If there is anything that resembles a SaaS fairytale, Zoom’s growth probably is.
During the pandemic, when people stopped going outside, Zoom offered a way to stay connected with family, friends, and colleagues. The daily Zoom users exploded to 300M daily users in 2020 (from 10M in 2019). But the classic Zoom client — the one where you need to download the Zoom app to join a meeting couldn’t serve all the incoming use cases. In comes Zoom Video SDK.
The SDK offered a way for application developers to add live video to their app powered by Zoom’s servers without the classic Zoom client’s user interface.
While the SDK offers great reliability, it is not without some serious shortcomings. Let's look at some of the shortcomings of Zoom SDK.
Shortcomings of Zoom
Let’s give the credit where it is due. Zoom is a user-friendly video calling application SDK that does the job decently. This is designed for business meetings, and if you use it for that purpose, you will have most of the “must-have” features you need. The audio/video quality is not bad either.
However, in the case of Zoom, being good enough stops it from being great. On top of that, there are some serious shortcomings.
- Zoom is specifically designed for business communication. Therefore you may miss out on some important features if you are using it for a different purpose. For example, Zoom’s whiteboard doesn’t expand. During Zoom classes, that can become an annoying distraction.
- There are simply no ways to integrate interactivity into the live experience. Yes, you get screen share, chat, and whiteboard [chargable], but that's it. No polls, no reactions, and no AR/VR features.
- Based on user reviews, audio/video quality dwindles as the number of participants increases.
- Zoom SDK on mobile and web is extremely resource intensive compared to any other SDK available in the market. It eats up a huge amount of CPU, memory, and bandwidth. It can be a big problem if your/ one of your attendee’s devices doesn’t have great hardware configuration or fast internet.
- Oh, and did we mention the lackluster support? You’re in for a surprise if you’re an agile development team. Expect slow replies and the expectation to pay hefty amounts to get a basic level of support.
What to look for in an ideal Zoom SDK alternative
If any of Zoom’s flaws prove to be deal breakers for you, you need an alternative. Consider the following factors to find the best SDK for you. Please note this is not an exhaustive list but something to get you started.
- Integration: Consider exploring SDKs that offer open APIs, extensive documentation, and reference code. In this way, you will be able to embed it in your app quickly.
- Security: Do you intend to exchange trade secrets/ confidential organizational information via video calls? Check if the live video SDK abides by SoC 2 certification. Also, read the user agreement to know how the SDK company handles user data.
- Customizability: You should be able to build completely custom live experiences using the SDK. But don’t be okay with that. Expect the SDK provider to offer pre-build UI components and sample code to make building the user experience easier [and faster].
- Collaborative features: Waiting rooms, chat, polling, embedded browser, whiteboards – some features are “must-haves” for a seamless video calling experience. Ideally, any SDK worth consideration should offer all the necessary features.
- Support: Building live inside your app is a complicated endeavor — you should be able to get in touch with the SDK maker to get your doubts clarified at a moment's notice. Expect multi-channel, 24*7 support.
- Light-weight SDK: Look for the SDK that doesn’t significantly add to the download size of your application or web app — making it easy for users with any data connection speed to interact with it.
The Top 10 best Zoom SDK Alternatives
If you are reading this article, you may have lost hope on Zoom. Or maybe you want to explore other video conferencing SDK alternatives.
Either way, this article will provide you features, limitations and pricing for Top 10 Zoom SDK Alternatives like Dyte, Mux, Agora, Vonage Video, Twilio Video, EnableX, Whereby, Jitsi, Daily and AWS Chime.
- Vonage Video
- Twilio Video
- AWS Chime
Let's dive into the world of live video-calling experiences and explore some of the top-notch Zoom SDK alternatives.
Mux is a Zoom SDK alternative used to add a live video experience to your application. Mux offers separate SDKs for video, data (read performance analytics), and Mux web video player.
As you can guess, having separate APIs for different functions offers high flexibility [but makes it that much harder to integrate].
However, one big downside of MUX is that it doesn’t offer any collaborative tools out of the box — meaning you’ll have to integrate even more services into your app to get things like chat, screen share, and more running.
Mux in short:
- Mux API makes going live pretty convenient. Embed MUX API give your users a reusable stream key, and they can go live at any time.
- Faster encoding converts live videos while streaming. It slashes the time required for transcoding. Your videos are ready for watching almost right after you end streaming.
- The support is pretty slow, and you can expect delays in replies – which hurts the most when starting to build live.
