There’s a remote working revolution taking place right now. It’s going on around us and at the places where we work. Millions of people are shifting towards working from home on a permanent basis, and businesses are adopting additional technology to adjust to this new remote lifestyle. Video conferencing makes it easy to get employees together for meetings without having to be in the same room, state, or even country.
Conferencing technology isn’t new, but it has recently become popular. The COVID-19 crisis has greatly contributed to this. According to TrustRadius, the video and web conferencing market increased by 500% during the first two months of the coronavirus pandemic and is expected to exceed $50 billion by 2026 as Global Market Insights states. If the remote lifestyle is here to stay even after the coronavirus, then it’s time to digitize our world.
If you’re among those looking to go virtual by developing video conferencing technology, you’re in the right place. Here, you’ll get answers to how to build a video chat app and what features to include. We’ll also share our hands-on experience creating this type of software. But first, let’s pause for a moment to talk about which industries are being disrupted the most by video conferencing.
Before you rush into developing your own video chatting app, you need to understand who your target audience is. Below are the top industries using video conferencing software.
Video conferencingis quite popular among teachers and learners. According to Statista projections, the global digital education market will reach $243 billion by 2022. Statistics presented by eLearning Industry show that the online learning sector has grown by 900% since 2000.
Thanks to eLearning technology, classes aren’t restricted to textbooks, lectures, and talks. The eLearning model helps universities, schools, and individuals create learning opportunities for students around the globe. As for learners, they can join virtual classes anywhere, anytime, and from any device while enjoying self-paced education. Also, they can easily catch up on missed classes if a solution supports recording and streaming.
Online learning isn’t just for school, college, and university students. Many organizations implemented eLearning in the workplace throughout 2020 and are planning to increase spending on video conference solutions in the future (Trustradius 2021). Even though eLearning became a thing not so long ago, it’s already an integral part of corporate training. With eLearning, businesses onboard new staff, educate employees, train customers, and instruct franchisees.
Virtual consultations with doctors became a thing a short while ago and are already gaining traction. The global telemedicine market was estimated at $45 billion in 2019 and is anticipated to grow at a strong CAGR through 2026, achieving a value of around $175 billion according to Statista projections.
Video conferencing solutions in healthcare have never been more popular. No wonder. They fill the gaps in healthcare like poor access to medical services for elderly and disabled patients and people living in remote areas. Additionally, with telemedicine, patients don’t have to wait at a doctor’s office or travel long distances to access healthcare services. Telemedicine technologies connect patients with doctors right away or let patients book appointments for suitable times.
You may also like: Telemedicine App Development: How to Build a Doctor on Demand App
With social distancing taking hold, game streaming platforms like Discord and Twitch are booming, and their popularity is expected to stay high. Statista predicts that the number of people using gaming networks will reach 112.4 million globally by 2024.
Live streaming apps allow users to watch anything from musical performances to cooking videos and Q&A sessions and communicate directly through text, voice, and video calls. However, gaming is a key priority of these services.
These aren’t the only industries using video conferencing software, however. It’s also being used in the following spheres:
- Banking and financial services
- Global business
- Public sector
- Human resources
- Information technology
- Media and entertainment
- Consultancy and professional services
Among other things, it’s important to understand what types of video conferencing there are:
- One-to-one calls. This is one of the most common ways people use video chats. One-to-one calls connect family and friends, potential employees and employers, clients and service providers, and teammates.
- Conference calls bring together up to thousands of participants.
We can also classify video meetings by their participants:
- Team meetings or internal meetings connect people working on the same team or within the same company. Such video calls are important to ensure everyone’s on the same page.
- Vendor meetings or external meetings are used to build effective client relationships.
Though different industries use video chat apps with different aims, the main purpose of these apps remains the same: to stream videos from one device to another. This is why video calling apps have quite a lot of features in common.
Below is a list of features any video chat app should have:
To create an account, users need to sign up for your platform. Integrate your app with Google, Twitter, and/or Facebook so users can sign up using their favorite social network. When setting up a profile, you can allow users to provide personal information that can be useful later when browsing and using the platform.
A video chat app can’t go without a contact list feature. Additionally, it would be great if you allowed users to search for each other by name, nickname, email, and phone number.
