Zoom Releases New Video SDK

Zoom, the cloud-based video conferencing platform whose name became a verb over the course of the pandemic lockdown, has released new software development kits (SDKs). The video SDKs provides devs with tools designed to leverage the platform's HD video, audio, and interactive features to build video-based applications with native user interfaces.

The SDKs can be used to build apps with highly customized user interfaces and access to raw video and audio data. Direct access to raw video and audio data allows improved interaction between users and the app video stream, the company says--for example, a gaming video streaming app with direct interaction between the player and viewers based on in-game events, or an augmented-reality streaming platform with direct viewer access to the on-screen video.

The video SDKs are streamlined toolkits, the company emphasizes, with "an enormous reduction in size compared to Client SDKs with all the power of Zoom’s video and audio solutions."

The new SDK is built on a cloud-based architecture designed for video and optimized for scalability. It allows up to 300 co-host/participants per session. The SDK supports development on Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, and web-based applications. And it's designed for ease of use with minimal code to deploy.

"With the ability to build the reliability and scale-ready performance of Zoom’s video-first unified communications platform into their products and applications, developers are able to leverage our Video SDK to create new and exciting experiences," Zoom product marketing manager Natalie Mullin wrote in a blog post. "Using our Video SDK, developers can drive customer engagement and provide new opportunities for revenue without being tied to the Zoom Meetings user interface."

The Zoom video SDK is a component of the Zoom Developer Platform, which includes APIs, SDKs, chatbots, webhooks, and distribution for apps and integration. The latest release of the platform comes with more detailed performance analytics to provide developers with additional insights into the performance and usage of their applications on the Zoom App Marketplace. The list of analytics provided includes user- and account-level subscription counts, active user and active account metrics, API usage volumes, and among other features. Mullin said Zoom plans to release more updates to improve application and integration discoverability.

Zoom is promoting what the company calls a "video-first unified communications platform" to developers responding to opportunities presented by the work-from-anywhere trend industry watchers suggest will have a long-term impact. At least a third of the U.S. workforce is likely to continue working from home multiple days a week after a return to pre-pandemic normalcy, said Kate Lister, president of Global Workplace Analytics, in a "Voice of America" interview. This change actually follows a trend begun several years ago, Lister said, in which "offices are being completely reconfigured to be the place of collaboration, and home to be the place of concentration." According to Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research, video-based experiences will play an increasingly large role in customer engagement. In fact, the next wave of video-based experiences will be "driven by embedding video directly into business and consumer applications that seamlessly improve workflows and enhance social interaction," Kerravala said.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].