During 2016-2017, the roaster of leading players in the unified communication industry looked quite different from today. Then, lumbering beasts like Google Hangouts, Skype, or WebEx dominated the market. It was on Feb 13, 2017, when Amazon finally joined the party with Amazon Chime.
However, industry giants soon realize having a stand-alone video calling app is not enough. Users use this to connect with others across different platforms and prefer to add some tweaks of their own. From that point, real-time video-calling SDKs rose to prominence. Amazon launched Amazon Chime SDK in 2019.
Since then, many, both organizations and individuals, have used Amazon Chime for their video calling/ live webinar needs.
However, as cool as Amazon Chime is, it is not without some serious shortcomings. Listen closely, and you will hear the collective sigh of disgruntled Amazon Chime users echoing in review sites and forums as the application fails to meet some users' expectations.
If you are reading this article, chances are, you are looking for a change. Or maybe you want to weigh your options before purchasing the right SDK.
To help you, here is a discussion on Amazon Chime SDK alternatives and where each of them shines the most.
Shortcomings of Amazon Chime SDK
Let’s start with the positives first:
Based on user reviews, Amazon Chime is suitable for small teams. The application offers decent audio/video quality when the number of video session participants isn’t high. Therefore, it is more than enough for small group meetings, interviews, and regular daily communications. And security is a plus too.
However, there are some major points of dissatisfaction:
- The Application lacks useful features, such as blurring background effects and polls, and it doesn’t auto-sync with Google calendar.
- There are some severe complaints about compatibility. It doesn’t support the Linux system. Also, it doesn’t work properly with some browsers, such as Safari 6.2.
- There are some concerning reports of unwanted noises during content sharing, screen going black and choppy audio when the attendee uses Apple-based devices and browsers.
- Amazon follows a per-user pricing model. That means even when users use video conferencing occasionally, you still need to pay the full price for them.
What to look for in an Amazon Chime SDK alternative
Like any tool, Amazon Chime (and, by extension, Amazon Chime SDK) has its limitations and shortcomings. If the application doesn’t serve you well, you want to look in others’ directions.
To pick the best application SDK for yourself, consider the following factors:
Customization: Do you care more about deployment simplicity and don’t want to tamper with the original code much? Then pick a low-code, easy-to-integrate SDK. On the other hand, you might want to look for an SDK with a high degree of customization, provided you prefer flexibility and have some serious coding expertise to back it up.
Your usage: Not all organizations (even individuals) use video conferencing tools in the same way. On one extreme, some use it mainly for having one-on-one conversations or interviews. Limited functions aren’t huge problems in those use cases.
On the other extreme, video conferencing can be utilized for more complex use cases such as broadcasting to hundreds of participants or webinars where you need multitudes of tools and features. In such situations, more robust options are required. In short, your usage should be a vital deciding factor.
Cost: Of course, the more you pay, the better experience you will have. However, after a certain threshold, extra spending gives diminishing returns. Also, you want to consider pricing from per user per minute perspective. For instance, if video calling is more of a side feature of your application, there is no point in picking a high-performance SDK with a high per-user per month rate to match.
Interactivity: Let’s face it, working together through video calls needs more than just reliable HD video. You’d want to share what’s on your screen with others, or just shoot a quick comment while a discussion is going on. That’s why you should expect your SDK provider to offer in-built collaboration features like screen share, chat, polls, emojis, et al., so that you don't have to go around looking for a bunch of other SDKs to integrate with to add these features to your live video calls.
The 10 Best Alternatives to Amazon Chime SDK
Now that we've assessed Amazon Chime SDK's limitations and what to look for in an Amazon Chime alternative, let's checkout the top 10 Amazon Chime SDK Alternatives - Dyte, Zoom Video SDK, Jitsi, Vonage Video, Agoram Twilio Video, EnableX, Whereby, Mux and Daily
- Zoom Video SDK
- Vonage Video
- Twilio Video
Let's dive into the world of live video-calling experiences and explore some of the top-notch Amazon Chime SDK alternatives.