This is the main functionality of anyonline video chat application. Users should be able to make one-on-one calls as well as group calls. The latter have been quite popular in remote work environments where conference calls are the norm. Global Newswiresays 25% of 18-29 year olds use video calls for work every day.Another statisticsshow that 81% of employees think their employer will support remote work environments after the coronavirus pandemic, making conference calls the norm.
Therefore, make sure audio is clear and loud and video is of high quality. After all, who will want to use your platform if it doesn’t provide high-quality audio and video?
Sometimes, a video call isn’t the best option. Make sure users can exchange text messages if they like.
Your application should also feature presence statuses. Let users indicate whether they’re away or available. You can also include such statuses as active, busy, and do not disturb.
Inform users about upcoming calls, new messages, or any other events.
Steelkiwi’s advice: If you’ve decided tocreate your own video chat app, it’s important to check outtop video chat appsto get inspired and understand what it takes to craft a great video conferencing solution.
Nice-to-have features of a video chat app
Video chat apps can have different purposes, and their features can differ accordingly. Once you’ve validated market demand for your app, you can go on to develop other features. Below, we describe features that can be useful for some video chat apps (or that you may want to include later on).
|Screen sharing||Users will appreciate the ability to show teammates, customers, and friends any media (such as documents, presentations, images, and videos) that’s on their device without having to send any files.|
|Noise cancellation||Audio quality is an important component of effective video conferencing. To help users remove background noises and echo, consider using deep learning algorithms to filter out background distractions so users sound good.|
|Virtual backgrounds||A virtual background has become one of the most popular AR video conferencing features. It allows users to display an image or video as their background during a meeting.|
|Emojis, reactions, stickers||Allows users to use emoji reactions, stickers, and emoticons to communicate emotion, often something no words can describe.|
|Block & unblock users||Spam messages and telemarketing calls can be annoying and irritating. Let users block direct messages or people in spaces so they no longer receive chat messages or video/voice calls from those accounts.|
|Video call recording||Recording is an important feature for team or internal meetings. Employees can record and store a video conference call to rewatch, share the meeting with others later, or rehash the details of the project.|
|Attachments||You can let users share images, audios, videos, or documents with other people.|
|Location sharing||Allow users to share their real-time location or set up location-based notifications.|
|Calendar invites and reminders||Integrate your app with calendars so users can manage their meetings directly from the calendar interface and easily coordinate between involved parties.|
|Cloud backup||With cloud synchronization, users can save their chat history, images, and other files without clogging up their phone’s storage. Users will appreciate the opportunity to access their profile from multiple devices or transfer chats to a new phone.|
|Typing indicator||Let users see when their conversational partner is typing a reply back. This will boost chat engagement.|
What else is important?
Below, we give answers to popular search queries and most googled questions about video chat app development.
So far, we’ve built several projects that feature live chats. These projects are from different sectors, so by looking at them you can see how different types of businesses benefit from live chats.
Your Living-room Trainer is a great example of an app that uses video conferencing. This online fitness platform connects trainers with trainees for one-on-one coaching through video chats.
- Verify trainers’ credentials with copies of diplomas, certificates, and certifications
- Lifestyle questionnaires to help trainers develop programs
- Personal trainer reviews
- Workout scheduling and notifications about important events
- Paid video and text chats with personal trainers
Benemedic is a healthcare platform that connects patients with doctors for online consultations through video chats, voice calls, and text messages. Using Benemedic, patients can easily communicate with doctors, describe their symptoms and conditions, and pay for services. Doctors can use the app to manage patients’ health records, manage schedules, and get paid for services.
- Symptoms list
- Patient activity feed
- Ability for patients to like doctors
- Doctor profiles
- Video and audio calls
- Payment support
Today, more and more social networks offer video chats. HOUR allows users to stay connected with family, friends, and loved ones through weekly one-hour chats. It also lets users share photo and video content.
- SMS authentication
- Call scheduling
- Push notifications for new messages, gifts received, and incoming chats
- Chat functionality
- Ability to exchange video and photo content
It’s difficult to say how much it costs to build a video chat app. Much depends on the app’s design and features as well as the development company you work with.