A Guide to App Development in Video Conferencing and Live Streaming
Posted By : Arpita Pal | 18-Sep-2023
Before the pandemic, real-time communication tools assisted professional communication as a complementary aid to interact with numerous internal and external counterparts. However during the pandemic, the possibility of physically meeting each other, even with team members became an arduous task. To maintain a similar level of productivity and communication, organizations came to heavily rely on real-time communications from conducting companies' basic routine tasks to conducting crucial meetings with external stakeholders. This opened up a plethora of opportunities in unified communication and collaborations (UCC).
UCC represents a collection of technologies that have asynchronous and real-time communication capabilities. They play an integral role in speeding up the response time, higher accessibility and facilitating seamless teamwork within the organization. In real-time communication, data is shared between the sender and receiver instantly without having to store it in the process. Some examples of real-time communication are voice and video calling, live streaming, video conferencing, etc. In this article, we are exploring the potential of live streaming and video conferencing and what technologies assist them in achieving real-time capabilities for their users.
Live Streaming Applications
Live streaming apps allow users to stream and broadcast videos in real-time while they are being recorded at the same time. Most popular live streaming services include Facebook Live, Twitch, Periscope and more. Live streaming removes the need for downloading and storage space where users can watch the video instantly and in an uninterrupted manner. The video loads bit by bit through internet data as the video is being played to the user.
Tech Stacks Utilized in Live Streaming
1) Streaming Protocols: They are a set of guidelines that describe how data is communicated over the internet. The HTTPS Live Streaming (HLS)(used for delivering media from CDNs to user-facing players), Real-Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP)(used for transporting videos from encoder to video platforms), WebRTC (Web Real-Time Communication)(used for peer-to-peer communication in real-time), MPEG-DASH (Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP)(allows users to stream video quality according to their net speed)are some of the live streaming protocols that guide data transmission for live video streaming.
2) Content Delivery Networks (CDNs): To provide high-quality streaming for users that live far away from the source servers, series of servers are positioned geographically that allows them to achieve this purpose. Their close positioning enables them to send a faster response.
3) Video Players: These are the softwares that users interact with to play the live-streaming video. Adobe Flash player used to be the most popular software for this purpose. However, as it became obsolete with time, HTML5 video player stepped up to the role due to its high compatibility with multiple platforms.
4) Codecs: They digitize and compress raw video footage for simplified transmission and send it from one streaming point to another. They are utilized by â€˜encodersâ€™, which can be either software encoders or hardware encoders.
Ensure these Essential Factors During Live Streaming App Development
Through Live streaming, viewers don't have to wait for the video to be uploaded to a platform and downloaded for watching the video. Live streaming app development assists in structuring the platform in a way that provides instant access and interactivity with a video that is being broadcast in real-time. To create a platform that provides easy accessibility and fast loading for video streaming, developers should keep the following factors in mind:
Determine your Audience and their Requirements: Deciding your niche for whom you will be building your live stream app is necessary as they will be the deciding factor in what kind of infrastructure, features and technologies will be required to build the app. With the help of proper feedback, early changes should be made to make the app viable for its desired audience before the release.
Execute Monetization Strategies: The revenue structure for the app will help you choose which payment model to opt for providing live stream services to its users. There are mainly 3 types i.e., free, freemium (free app but some features would require payment) and paid model of payment.
Choose Appropriate Tech Stack: Once the desired audience has been selected, the technological infrastructure required will be dependent on the scale of demand. Technologies determining capacities of security, storage, CDNs, features and more will have to be chosen with careful consideration that will be able to support any unprecedented requirement that may arise during live streaming.
Design an Interactive UI/UX: How a user interacts with the app is directly connected to how easy it is to use and navigate the interface for watching a live stream video. The interface should be appealing to look at while providing easy accessibility so that it keeps their them invested and does not put them off due to complicated navigation.
Build and Execute Testing on MVP: Minimum Viable Product or MVP is a lightweight version of the actual product that consists of crucial features. It is beneficial for receiving feedback regarding its usage or any improvement that should be made. With repeated testing, the application can become free of any bugs present and can be polished into a valuable product.
