“You’re on mute,” “can you hear me,” and “can you see my screen” were just a few of the phrases that went straight to the yearbook of 2020/21 and are yet another proof that video calling has become a staple in our personal and professional lives.
For some businesses, video calling may have started as a temporary solution, but they have been quick to realize the benefits that it has to offer over more traditional communication methods.
Common Video Calling Use Cases
A number of use cases can come to mind when thinking of video calling, ranging from B2B to B2C and B2E solutions.
1. Customer Services
Video chat support can be a godsend to struggling customers in situations where text alone isn’t sufficient to address the problem. It is ideal for complex support scenarios, as the representative can go through the process at the customer’s pace and ensure that all instructions are being followed correctly.
When demonstrating a product to a prospect or customer, a video call will ensure they can see how to use the product and everything it can do. . Video chat support can also be used to engage with your customers in real-time and is ideal for high-end purchases where a more advisory approach is needed.
2. Customer Security and Identification
With branches of financial institutions being closed or having limited opening hours during the pandemic, it has been difficult and time-consuming to confirm the identities of customers when they get to reach out by phone.
Take a look at Barclays Bank, for example. Video banking has enabled the institution not only to protect its customers but also to extend service provision: open 13 hours a day, it uses visual inspection to check a customer’s identity on the call before discussing their accounts and personal information – just as it would in person.
3. Operational Efficiency and Field Support
With the new normal of a distributed workforce, colleagues' ability to show each other issues they may be having remotely or how best to complete a task has become increasingly valuable.
With video integration when an important but unusual job needs completing, a team leader or specialist can carefully direct or demonstrate how to do this job remotely and to multiple employees in real-time – saving everybody’s time, increasing understanding, and decreasing the chance of errors being made.
Building a Video Calling Service vs. Integrating a Third Party Service
By now, you may be thinking about adding video calling to your applications. If so, you have two options:
- You can create your own video calling service from scratch
- Or you can integrate a third-party service into your app.
If you go down the first route, you’ll run up against long delivery times and significant operational complexity. Initial development time, plus testing and optimization can make for lengthy development cycles, given the multiple levels of organization and coding that go into making an enterprise video conference solution.
In comparison, integrating video calling into your apps is faster and more straightforward: all development and testing are taken care of, so this plug-and-play approach ensures you can get your video calling solution to the market in the shortest possible time.
And there are already great services out there that you can use to accelerate your time-to-market. In this article, I’m going to be using Amazon Kinesis Video Streams to add a video service to a field service app, like the use case mentioned above.
Amazon Kinesis Video Stream Tutorial
For this tutorial, I’m using an existing field services application built with the OutSystems platform. It’s basically a mobile app for engineers that go onsite to customers to do installation work, and the app has a back-office where people can watch their work. The video will allow engineers to call the back office if the person has questions.
To integrate the AWS Kinesis video service, I’ll use a component available in the OutSystems marketplace called Video Call Validation. This component is an accelerator that wraps Amazon Kinesis services and provides ready-available functionalities for peer-to-peer video calling.
The accelerator code is open, and it can be paired with Digital Identity Verification for front-office validation of the users’ identity, where the operator has access to the full process and checks the integrity of the request.
Basically, it wraps complex functionality already provided by Amazon so that we can readily use it in our OutSystems applications without too much complex work.
To give you additional context, OutSystems offers several Cloud Accelerators for AWS that provide you a sample composed with wrapped AWS Cloud Services and a recipe you can follow to make each of the accelerators your own. All Accelerators contain at least: one demo, a sample app, and a tutorial or documentation — plus some cool extra resources.
Now, back to the tutorial! Here’s how it’s going to work:
- On the user side there’s a component that initiates a call to any available agent;
- On the back-office, there’s a queue that picks up the calls in a specific order;
- The component will hide all the different parts of Amazon’s tooling, so you don’t have to worry about it. Behind this, we have complex integrations with complex third-party libraries and certain network conditions, and all of that is in the box, as you can see in the image.
I’m super excited to show you the step-by-step tutorial, so I invite you to join me in my recent Tech Talk where in less than 18 minutes I’ll show you How to Integrate Video Calling in Your Apps with AWS Kinesis. Take a look!