Video conferencing certainly isn’t something new. It has been featured in sci-fi stories for decades, and in fact, the technology has been around since the 1970s. However, it’s no secret that with the widespread availability of broadband internet accelerated with the Covid-19 pandemic forcing many people to work remotely, many businesses opted for video conferencing technologies throughout 2020 and 2021.
For businesses that are looking to build a video conferencing technology, or looking to add video conferencing functionalities to the existing in-house software, integrating a video conferencing API can be a viable, cost-effective option.
In this article, we’ll explain all you need to know about integrating a video conferencing API into your software or application, and without further ado, let us begin.
What Is a Video Conferencing API?
First, what is an API?
API stands for Application Programming Interface, and as the name suggests, it is an interface between two or more applications or programs. An API acts as a bridge between these programs to define interactions between the two (or more) programs.
A video conferencing API, on the other hand, is an API bridging a video conferencing software with another software of application. The API provides a technical infrastructure allowing these different applications to communicate with each other.
In practice, this allows an application or software to gain video conferencing functions without the lengthy development process we’ll otherwise experience in building video conferencing software from scratch.
Typically, via a video conferencing API, an application can gain the following functions:
- Video conferencing with various different formats
- Screen sharing
- Automated meeting transcription
- Various voice features
Why Do You Need a Video Conferencing API?
The Covid-19 pandemic has forced various businesses to adopt remote working and virtual meetings, and chances are, video conferencing is here to stay even after the pandemic has subsided, hopefully in the near future.
If you are a business that is currently relying on platforms like Zoom or Skype for your video conferencing needs, why not build your own platform where you can:
- Put your own logo, brand color, and other brand elements to impress your clients and external vendors you meet with
- Add unique functions and features based on your specific needs, like generating analytics for metrics you’d like to measure
- Ensure reliability of your virtual meetings and video conferencing sessions at all times
- Get 24/7 dedicated customer support from professionals.
- Better security for your data with built-in security standards based on your needs
By integrating a video conferencing API, you’ll get all those benefits without needing to develop an entirely new solution from the ground up, which will save you a lot of time, money, and resources.
If you do decide to build a video conferencing solution from scratch, you may face the following problems:
- Longer delivery time: simply put, it’s more difficult to build a custom video conferencing solution from scratch, and you’ll also need time to test it properly before launching
- Infrastructure: you won’t only deal with running the video conferencing solution, but you’ll need to manage an entire infrastructure
- Security and integrity: you’ll need to make sure the solution stays in compliance with regulations and requirements, and you’ll also need to protect your system from impending attacks.
As you can see, the benefits of integrating a video conferencing API far outweigh that of building your own solution from scratch.
Considerations When Choosing a Video Conferencing API
Features You’ll Need
Let’s be honest, most video conferencing solutions offer more or less the same sets of features, but different solutions might offer unique twists that might benefit your business in achieving your video conferencing objectives.
Iotum video conferencing API, for example, offers an AI-powered personal assistant called Cue™, which can automate transcription of meetings (from audio to text), filter and tag repeated keywords. This can be a very handy feature if meeting notes and/or transcriptions are crucial for your business.
Iotum offers this unique feature aside from standard video conferencing features like HD 1080p resolutions, adaptive/smart resolution depending on the available bandwidth, screen sharing, and built-in security features.
Identify your objective in using video conferencing software, and make a list of features that are crucial in achieving this objective. You should choose a video conferencing API that offers these crucial features while also fitting your budget.
Ease of Use
Using a new video conferencing API, or any API at all can be a similar experience to learning a new language. Make sure your API vendor offers comprehensive resources for learning to use the API, or preferably, free training. This can help eliminate the need for trials and errors and can also help you in training your team to use the API.
The documentation should explain the features, as well as examples of usage. If the vendor also provides a testing environment, then it’s another plus point since you’ll get more options to test out the software and new features without fearing you’ll break the app.
Integrating an API into an application can be quite complex, and robust technical support can significantly help both in the integration process as well as when you are experiencing problems along the way.
If it’s an open-source API, there may also be communities (ie. forums) where you can ask your questions and share answers with others who are also using the same video conferencing API.
Integrating an existing application with a video conferencing API allows you to get video conferencing functionalities while eliminating the long development time, providing you with a more cost-effective and accessible option than building your video call solution from scratch.