below:
Developing a video chat app starts at $40 per hour. The estimation is mainly based on the features to include and the development time it would take. If the app development process goes for 3-6 months, then the estimated charge would be $40,000-$60,000, and if it is for 9 months, then the cost can rise up to $1,00,000 -$1,25,000.
Please take into consideration that the above figures are just estimates.
Now that we have covered all the points of developing a video calling application, it’s time for you to look out for a mobile app development vendor who can help you with all the procedures. Hiring a remote developer that can assist you with the app development process to get a successful video chat app in return.
We provide free consultation! Get all your questions answered and we’ll also draft the scope of work before you making any payments.
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