Thinking of having your own live streaming platform or app?
Basically, to do so we have two main options: building your own app from scratch or integrating a live streaming API from trusted vendors.
Integrating a live streaming API essentially allows us to add live-streaming features and functionalities to an existing application or platform without the hassle of a lengthy and difficult software development process.
Curious to learn more about live streaming API? Here we will discuss how you can integrate live streaming API and the benefits of doing so.
Let us begin by learning the concept of live streaming API and API itself.
Live Streaming API: What Is It?
First, what is an API?
API stands for “Application Programming Interface”, which, as the name suggests, is a programming code that acts as a bridge (an interface) between two or sometimes more applications. The API allows two connected applications to learn with each other. In layman’s terms, the API “teaches” the one application to understand the “language” of the other application.
In practice, this API is typically used to allow an application to access the functions or features of the other application (the one providing the API).
So, a live streaming API is simply an API provided by a live streaming application that “teaches” another application its live streaming functionalities. The features and functions the API can teach will vary depending on the application itself. Professional live streaming APIs like Iotum will typically offer features like:
- Adaptive resolution capable of HD 1080 resolution that can automatically switch between resolutions depending on the client’s available bandwidth
- Two-tier video streams, offering both high and low bitrates for better reliability across mixed network conditions
- Clear audio, including super-wideband audio for a better listening experience
- Intuitive record and share feature
- Secure connections with GDPR and HIPAA compliance
The Benefits of Integrating a Live Streaming API
A live streaming API allows us to get the above’s features in our existing app (or a brand new app) so we can get live streaming functionalities without the lengthy development process.
So, we can create a custom application with our own logo, brand colors, and other brand elements, as well as the custom features we’d like, and add the live streaming functionalities on top of it.
To really understand the benefits of an API, we have to first discuss why building an app from scratch is typically not ideal due to three main issues.
The challenges of building your app from scratch
Unless you are going to build the solution on your own, most likely you’ll need to hire an experienced software developer or outsource the project to a software development firm. Both can be very expensive, and while there are affordable software developers out there, reliable live streaming functionalities can be very challenging to build from scratch, so you’re risking quality and reliability if you are partnering with cheap developers and/or firms.
Even if you do have the budget and/or the skills to develop the app on your own, building and testing a live streaming app from scratch can take months or even years. If video content in your industry is heavily regulated (i.e. HIPAA in health/medical), then developing and testing your app to ensure it stays in compliant with legal regulations can be very challenging.
Live streaming is by nature, a heavily regulated activity since a massive amount of data is actively transmitted during live streaming, including sensitive and confidential information. When deciding we’re going to build a live streaming app from scratch, we also need to ensure we have adequate cybersecurity infrastructure to protect the app from various cybersecurity threats and hacking activities. This can be easier said than done especially if you are not a company specializing in software development.
Benefits of live streaming API
Integrating a live streaming API will essentially eliminate the three main issues above and provide the following benefits:
Faster development time
Pretty obvious, integrating an API means you’re bypassing the lengthy development time of building your own app from scratch, so you can launch your live streaming app faster.
You don’t need to hire a software developer or outsource the project to third-party firms, and typically the cost of integrating an API is much cheaper than hiring a developer. Meaning, you’ll get your live streaming API at a significantly lower price.
You can custom-tailor your own app, for example, using your logo and custom features before adding the live stream features on top of them. If you want, you can also integrate other APIs to the same app to add even more features.
By choosing a reliable API vendor, protecting your stream’s data is their concern and no longer yours. You should choose a professional vendor with good cybersecurity best practices and adequate data security infrastructure to ensure the integrity and security of your streams. Make sure confidential data is protected with end-to-end encryption so that even when your stream is hijacked by hackers, they won’t be able to access and use encrypted data.
If you are going to use the live streaming app in a regulated industry (i.e. medical), you can save a lot of time and money by choosing the API vendor that is already compliant with the regulation. Iotum’s live streaming API, for example, has built-in HIPAA compliance and GDPR eligibility so you can stay confident about data security.
As you can see, integrating a live streaming API has many benefits over building your own live streaming API from scratch. You’ll still get the freedom and versatility of adding logo and custom features, but you’ll also eliminate the lengthy and complex development cycle.
However, it’s still important to choose the right API vendor according to your objective, who’s going to use the live-streaming app, and budget, among other factors. It’s important to choose the right API that offers the features and reliability you’ll need, but at the same time still easy and intuitive enough to use.