How to Create a Video Chat App for Android and iOS

Vladlen Shulepov posted on May 12, 2020, edited on Sep 24, 2020
How to Create a Video Chat App for Android and iOS

Video conferencing has changed the way we interact significantly, whether it’s personal or business communication. In the past few months, those in quarantine have been using video chat apps increasingly. These convenient tools have been helping people all over the world connect with each other, study, and work.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the popularity of video calls has experienced a huge increase. Remote work has been a new normal for many, even before the virus outbreak. 87% of employees who work from home told that they feel more involved and connected to their teammates and when using video conferencing.

Video calls also help companies save money and allow their staff to go on fewer business trips. Though, to make this communication channel truly successful, a reliable and convenient tool is required. We’ve created a full guide on how to make your own video calling app.

Market Size

The video call application market was valued at 3.85 billion US dollars in 2019 and will grow at an approximate CAGR of 9.9% from 2020 to 2027.

The global video conferencing app market is benefiting majorly because of the COVID-19 outbreak. In the U.S., the number of educational and remote work-related applications (both of which include video chat apps) downloads increased 1087% and 1457% respectively in March 2020.

Increase in downloads of COVID-19 impacted apps in the United States

It is expected the market will continue growing until the end of Q3 of 2020. After that, there will be a downfall, but the segment will be growing slowly, as remote work remains common in many parts of the world.

North America is the leading market for video chat apps. Europe is a mature market for such applications, and the Asia-Pacific region is the current fastest-growing market for video conferencing.

The high demand for video call apps is caused by rapid globalization and companies with teams spread around the globe. Video conferencing is the second most popular primary business communication tool.

Also, spheres like online education and telemedicine are becoming more common in emerging economies, and tools to perform these activities are needed.

Primary work communication methods for adults in the United States during the coronavirus pandemic

The cloud-based solution segment is expected to grow significantly in the next ten years. This type of video conferencing apps is widespread due to increased convenience, especially cross-platform availability on both computers and mobile devices. This segment also provides more secure video chat tools.

Software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms are widely adopted by enterprises of various scales, too. When it comes to the on-premise segment, it will grow significantly in the near future. The reason for this is the increasing adoption of such video conferencing applications by large companies in order to protect data.

The industry leaders are currently concentrating on product innovation, improving data security, and enhanced integration for better user experience. All in all, the industry is in the growth stage, which means there are opportunities for new service providers to enter the market. This is why now is just the right time to create a video calling app.

Reasons to Build a Video Chat App

  1. High demand
  2. Wide range of application areas
  3. A profitable business model
Do you want to make a video chat app?

3 Successful Video Calling Apps Examples

Zoom

Zoom video conferencing app

Zoom is a video conferencing app, which became well-known during the COVID-19 pandemic. There are a few features of the application that explain this phenomenon:

  • up to 1,000 video participants and 10,000 viewers;
  • user-friendly interface;
  • optimization and reliability of the application;
  • relatively low subscription costs.

The app is especially attractive to educational establishments because it is easy to create a video conference schedule and invite participants. Zoom also provides developers with an ability to integrate its services to create a unified platform.

Though Zoom is at the peak of its popularity right now, some issues of the app should be addressed. Some countries and institutions banned the use of Zoom due to security reasons. This shows how important safety is for a video call app.

WhatsApp

WhatsApp video chat app

WhatsApp is one of the best-known communication tools in the world. There are one and a half billion app users in 180 countries.

WhatsApp is a successful example of an app that uses the Twilio API. Video chat is a part of the voice calls feature. Around 55 million video calls are made through the application each day.

The fact you can video chat with anyone from your contact list who is on WhatsApp is quite convenient, too. There is also an ability to multitask while on a call, meaning you can reply to messages and interact with others.

Because of the current quarantine, WhatsApp allowed users to have video calls including up to eight people. This might not seem impressive but is acceptable considering the fact the app is targeted toward personal communication and has end-to-end encryption.

Houseparty

Houseparty video calling app

Houseparty is a so-called face-to-face social network. It provides people with an opportunity to see who is currently online and easily connect with each other. The app emerged during the coronavirus outbreak.

The procedure of making a call is a bit different from regular video conferencing apps. The connection process is simplified, and there are games and activities, so Houseparty truly serves its entertaining purposes.

The application uses Tokbox as its WebRTC provider. The tech stack of the app includes PHP, jQuery, and more.

The app is free with in-app purchases and is available on multiple platforms. Users can log in through your social media profiles to find friends easily. There is also a facemail feature, which is a video message that recipients see as soon as they open the application.

