Hackernoon logoThings to Consider Before Building A Video Conferencing App Like Zoom by@gerardzacharias

Things to Consider Before Building A Video Conferencing App Like Zoom

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@gerardzachariasgerardzacharias

We have seen a lot of things both tangible and abstract transcend from being a luxury to a niche utility and finally, to a bare-minimal necessity. Mobile phones and computers could be quoted in this category. When it comes to intangibles, we can always talk about the Internet. One such manifestation that was once considered a luxury, has now become an inevitable part of our everyday lives is video calling.
Video calling, which was almost imagined to be straight out of sci-fi in the 1980s has now become a part of everyone's smartphone. Video calling has considerably increased in its relevance ever since the imposition of lockdowns and social distancing because of the global COVID-19 pandemic. It might not be an exaggeration to say that in the ‘old normal’, if meeting in person was considered the standard, its equivalent in the 'new normal' would be video calling.

The growth in numbers

The coronavirus crisis has contributed immensely to the growth of video calling applications period the download of apps like Houseparty, Skype, and Zoom increased by more than 100% at the break of the first quarter of 2020. Zoom, which was barely looking at 2 million downloads in January has skyrocketed to about 27 million downloads in March. The app that was considered the underdog of video calling had now become the market leader.

The market of the future

The future does look promising and profitable for any video calling app like Zoom. On one side, there is a growing need to socially meet people who belong to our friends and family. Meeting out over coffee and in restaurants has become a thing of the past, and it might not be as vivid as it was in the near future. Therefore, ‘catching up’ in the near future will largely be confined to group video calls. 
Parallel to this, there has also been a growing emphasis on working from home for a lot of organizations. This does not, in any way, attenuate the need for communication and being up-to-date. There is also a constant need for real-time collaboration and brainstorming. Given these factors, it is important for the team members to stay in touch with each other, and it cannot happen over a one-to-one call. An app like Zoom is vital to any organization that relies on intra-team and inter-team communication… pretty much every organization!
It has been estimated that the video conferencing market will be worth more than $50 billion by 2026, and that is less than a decade from now! It is quite natural that any aspiring entrepreneurs would want to capitalize on this new wave of business that has transcended to unfathomable heights because of the COVID-19 crisis.
On the surface, it might seem as if the market is saturated and there is no space for new players to enter into the market, leave alone making a profit. However, with meticulous market research, it is quite possible to create a new app that capitalizes on a specific niche or sports curtain wall features that are bound to woo users.

The different avatars of video calling

Video calling today has branched itself into different manifestations.
One of the most primary applications of video calling lies in official communication. This space has, for long, being dominated by Skype and to be specific, Skype for Business. However, all of a sudden, Zoom came in and occupied this space, effectively dethroning Skype from the supremacy it held for a long time. One of the biggest selling points of these applications is that they are compatible across almost all devices. There is an app available for every possible operating system right from iOS, OS-X, Android, and Windows.
Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic onset, video calling has become a social need as well. However, people do not see a need to install a separate app for connecting in small groups. Facebook and WhatsApp, which are quite likely to be found on every smartphone, have their own video calling features. There is no time limit associated with this but there is a limit with respect to numbers. Facebook does not allow more than eight people to participate and WhatsApp just allows half of it. Google has also had its share of attempts but the non-availability of fully compatible applications for the iOS makes it lose its privilege of being a preferred choice.
There are certain video calling apps that go beyond offering just video calling. Houseparty is one such application that has games embedded right within it. You can invite your contacts to join a game over this application. Another similar application, Discord, also lets communities make audio and video calls.

Focus on Zoom

For a long time, video calling was synonymous with Skype. Although there have been attempts by Google in launching its Hangouts and Meet, it has always been Skype retaining the top spot. Skype was the de facto videoconferencing platform even for businesses. However, business video conferences, at a time when Skype was dominating, was largely confined to some two or three people at the max discussing something, because they were 'forced' into this mode of communication.
A video conference meant that there was an inevitable collaboration between two teams that were placed in different locations or something on those lines. However, today, the landscape of business communication has changed. People who communicate by talking in person with each other on an everyday basis have now been forced to get on to video calls. Team hurdles that happened between seven or eight members sitting in a single location was now to happen over video conference. Skype was not just enough to meet these requirements.
Zoom stepped in at the right time when the number-limit for videoconferencing was steadily growing. When Zoom was introduced, the capacity to host 1000 members on a video conference was perceived to be an overkill. However today, it has become a necessity.
In addition, there are a lot of factors that make Zoom a favorite even for personal calls. Zoom, for example, features virtual backgrounds. It might not be a great feature that affects the quality of communication but it still counts as a flaunt-factor when it comes to personal communication.

Building an app like Zoom

We had seen earlier how the market might seem saturated but there is still a lot of room for a new player to not only enter but also taste success in the $50 billion-market for video calling applications. An app like Zoom is a grand culmination of a lot of features, UI elements, and aggressive marketing. Here are the steps involved in creating an app like Zoom.
The first obvious step is to define your goals and specifications of your product. You will need to do meticulous market research to find out your competition and your scope. You will also need to find out if you will be competing in a saturated market that has similar products or if there is a separate scope for you to capitalize on.
The first thing that meets the eye of a user is the user interface. One of the biggest contributors to the success of Zoom was its UI that looks professional, but at the same time, does not compromise on simplicity. Millennials have been known to have a passive liking towards bright color schemes while thriving on aspects like minimalism.
While the backend might not be visible to the user, the application server, the webserver, and the database play an important role in contributing to the robust functionalities offered by your video calling app. You can choose to develop the bank and from scratch or alternatively, use various SaaS solutions like Twilio, Wowza, and PubNub.
Needless to say, development and testing are integral parts of creating your video calling app like Zoom. There are a lot of SDKs and APIs that can assist you in the process. When you test your application, it is important that you test it not only for usability but also for data privacy and safety. It is to be remembered that even an app like Zoom suffered its setback in privacy issues.
When you create the app, ensure that the onboarding process is kept simple and the user profile management is intuitive and easy. In an endeavor towards security, it is important to have your communication encrypt it and to end. The app should support both voice and video calls and also group calls. Given the need for sharing presentations and spreadsheets, your app should permit the sharing of screens and files.
Once the app has been created and tested, to garnish your efforts, you will need to come up with a proper marketing plan that will be focused on reach, brand building, leads, and of course, profit.

Conclusion

There is no question that the market potential for a video calling app that covers both business and personal needs is humongous and lucrative. However, developing an app of that caliber would be a daunting and cumbersome task. Instead of investing in hours of development and testing, you could possibly consider purchasing white label clones of Zoom. These white label clones are extremely customizable and can be flavored with your brand image.

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