Zoom is undoubtedly one of the most well-known names in the video-calling tech niche. During the Covid-19 days, millions of people adopted Zoom for their daily personal and professional usage.
Zoom soon realized the application alone might not be enough for all use cases and Zoom SDKs were born. Users often use various devices, browsers, and third-party tools with Zoom. And these ecosystems are often pretty diverse.
Zoom SDK provides a solution by allowing users to integrate Zoom’s tech into their own ecosystems.
Zoom SDK in short:
- With Zoom SDK, you can conduct video sessions with up to 1,000 participants.
- You get to access Zoom meetings' features, such as a breakout room, Remote support, Live recording, Polls, and Custom backgrounds.
- Zoom supports open translation extensibility. Simply put, it translates different languages during the video call. It can be extremely useful for dealing with language barriers while interacting with individuals from various cultures.
- Zoom is now a lot more secure, but Zoombombing and other security loopholes will always remain as blemishes to Zoom’s otherwise pristine reputation.
- Pricing is a big concern for many. Most of its good features often come with extra costs.
- Zoom SDK doesn’t offer a prebuilt UI kit.
- If video participants don’t have great connectivity, Zoom SDK doesn’t have any means to ensure good video quality.
Zoom SDK pricing:
With Zoom SDK, you get 10,000 mins free on a monthly basis. Any usage past that threshold would cost $0.31 per user minute. The recording cost is $100 per month for 1 TB of storage.
There are three separate customer support plans: Access, Premier, and Premier+.
“Dyte made integrating video/audio calling into my app super simple and led to a more fun development experience.” - Dyte User,
Usually, the number of users who have both actual needs and resources/required expertise for a highly customizable live video conferencing SDK is low. This group mostly consists of large businesses with complex needs.
The majority of users, like Educational institutes, service-based businesses, and SMEs, prefer a reliable SDK that is easy to integrate without writing hundreds of lines of code. Dyte SDK perfectly fits this requirement.
For starters, Dyte helps you integrate secure, high-quality live video into your custom business application ecosystem with minimal coding. It also provides advanced analytics and loads of collaborative features and integrations.
Dyte video SDK in short:
- Dyte SDK does the heavy lifting on your behalf by managing audio/video for high quality and minimum possible lag on its own. It frees you up from having to rewrite codes for the best performance.
- Use prebuilt Dyte UI kit components for a low coding experience. However, if you want to customize heavily to suit your needs, you can do so with Dyte core SDK. In short, Dyte is for both low-code and pro-code users.
- You can stream to a few participants to over 10k using your web apps built on Dyte SDK.
- One of the cool things about Dyte is its analytics. You will find detailed reports on participant interactions, duration, and more. These can be analyzed to understand and improve participant engagement.
- Interactive features make otherwise boring video sessions engaging. And Dyte has a plethora of such features: rich chat, screen share, expandable whiteboards, and many more. On top of that, you can easily connect other applications with your Dyte SDK-based custom applications thanks to Dyte’s large integration library.
- Build your app on one platform, and it will reliably work on different browsers, operating systems, and devices.
Dyte SDK supports:
- Mobile: Flutter, Android (Java/Kotlin), iOS (Objective-C/Swift), React Native
- Desktop: Electron
Dyte provides free 10,000 minutes/month. Once you cross the 10k min mark in a month, the Product price begins at $0.004 per user per minute, with recordings costing $0.010 per minute and RTMP out costing $0.015 per minute. For volume discounts, schedule a call with our product experts.
In addition, Dyte provides free 24-hour assistance to all clients. You can contact the team for anything, whether it’s a simple question or you need help during some major online events or serious tech issues so start building
Jitsi is a collection of multiple open-source projects for video conferencing. Since it’s open source, you can literally customize and use it any way you want.