- The SDK offers no in-built support to help you manage video call disruptions or to manage the publish-subscribe logic of meeting users.
Mux's "Pay as you go" strategy starts you off with $20. Then you pay:
- $32 per 1,000 minutes for encoding.
- $0.240 per 1,000 minutes for storage.
- 0.96 per 1,000 minutes for live streaming.
Custom plans are available for large-volume consumption.
“We wanted to bring a video-based interaction with users on our platform. Dyte checked all the right boxes for us!” –Sairee Chahal, Founder & CEO, Mahila Money
Let's talk about Dyte, another great replacement for Zoom SDK. Dyte offers high customizability, all the required collaborative features, and a low-code experience.
However, two of its biggest advantages are:
It makes live video integration into your application too easy. Just a few lines of code and you can enjoy the full potential of Dyte's Video calling and live streaming tech.
Dyte SDK has smart bandwidth Switching and auto-track management. With these, the Dyte SDK automatically maintains video/audio quality even when the connection is poor or different devices are used during the streaming.
It can be a game changer for many users looking for video calling /live streaming SDKs. You don't have to write/modify walls of code, and neither have to worry in case some of your app users have poor connectivity.
With that said, if you are really fond of taking this in your hand, Dyte has flexible options.
Dyte in short:
Dyte SDK automatically handles audio and video management. Even in the case of poor connection, Dyte SDK adjusts to ensure the viewers/attendees enjoy a great experience. You don't have to temper the code to make necessary changes.
- The prebuilt UI kit components allow you to determine how the video would look or feel. You can change colors, add brand icons and make any UI changes.
- You can stream to 10k viewers with ease on Dyte-powered web apps.
- Dyte analytics offer detailed reports on participant engagement and interaction, helping you improve your streaming experience.
- Dyte arms with all the interactive features you can think of - Expandable whiteboards, chat, polling, embedded browser, Screenshare, and many more. On top of that, you can add more features (or connect to other applications) with Dyte's integration gallery. Dyte SDK fits your daily to daily app eco-systems easily because of these integrations.
- Dyte SDK supports:
Mobile: Flutter, Android (Java/Kotlin), iOS (Objective-C/Swift), React Native
With Dyte, you can enjoy 10,000 free minutes per month. Afterward, the product price starts at $0.004 per user per minute, recording costs $0.010 per minute, and RTMP stands at $0.015 per minute.
Dyte offers 24-hour assistance to all clients, free of charge. Whether you have a simple question or need help during a major event or technical issue, the team is there to support you.
Here's a detailed comparison between Zoom and Dyte SDKs.
Video calling/live streaming features can increase your app engagement. And Agora is an option to consider while searching for the right video-streaming SDK.
First and foremost, Agora offers separate SDKs for video calling, voice, chat, interactive live streaming, and real-time messaging—meaning you need to sit and integrate 10s of SDKs and services to build a basic live video in your app.
Agora in short:
- Agora offers separate SDKs for video calling, audio calling, text messaging, and whiteboard.
- Video calling SDK comes with a basic UI kit. With this UI kit, you can customize your app interface, add logos and play with colors.
- Android, iOS, Windows, Web, Electron, React Native, Unity, and Flutter – all are supported by Agora SDKs. However, the UI kit isn’t available on windows and Electron.
- Some users complain about Agora’s documentation. It doesn’t cover everything a developer needs, and sometimes the Dev has to do some improvisation.
- Lackluster support is another point of pain. Support improves with high-tier plans, but those are expensive (starting from $1200/month)
- Adding to the fire: the tool doesn’t automatically manage user bandwidth in case their network goes bust—leaving them with a blank screen.
Agora offers 10,000 free minutes per month.
After that, an audio call costs $0.99/1000 user minutes, a full HD video call comes at $8.99/1000 user minutes, and $1.40/1000 user minutes for the Whiteboard feature.
Advanced features are billed separately, such as the standard Agora analytics plan that costs $149/month.
Agora support has four plans: starter (free), standard ($1200/month), premium ($2999/month), and enterprise ($4900/month). However, the starter plan may feel underwhelming compared to the paid plans.
If you're interested in delving deeper, we've written a comprehensive article on Agora pricing that provides an in-depth analysis.
The next entry on this list is Vonage (previously known as OpenTok) video SDK. It's built based on WebRTC standards and comes with a couple of interactive features. If your needs involve fewer people calls but high-priority audio calls/audio conferences, Vonage SDK is a great option.
