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Cutting out the Media Middleman

Cutting out the Media Middleman

Cutting out the Media Middleman

The last few days I’ve been playing around with a service that I discovered some months back, but it only really became a viable option due to a new cellphone plan that I have recently moved to. The name of the service is Qik and the reason why it has become viable is that I no longer have to pay for mobile data, wherever I am in the world (this is a big deal for me, for other reasons - see other blogs of mine). So, what’s this Qik service all about and how is it going to change the world? Well, Qik is a small application that you can install on your mobile phone (only Nokia S60 Operating systems so far). It then allows you to stream live video direct from your phone and onto a web page. The quality is excellent and the delay is only around 3 seconds. So, what’s the big deal then? Well, there is a growing Qik community forming already and due to the bottomless-pit of creativity from the users out there we’ve already seen live coverage from all manner of events; a guy running the Boston Marathon strapped his phone to his chest and broadcast his entire run live; we had the aftermath of a shooting at an American school last week streamed live from the campus, we’ve had live feeds of flash-mobs, Olympic torch protests, you name it, it’s been Qik’ed. What we have here is a new level of immediacy with news reporting. With the likes of Flickr, YouTube, Picassa et al we have documents of history (albeit recent) that are subject to censorship, but Qik allows the user to broadcast live video and audio feeds from wherever they all in the world, cutting out the media corporation middleman. Certainly, with a laptop and webcam and the various “live-cam” services available you can do similar, but ultimately you’re somewhat tethered by the technology; running it off a mobile phone changes the playing field altogether. Qik is also trying to maximize distribution possibilities for live and on-demand video watchers by building widgets for blogs and Facebook, enabling alert systems on Twitter and Pownce, as well as tying into other video services like YouTube, Mogulus, Seesmic and Justin.tv. Qik recently received $3m series B funding in order to invest into their software platform, so it will be interesting to see the developments, to both the company and those that use it.. Matt Grest Head of Future Development PlusNet

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8 Comments
Dan
Grafter
i read about comvu a few weeks ago, it looks like something similar: http://www.comvu.com/comvu/Introduction.htm i can see people attempting to ban mobile phones entirely from music and cinama venues in the future - how successful they'll be is another story given how we rely on our mobiles these days. i find things like qik very interesting indeed - alhough assuming your data allowance does not cover overseas, it would still be too expensive to stream your holiday from spain to your mother in sheffield.
Grafter
Looks OK but I'm much more interested in how you get an unlimited data plan with a mobile 'phone operator! Who is this with?
Dabbler
@Nick_Russell : O2 are the network that I'm using for an unlimited data plan. This includes all overseas data too, which means that every time I'm overseas with PlusNet's teams in India and Poland it saves me a packet; (££ not TCP/IP). Three are also offering unlimted mobile data minutes with a lot of their packages and have Skype installed on their handsets by default. Matt
N/A
I've got unlimited data with 3: £5/month on top of my usual contract. It's transformed the way I use my mobile. I gave Qik a try and it really is quite impressive. I also found watching the snippets of other people's lives relayed live on the Qik homepage strangely compelling. It's like ethical voyeurism since everyone on it is intentionally broadcasting themselves!
Community Gaffer
I gave it a go last night and was immediately being chatting at by someone in Germany. I was trying to work out how to chat back when I realised I could just speak.... Damn this mixed communication!
Community Gaffer
Say Hi to Neil Laycock: http://qik.com/video/67033
Newbie
Is it really an unlimited data plan? Or is it unlimited in the same way that 3 is unlimited, ie, 1Gb only?
Dabbler
@Paul Elliott; Well, in this world we all know there's no such thing as sustainable "unlimited". O2 are advertising the service as "unlimited", but this is subject to "Fair Use" which they say users must not "substantially exceed that of other users, which is normally expected to be below 200MB/month". I think the best way to view this is "unmetered" rather than "unlimited". O2 state they'll send a text message when usage gets near to what they deem to be beyond "fair use", so we shall see. I've had Fring connected pretty much 24/7 in the last week, checked my email maybe 10 times a day using the Gmail mobile-app, done some browsing and uploaded a few Qik movies and my usage is 46MB, so I think we'll be fine...