Last week Snapchat announced that they had acquired AddLive to integrate video chat into their app. AddLive is a Real-time video API platform that enables developers to integrate video chatting into their apps using REST APIs and WebRTC. This development is an important endorsement of WebRTC and communications as a feature. The new Snapchat feature enabled by AddLive allows users to simply swipe a friend’s name and instantly start video chatting. Users can also launch a video chat while engaged with other users via a messaging exchange.
Snapchat is a leader in the OTT mobile messaging space with over 30 million users and has been an acquisition target of Facebook and others. Snapchat’s leadership position in the market will draw increased attention to video chat features and demand will surely accelerate.
With developers quickly integrating video chat, the feature will soon be a must have and will eventually offer limited differentiation. Many other OTT players have already implemented video chat into their app including WhatsApp and Kik. Where we see the opportunity for developers to set their apps apart is in how the feature is implemented. Stapchat’s focus on improving how individuals interact sets the company apart from its competitors and its disappearing messaging functionality proves the company’s ability to innovate and differentiate though fresh implementations of communications technology.
In the past, communication was limited by inflexible technologies that are difficult to work with. Web technologies are disrupting this entire ecosystem by making voice, video, and messaging more malleable and developers are re-imagining the notion of communication. The ability for WebRTC to enable easy integration of these features allows app developers to try new forms of communication, creating fun and engaging experiences. We expect these experiences are going to be different for various demographics and settings, providing plenty of opportunity for developers. This is where the industry really gets interesting.