As the trend for digitalization grows, many teams across the world are looking for solutions to help them collaborate online. Upgrading the way businesses relay information to their clients as well as their employees has become the necessity. And there is no better option for seamless real-time networking than integrating reliable Chat, Voice, and Video APIs into your website or mobile app.
A system of useful, feature-packed integrations bring lasting benefits for businesses and their customers. Adopting a conversational approach creates opportunities for building loyal and trusting relationships between individuals and organizations.
Embedding existing APIs helps companies focus on other priorities rather than spend money and valuable time on developing necessary functionality from scratch. Therefore, here we’ve gathered the best Chat, Voice, and Video APIs that will help you choose the right ones for your web or mobile app development project.
1. Twilio API
Twilio API is an extremely beneficial solution for businesses that want to integrate voice, video, chat, SMS, or intelligent chatbots into their web, iOS, or Android apps. It enables organizations to connect with their customers everywhere they want to interact.
Twilio unites communications across your entire business from marketing and sales to operations; it is a great way to personalize every step of the customer journey.
- Marketing (text and email marketing, lead alerts, call tracking)
- Customer service (account security, IVR, intelligent chatbots, contact center)
- Operations (dispatch notifications, account notifications, appointment reminders)
How do Twilio APIs work?
With Twilio APIs, you can run campaigns across different channels that will keep your customers in touch with your brand. Twilio’s reliability and scalability allow you to build your business effortlessly and reach out to your customers wherever they are with:
- Programmable SMS (send and get text messages)
- Programmable Voice (make, receive, and monitor calls)
- Twilio SendGrid Email API (dispatch and receive emails)
- Programmable Chat (easily integrate chat into your app or website)
- Programmable Video (create real-time video and HD audio applications)
- Programmable Fax (send and receive faxes)
- Twilio API for WhatsApp (connect with users all over the world using one of the most popular messaging apps)
More than 172,000 businesses rely on Twilio for communications. Among them are Netflix, Airbnb, eBay, Instacart and others who build seamless customer interaction experiences.
Apiko, a company that specializes in web and mobile app development, often uses Twilio Chat API to make communication happen inside the app based on our clients’ requirements. One of our recent projects with Twilio Chat integration is a buy-and-sell marketplace for kid’s items - Markid.
Main Twilio Chat features
Twilio is tailored to handle high volumes of users with minimal delay. The chat is functional and has the necessary features to keep your users engaged:
- One-to-one or group messaging
- Rich messaging (typing indicator and message read status)
- Push notifications (new messages)
- Message history storage
- Message edit or removal
- Ability to see the old text messages for new members
- Chat linking with external services or its connection to other apps
- Interaction with intelligent logic (helper bots or chat ops creation)
Twilio offers flexible pricing policy that is good for both small and large businesses. It allows you to pay based on your usage, and if your usage grows, you’ll get discounts. Many Twilio clients agree that it is a cost-effective solution.
- $0.0085/min to receive and $0.013/min to make a voice call
- $0.0075 to send and receive text and picture messages globally
- $14.95/month for up to 100k emails
- $0.0042 to send a WhatsApp Template message and $0.005 for WhatsApp Session messages
- $0.03 per active Twilio Chat user per month
- $0.03 per active Twilio Conversations user across different channels per month
- $0.0015/min per Video participant
2. Getstream API
Getstream is a powerful chat API and SDKs that is easy to personalize for custom messaging app development. Spending less time and effort on the development, you can get a ready-to-use API chat solution with a pack of advanced features for your app.
Stream Chat is one of the best chats available. It supports five use cases with a customizable UI kit for each:
- Social Messaging
Many popular companies such as Under Armour, Crunchbase, NBC Sports, and others, already use this flexible and scalable solution to drive more engagement from their customers.
Stream Chat has the following benefits:
Component libraries for React, React Native, iOS and Android
Stream Chat delivers component libraries for React, React Native, iOS, and Android, which greatly simplifies lives for business owners and developers. You can greatly shorten the time it takes to deliver your product to market and save costs on custom development, because to integrate it you need only some days. The libraries give developers full control over the chat, so they can customize it to create a unique user experience.
Stream tools give admins the means to make sure users are safe within your application. Admins can mute and ban users, mute channels, and send notifications throughout the system for everyone to enjoy the conversations.
