What is a Chat SDK?
Several studies reveal that people typically prefer texting over calling. Although this fact is no secret, WhatsApp has cemented this reality ever since its first launch back in 2009. By 2011, it was a globally accepted messaging platform for all and sundry.
Furthermore, recent research reveals that as of 2021, WhatsApp has become “the most popular global messenger app worldwide”, with over two billion people using it monthly. That’s a quarter of the world’s population!
These numbers only go to show how important a tool messaging is, especially in this current economic climate where everything is digitized, and social distancing has become a norm.
Whatsapp paved the way for other globally used messaging platforms such as We Chat, Telegram, Slack, etc. Individuals and organizations alike have wanted a piece of the pie ever since and, as such, have made use of chat SDK providers that would allow them to own their own messaging platforms to fulfill their business needs.
With a chat SDK, businesses can provide their customers and potential buyers with a seamless user experience (which is all the rage these days), especially when it comes to customer service management.
So, What Is a Chat SDK?
In the simplest of terms, a chat SDK (Software Development Kit) lets entities and organizations include instant messaging as a feature within their iOS and/or Android applications.
Whether it is to create a basic virtual event platform (because, let’s face it, the post-pandemic era has made this somewhat of a necessity), build the next Slack or Tinder alternative, or even start your own live-chat web app, all you need is a chat SDK to roll things out simply, quickly and seamlessly.
Because a chat SDK involves instant and direct communication, it allows small-time businesses, educational institutions, startups, and major corporations to create an engaging yet thriving community of users.
Demystifying Chat SDK
Say you want to make a delicious yet instant chocolate cake. You know how you want your cake to turn out, but you don’t want to go to the trouble of getting all the ingredients to bake it. This could be either because you don’t have the time for it or because you already have an instant cake mix in your pantry that you can make use of.
A chat SDK is that instant cake mix that organizations will receive from providers - complete with all the software tools and the bits of code you’d need to create a communication solution, essentially making it a programming package.
In that vein, let’s look at a few terminologies involved in chat SDKs before we delve into its various intricacies.
We made development easy to understand, A kit is a set of articles or equipment one would need for a unique purpose.
Make it all about what YOU want. Several sets of articles or equipment or ingredients one would need in order to put an application together.
Software Development Kit
Sure, some chat platforms focus only how The actual programming package consists of a group of software tools as well as programs given to organizations by various providers to allow developers within the said organization to create an app for a specific purpose and/or platform.
Components of a Chat SDK
As a rule, a chat SDK consists of three essential elements without which the program wouldn’t function as it is supposed to. Here’s a brief look what at what each of them is all about:
APIs or Application Programming Interfaces are what programmers would allude to as libraries. APIs are bits of pre-existing code that allow developers using chat SDKs to take on customary programming tasks such as transmitting data from one software to another. As such, these APIs are known as chat APIs. Chat APIs are, therefore, a group of codes that developers use to enable real-time chat features for entities to chat on websites or in-app. The great thing about chat APIs is that it allows owners access to a back-end chat service as well as the server infrastructure with tools that enable them to embed real-time chat within the owner’s application. Whether you want to have simple conversations with just a few individuals or communicate with an enormous chat group, chat APIs make this possible.
Referred to as Integrated Development Environment, IDEs are visual editors that allow programmers to create and curate design concepts such as a text and project editor, a toolbar, and an output viewer. With the aid of IDEs, developers can write, compile and debug code as well.
SERVICE PROVIDERS & USERS
A chat SDK component lets developers perform a variety of functions such as building, running, testing, debugging, and so forth. This is done with the aid of tools provided by the chat SDK platform an organization is using.
How Do Chat SDKs Compare With Other Software Development Kits?
Let’s dive in and find out why a chat SDK is unique when compared to other software development kits out there:
- A chat SDK is a free and open-source platform which means that pretty much anyone can make use of it, and you have the added advantage of being in control of the code as well as the user’s data.
- Its integration is simple yet seamless and allows developers easy access to an entire UI (User Interface design) framework. Moreover, the demo offered by the software development kit allows developers to make full use of all its features.
- Its modular architecture (a set of components that do not depend on each other to function as a whole), mainly curated for advanced developers, allows them to customize the UI framework to suit their organization’s needs.
- It is a one-stop-shop software development kit that enables developers to integrate text chat, video chat, live chats, web browser messaging options, and more. Not many software development kits can boast of having so many features and facilities in one platform.
Chat SDK Features
Now let’s look at everything a chat SDK has to offer its users - individuals and businesses alike.
We made development easy to understand, Developers can build public rooms with the aid of chat SDKs. The great thing about these public rooms is the fact that you have access to a plethora of pre-existing themes that you can assign to different rooms. This way, users would know in advance what the subject matter of each public chat room is about.
Different Kinds of Chats
Chat SDKs also allows programmers to build private and group chats using the software. Since there is no limit to how many of these private chats a user can create or the number of people who can join a group chat, businesses can make full use of this feature. Users can also convert a private chat to a group chat if they invite the users of the private chat into it.
Integration for Both iOS and Android
While some software development kits are limited to just iOS or Android applications, a chat SDK is inter-compatible from the beginning itself. Both versions of the development kit do not require an update at any point as well.
Another reason as to why a chat SDK is extremely user-friendly is because you could log in (as an administrator) from your Facebook, Twitter, or email or even anonymously should you wish it. That said, you would have to authenticate your current server by using a custom authentication system.
Supports Varied Message Types
The software development kit has support for images, audio, text messaging, location, and video messaging. Developers can even integrate stickers, GIFs, quiz messages, and emoticons into their applications.
Chat SDKs Are Scalable
While software development kits typically limit scalability, with a chat SDK, businesses can grow their user base on a weekly, monthly, and yearly basis. Many of a chat SDK’s customers already support 100,000 daily users without a hitch.
Chat SDK Use Cases
Now that we’ve discussed the top features of chat SDKs, let’s look at some of its use cases.
Instant, Real-Time Communication
A chat SDK’s custom-built features allow its users to communicate with each other instantly without interruption. This means that individuals can exchange messages in real-time even while using other applications at the same moment. Say, for example, you’re a financial consultant in the middle of a video meeting/call. However, you happen to receive a query from one of your clients via your chat application. You can still respond to your query without interrupting the conversation with your client.
With the aid of chat SDKs, businesses can streamline purposeful conversations such that a project manager or individual can post updates on chat groups. So if your company has several teams working on the same project, but each of them is handling a different functionality of the said project, the chat SDK application allows managers to post updates in order of priority. As a result, you’re able to collaborate between teams in real-time, thus accelerating the productivity within an organization.
Collaboration in Times of Uncertainty
The pandemic and the ensuing social distancing measures have no doubt disrupted business operations in multiple ways. By using chat SDK applications, organizations can collaborate in a manner where all communication happens in one platform, effectively solving issues that may arise due to a work-from-home situation. As such, business owners and employees utilize live chats features, group video calling, functionalities that allow file and screen sharing, and various collaboration tools that promote a complete virtual work environment.
Drive More Engagement and Retention Across All Channels
Businesses value the complete control, and access chat SDK applications would potentially offer to their network. As a result, organizations can create and build multiple levels of privacy and role-based access and control within the customizable messaging application. An added advantage is the end-to-end encryption capability that allows companies to restrict access to only the team members within the enterprise. Only they can view messages being communicated (without a third party being able to take advantage).
Improve Customer Experiences
No matter what kind of application you want to create with a chat SDK, you can still build and grow a community of users. Individuals can find partners and set up dates through dating applications, and companies can communicate with their customers and provide customer services in real-time as a result.