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Streaming video wirelessly changes the game

I had a remarkable day yesterday, defined in part by video.  At Pulver's Social Media breakfast, there were Nokia N95's in evidence everywhere and people streaming everywhere.  They were streaming others streaming others talking on Qik.  At one point I spotted a crowd of 7 or 8 people, all streaming video, standing around one speaker.  

Later in the evening, at Pat Phelan's marvelous St. Patricks Day party, there was more of the same.  When suddenly the bandwidth fetters are removed, everyone become a recorder and broadcaster of all the things that are happening around them everyday.  

I had a chance to chat with the remarkable Bhaskar Roy, the man behind Qik, about this at Pat's party.   He told me that Qik's vision was not to be a video calling company, but rather a "show me what you're seeing" company.  People are using Qik for a huge range of things from the news to the deeply personal — a family having a chance, for example, to interact with a sick loved one in hospital thousands of miles away.  

We also chatted about the potential for abuse.  For example, I quietly shot this little video of my friends Ken Camp and Sheryl Breuker at an irish pub where we congregated a little later.  I know they won't mind 😉 In malicious hands, however, the ability to shoot video anywhere might be a powerful blackmail tool.  Bhaskar acknowledged the issue, but points out that inappropriate content is a problem of the web in general.

Mark my words — Qik, and technologies like it — are game changers.  They'll be ubiquitous before long, and our children will ask us to tell them stories about what the world was like before you could stream video over the phone.   

{ 2 comments… add one }

  • Alan A. Reiter March 18, 2008, 7:44 pm

    Hi Alec,

    I agree — live streaming cellular video is a revolutionary technology. About three billion people have cellular phones, about one billion have camera phones and a significant percentage of those have video recording capability. What happens when one billion people or more are able to instantly stream anything that occurs? Heck, what happens when a few hundred million are able to stream?

    This not only changes the news business, but also society in general. I have Qik, although I haven't used it much. But one major feature is the ability of viewers to send messages directly to your phone's screen as you're shooting. Robert Scoble mentioned how useful it is to receive questions when interviewing people about subjects on which he's not an expert, such as brain research.

    Live streaming is a very big deal, and even many journalists don't fully grasp its importance.

  • jonathan christensen March 23, 2008, 2:43 pm

    Agreed.. This is game changing. We are entering into an era when life takes place in the real world and online and somehow in between. I joke that my kids are the first generation to grow up entirely in a video game. Scoble seems to have moved online already..

    The devices will only get better and more ubiquitous..

    Hats off to the qik guys for great execution.

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