The COVID-19 pandemic was a boon to the virtualization of business in almost every industry.
•Published: Jul 19, 2022
What is a Video Calling API?
An application programming interface (API) is an intermediary that allows different software to communicate with one other and seamlessly exchange data. APIs provide out-of-the-box functionality to engineers and save them the time, money, and hassle of developing complex features like video chat in-house. A video calling API is a plug-and-play component that can be added to an existing web or mobile application to create a live audio and visual communication experience for users.
What are the Benefits of Using a Video API or SDK?
As mentioned above, APIs save app developers precious resources when building complicated features. Similar to an API, an SDK can support video chat functionality. A software development kit (SDK) is a collection of development tools in one installable package, including a compiler, debugger, and software framework. The top benefits are as follows:
Fast Time to Market: Ready-made video calling APIs and SDKs allow developers to stay ahead of the competition by quickly integrating functionalities that would otherwise take months to create from scratch.
Less Maintenance: Your video API will be the sole focus of your integration partner. Your API vendor will be dedicated to iterating and maintaining your video calling solution, allowing your development team to focus their efforts on other areas of your application.
More Security: Due to the sensitive nature of video and text-based chat content, video APIs are held to the highest data security standards. When you integrate them, you also integrate top-level compliance—something else your app developers won’t need to worry about.
Resource Conservation: Second to time, your most valuable development resource is money. Video APIs make the build vs. buy decision a cinch— while they might require a larger up-front investment, they are a more cost-effective option over time.
Must-Have Video Calling API Features
You might be overwhelmed by the number of video conferencing API options on the market. When evaluating possible solutions, check closely to make sure they at least include the following features:
Screen Sharing: Share content in real-time to one or more separate devices.
Recording: Live video recording and storage for later viewing.
Group Calling: Multiple participants can join a single video conference
Virtual Noise Cancellation: Improve the quality of your app’s video calling
Top 10 APIs & SDKs for Video Conferencing
Thousands of video calling APIs and SDKs are available, but the top ten options listed below are the most reliable, feature-rich, and widely applicable.
Agora’s video calling API can enhance social apps with fun features like AR facial masks and sound effects. In contrast, business and education apps can benefit from screen sharing, whiteboards, and more. Agora’s advanced in-house algorithms provide adaptive resolution from 96p to 1080p to guarantee better video quality for your app users that requires less bandwidth. It applies adaptive video resolution based on the user’s network conditions, serving the best user experience possible to each person on the call—free of stutters, jitters, or lag, under even the most challenging network conditions.
- AI-powered noise cancellation
- Voice effects
- Custom masks and visual filters
- HD video
- Supplemental Enhancement Information (SEI)
Agora’s video API pricing varies by the quality of the video you wish to feature on your app, the number of participants who will use it, and for how long.
Twilio enables users to create custom video chat experiences with custom layouts and virtual backgrounds using its video calling APIs and SDKs that work across all major browsers and devices. Twilio offers developers quality control tools like the Network Quality API to monitor network performance and the Network Bandwidth Profile API to prioritize video track bandwidth across participants. Built on top of a cloud-based, enterprise-grade infrastructure, Twilio’s API delivers a reliable video conferencing interface that can scale alongside your app’s growing userbase.
- Breakout video conference rooms
- Integration possible within minutes
- Robust API and SDK documentation
- GDPR compliant
- Virtual video backgrounds and animations
Twilio's free pricing plan for apps requiring only a 1:1 video conferencing feature. If your app needs to support more than two participants in a video chat, the pricing increases per participant, per minute.
Enablex.io developed a video chat API for developers that gives them everything they need to build a video experience into their applications and software successfully. Highly customizable and flexible, Enablex places the creative power in the hands of engineers, providing the building blocks to build highly scalable and unique real-time communication experiences.
- Customizable UI with tangible layouts
- Up to 2,000 participants per video conference
- E2EE and AES-512 encryption
- Screen & file sharing feature
Enablex.io’s pricing is determined by the number of participants on a video call and the number of minutes it lasts.
Cometchat’s idiomatic SDKs are designed to help you build quickly. Available for iOS, Android, and web, they all work together, making cross-platform a breeze. With documentation that's best in class, in-depth tutorials, and demo apps for every platform, it is easier than ever to add 1:1 and group voice and video call functionality to your app.