At its core, Jitsi comprises a few featured projects such as Jitsi Meet, Jitsi Videobridge, Jibri, and Jigsai.
Jitsi in short:
- Jitsi is open-source and free. You can use it in any way you want.
- Jitsi Meet comes with features like text sharing via Etherpad, Locking a room, text chatting (web only), Raising hands, Youtube video access during the call, audio-only calls, and third-party app integrations.
- You won’t have crucial collaborative features such as screen sharing, recording, the telephone dial-in to a conference, etc., with Jitsi Meet alone. For those features, you need to set up Jibri and JIgsai (other projects under Jitsi). That means extra time and resource investment, and more codes.
- The extra work required to set up different components makes Jitsi not suitable for users looking for a low-code option.
- Video calls are end-to-end encrypted, but it doesn’t cover chat or polls. So if you are looking for iron-clad security, Jitsi might not be the best choice for you.
- It can consume a lot of bandwidth which isn’t surprising considering how Jitsi Videobridge functions.
- Jitsi might feel a little underwhelming for large organizations that need an SDK for frequent long video sessions with a large number of participants involved.
It’s free. You don’t need to pay for any Jitsi component you use. However, the downside is that you don’t get any dedicated technical support. You might find some help from community members, though.
Vonage Video [TokBox]
The TokBox API (now known as Vonage) is another solid option for integrating live video and audio into your web or mobile applications. It is built on WebRTC standards.
TokBox (Vonage Video) in short:
- Video conferences can accommodate up to 25 users. It can be a problem if you plan to invite a large number of participants or live stream.
- With ToKBox SDK, you get all the essential collaborative features, such as a chat option, whiteboard, emoji, and more. You also have access to performance data through features like “Detailed meeting log.”
- Audio is another strength point of TokBox. It offers dial-in numbers for 60 different countries. You can add up to 200 participants during audio conferences.
- According to existing users, call quality is satisfactory overall but not without some occasional issues with audio quality.
- It encrypts all the data (video, audio, and signaling data) with AES-256 encryption.
- TokBox SDK library covers web, iOS, Android, Linux, Windows, and server-side SDKs.
- TokBox SDK doesn’t come with a prebuilt UI kit.
- No sophisticated means to stabilize video/audio quality in case of poor network connectivity.
The basic plan starts at $9.99/month and offers 2000 free minutes. After that, the price is $0.00395 per user per minute for any usage above your free limit. For saving your video recordings, a minimum of $0.0125 per minute is the rate. Adding advanced features (like Advanced Insights API or Allowed IP list) will shoot the cost in the $5000-$1500 per month range.
You can find more details about Tokobx pricing here.
Any list of live video call SDKs is incomplete without Agora. Agora offers separate SDKs for video calling, audio, interactive messaging, live streaming, whiteboard, and chat. You can use some or all of these SDKs to create your in-app video/audio calling experience.
Agora in short:
- You need to use separate SDKs for video calling, audio calling, chat, and whiteboard. Think of these as pieces of the whole puzzle that you use to make the puzzle (your application) complete. It makes Agora very flexible, and you don’t pay for any feature that you don’t use. At the same time, it can feel too complex for users looking for a low-code solution.
- SDKs support different platforms such as Android, iOS, Windows, Web, Electron, and Flutter.
- You will have all the major features required for participant engagement: Whiteboard, file sharing, polling, call recording, polling, and AI-powered noise cancellation.
- However, many users complain about documentation not being helpful enough and not pointing the developer in the right direction. Many aren’t fans of Agora’s support either.
- Agora’s starter support plan isn’t the best.
Agora offers 10,000 mins free every month. Once that limit has been reached, an audio call costs $0.99/1000 user minutes, a video call (Full HD) costs $8.99/1000 user minutes, and the whiteboard feature comes at $1.40/1000 user minutes.
Additional advanced features are billed separately. For example, you pay $149/month for standard Agora analytics.