Also, you can activate Stream AI moderation, which automatically protects your users from spam, profanity, and explicit content inside your app.
To create a better messaging experience for users talking one to one, in groups or open channels, Stream Chat offers a variety of advanced features like @mentions, search, reactions, threads and slash commands.
Main Stream Chat features are:
- 1:1 messaging
- Group messaging
- Channel messaging
- Search your messages and conversations
- Custom objects
- Slash commands
- Rich URL preview
- Typing indicators
- Unread message counts
- Online user presence
- User to user mute
- User to user block
- User invites
- Video playback
- File uploads
Stream also enables developers to build custom features like chatbots, user polls with a clear API.
Stream Chat Pricing
You can start using Chat with a free trial. Then two options will be available to you: either to upgrade or to contact sales for a customizable solution perfect for your business and user volume.
So, the price for the standard Stream Chat is $499 per month. This chat is a bit on the pricey side, however for a quickly growing business it serves its purpose. Standard chat includes:
- 25k active users / month
- 3,000,000 messages / month
- 7,000,000 messages / storage
- 1,250 peak concurrent connections
Intercom is a platform for building relationships. By using it, you will see who is interacting with your website or mobile app and how they engage with it. The functionality of the platform makes it easy to reach your customers and communicate with them by means of targeted content, behavior-driven messages, and conversational support.
There are now more than 30,000 companies that efficiently use Intercom for impactful conversations with their clients. Some of them are the top organizations such as Microsoft, Shopify, Udemy, and IBM. But why do they choose Intercom? Let’s read on to find out what makes it stand out.
Intercom main features
If you own a website or a mobile app, you can benefit from Intercom the following way:
- Gather data about your customers and their actions. With Intercom and its customer intelligence, you’ll be able to track, filter, and segment every customer.
- Live chat. Target your users in every aspect of their customer journey with highly personalized messages, which will add to your business growth. What’s more, you can scale your live chats with chatbots and smart automation, to quickly resolve queries and get more leads.
- Engage your customers in a conversation. Increase revenue with tailored outbound messages to drive more action. While using Intercom customer engagement software, you can send outbound email, push, website or in-product content to customers segmented by their preferences.
- Mobile carousels. You can create beautiful, personalized carousel screens that will be extremely helpful in educating, engaging, and supporting mobile app users during their customer lifecycle.
- Product tours. Assist your customers in their journey guiding them through the first steps, showing them what’s new, and giving proactive support.
- Announcements. Keep your users up-to-date with all the new releases, changes, or promotions. Motivate them to get back to your website or mobile app to take action.
- Management tools. You can easily manage your users’ interactions across all your channels in one place with inboxes, reporting, and automated workflows.
Intercom brings together whatever you may need to analyze, engage with, and support your visitors in one place. Such a simple approach makes it easy for everyone in your organization to use.
As a system with many components that all work together, Intercom comprises management tools, chats, conversations, chatbots, segmentation, and user tracking to solve the specific needs of your customers.
Intercom has four pricing plans that include different options to support the growing demands of your business:
- For basic chat and messaging
- Start - from $39 per month
Main features include: 1 seat, live chat, targeted outbound chat, slack integration
- Grow - from $99 per month
Main features include: 5 seats, inbound and outbound emails, saved replies, HubSpot and Github integrations
- For automation and messaging at scale
- Accelerate - from $499 per month
Main features include: 10 seats, personalized bots, numerous team inboxes, team performance reporting
- Scale - from $999 per month
Main features include: 10 seats, workload management, multi-brand messenger, custom API rate limits, ongoing product consultation
4. Jitsi: Top free Video API
To use Jitsi for video-conferencing you can visit meet.jit.si, download an app (Android/ iOS) or embed Jitsi Meet into your own website. Jitsi is completely free. It is freely available to use and integrate.
Main Jitsi projects
The most popular Jitsi projects are:
- Jitsi Meet – easy and safe to use video conferences, which can be embedded in your website app or used separately.
- Jitsi Videobridge - an engine that stays behind all of Jitsi’s multi-party video conferences and powers them.
- Jibri - a broadcaster and recorder, which can be used to save video call recordings and stream to YouTube Live.
- Jidesha - a browser extension for screensharing.