Video Chat App Features

For MVP

Here are some features that are essential for video calling app development:

  • Registration and user profile

Most of the video chat apps require users to register. This provides a better experience if using the app continuously. Social sign-in is desirable as it makes the authorization process easy and quick.

Profile management should provide users with an ability to change their personal information, sync the app with their existing contact list, or make in-app purchases.

Also, implementing a status feature is highly recommended. Video calling applications usually show whether the user is online automatically, but allowing people to set, for example, a do not disturb status is beneficial.

  • Contact list

Contacts are vital for any communication app. When it comes to a video conferencing app, allow users to sync their phonebook with your application. Make sure to include the search feature in addition, too, so people can find each other by username or phone number.

  • Video and voice calls

Video calling is the essential feature of an eponymous app. Besides that, such a tool should allow voice calls as well, as sometimes people are unable to turn their camera on. Multi user video calls are also a must, and the more people can connect at once, the better.

Strive to provide the best video and audio quality to the user, as it often is the determining factor of the app’s success. Depending on your target audience, you can include paid calls through a phone line, although this feature is becoming less and less popular.

  • Text chat

Text messages are just as important for a video chat app as video calls themselves. Chatting comes in handy when scheduling a call, or if the connection doesn’t allow a good video and audio quality.

It is also very beneficial to give people a chance to access text chat while on a call. Providing many ways to communicate also makes your app more convenient, making it more appealing to users. 

  • Security features

Security features are required to create a video chat app. End-to-end encryption means users can be sure they are communicating confidentially, and none of their calls, messages, and personal information will be available to third parties.

Data safety is especially important in applications that are targeted toward business use. In such apps, even more protection methods, like firewalls and password-protected access, should be implemented.

  • Notifications

Push notifications are another feature necessary to create a video call app. It informs users about new messages and calls to make sure they are always up-to-date. You can also let them know when a new version of the application is available to download.

  • Data backup

Finally, don’t forget to provide a data backup feature in your video chat app. Nothing is worse than losing all your messages, files, and call history, particularly if you’re using the application for work.

Automatic backup comes to save the day. Let users choose how often they want the app to backup.

Add-on Features

  • Screen sharing

Such a function is very important when developing a business-oriented video conferencing app. Screen sharing allows activities like training employees and making presentations.

However, users can also benefit from this feature in personal communication and, for example, watch a movie together.

  • Virtual background

The virtual background feature is both entertaining and useful. When on a work call, people can utilize it to remove unnecessary objects from the view. Or, when video chatting with friends, users can have some fun with different backgrounds, be it a foreign city or a rainbow behind you.

  • Masks and filters

This feature is purely for entertainment purposes. Nevertheless, if you want to build a video calling app for personal communication, various masks and effects can make it stand out among other applications.

AR technology allows creating very interesting and unique filters, which will definitely be the highlight of your app.

Read Also: How to Build an AR App

Do you want to make a video chat app?

How to Develop a Video Chat Application? 

Those who decide to create a video chat app should remember about these stages of the development process:

  1. Market research and platform selection
  2. App features
  3. Monetization strategies
  4. UI/UX design 
  5. Development

Step 1. Market research and platform selection

Research is what you have to do at the very beginning of your video chat app development. It is necessary to decide on the purpose of your application, the target market and audience, and the preferred platform at first.

Choosing whether you want to create an app aiming to deliver more to single users or businesses influences everything, from functionality to monetization. Geography and demographics also alter which features and platforms should be used for the app.

Some apps were created to cover all bases, but those are usually expensive and require a lot of time to develop. However, creating an application available for both mobile devices and desktops is advisable. This means a lot of people will be able to use it.

For a multi-platform app, there are options of web-based and native. Both of these can use WebRTC, an open framework for real-time communication. We’ll more talk about specific development tools in a separate section.

Step 2. App features

After you’ve done the preliminary research, it’s time to choose features for your app.

For some, the described MVP will be enough. If you decide to make a video chat app like that, it will be cheaper and faster. What matters most in a video chat app is high-quality video and audio, as well as security of the application.

On the other hand, generic apps without any defining features might not appeal to users that much. This is why including some additional functions, like screen sharing or virtual background, is a great choice.

Step 3. Monetization strategies

There are several ways to make a video call app profitable:

  • Subscription

This monetization technique is mostly used in business-oriented apps. It usually provides an increased number of high-quality video calls or group calls with more participants, as well as other features to make the most of the application.

