The evolution of video has brought us to the point where the state of being ‘live’ and streaming life ‘as it happens’ is fast becoming a familiar part of our multimedia landscape.
With the recent announcement that they’ve rolled out a live video capability to UK users, Instagram now joins its competitors who already accommodate this function.
Joining the likes of Facebook (who own the photo-sharing site), Twitter (and Twitter-owned Periscope), Livestream and YouTube Connect, among others, Instagram allows users to swipe right from their main feed to open the camera and record up to an hour of live video.
This announcement follows on from Instagram’s addition of a ‘stories’ bar, which adopts the ‘disappearing photo’ function made popular by the multimedia application Snapchat, founded in 2011.
The rise of these instant photo applications marks a fundamental shift in the technology that they enable, allowing communication via images on a more personal level than that of texting or email.
Live video enables users to go a step further still, bringing content to their followers happening there and then – in ‘real time.’
Social media generally has revolutionised the ways that we communicate with each other on both a personal and global level. We can now interact and share content with followers and friends anywhere in the world.
On the flip side, the one-to-one interaction that these applications cultivate are designed to bring us closer together, designed to maintain connections as well as creating new ones. Facebook’s slogans and advertising campaigns, especially, are very clear about these initiatives.
Sharing photos and videos show a slice of our lives and offers a glimpse of who we are with those within our personal networks. What we now consider to be ‘private’ has indeed altered along with these developments, bringing with it a whole new set of opportunities (and problems in some cases).
Applications like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram have made it simple to share image and video to the web. Available to use for free, these technologies afford anyone access to these virtual networks and continually feed our penchant for ‘on-the-go’ content.
On-the-go and on-demand
The shift towards on-demand content has brought about global changes in the technology market. It is hardly surprising that video maintains the preferred means of communication within social media networks.
Television remains a permanent feature in our living rooms but this technology has now gone digital and, of course, mobile. With the ability to pause live TV, skip adverts, and watch our favourite shows when we want via multiple handheld devices, as consumers we have now come to expect a certain level of control and immediacy to our media.
It is estimated that the average adult consumes more than 5 hours of video per day and more than one hour on digital devices. This is only set to increase as more and more of us tune in to live streams.
Not simply changing the sociability of our generation, then, but live streaming is changing our consumption habits, ultimately leading to evolutions on the business of this communication revolution.
As well as raking in enormous revenue for media conglomerates like Facebook and YouTube, live streaming capabilities make it easier for anyone to broadcast their lives and their business to cater to the needs of their customers.
Small businesses already benefit from the visibility afforded to them by social media platforms. Live streaming enables businesses to bridge the gap between them and their customers, giving them ‘eyes’ on the inside workings, offering exciting news about new products or celebrity endorsements.
Also from a business point of view, this is not necessarily just about satisfying customer wants inasmuch as it’s about helping them to navigate this media-saturated economy.
In industries such as construction, for example, the live aspect enabled via wireless 4G networks brings with it the ability to have ‘eyes on’ site progress at anytime from anywhere in the world.
This access allows images to be streamed and archived as part of an online viewer so that clients, stakeholders, and staff members can immediately be made aware of any changes on site. This offers around-the-clock monitoring which also works to minimise risk and possible illicit activity affecting progress.
Widening the scope of this visibility even further, some companies choose to embed these online viewers onto their website so that as a means of offering this ‘live’ progress to all web users.
Whether watching the day-to-day lives of celebrities, promoting your business, or keeping in-the-loop with important infrastructural developments, it seems that we want to represent our world via media in the same way as we experience it – as it happens.