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#TNWEurope: Are we live?

Live video is hot and happening. We are seeing a transition on the Internet from text to images, video, and increasingly live video. It is currently the most dynamic form of storytelling. Your loyal followers are tired of seeing solely the best version of you on Facebook or Instagram. Live video’s strength is that it is authentic. No struggling with filters and effects, but real-time and personal content with a single push on the button.

Of course, live video is nothing new. TV and e.g. events and conferences have already familiarised us with the concept. The threshold for broadcasting live video oneself has however been lowered considerably in recent months due to the emergence of several live-streaming apps. Meerkat was the first company last year to make live video accessible. The app allows you to log in with your Twitter account, launches a livestream in an instant, and shares it with your Twitter followers. In that same month, Periscope launched a similar app with even more interactive features.

Both apps enable you to stream videos to your followers, while reactions and likes are being displayed. Hence, you can broadcast live what you are doing. Or broadcast a live report of an event that you have organised or are attending. Your followers can participate in real time and exert influence by e.g. asking questions. This makes it immediately a lot more fun than e.g. TV.

During The Next Web Conference in Amsterdam, event organiser Patrick de Laive met with Kayvon Beykpour. He is the man behind Periscope, which is currently one of the most successful live-streaming apps together with Meerkat. Beykpour considers live video to be a powerful resource for building up a loyal community. Therefore, he anticipates than live video will be used increasingly frequently, because technology is making it increasingly easier and more accessible.

Large players such as Facebook and Twitter are increasingly betting on this application. Twitter did so last year with the acquisition of Periscope, while Facebook took the plunge this year with the introduction of Facebook Live. On both platforms, the live videos of you or your friends automatically appear at the top of the newsfeed. Followers can then again respond via comments or likes. These in turn appear immediately when submitted and then disappear. According to Facebook, live videos garner ten times more responses than other videos in the social network.

While we currently are mainly using our smartphones and live-stream from there, it will naturally become feasible in the near future to produce live video with a variety of devices. For example, drone brand DJI is already supporting live video via YouTube and Facebook. This makes it possible for you to produce live video without much effort and at an altitude of several metres.

The possibilities offered now already by these technologies and platforms provide a lot of ease and a large range. At the same time, reliability, image quality, and functionality still leave much to be desired. This is not really an issue for a regular consumer. However, it is a reason for large organisations to prefer professional livestream tools to consumer live-streaming apps. Yet, live video becomes increasingly appealing to brands, as professional and consumer tools gradually converge.

The developments in the field of live video are therefore not finished for the moment. Who knows, the next step might be a live city tour in New York with a ‘physical hologram of you’. Simply from the couch at home.

This article has been published in Dutch on Adformatie