Product

Introducing Peer-to-peer Calls, Webhooks, and On-Device Recording for Sendbird Calls and new self-service options

Emmanuel Delorme
Emmanuel Delorme Product Marketing Manager
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Only months ago, we launched the Sendbird Calls API, giving enterprise customers and developers alike a way to integrate high-quality voice and video calls into their application. Calls naturally complemented our chat API product: if chat taps into end-users’ love of messaging, then calls introduced the intimacy of 1-1 audio and video interactions, especially at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated the greater need for connection.

Companies like Hinge adapted to the heightened need to connect virtually by implementing Sendbird Calls into the Hinge app, allowing its users to meet face-to-face during the pandemic. Hinge’s agility represents the spirit of Sendbird Calls well.

From inception, Sendbird Calls had a fast and convenient developer experience at its core. In 15 minutes, you could start testing calls and exploring the product. Only months later, we’re thrilled to announce the continued evolution of our voice and video APIs into a higher form of its core principle, the speed and convenience of the developer experience:

Sendbird Calls now offers self-service and automated billing.

Beyond self-serve, we’re launching a product update that focuses on delivering the same flexibility and customization available in other Sendbird products, on improving call performance, and delivering on-device multimedia recording compatible with the stringent privacy requirements and Know-Your-Customer (KYC) guidelines of certain apps. Now, Sendbird Calls includes:

  • Webhooks for calls events
  • Peer-to-peer device connections
  • On-device multimedia recording

Simplifying Sendbird Calls onboarding: DIY calls in your app

Across enterprise companies, small businesses, and individual developers, there’s no compromising the user experience. That’s why we’re making high-quality in-app calls accessible to all developers with our new self-serve option.

It’s now easier than ever to put Sendbird Calls in your app:

  • Sign up – Visit our Product Page and sign up for a free-trial
  • EvaluateDownload the sample app from our Github repo
  • Register – Receive 20 SendBird Calls credits for free when you register your app in the Dashboard
  • Test – Within moments, place your first call between your client and dashboard
  • Implement – Refer to our documentation and fully integrate the Sendbird Calls SDK into your app in a single sprint
  • Automate Billing – Worry-free billing automation allows you to keep the lights on while your users make calls in your app

In just a few steps, you’ve launched in-app voice and video calls on your own.

Simple Calls Credits & Pricing

In the spirit of simplicity, we’ve structured our Sendbird Calls pricing to make self-serve intuitive and stress-free. 

A credit is a pre-paid monetary equivalent that is held in a Sendbird account and can be consumed by using the Sendbird Calls service. You can now buy in single credits or in volume for a discount, you can reference the pricing page for more details. Sendbird notifies you before your credits expire at the end of a billing cycle or when you have used 80% of your available credits. This allows you to keep a positive balance and continue the Sendbird Calls service.

The rate at which you use credits depends on the type of call users make: 

  • Voice or Video
  • Peer-to-peer calls or calls routed through the Sendbird servers

Voice and peer-to-peer options are cheaper than their counterparts.

Streamline Operations with Billing Automation

When you’re busy building a product, managing billing of individual services is usually one of the last things on your mind. Enter billing automation.  

Prevent service interruption and end the hassle of managing renewal by enabling billing automation. At this time, with auto-recharge on, Sendbird will renew your credit voucher before it expires or when 10% of your credits remain. Also, any unused credits will rollover unless the new credit voucher you buy is smaller. Thanks to the notifications your administrator can adjust and optimize the voucher size with consumption.

Expanding Sendbird Calls interoperability, performance, and functionality

With Sendbird Calls self-service, we’re democratizing developer access to high-quality 1:1 voice and video calls in your app. 

As we make Sendbird Calls more accessible, we’re also excited to announce new out-of-the-box features designed to: 

  • Enable new, in-context, and custom experiences with webhooks, enhancing user experience and backend operations
  • Deliver a cost-efficient and quality-optimized alternative to server-relayed calls with peer-to-peer device connections
  • Empower providers and users with private, compliant, and efficient on-device multimedia recording, to capture and retain relevant information during a call

Webhooks: Automate and Personalize Contextual Experiences

Webhooks create an HTTP callback to a server with real-time data about an event that occurs in your app. It’s one flexible way developers can create an action on the backend according to context and user actions in their app, giving them the flexibility to customize the user’s app experience according to real-time data.

The Sendbird Calls webhooks release unlocks the opportunity to customize more productive and personalized user experiences. For example, a call could:

  • Signal to a connected speaker or IoT device who is calling and whether the call is voice only or video
  • Trigger a follow up marketing action such as the delivery of an email drip or the creation of a new record in an independent call log or CRM

Webhooks enable endless “if this, then that” recipes for your teams to contextualize the user experience and support operations, sales, and marketing activities within your app. For more information on how to implement webhooks, check our docs.

Peer-to-peer device connections: Optimizing Calls Quality

In some network settings, it is advantageous to route call network traffic directly between peers (peer-to-peer) rather than mediating the call through a server. In many cases, it produces superior picture quality and always lower cost.

Sendbird Calls elevates one-on-one communication to the level of intimate, personal app engagements. To maximize these, audio and video quality is paramount. One way to optimize for quality is to reduce latency by allowing peer-to-peer client connections when networks permit it and only relay the call through a server as a fallback alternative. By supporting both connection types, the Sendbird Calls API optimizes call quality while reducing the cost to you.

Convenient and secure on-device multimedia capture

On-device recording and real time photo-capture gives voice and video users the ability to record video, audio, and image files directly to their device. This eliminates the risk of poor or unstable server connections that could result in data loss and, instead, optimizes the quality of multimedia recording.

It also gives users the opportunity to record crucial visual or audio information, while engaging in rich voice and video interactions. Besides, the local device is a powerhouse for post-processing, giving users access to their favorite editing tools to enrich their content. Some common use-cases include:

  • A healthcare provider captures an ID,  insurance card, or prescription bottle that a patient holds up to their device’s camera 
  • A professional service needs to transcribe the content of a meeting at a later time or record it for training 
  • A financial service app screen captures a call to make a record of a customer’s identity according to the KYC guidelines

Aside from optimizing quality and unlocking post-processing, saving on-device also ensures the privacy of sensitive information by giving the user full control over media playback and transferability outside of the Sendbird application.

Augment Your In-App Communication Toolbox

Whether you’re a marketplace aiming to drive higher conversions, an on-demand business trying to grow adoption of a new service, a healthcare business trying to effectively engage patients, or an online community trying to boost user participation — Sendbird Calls provides the extra tools for your brand to add another dimension to your in-app 1-1 communication and engage customers more effectively by creating deeper connections.

With the new Sendbird Calls self-service, audio and video APIs are more accessible to developers than ever, giving them the opportunity to evaluate, implement, and go to production on their own.

So, start your free trial now and build something amazing today.

Categories: Product, Sendbird