– It’ll Drive Next Big Surge in Demand for Bandwidth
– Quickly Crushes Rival Meerkat
The next big increase in demand for bandwidth will likely come from live video streaming services such as Meerkat, on which we reported last month and Twitter’s recently acquired Periscope service. Such services will increase demand for both down and up bandwidth.
Anyone with a Twitter account, and there are millions, will soon be able, easily and instantly, to send video streams and watch live videos streams from Twitter users anywhere in the world. The potential scope of such a service is enormous and may well consume the amount of bandwidth that 4K streams will soon use. Live streams will eventually be in 4K as 4K becomes a standard on mobile devices, probably causing bandwidth consumed to exceed that used by 4K OTT streams.
Periscope: surfacing in app download charts
Twitter’s new live streaming service Periscope, like Meerkat before it, allows users to send live video stream quickly and easily over the Net. It’s initially available on iOS devices but an Android app is expected soon, just as Meerkat has also promised. Twitter acquired Periscope in January 2015 for $100 million.
Periscope has several advantages over the previously launched Meerkat:
– Periscope videos are available for 24 hours after they have broadcast, unlike Meerkat’s whose streams disappear when the stream ends. Meerkat has promised a similar delayed replay feature.
– Periscope is owned by Twitter, which allows simultaneous Twitter texting during viewing. Meerkat had done that until two weeks ago when Twitter abruptly blocked it. Now we know why Twitter did that.
– Periscope is a natural adjunct, almost like an upgrade, to Twitter, whose universal use means that Periscope is immediately and easily available on millions of devices.
The applications for live video streaming are enormous, ranging from “selfies” to reporting to live sports and entertainment to live updates from remote locations to education and more.
The increasing availability of free Wi-Fi hotspots and low-cost 4G cellular services means that live streaming already has the infrastructure it needs to become a major app in the same way that Facebook, Google, Twitter and browsing have.
Periscope’s surging popularity showed its potential. On Friday night March 27 after it was released, Periscope was already in the US iPhone top-30 chart, a rare event. By Sunday night, Meerkat had dropped to 523 on the US iPhone download chart. In fact, Meerkat had never made it into the top 100, showing the drawing power of Twitter.
Interestingly, on the same day that Periscope launched, Meerkat announced $14 million in new funding from VCs.
Although Periscope videos can currently originate only from iOS devices, they can be viewed with any device that has the Twitter app or that can access Twitter — which is practically the entire connected world.
Periscope’s Web site says, “It may sound crazy, but we wanted to build the closest thing to teleportation. While there are many ways to discover events and places, we realized there is no better way to experience a place right now than through live video. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but live video can take you someplace and show you around.”
The Periscope app is downloaded separately from Twitter — although using it requires a Twitter account.
Watching and streaming videos is about as easy as it can get. Users can watch Periscope videos from Twitter users they follow. An alert tells them when a video from those users starts. Broadcasters and viewers can then text live with each other. To send a video, users can stream to all their followers or limit the ones that can view. By tapping the “shoot” icon and entering a title for the stream, the live streaming begins…
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