Agora support comes in 4 plans: starter (free), standard ($1200/month), premium ($2999/month), and enterprise ($4900/month). The starter plan (free) seems a little underwhelming compared to paid plans.
If you're interested in delving deeper, we've written a comprehensive article on Agora pricing that provides an in-depth analysis.
Twilio shines when it comes to VoIP calls and SMSes. However, it currently offers a bunch of SDKs that you can use as the building blocks of your customized app with embedded live audio/ video streaming.
Twilio has SDKs for Programmable SMS, voice, video, the internet of things, and many more. Feel free to use them either as the base of your application or to add an extra communication channel to your existing application.
Twilio video in short:
- Twilio provides SDKs for programmable SMS, audio, video, and other communication channels. These SDKs are compatible with iOS, Android, and Web platforms.
- You need to configure SDKs for situations where multiple video/ audio inputs are involved. (Think of a situation where two people are conducting a video interview.) Therefore, you might need a lot more than a few lines of code.
- Twilio video SDK supports a maximum of 50 people.
- Twilio falls short in the plugins department. So it’s on you to find ways to integrate other applications with Twilio. It may not be of everyone’s liking, but Twilio being Dev-focused is not surprising.
- Twilio SDK doesn’t offer some basic features such as chat, screen sharing, whiteboard and etc.
- The free support plan is lackluster. You can expect decent support only after paying thousands of dollars.
Twilio Video pricing:
Twilio has a free plan. It, however, is for 1-in-1 video applications only. Their standard plan comes at $0.004/per participant per minute, and recording composition costs $0.01/per composed minute. In addition, Standard plan users get free 10GB storage and pay $0.00167/GB per day for additional space.
Like other entries on this list, Twilio also has multiple support plans. The basic plan is free, but the support, as you can expect, is limited. Their “Business Plan” is priced at $1500/month (or 6% of total spending), and the top-tier “Personalized” Plan is at $5000/month.
You can find more details about Twilio Video pricing. Checkout an in-depth comparison analysis for Twilio vs Amazon Chime SDK.
Enablex is another Amazon Chime API alternative that resides on the low-code side of the spectrum. It does offer APIs for embedded videos, voice, and SMS. These APIs support all major coding languages- Java, PHP, Python, and more. Unlike other entries, Enablex requires very few lines of code.
EnableX in short:
- With Video API, it is possible to add a custom video-calling solution to your existing application with minimal coding. You get features like Whiteboard, Live recording, Co-browsing, Screen-share, and Live analytics. Up to 100 people can join live video meetings.
- Low code video API helps you build a tailored made video calling app with custom UI and branding. You can just drag and drop elements and get your app up and running.
- The APIs work across iOS, Android, and most browsers.
- You can Live stream directly from your mobile and web app with EnableX. Alternatively, connect with YouTube and stream directly.
- Enablex isn’t the most affordable Amazon Chime SDK alternative out there.
- Though Enablex is a low-code alternative like Dyte, it doesn’t come with sophisticated logic for handling video quality during poor network conditions.
Enablex asks for $0.004/per participant per minute for a room for 50 people. For a room of 50+ size, a custom price is applicable. For recording and storage, you pay $0.01 per participant per minute and $0.05/ per GB per month. Another $500/month will be added to your bill if you want your video encrypted.
Chances are you have been in situations where you clicked on the meeting link only to find out you need to download a big fat video-calling app first and then create an account before joining the meeting.
Not the best experience, right?
Whereby team members agree, and that’s why they created an app that just lets visitors join without downloading the application or signing up for an account.
Whereby offers an API that lets you add the full might of Whereby video tech to your application.
Whereby in short:
- It makes getting on a video call easy. Once the link is shared, your participants can join by clicking on the link. No need for account creation or application download.
- Whereby don’t store user data. Your participants just put their names and wait till you allow them to your meeting room.
- You get features like Whiteboard(powered by Miro), Live streaming, Live chat, User roles (Host, Participant, Viewers), Integrations, Waiting rooms, and many more.
