In a time of massive uncertainties, if there is something that has risen to quick fame, it has to be Zoom. The video conferencing app broke all the charts to become not only the top app in its category but also rule the entire app market with over 1 million downloads in just a month.
The COVID-19 pandemic acted as a boost to the fame of Zoom where not just businesses but also individuals used the platform to connect and conduct online meetings. Something similar happened with other similar apps, too. Over 62 million downloads of Zoom and other similar apps were reported in just a week.
Hence, if you have been petting the idea of building a video conferencing app like Zoom, you are moving in the right direction. In fact, the market value of video conferencing solutions is expected to touch the $50 billion mark by 2026; it is a perfect time to convert your idea into a viable business model.
So, any idea about how to proceed with your endeavor? How to build an app like Zoom? How much would it cost? Well, it may be a billion-dollar idea, but building a platform like Zoom is not a complex or expensive undertaking. This post will explain to you the quickest, cheapest, and most effective way to do it. So, how to build a video chat app?
Building a video chat app like Zoom from scratch is without a doubt a time-taking process. The entire Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) for such as app requires different stages of market research, requirement gathering, feasibility study, designing, implementation, testing, and deployment. Here are the major aspects that you must address beforehand:
1. Prepare a robust idea & comprehensive requirement specification
While there is nothing much to research if you are simply thinking about cloning Zoom-like features, you must carry out a comprehensive market study to evaluate the viability of a Zoom-like platform in your target market.
Why your target users need yet another Zoom-like platform?
What makes your platform more valuable than Zoom or others?
What gaps left by the competitors can be filled with your alternative?
Even though we are talking about building a platform like Zoom, you may want to include some special requirements to set you apart from the others. It could be a unique feature, better security, or just a more viable pricing strategy.
2. Figure out the solutions you need to convert your idea into an MVP
After you have a clear idea of what do you want in your platform, you must look into devising an overall ecosystem for your platform. This may include-
The segments you want to target (like a niche): education, business, personal, consolation, etc.
The platform you want to target: Android, iOS, Web, TV, etc.
The set of solutions you need: Back-end, Front-end web, Mobile apps, APIs, and other services.
The scalability of your platform: Depends on the video streaming service you will use.
3. Choose a robust technology stack to implement your requirements
All the given-above requirements require certain technologies for the implementation of a working MVP. For example –
Targeting the business segment may require you to use certain APIs that support secure group and 1-to-1 meetings. Android Apps require JAVA, iOS App require Objective-C, while Hybrid web apps need React Native. The back-end technology will depend on the front-end and database technologies you are using. You may turn to the MEAN stack for Node. Js-based development and a NoSQL database, while PHP stack will allow you to use MYSQL database.
4. Include the most popular Zoom-like features in your list
I take that you are impressed by the features of Zoom, and you want to develop a similar app with some unique customizations. Before doing that, make sure you are not missing the popular features that make Zoom this valuable.
User profile management: Requires complete programming of the user experience. Users are the primary stakeholders of your platform. You must offer as much profile customization and personalization options to enhance their UX.
App onboarding: Requires social media login APIs to use Facebook, Google, and other platforms, etc. for logging in the users without creating a user account manually.
1-to-1 video calls: A secure two-way channel for private meetings. The API from your streaming solution provider will introduce this feature on your platform. You just have to build the interface.
Group calls: A secure 1-to-many channel for group meetings with multiple participants.The limit of the maximum number of participants allowed can be customized by changing your subscription plan of the video streaming solution.
Mute users: Group meetings can be difficult with all those background noises. The host of a meeting should be able to mute the participants so only one participant can talk at a time.
Live Text chat: Users should be able to send live text chat during the meeting. The feature helps participants to comment or communicate without intruding on an on-going discussion.
Virtual hand-raising: Allows participants in a group meeting to virtually raise their hands to seek permission to speak.
Screen Sharing: Participants can share their devices’ screens. It helps in conducting virtual presentations and also to provide remote assistance to a user.
Remove Users: Ability to remove a participant from an on-going meeting.
Recording: If allowed by the host, participants can record and save live meeting sessions for future references.
Polls: Hosts can create live polls to collect voting on certain topics and decisions. Can also be used for collecting feedback.
End-to-end encryption: Encryption of the communication channels to prevents third-party interception. Only the allowed participants with access link should be able to join a meeting.
Freemium Monetization: Allows you to offer certain features free of cost, whereas the users can purchase premium subscriptions to get more advanced features. For example, to increase the maximum number of participants in a meeting.
How much will it cost to build a video conferencing app like Zoom?
An MVP with the given-above features and support for web and mobile apps can be built for around $100,000 from scratch; given that the US development cost is as lows as $50-$100 per hour. This estimation includes different phases of SDLC, but not the recurring cost of web-hosting, mobile app hosting, streaming service subscription. We assumed that you would be hiring a team of at least 6-8 different experts, who would work for 5-6 hours a day to complete the project in about 5-6 months.
Taking the development cost in other regions such as India, Ukraine, and the Philippines as $30-$50 per hour, the same project may be completed in just around $70,000-$80,000.
However, if you use a Zoom clone script, you can get the same MVP for just around $700-$1500. Such a script comes ready-made with all the basic features, while the open source-code also allows you to make the customizations on top. Make no mistake; an ideal Zoom clone will include the basic features out of the box, but you might have to pay a bit extra for customization of the stock look-and-feel to match your brand identity. So take this expense as well into account. Nevertheless, if you are building a platform not very different from the original Zoom architecture, it’s always better to use a decent clone script, rather than re-inventing the wheel. With little more investment, you may also be able to add some unique features that set your platform apart from any Zoom-like alternative in the market.