Through the lens of Periscope


periscope  Being an exchange student, I have done a fair bit of travelling round this fascinating continent in the past month and many a time when I see something amazing, I feel the urge to instantly show it to my friends and family back home. To address this, I was rummaging through play store when I came across this wonderful app called Periscope. Now for the uninitiated ones, Periscope is a live broadcasting app owned by Twitter, which you can use to record and create videos on your phones which can be watched in real time by others. For those of you who are couch potatoes. this app is equally attractive since it allows you to select and watch from a range of videos which are being broadcast live and are available for public viewing.

hearts periscopeThe differentiating factor for Periscope is that everything is instantaneous here. For example if you are watching a live feed and want a different angle or view, you can immediately message the broadcaster and request the same. You can also ask any questions or ask them to repeat a certain portion you missed out on or applaud their effort. Similar to Facebook where you press the like button, here you generate “hearts” each time you tap the screen. The number of hearts accumulated acts like a feedback for the broadcaster and tells him about the current popularity of his live stream.

Using the app is also super easy. You just need to log in through your twitter account ( create one if you don’t have) and you can view which of your friends or any popular broadcaster is currently broadcasting live. To start your own recording, locate a red camera icon in the bottom right corner of the screen which is the record button. Select a title for the broadcast, pin point your location, choose your viewers ( public/private) and you are ready to go live!!

Having described the app, I will now tell you why I feel this is such a good tool to possess and its pros and cons.

Real time nature of the app

The most amazing feature is that everything on this app is instantaneous. You broadcast a video of what you would like your select audience to see, receive comments, requests, suggestions and applause from them, all on the fly. This creates a really interactive environment for both the broadcaster and the viewer and enhances the experience for both. This is the BIG differentiating factor this has over Youtube is that this is real time and hence is a lot more fun too.

A travelling companion

Now one can share one’s experiences with friends and family across the globe using this app. Be it sailing under the magnificent Erasmus bridge or skydiving from a plane or a mesmerizing show at the opera, you can share everything with them and enable them to see the world through your eyes. Their reactions and comments will just make travelling with a Periscope that much more amazing.

Live news reporting tool

Imagine yourself as a news reporter who has gone to cover a world cup final. You want your news channel to be the most updated and the fastest to broadcast the next goal or the next red card. This allows you to do exactly that using this tool. Using Periscope can give a news agency a big boost during major political or sports events as the live feed will soon draw a lot of traffic to your news channel’s twitter account. The faster you manage to get the video on TV, the faster your channel’s TRP ratings will shoot up.

Sometimes you may be alone without a video cameraman and other aids. If you come across an incident which you feel needs attention or must be broadcast instantly, then Periscope is a great aid in such circumstances: For example, you re driving down the highway and come across a growing bush fire.

Communication Platform

It can also replace official media press conferences since an announcement can be made through a live broadcast and all the reporters and media personnel can interact using the app. This greatly simplifies proceedings where in an urgent press conference needs to be called. Who knows very soon presidential addresses might be given through the Periscope!!

It can also prove to be a worthy competitor to Skype and other video calling platforms.

Piracy: a big concern

Like most good things, the Periscope app too has a downside because live broadcast features are an invitation for video piracy of authorized content. This issue was highlighted when several users of the service used it to illegally broadcast the fifth season premiere of HBO’s Game of Thrones live. Similar concerns were raised during the highly watched boxing match on May 2, 2015, between Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Manny Pacquiao, which was widely pirated live on Periscope as compared to its being televised via a pay per view that cost approximately US$90. Such issues need to be addressed at the earliest in order to protect the interests of the affected parties as well as show Twitter’s strict stand against piracy or any other illegal activity.

Conclusion

All in all, I feel optimistic about the future scope of the app. It is a serious challenger to other broadcasting channels like Youtube primarily due to its real time and interactive nature.With the popularity of social media, Periscope broadcasts will really enable faster information sharing and transfer across the globe.It being part of a social media mogul like Twitter will ensure its visibility and acceptability as there are no switching costs involved for users. Certain security features like providing restricted access to using Periscope only to authorized personnel during sports events or pay per views can curb down its usage as a piracy tool. But its here to stay and am confident its soon going to be an integral part of most of our lives.

Please let me know through your comments if you have used Periscope before and if you have shared any interesting experiences using it. I would also like to know of your views about the app overall and if you can think of any other use to which it can be put to.

Cheers 🙂

References

http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/how-to/google-android/how-use-periscope-on-android-3613985/

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/mar/26/periscope-review-twitter-live-streaming-service-meerkat

http://www.engadget.com/2015/03/26/periscope/

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