Video conferencing is not exactly a brand new technology. In fact, it has been around since the 1970s.
However, we all know how the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly accelerated the adoption of video conferencing both for individuals and businesses. With the pandemic situation forcing people to work from home, many have relied on video conferencing to stay in touch and collaborate with each other.
This situation has compelled many organizations to develop their own video conferencing solutions for one reason or another. Having a video conferencing solution that is totally your own can indeed offer various benefits: the ability to use your logo and brand elements, as well as to add specific features to stay compliant to specific regulations like HIPAA.
With that being said, a cost-efficient solution is for businesses to integrate a video conferencing API rather than developing the solution from scratch.
Video Conferencing API: What Is It?
First, what is API?
Stands or Application Programming Interface, we can think of an API as a bridge interfacing two (or sometimes more) different applications or software solutions.
In layman’s terms, the API’s role is to teach an application to access the application providing the API. The API would essentially provide a technical infrastructure for the two applications to communicate with each other.
There are many possible implementations of API integration, but in the case of video conferencing API, typically the API integration is used so that an application can access the video conferencing features of the other application. Meaning, with an API we can get video conferencing features without the lengthy development process we’ll get from building a video conferencing solution from scratch.
While different video conferencing solutions might offer different features, typically by integrating a video conferencing API, an application can get the following features:
- Video conferencing with various formats
- Screen sharing
- Automated meeting transcription
- Various voice features
Video Conferencing API VS Building Your Own Application
Technically, building a video conferencing solution from scratch will give us the most freedom whether in the form of using our own logos, brand colors, and other brand elements, as well as the ability to add any custom features.
However, there are some key challenges when building a video conferencing solution from scratch:
Most likely unless you can develop the app by yourself, you’ll need to hire an experienced software developer or outsource the project to a third-party individual or agency. This can be very expensive if you are not careful, and if you are not going to use the video conferencing app commercially, then the cost might not be justified.
In the early days of the pandemic, many people have been concerned about the potential security issues in Zoom.
Data security is very important when it comes to video conferencing solutions since they will continuously transmit a lot of potentially sensitive information. So, if you are going to build your solution from scratch, you’ll also need to invest in adequate data security infrastructure and employ cybersecurity best practices.
This can be very challenging (and expensive) to implement.
3.Long delivery times
Even if you do have the budget to hire an experienced developer or the ability to build the solution on your own, it can take a long time to build, test, and launch the video conferencing solution. Also, it can be very difficult to estimate how long it would take to ensure the solution is compliant with certain regulations, which can be an issue if you are in a heavily regulated industry (i.e telemedicine).
Key Benefits of a Video Conferencing API
Integrating a video conferencing API to an existing application, (or even a brand new application), can provide you a fully functional video conferencing solution without needing to face the three main challenges above.
Another option is to use ready-made platforms like Zoom, but by integrating a video conferencing API from services like Iotum, you’ll also get the following benefits:
- The ability to add your own logo, brand color, and other brand elements. For example, to impress your clients and vendors.
- Get professional technical support rather than relying on your own abilities
- Ensure reliability of your virtual meetings and video conferencing sessions at all times
- Add unique features based on your specific needs, including for meeting certain regulatory standards that might apply to your business
- Better data security to protect the integrity of your data
Key Considerations When Choosing a Video Conferencing API
There are many different solutions offering video conferencing APIs, so it’s important to choose one according to your needs, purposes, and budget.
Here are some key concerns to have when choosing between different APIs:
Most video conferencing solutions will offer more or less similar sets of core features, but some solutions might also offer unique features that might benefit your needs.
Iotum, for example, AI-powered personal assistant called Cue™, which can automate transcription of video conferencing sessions from audio to text. This is on top of features like HD 1080p adaptive resolutions, screen sharing, and built-in security.
2. Ease of Use
Make sure the API provider offers comprehensive documentation and resources for learning to use the API. If the provider also offers (free) training, then it’s an added bonus. The documentation should clearly explain the features, and check whether the vendor offers a testing environment.
With a testing/sandbox environment, you can test out the features without needing to integrate your own application first.
3. Customer Support
Integrating the API alone can be quite complex, and you’d also want reliable technical support for day-to-day usages. Depending on your industry and your specific needs, you might want to look for solutions that offer 24/7 customer support.
Integrating a video conferencing API would allow us to get a fully functional video conferencing solution without the hassle of a lengthy and expensive development process. We’ll also get the same freedom like using your own logo and brand colors, adding custom features, and others, just like the versatility we’ll get from building a solution from scratch.
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