Vonage in short:
- With your app built on Vonage video SDK, you can add up to 25 users. So if you’re planning large video conferences (medium size classes, for example), Vonage isn’t the choice you pick.
- Vonage stacks up pretty well when it comes to collaborative features. It offers chat, a whiteboard, Google calendar compatibility, emojis, and many other features. You can also access performance data through the "Detailed Meeting Log" feature.
- You can store records for up to 15 hours of meetings only.
- And each live video room can only support 55 participants per call.
- Some video conferencing applications annoyingly ask attendees to download the application first. Thankfully, Vonage isn’t one of them. Your attendees can join by clicking on the meeting link.
Vonage Video Pricing:
So, the basic plan starts at $9.99 per month and includes 2000 free minutes. Once you cross the usage limit, it'll cost you $0.00395 per minute per user.
If you want to save your video recordings, you pay $0.0125 per minute at minimum.
You also pay extra for advanced features like the Advanced Insights API or an Allowed IP list. This extra cost can go in the $1500-$5000 per month range.
Learn more about Vonage Video pricing here.
When it comes to VoIP calls and SmS, Twilio shines bright. However, the brand is no slouch either when it comes to offering video calling tech.
Twilio offers multiple SDKs for voice, Video, the Internet of things, and other functions. You can pick SDKs of your choice and build your app with them or add extra communication channels to existing apps.
Twilio in short:
- Twilio SDKs are compatible with iOS, Android, and Web platforms. Therefore video/audio quality would be the same across various devices and browsers.
- You need to manually code in user publish-subscribe logic inside the application when setting up Twilio. This may require 100s of lines of code.
- The Twilio video SDK supports up to 50 people.
- Twilio has limited plugin options, so integrating with other applications may require some extra work. However, this is to be expected from a developer-focused platform like Twilio.
- Currently, Twilio no longer offers any live-streaming SDK.
Twilio Video pricing:
Twilio offers a free plan for 1-to-1 video applications. For anything more than 1-to-1 video calling, you need to purchase the "standard plan".The standard plan costs $0.004 per participant per minute and $0.01 per composed minute for recording composition. Standard plan users receive 10GB of free storage and pay $0.00167 per GB per day for additional space.
Twilio provides various support plans. The basic plan is free but has limited support. The Business Plan costs $1500/month or 6% of total spending, and the "Personalized" Plan is priced at $5000/month, the highest tier.
Read more about Twilio Video pricing.
Enablex offers multiple SDKs for video conferencing, voice, video UI, SMS, virtual numbers, and Face AI. You can use video SDK for adding video conferencing and use custom UI SDK for customizing. Other SDKs can be included based on your requirements. Again—this is good and bad depending on your team size and the time left to get your product out to the market.
EnableX in short:
- Video API has tons of features to make your video meetings more engaging and productive. You can use Whiteboard, Live recording, Co-browsing, Screen-share, and Live analytics. Plus, up to 500 people can join during the video meetings.
- You can control user access and, by extension, security with features like Moderated Entry, Room lock, Floor access control, and viewer role. All video/audio signals are also encrypted.
- The support team can take upto 72 hours to respond to your help request.
- The SDK doesn’t optimize users’ video incase they face device or network issues.
EnableX charges $0.004 per participant per minute for a room of up to 50 people. If your video meetings have more than 50+ attendees, you'll need to ask for a custom price.
Recording and storage will cost you $0.01 per participant per minute and $0.05 per GB per month for storage. If you want your video to be encrypted, there's an additional $500 per month charge.
If you are tired of Zoom’s limitations and potential security issues, Whereby can be another alternative to try. It’s simple to use, reliable, and, most importantly, doesn’t store user data.
Whereby in short:
Whereby offers basic collaborative features: Whiteboards (powered by Miro), Live chat, user roles (host, participants, viewers), waiting rooms, live streaming, and many more.
- Video conferencing sessions can support up to only 200 participants. And you can’t stream the video out to other channels via RTMP or HLS output.
- Whereby allows you basic customization options to modify the user interface.
- iOS, Android, React Native, and Web- Whereby API covers a wide range of platforms.
- Whereby is too simple. Leading power users and developers wanting for more. Plus it’s super limited in the free plan.
The Explore plan is available for free, but it comes with limited features. The Build plan, however, costs $9.99 per month and includes 2000 participant minutes every month. You need to purchase them at the rate of $0.004 per minute once the 2000 participant minute limit is crossed. Also, cloud recording is priced at $0.01 per minute.