- 1:1 & group text chat functionality
- Voice and video conferencing tools
- Online presence indicators
- Drag & drop chat widgets
- White-labeled message translation
Cometchat’s pricing for video chat is packaged with voice and text-based chat offerings, too.
- Cross-platform support
- Enterprise-grade reliability
- Custom video filters and masks
- Live broadcasting
- Low video latency
Sinch does not feature its video API pricing online, but you can contact sales at Sinch to learn more.
Apphitect is a leading provider of video calling and conferencing solutions for all sizes of organizations, from SMBs to enterprises. Its video calling API is 100% customizable and can be tailored to the exact needs of any chat app. The video calling solution provides multiple communication channels like one-to-one video calling, group video calling, and video and audio conferencing to scale your business meetings, webinars, presentation, and other virtual communication needs.
- HD voice and video quality on any device on WiFi/3G/WiMax/LTE
- Sophisticated video quality adaptation to network impairments
- Scalable media server
- Up to 100 interactive video participants in a video conference
- Load balancing
Apphitect’s video calling API pricing is not listed on their website. Instead, they ask prospective customers to contact the Apphitect sales team.
7. Video SDK
- Pre-built live streaming SDK with 5,000+ participant support
- Quick integration time of 10 minutes
- Unlimited channels with enhanced video quality
- UI support & auto-scalable parallel rooms
- Unlimited attendee support in a single meeting
- Video recording
Video SDK Pricing
The pricing for Video SDK is determined by the video quality you wish to include in your app and the number of participants your video chat app will support.
ZujoNow delivers customizable video call SDKs that support on-demand videos, live streaming, and real-time communication to its clients with supreme scalability. This platform helps educators connect with students in particular, as well as other industries that have recently experienced a pivot to virtual communication and transactions. ZujoNow delivers a video solution featuring E2EE and easy integration for app developers.
- Built-in support for healthcare, EdTech, and dating apps
- Zero video connection lags
- Real-time video encoding
The pricing for ZujoNow is $3/1,000 minutes for each participant.
The Vonage Video API makes it easy to build a custom video experience within any mobile, web, or desktop application and is built on the WebRTC industry standard available on billions of devices. It has the richest set of live video features on the market, honed over many years in response to the needs of thousands of customers. All voice, video, and signaling traffic is AES-128 encrypted with the option to add AES-256 encryption. It only takes four minutes to add live video to websites using just one line of HTML. This means that engineers and content creators alike can rapidly build sophisticated live video apps with many participants, as the API accommodates users without video development expertise.
- Encrypted video recordings
- Video chat embeds
- GDPR and HIPPA compliance
- SIP interconnect
- Video stream customization
- HLS and RTMP streaming
- Video analytics
Vonage prices follow simple usage-based pricing based on the number of participants in a video session, with plans starting at $9.99/month without bandwidth limitations.
Daily.co’s visual SDKs give you flexibility, scalability, and control for real-time video, live streaming, and recording. Developers can seamlessly integrate real-time video and audio into native apps with Daily’s iOS and Android SDKs. With Daily, you can power real-time audio and video, RTMP live streaming, and custom-layout recording. Plus enable features like live transcription, virtual backgrounds, and more. The company specializes in supporting apps in the education, live event, and internal collaboration/teams industries.
- Cross-platform support
- Three types of recording
- 100% customizable video call UI/UX
- Automatic bandwidth & switching between group sessions
- Intuitive development options
- Automatic tuning of video quality
- Many-to-many video sessions with all cameras on
- Global infrastructure with HD RTMP streaming
The pricing for Daily.co is designed to scale alongside the size of your userbase, and offers a discount for high volume usage.
Integrate the Right Video Chat API With Your App Today
While these ten of the top video chat APIs, there may be an API better suited for your unique business niche. To explore the complete collection of video APIs and SDKs available, visit an API marketplace or review site, like G2 or Capterra, to find out what other users think of it.
When evaluating a new video communication solution, ensure that it includes all of the features your app’s video chat needs. Then, it is best practice to calculate your estimated monthly cost by multiplying your number of app users by the per-user rate on the API’s pricing page to ensure you’re making a cost-conscious choice. Happy integrating!