  • Ads

Advertising might not seem suitable in a video conferencing app, but it can be rather fitting. If you use a reasonable amount of banner ads throughout the application, they won’t be annoying but will help you make money.

  • In-app purchases

In-app purchases are a great monetization technique for a video chat application. You can create a variety of paid stickers, filters, and more. In the Houseparty app, for example, users can purchase games to play together.

  • Paid calls

Calls through a regular phone line are probably the least popular way to monetize a video call app nowadays. However, this feature is still used to make international calls sometimes, so consider implementing it.

Step 4. UI/UX design

Design is quite important for a video chat app, but it shouldn’t be over the top. For such an application, simplicity is key. Users should be able to navigate the app intuitively.

Remember to minimize the number of buttons and other design elements in the main video call screen. A logical layout combined with a set of necessary features make for a truly great video conferencing app.

Step 5. Development

Now it’s time for the most significant part of the app creation process. If you want to develop a video chat application, there are a few specific points to address:

WebRTC

This is the most common technology for video connection between devices. It makes real-time communication (RTC) possible for Android and iOS applications, as well as web apps. As an open-source technology, it enables the use of various APIs for RTC.

WebRTC will allow you to build a video chat app for multiple platforms. You can develop web-based applications with React.js or Vue.js. As for mobile apps development, there are Objective-C/Swift for iOS and Java/Kotlin for Android.

SDKs and APIs

Software development kits (SDKs) and application programming interfaces (APIs) are crucial when building a video calling app. They make the development process quicker and easier. We’ve already covered them in a separate article, but here are a few examples:

  • Twilio

Twilio’s APIs and SDKs are one of the best out there for creating communication applications. Though famous for their text capabilities, these tools work well video chat app development, too.

  • Vonage Video API (formerly TokBox OpenTok)

Vonage Video API is also great for building web and mobile apps. A wide range of technologies allows you to include various features into your application, which makes it stand out among competitors.

Testing

Finally, don’t forget to thoroughly test your app. Checking code for any bugs and inconsistencies will mean customers can have a smooth experience with the new video call application as soon as it is available to use.

How Much Does it Cost to Make Your Own Video Calling App?

Various factors influence the cost of a video chat app creation. The most crucial of them are the platform you choose, application features, used tech stack, and development company you hire. A team required to build a video conferencing app would typically include such members:

  • Project manager
  • Business analyst
  • UX/UI designer
  • Front end and back end developers
  • QA engineer

Developers’ rates range significantly depending on their location and expertise. This is a price breakdown of app development based on the region as of May 2020:

Region Hourly rate Basic level video chat app
The USA $100-180 $100,000-180,000
Great Britain $125-220 $125,000-220,000
Western Europe $90-165 $90,000-165,000
Eastern Europe $30-70 $30,000-70,000
Ukraine $30-50 $30,000-50,000
India $15-30 $15,000-30,000

At Riseapps, the cost to create a basic video call app will be about $40,000-50,000. It takes around four months to create. These numbers are adjusted based on the functionality of your future application.

Our company has proven experience in video chat app development. Furthermore, we specialize in building specific applications, like for telemedicine, and are familiar with a wide variety of technologies and frameworks for building apps of different complexity.

Do you want to make a video chat app?

Our Experience in Video Chat App Development

BabyWise

BabyWise video chat app

We built BabyWise for our client, who wanted to create a telemedicine app for pregnant women. It has a video call feature, so a woman can easily connect to a midwife and get a paid consultation.

BabyWise is a cross-platform app, and we developed it with React Native to ensure the best results. For better user experience, the application has built-in functions like data storage and in-app payments.

Kego

 

Kego video calling app

Kego is another telemedicine app developed by the Riseapps team. For this project, separate apps for patients and doctors were developed, as well as a web admin panel, to ensure each of them has suitable features. Both versions include video call and chat functionality.

This application is HIPAA compliant, so additional data protection is included on the backend developed with Python and Django. We also used WebRTC for the app, Swift in iOS version, and Kotlin in Android version.

Read Also: HIPAA Сompliant Video Conferencing Software: All You Need To Know

Conclusion

Video conferencing apps are in very high demand at the moment. It’s just the right time to seize this opportunity and create one, and now you know how to do it.

Let’s recap. The first steps of a video call app development process are market research and platform selection. Next, you should decide on the features of the application and a monetization strategy. Finally, there are app design, development, and testing.

Also, we’re here to assist you. If you’re searching for a team to build your video chat application, look no further. Riseapps can deliver you a product that will help you get the best results. Reach out to us by filling the form below.

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