This week on API Intersection, we welcomed Varun Singh, Chief Product and Technology Officer of the Daily. Daily is a company that powers real-time audio and video for millions of people globally. Their user base consists of many developers who use their APIs and client SDKs to build audio and video features into applications.
We delved into the significance of APIs in the video streaming industry and the crucial design considerations when integrating with such systems. Varun shed light on the challenges that APIs address in the video industry, such as achieving low latency in live streaming and real-time communications and efficiently managing multiple streams while ensuring a seamless user experience, especially when scaling to accommodate large numbers of participants.
"Previously, video streaming was primarily focused on platforms like Netflix and YouTube. However, with the pandemic, real-time video communications have become more prevalent due to the surge in video calls, which means more and more APIs being created to support that," shares Varun.
Simplicity in the Integration Process
As video usage grows, there is a need to think beyond traditional use cases. Many new experiences are being envisioned where interactive features and real-time communications are essential.
"For example, people want to integrate features like clapping, emotions, and real-time interactions while watching videos or participating in live events. It means more integrations between platforms; it means more development work will need to be done," shares Varun.
With video technology expanding exponentially, the need for integrations and further APIs to talk between systems only grows. Daily, for example, integrates with many other well-known industry tools, including Krisp and Miro. However, keeping that integration process as simple and seamless as possible is essential.
In fact, the Daily's new Prebuilt Integrations API adds a new, additional set of customization possibilities. Prebuilt offered developers a rich standard feature set and a wide range of options for theming the user interface, but now there's additional customization and greater extensibility. It also allows Client SDKs to build their own video and audio applications from lower-level building blocks.
APIs: Making Complexity Disappear
"However, we have this perception that having very simple APIs solve all these behind-the-scenes problems, and it takes away some of that mental gymnastics that you might have to do for these systems to work together. Simple is still the goal, but it's worth noting these APIs still take a lot of well-designed thought," shares Varun.
Luckily, Varun explained that well-built single APIs can and SHOULD handle various video streaming scenarios, whether real-time communication, live streaming, or pre-recorded content. Their developers can focus on building unique and robust use cases by providing simple APIs and hiding the complexity under the hood.
The Daily team also has a popular REST API that they provide their users. It simplifies the integration of video streaming and real-time communication functionalities by allowing developers to handle features such as selective forwarding units (SFUs) to manage bandwidth, prioritize streams, and customize user experiences.
Their API is designed to provide a single point of access for different types of streaming scenarios, making it easier for developers working with it to implement and scale interactive live-streaming solutions. Check out this page if you want a full step-by-step to utilizing this API.
Overall, my conversation with Varun highlighted the need for scalable and flexible solutions that cater to various video streaming scenarios but also focused on where we can simplify the development process for integrating video communication into different applications. You can catch the full episode here.
If you are a video streaming fanatic, I also invite you to check out Varun's new book on interactive live streaming, which covers various use cases for live streaming and addresses the complexities of different protocols used in the field. Thanks for coming on the show Varun, and subscribe to API Intersection for more expert insights.