We now offer another always-on option to better link your team across locations, whether you're supporting remote colleagues or connecting different offices. You can set up your own always-on web page, using our video chat API. You need a basic familiarity with HTML, but it’s pretty simple from there.
Just like teammates often walk into HQ with the company logo on the door, your team can load an always-on video call on your company website — on a secure page, for example, or in your employee dashboard — with our API.
Below we show the simple code you’ll use and customization options, as well as pricing.
Always-on is a video call that’s left open; the meeting link doesn’t expire or kick everyone out. Colleagues can gather or drop-in, no matter where they are — like a virtual water cooler.
There are different ways to set up and use always-on video conferencing. A key factor is whether you want to use a TV, or if you simply want to use the web.
We first built always-on for the TV use case. With our Daily.co TV hardware plugged in, a TV automatically loads a portal, with no typing or clicking. It integrates with our software so remotes also can join, but at least one location has a TV set up with our hardware. (You can read more about how the TV system works in our previous blog post.)
Since we launched the TV solution, customers have asked us for a version that works online, with just computers. Customers especially like the autojoin feature, where the screen just loads the portal — no typing or clicking.
Now with our video calling API, you can easily do this. With just two lines of code, you can embed an always-on stream in any web page.
This is the simplest possible way to build the always-on.
As said, we’re walking through the simplest way to create an always-on. If you’re comfortable with APIs, you can programmatically create the link. Check out our API docs.
That’s it! Load the page. Your embedded always-on link is live.
The code above creates the always-on call in a window on your web page, near the bottom right corner. That bottom right can work well, if there only are a few participants in the live stream, and you're using the rest of the page for a dashboard, for example.
Alternatively, the live stream take up the full window area. That's easy too. You can use this code:
For more information about customizing the video call view, see our docs: https://docs.daily.co/docs/factory-methods-and-top-level-configuration
🎙 Browsers have strict privacy requirements. (That’s good!) Before a browser lets the video call start, a user will have to give permission for the local camera and microphone to be used. If anyone has issues with allowing camera access, check out our help page or contact us. We often can quickly sort out camera issues.
✊ Don’t forget if you change the link's privacy settings to team-only or private, access to the room is restricted. Learn more.
🖌 Customize the web page itself! A big benefit of using our API is you’re embedding the stream into whatever page you want. So how the page looks is up to you.
⚒ Customize the video chat UI. Our API is unusual in that you can customize the layout with just CSS. Read our designer Steve’s post on how to use CSS Grid Layout.
You pay as you go, with our Daily.co API pricing. This is different from the per-user “seats” approach that SaaS tools — and many video calling programs — often use.
Specifically, our API costs are based on how many participant-minutes you use each month. The formula is N * minutes, where N is the number of people who’ve joined the call.
For comparison, a basic video calling tool can be $15/seat. For 4 people, that's $60/month for always-on that’s not embedded on your own web page. For about $18 more ($78/month), you can embed the stream on your own website or company page, and control how the portal itself works and looks.
Building your own always-on has two key benefits: ease and culture.
When you embed a link into a web page, with our API, your teammates just load the page. This is different from a lot of video call programs jerry-rigged for always-on.
Most video call apps require logins or downloads, or enforce time caps. The product isn’t optimized around the always-on experience. (Plus, your teammates can't use your own website or dashboard to stream.)
We see these pain points with our free browser calls! Daily.co is our standard free product (and different from the API-embed you're using.) When you click a link to join, you then select if you’re joining on a computer or phone — the call loads after you indicate if you’re on a computer, phone, or TV. You also can't customize the video call layout. It's a standard video conferencing tool.
Certainly, even these basic Daily.co meeting links are faster and easier than other video calls. Still, power users can get tired of any friction and the locked-in screen layout.
Previously, the upgrade we offered to solve this was our TV hardware product. But now you can use the API on any web page. If you're comfortable with CSS, you also can control the video call layout, on your web page.
A common goal of always-on is to help remotes feel part of a team. Because an API gives you complete flexibility, you can customize a portal page that ties into your team.
We built our API to make it much easier to customize and build with video calls. Since we first started working with always-on customers, it’s been really neat to learn how they adapt their tools to benefit their own companies. Our goal with the API is for you to quickly build whatever always-on stream you need. Let us know how we can help!