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What are the key benefits of video APIs?

Dominik Berger
Sep 2, 2021 9:00:00 AM

Application programming interfaces first appeared at the beginning of the millennium. Since then, APIs have grown exponentially enabling rapid innovation and key opportunities

Leveraging APIs allows programmers to simplify the development process and implement new functionalities without the need to build them from scratch. According to Forbes, 71% of developers plan on using more APIs in the next few years. Developers are not the only ones gaining a benefit. Thanks to APIs, managers and business owners can save on operation costs and accelerate their company growth.

What are Video APIs?

Video APIs provide access to server infrastructure and allow developers to integrate and add further video functionalities to their product without the hassle of encoding, hosting, and delivering.

In general, implementing video comes with a series of technical difficulties. We believe that video APIs can stand up to this challenge and we want to share with you the three main reasons why developers make use of them.

Key benefit #1 - Scalability

Video and audio real-time communication in the browser relies on the WebRTC standard. While indeed, WebRTC is a peer-to-peer technology and requires nothing more than a browser; underneath the surface, developers need a server to get more peers to communicate with each other. 

This is why solutions like video APIs and CPaaS can be quite practical! Video engines help developers avoid bandwidth bottlenecks and allow them to easily scale their platform.

Key benefit #2 - Signaling servers 

As mentioned in the paragraph before, real-time media and data exchanges require intermediary servers in order to operate effectively. In particular, they require a signaling server to coordinate and establish the connection before the conversation takes place.

But buying and maintaining servers to solve signaling problems is not always an option for programmers. In fact, avoiding the need to build, purchase and sustain complex server architectures is the reason why developers prefer video APIs solutions. 

Key benefit #3 - TURN servers

When it comes to signaling servers, STUN (Session Traversal Utilities for NAT) and TURN (Traversal Using Relays around NAT) servers are the main options. Generally, a STUN server is the preferred option because it’s faster and doesn’t create much load. It identifies the unique IP address and uses this information to establish a connection

However, sometimes it's impossible to communicate directly with a peer, for example when the access to the IP information is restricted by firewalls like in specific companies and administrations. The solution, in this case, is using a TURN server as an intermediary. 

TURN infrastructures add extra costs to your business and the relays add more load. For this reason, programmers rely on CPaas to handle the signaling and the extra TURN servers for them. 

WebRTC

Additional key benefits for developers

While the benefits mentioned above center around the technical sphere, we want to list also other interesting advantages in using a video API:

  • Launching products and services faster

Building on top of APIs can cut out months of initial development time. Especially essential features like pre-builts can be an efficient time-saver!

Maybe you noticed you would like to add live-streaming, shared notes, breakout rooms, or allow recording. Why not pick a video engine that has all the features immediately ready for you to use?

This way, you can focus on other important aspects that make your product unique, instead of recreating everything from scratch.

  • GDPR compliance

With more policies focused on privacy and users concerned about data protection, working with a GDPR compliant solution, that takes care of the data regulations for you, is a huge advantage. Especially when your product stores or deals with data from Europe.

  • Switching costs

    The most interesting part about adopting an API is the possibility to switch easily to another API (at least until you find the right one for you). In the past, building your own solution meant you had to stick to it. Now the efforts and cost of integrating a new solution can make it worth switching to something that works for you!

  • Well-written documentation and tech support 

Relying on a VCaaS solution, instead of building everything from scratch, can bring you two important advantages: a well-written documentation and consistent and outstanding support from engineers.

At Digital Samba, we are committed to assist your product development, by helping you integrate our API every step of the way.

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