Jitsi, hands down, is one of the most polarizing entries on this list. It’s basically a collection of multiple open-source projects for different aspects of video conferencing. Therefore, Jitsi is perfect for skilled Devs who love to build applications from scratch. For other user segments, it might feel a bit complicated.
Two of the most prominent projects of the Jitsi are:
Jitsi videobridge: Jitsi videobridge is a WebRTC-supported, XMPP server component that bundles and then runs very high numbers of video streams from a single server.
In other words, Jitsi Videobridge ensures participants with lower-end devices still get good video quality. However, it also consumes a lot of bandwidth though.
Jitsi in short:
- Jitsi is open-source. You are free to modify, change and use it in any way you want.
- You will get essential 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.
- Some Features like screen sharing, video/audio call recording, and telephone dial-in to a conference are not available in Jitsi meet. However, you can get those by setting up Jibri and JIgsai (other projects under Jitsi).
- Jitsi, simply put, isn’t for users looking for low-code, instant-deployment-ready SDKs. You need to write codes while setting up.
- Video calls are end-to-end encrypted, but chat or polls are not.
- As mentioned before, the SFU architecture of Jitsi Videobridge reduces resource strain on client devices. However, it can consume a high amount of data.
- The absence of some features, such as “raising hand” and “file sharing,” disappoints many Jitsi users.
- Jitsi has received 4.3 stars out of 5 on G2.
Jitsi is free. You can use any project under Jitsi at any time. However, there is no dedicated tech support. You need to rely on community support.
Daily is another Zoom SDK alternative if you want a video calling solution with live streaming capabilities. The Daily SDK gets you the basic features for video calling.
The Daily SDK is for building any custom application from zero and/or adding video streaming capacity to the application. It supports Flutter, iOS, Android, Web, and React Native platforms.
Daily in short:
- Breakout rooms, Live transcriptions, audio/video recordings, whiteboard, and chat– Daily Prebuilt hands you the basic set of features to get video calling experiences going.
- You can keep a tab on call performance and user engagement by examining logs and analytics.
- Pricing is one of the downsides of Daily. It is not a great option for businesses with limited cash to pour on a video calling SDK. If video calling is just a “nice-to-have” addition to your app, there are other affordable alternatives available.
- Support can take upto 72 hours to resolve your issues. Leaving you hanging dry.
- The tool can’t manage users’ live video interactions on its own. You need to manually code publish-subscribe logic to it.
The first 10000 mins are free. Once you spend it, you pay :
- $.004/per min per user for video.
- $0.0012/per min per user for interactive live streaming.
- $0.01349/per min per user for cloud recordings.
- $0.0099/per min per user for audio-only.
There are several support packages available:
- The free package comes with only email and chat support. You might have to wait sometime before your issues get resolved.
- Advanced support comes at $250/month.
- Premium support costs $1900/month
- Enterprise support is $3900/month.
Amazon Chime SDK
Amazon Chime is Amazon’s answer to Zoom’s domination in the video conferencing industry. To put it in an over-simplified way, it allows users to connect with others via video calls, audio calls, and text messaging.
Amazon Chime SDK is the tech behind Amazon Chime but without its shell. By adding this SDK, you add all the features and benefits to your application.
Amazon Chime SDK in short:
Amazon Chime SDK allows just 25 participants (if participants are on mobile, then 50) to join a video meeting.
- Your application can upload multiple versions of the video stream thanks to the simulcast. In other words, your video quality remains consistent across various devices and networks.
- Amazon Chime SDK encrypts all calls, videos, and chats.
- It lacks some useful features like polling, auto-sync with Google Calendar, and background blur effects.
- It doesn’t work well in a Linux environment.
- Based on user reviews, Chime faces some difficulties if the participants use the Safari browser.
Amazon Chime SDK pricing:
Amazon Chime SDK comes with three different pricing plans:
- The Basic plan is free. But it is limited to one-to-one video meetings and some basic chat options.
- With the Plus plan, you unlock some more useful features, such as screen sharing and remote desktop control. It comes at $2.5/month per user.
- The pro plan is the highest-tier plan. You unlock everything Amazon Chime has to offer with this one. Price: $15/month.
Zoom’s notorious reputation as a “not-so” secure application, questionable privacy policies, and lack of features that you want– if you don’t want to use zoom anymore, you always have options.
Dyte is one of those options that can never go wrong. First, it lets you build your live video applications with a few lines of code. It also automatically manages bandwidth and other resources so that your users always get the best video/audio quality. And it’s secure (SoC2 compliant).
If you want to give it a go, book a demo here.