Release, Maintain and Enhance: Once the live streaming app development process is finished, it can be released on various platforms such as Google Playstore, Apple's App Store, etc. Also, with the help of analytical insights, the performance of the livestream app can be monitored and through video streaming optimization, necessary changes can be made to improve its features.
Video Conferencing Applications
In video conferencing, two or more users can interact with each other virtually in real-time in a manner that resembles a face-to-face meeting using internet and video services. It is beneficial in removing the hassle of travel and helps to save money, effort and time in case two or multiple parties want to have a meeting from distant locations. As an essential tool in removing the barrier of remoteness, chat, screen and file sharing are a few of the many features it provides along with video interaction. Popular video conferencing platforms are Zoom, Skype, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, etc.
Resources for Video Conferencing Application Development
1. Finding the Right Team: Finding the right people is the key to a streamlined video conferencing app development. The teams should consist of members from software development, design, QA managers, etc. so that each aspect of the video conferencing app has coherence and works together efficiently as a whole.
3. Developing and Integrating APIs: Video API integration is essential for video conferencing applications for it to be able to provide third-party services. They help in distributing the load to other services so that you don't have to maintain or host the service yourself. They can be used for features such as chatting, storage, file and screen sharing, etc. Some of the popular video conferencing APIs are Eyeson, CometChat, Vidyo, Vonage and many more.
4. Opting for the Right Infrastructure: To provide a seamless experience to its users, video conferencing apps should be able to handle heavy traffic, smooth loading in low internet connectivity etc., which is why the correct infrastructure is necessary to support such apps. The right infrastructure would include a collection of technologies namely content delivery networks (CDNs), databases, servers and more. These technologies would ensure a faster response rate and a smooth experience for their users.
5. Continuous Improvement through Testing: Beta-testing is highly important for developers to understand the actual experience of users through direct feedback before its actual release. It would help in smoothening any rough patches and improve any areas that require enhancements. Through continuous testing, the application can provide a great experience to its users by providing an error-free and efficient performance of the video conferencing app.
6. Support and Maintenance: After deployment, the app needs to be maintained by providing updates, addition of new features, removal of any bugs, security add-ons, etc. to make sure that the app stays relevant for the user and stay ahead of the competion.
Essential Features to Have in Video Conferencing Applications
Registration and Signup Facilities: To construct a committed user base, it is necessary to have the option where users can create an account, access the history of their past virtual meetings and set preferences. Many popular video conferencing apps also have the option where users can join through web browsers without having to create an account which offers an addition in accessibility.
High-Resolution Audio and Video Quality: Quality streaming of voice and video calls is integral to a seamless experience for users. Also, both options of only voice calls and video and voice calls should exist so that users can use those features as per their convenience.
Chat and Messaging: Features like chatting and messaging serve as a useful tool along with calling as it allows users to mention things during a meeting call without interrupting the user who is speaking.
File and Screen Sharing: For better interaction and accessibility, users are able to share their own screens with their fellow meeting members which is especially useful in presentations to external stakeholders. File sharing allows sharing files such as images, videos, etc. that serve as a visual aid to ongoing presentations.
Push Notifications: They are an important feature as they remove the hassle of checking the software repeatedly to know about any updates regarding incoming or missed calls or messages.
Scheduling and Recording: These features allow schedule calls in advance with multiple or individual stakeholders to avoid any possibility of missing them. The recording feature ensures the recording of the entire call for future reference and keeping account of crucial information derived in meetings.
Real-time communication tools like live-streaming and video conferencing have huge potential use cases as the options for both software development and mobile application development are available to develop them for their respective platforms. With organizations adopting a hybrid work culture and with a change in how people consume their media, there are ample opportunities to witness the growth of these real-time communication tools. Assistance from robust infrastructure, technologies and design greatly help in making mobile application development in live streaming and video conferencing easy to navigate and accessible for their users, resulting in their huge popularity. Mobile application development offers a level of personalization, user response and accessibility to both users and developers. If you're looking for solutions in mobile application development or video solutions to build your own company's app, we would love to help. Drop us a query, and we'll get back to you in 24 hours.