- Whereby supports up to 200 persons per session.
- The default video calling app, Whereby meet, offers UI customization and white labeling.
- The API supports various mobile platforms (iOS, Android, Flutter, and React Native) and Web platforms.
- WhereBy probably doesn’t have any specific means to retain video quality when the live video participant doesn’t have a good connection and the latest devices.
- Whereby users expect a better customer support experience.
Whereby offers relatively simpler pricing plans. At the bottom, you get the Explore plan which is free but limited in features. The Build plan comes at $9.99/month. This plan includes 2000 participant minutes per month, $0.004/min for additional minutes, and cloud recording at $0.01 per minute.
Mux is another mention-worthy Amazon Chime alternative that can be a key component of your custom video streaming applications. It comes with APIs for videos, data, and web players for Mux videos.
Mux offers a great degree of customization freedom. On top of that, it comes with interesting features like Simulcast.
Mux in short:
- The SDK allows you to include real-time videos and live streams in your application.
- Thanks to MuX Simulcast, you can forward a live stream to social media platforms like Facebook, Twitch, etc. In other words, you reach all your viewers across different platforms with a single live session.
- MuX encodes videos very first while viewers are watching them. It cuts the transcoding time drastically. In other words, you don’t have to wait long to watch it after uploading.
- Auto-generated Live captions are another handy MUX feature.
- MUX SDKs allow multiple user roles. You can control the degree of privilege one user can have during the meeting.
- With Watermarking feature, label your video with your branding icons.
- We couldn’t find any feature that resembles Dyte’s auto-track management. In other words, there is no such feature that frees up the developer from writing codes for video/audio publish and subscribe logic.
- Mux’s support isn’t bad per se. But it's not great either.
Mux’s “Pay as you go” model costs you $20 at the start. Afterward, you pay $32/1k minutes for encoding, $.240/1K minutes for storage, and $0.96/1K minutes for live streaming. There are custom plans available for super high volume usage.
Daily is another Amazon Chime SDK alternative that allows developers to add real-time video/audio calls directly to web/mobile applications. The SDK covers all the features required for unified communication across video and audio channels.
There are two ways to utilize Daily to build video/audio calling-based applications.
Daily Client SDK is for building your app from zero. It allows you to create custom UI and brings the power of Daily’s core APIs and Daily Prebuilt.
This Daily Prebuilt itself is an API that lets you add a real-time video to your application with a few lines of code.
Daily in short:
- Prebuilt offers the basics such as Breakout rooms, Live transcriptions, Recording, Whiteboard, and Live text chat.
- You can find user behavior and call performance by checking logs and observing media quality metrics through analytics.
- APIs are built for a smooth cross-platform experience. You will have mobile-specific features (like camera flip) integrated into your application.
- Pricing is a major downside of Daily. Based on user feedback, many consider Daily to be on the pricier side and not “shoestring budget entrepreneur” friendly.
- Support isn’t the strongest point of Daily either. Users complain about lackluster support.
- We don’t know of any feature that ensures that the video quality doesn’t take a hit even when network quality is poor.
The first 10,000 minutes are free with Daily plans. Afterward, you pay $0.004 per participant minute for videos, $0.0012 per participant minute for live streaming, and $0.0099 per participant minute for audio-only.
The support package starts with a free one which includes email and chat support. But for reliable and robust support, you need to pick either of three plans: Advanced support ($250/month), Premium support ($1900/month), and Enterprise support ($3900/month).
If you want to ditch Amazon Chime SDK for not being suitable for your need, you have options ranging from low-code to super customizable multiple API based (read: requires a high degree of coding knowledge) solutions.
Dyte is a perfect Amazon Chime SDK alternative for anyone looking for a high-performance, low-code solution. You can embed live video conferencing SDK and customize that in a very short time with Dyte. At the same time, it offers freedom of flexibility for those who love to do things in their way and code with their own hands.