How to Develop a Video Conferencing App Like Zoom

If there is one company which shot to fame in the last 45 days, it has to be Zoom Video Communications. One of the most trending searches in recent times has to be the word ‘Zoom meeting’. What exactly is zoom video conferencing app, anyway, and how does it work? This is a question a lot of us have been hearing, majorly because of the effects COVID-19 is having on the economy.

Due to the pandemic followed by a lockdown in major countries, a lot of companies have been forced to adapt their operations by making their employees work from home, cutting down on the chances of them getting sick on the job.

When one works remotely, it brings a lot of challenges. One of them being how to establish communication between employees. And this is where Zoom video calling comes in.

Zoom Meetings is a video conferencing platform owned by the company called Zoom. The software allows employees of a company to have online meetings while working remotely. It also has the ability to provide HD video as well as audio and supports up to 1,000 participants per session.

The rise in demand for video conferencing and online meetings has skyrocketed during the time of the Covid-19 crisis. Entrepreneurs and businesses are seeing this as an opportunity and are keen on developing an app like Zoom. So the main question for many of them is: how much does it cost to build a video conferencing app like Zoom?

In order to answer that question, let us first understand what Zoom video conferencing app is in detail.

Features of Zoom Video Conferencing App

First of all, Zoom Meetings contains all the features a company needs to hold online meetings, regardless of its size and strength. Participating individuals can join in from a computer or a mobile device wherever they are in the world as long as they have an internet connection. One can turn on their cameras so others can see them or keep them off if they do not want anyone else to see them or are concerned about privacy.

Alongside, every individual can also turn off their microphone as well to make sure there are no background noises when someone speaks.

  • Screen sharing: If the need arises, participants can share their screens with others, which comes in handy for various presentations and educational workshops.
  • Virtual hand-raising: When someone wants to speak or has a concern, they can signal it to the host by raising their hand virtually through an emoji. This prevents multiple people from speaking at once and improves communication.
  • Chat: Each Zoom Meeting contains an integrated chat feature that allows participants to communicate effectively with each other during a meeting.
  • Polls: As a host one can create a poll and share it with participants in the meeting in order to gather their responses and opinions about a topic.
  • Record meeting: Every Zoom meeting one holds can be recorded with the press of a button.One can save a recording locally on a device or upload it to the cloud.
  • Mute participants: The host of a meeting gets the ability to mute the mic of any participant they desire.

These are some of the vital features along with tons of other features that it has to offer. The software also has Virtual Background which allows you to set an image or video as your background during a meeting. This can be helpful for someone who does not want others to see the inside of their apartment. It also has a feature called ‘Touch Up My Appearance’, that is a filter which smoothes out your skins.

About privacy, Zoom Meetings does everything in its power to keep the data safe. The software is embedded with end-to-end encryption which makes sure no one can peep on your meetings — not even the company itself.

The Pricing of Video Calling App

To start with, Zoom Meetings has a free plan available. But, this version has a lot of limitations in place, making it unsuitable for a lot of businesses. With the free plan you can host up to 100 participants and take part in unlimited one-on-one meetings. The catch here is that each group meeting can only be 40 minutes long at most.

In order to unlock more features, you have to sign up for one of the paid plans on offer. Their prices start at just $14.99 per month per host.

One thing to consider here is that the pricing is per host, and not per participant. Meaning, you don’t need to pay a monthly fee for every participant that joins a meeting or webinar. Those people you invite can join for free, but the host of the meeting, but you as the host have to pay a monthly subscription. It simply means, the more number of hosts a company has, the higher the monthly bill is.

Along with that, Zoom also offers various add-ons. Like, the ability to increase the number of participants that can join a meeting, the option to add extra cloud recording storage, and more.

This brings us to the point, how much will it cost if you wanted to build your version of video conferencing app and software like Zoom?

There are numerous things to consider before a fixed cost is decided. It is not the cost of building the app itself. With WebRTC, it becomes relatively simple to create the service. What one needs is to develop the solution. And the costs will depend on skills, who you outsource to and the level of support you need.

Once the concept is finalized and you release your product, the true cost comes in maintaining the service and hosting it. You need CPU, Bandwidth and rackspace. Don’t forget, video is immensely hungry for bandwidth and CPU. This is nothing like a simple VoIP call. For lowers minimum threshold of say 200,000 minutes, you are looking for at least a four digit number to start with.

What does it take to create an app like Zoom video conferencing app?

There are a few important steps we cannot ignore when we create a video conferencing app.

  • Back-end development:- At the very beginning, the vital part is to create the server portion t for the proper functioning of the video conferencing app. While some apps can use ready-made BaaS solutions, a video conferencing app requires more complex technologies and it is better to create its own server from scratch.
  • UI/UX design:- Next comes the design part. It is important to think about good and attractive user interface and user experience. The UX should be intuitive in the first turn. Future users shouldn’t spend a lot of time to understand how they can perform one or another feature. Take the example of Zoom; how user friendly and light it is. From the perspective of the UI, it should have a catchy design to make people feel interested towards your web or mobile video chat app.
  • iOS app:- In order to create an iOS-based video conferencing app, the best bet would be to us Swift. SInce it is much simpler than Objective-C, Swift is more widespread. Also keep in mind the fact that it is easier and faster to build conferencing apps using third-party services since they simplify the process drastically.
  • Android app:- The principle of such an app for Android is almost the same, but third-part tools may differ. The main tool our web and Android developers use to provide users with video communication is WebRTC which stands for Web Real-Time Communication. This is an open source technology that makes it possible to arrange real-time communication using simple APIs.

Final Notes

Zoom has already set an example in the market for how video conferencing apps should be. The upwards exhaustively depends on the type of functionalities you want to add in the application and the server maintenance.

Originally published at https://www.hiddenbrains.com on April 16, 2020.

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Albert Smith is a Digital Marketing Manager with Hidden Brains, a leading enterprise web & mobile app development company specializing in IoT, Cloud & Big Data

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A Smith

A Smith

Albert Smith is a Digital Marketing Manager with Hidden Brains, a leading enterprise web & mobile app development company specializing in IoT, Cloud & Big Data

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