To see all of the Jitsi projects, visit their github page - https://github.com/jitsi
Main features of Jitsi Meet
Jitsi Meet is a great tool to help you stay in touch with your team, colleagues, friends, and family. It has lots of features meant to improve your experience and boost user engagement. Here are some of the main ones:
- Have unlimited number of users. Jitsi will not limit the number of participants in a video conference. The only limiting factors are server power and bandwidth.
- View the active speaker automatically or choose any participant to see their video with a click
- Keep your meetings safe by locking a room with a password
- Share the screen of your computer (in Chrome available only with Jidesha)
- Stream your conference to YouTube live (with Jibri configuration)
- Encrypted by default
- Easy and free integration in other applications / websites with open-source API
- Ready to use in web browsers. There is no need for downloads as your friends can access the conference with a link within their browsers.
- Get statistics according to your participants talk-time
- Opt in only for audio
- High-quality audio and video (Opus and VP8)
- Customize your URLs. Invite your friends with a link they can easily remember instead of having random sequences of numbers and letters.
Embedding Jitsi Meet into your website or mobile app
You can use the external API of Jitsi Meet to embed a ready-made solution into any webpage with the help of a developer and a few lines of the code. Change different options to suit your needs via configuration file.
Jitsi Meet can be easily embedded into Android and iOS apps, and into a website. To learn about recently added features, read this article - https://jitsi.org/blog/features-update-april-2020/
Agora is a robust tool, which provides real-time communication services. It offers APIs and SDKs that developers can use for powerful voice and video call chat integration into an application.
Many renowned companies such as Hallo, Meet.me, and Talkspace have chosen Agora as their partner. Its cross-platform support for Native mobile apps as well as websites, user-friendly functionality, and highly active support team make Agora stand out.
With Angora’s easy-to-embed SDK (software development kit), you can add clear voice into any application right away. With this feature, users can:
- Get a high-quality solution. Audio engineers have tuned different parameters and built a powerful audio engine to perform well even in a challenging environment.
- Be flexible in their audio experience. Voice calls can scale easily. Whether it is a call between two people or many, Agora can handle that number of participants your users need.
- 360° spatial audio. Gamers will appreciate this functionality because they can hear different gamer voices with distance and location dimensions. That makes Agora ideal for games, AR and VR apps.
- Change voice and mix audio. Users can experiment with their voice calls and make them fun with different voice effects such as sound mixing and sound reverb.
- Detect the active speaker. There is less confusion with Agora’s speaker detection. It will automatically detect and highlight the users who are speaking.
You can easily improve your application by adding a real-time video chat of high quality. It enables:
- One-to-one video calls. Add this high quality, low latency Agora video chat, which will allow one-to-one calls to happen inside your application.
- Group chat video calling. You can rely on Agora group chat video calling to handle up to 17 participants.
- Deep Customization. While using Agora SDK, you can customize video streams and presentation styles, as well as integrate 3rd party SDKs, such as stickers or background segmentation.
Benefits of Agora pricing model
Agora offers a flexible pricing model, that allows its clients to pay only for what they use. It provides the following benefits:
- Pay on the go
You don’t have to pay in advance. Only pay as you go.
- Free time
Every month you get the first 10,000 minutes for free.
- Volume discounts
Sales can help you gain access to bigger discounts when the number of uses increases.
- Voice: $0.99 per/1,000 minutes
- Video HD (720P and below): $3.99 per/1,000 minutes
- Video HD+ (Above 720P): $14.99 per/1,000 minutes
- Live Interactive Audio Streaming: $0.99 per/1,000 minutes
- Live Interactive Video Streaming:
- 720P and below: $2.50 per/1,000 minutes
- Above 720P: $3.25 per/1,000 minute
- Cloud Recording:
- Voice: $1.49 per/1,000 minutes
- Video HD (720P and below): $5.99 per/1,000 minutes
- Video HD+ (Above 720P): $22.49 per/1,000 minutes
This article of best chat, audio, and video APIs covers the essentials you need to know when building your mobile app or website. Of course, there are many other APIs, which you can leverage, but this list includes the top 5 that Apiko relies on in app development.
Choose those integrations that best solve your customers’ problems, are functional enough and cost-effective for your business. If you have any questions, or need a hand with integrations and app development, we’re always happy to help.Learning Resources