Ideas and Validation July 4, 2020

Is there still space to build a video conferencing app?

amitsinghlive

Since the pandemic started, I always had idea in my mind to build a video conference web app. Even though I started building it in March but stopped it because too much work in that month.

Now Im free but I noticed that all big corp are launching their video conference app and even some big local companies also launched such apps.

Do you guys think there is still space available to grow in this niche with so many big players?

Also is it profitable to consider to build? Because bandwidth and data usage will be way high in video conference niche, so the product need to be profitable to handle expense cost. That's always big problem for indie.

  1. 5

    There's almost always space to solve an existing valuable problem. In fact, solving already-solved problems like this is the best approach imo, because you know for sure that people care. The fact that they're paying for Zoom etc. is proof.

    But you need to differentiate. You can't just build the same thing and expect anyone to care.

    For example, you could target a different niche of people. Clubhouse is a super popular app at the moment. It's audio-only, not video chat, but they've targeted VCs and the tech community, and created a great place for specifically these people to meet and talk to each other by keeping it small, prioritizing invites for tech celebs, connecting it to the existing tech Twitter social graph, etc. You could pick your own niche and build an app that's better for those people than any competitor is.

    You could also target a different distribution channel, and build an app from the ground up that's really good for a particular channel. For example, some way to let YouTube commenters video chat with each other, or Redditors video chat with each other, or an SDK to make it easy for devs to build video chat into their mobile apps, or a plugin for Discourse forums to add video chat, etc.

    Or you could compete on price, but I don't recommend that for IHers. When you're small and new your product should be expensive. Low prices are for big players with economies of scale.

    1. 1

      I have a clear plan now. I decided to target a specific market. For example working employee instead of targetting everyone like Zoom. Thank you for this info.

  2. 2

    Trying to compete with Zoom / Google Meet is a recipe for failure, but you probably already know that.

    Instead, look at examples like tinyletter.com (an old example but a good one)

    It was started as an opinionated, lightweight alternative to Mailchimp by one of the OG indiehackers Phil Kaplan. It was free, had very simple formatting options, and was intended to be used by individuals, not big companies.

    Then Mailchimp acquired it :)

    http://allthingsd.com/20110831/exclusive-mailchimp-buys-phil-kaplans-tiny-start-up-tinyletter/

    https://twitter.com/pud?lang=en

  3. 1

    There's definitely room for a great deal of success in this space, but I would recommend accomplishing it by focusing on a niche market that was traditionally served exclusively through in-person interactions and suddenly needs to figure out how to integrate video into their workflow.

    A good example of this is the video conferencing solution my company built in response to COVID. We make software for doctors' offices, hospitals, universities, etc that are participating in clinical research to help manage the process of running clinical trials. Historically all of our clients are running these clinical trials nearly exclusively in person aside from some minor phone contact but that's usually for things like visit scheduling.

    When COVID hit it became infeasible for most of these clinical trials to continue in person. However, it also wasn't necessarily safe for our clients to just outright stop these trials completely and it could result in a huge amount of data needing to be thrown out of they just stopped all activity. So, long story short the FDA issued guidance on how to do some amount of remote management of clinical trials and encouraged researchers to quickly adopt a video conferencing solution in order to do so.

    We turned around a full "virtual visit" video conferencing solution built into our existing application using the AWS Chime SDK. Sure, our clients could have gone out and picked Zoom or something. However, it relieved a huge amount of pressure for them that we were able to offer a clinical research focused solution.

    From a purely technical perspective, it's not like our offering was really that different than other video conferencing solutions. In fact, it was intentionally less feature-rich than general video conferencing solutions. Our clients were going to pick something because with COVID and pressure from the FDA they basically had to, but video conferencing isn't in their wheelhouse and so choosing a solution brought a lot of anxiety. Relieving that anxiety by having a solution specifically aimed at them and their needs as opposed to being a broad consumer market offering were ultimately one of our main differentiators.

  4. 1

    Sure! I see succces if: you focus on specific audience, find profitable hidden sales channels. Profit! There is enough space for hundreds solutions like that.

  5. 1

    I think so! I have an idea for a niche market and am very interested in what the video conferencing infrastructure challenges are!

  6. 1

    Don't use video conferencing as the value add for your company.

    Use video conferencing to solve a problem where video conferencing aids the solution in a meaningful way.

    For example, we added in video conferencing to do quick drop-in touchpoints when buyers and sellers are interacting with the same opportunity. It's just a means of communication to help them, but video conferencing itself isn't our value add.

    Just my two cents.

    Good luck buddy!

    1. 1

      Thanks. I get it.

  7. 1

    Well there is if you can bring anything exciting, unique to the market or do something better or find a specific niche a simple me too product will have it hard you can only compete than with certain metrics: price, stability, speed, # of simultaneous users, ease of use etc.

    Most big players have good contracts with public clouds. Zoom uses Oracle cloud. Skype obviously Azure. GoToMeeting no idea. But none of them will likely have large infrastructure of their own. Maybe you could do some kind of P2P without any centralization

    1. 1

      Got your point. Anyway I know I can't beat them or even be bigger competition to them in starting. My point is being profitable or just stable to recover costs in some starting year.

  8. 1

    There is specially if you do it differently. Take a look at MakeSpace.fun for instance.

    1. 1

      Thanks for this. This looks good.

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