For people interested in innovative live streaming technology all roads lead to Austin, Texas in March. The annual South by Southwest Interactive Festival is a chance for companies to showcase the future of interactive technology, and the 2015 festival certainly didn’t disappoint. Let’s round up some of the most interesting features and news that came out of SXSW relating to the world of live streaming technology.
Meerkat, The Streaming Miracle
Meerkat has made a huge splash in a short space of time, and it was a main topic of conversation right across the Austin Convention Center. It wasn’t just a talking point however, as many journalists used the Meerkat app to live stream content from SXSW directly to their Twitter followers. Mashable gave it a powerful seal of approval by broadcasting their MashBash to online viewers using the app. The number of Meerkat viewers increased to over 100,000 during the event, and the exponential growth saw other tweet streaming companies emerge at SXSW including Teleparty, and Stre.am.
Social media streaming seems certain to be even bigger by the time next year’s SXSW comes round, as it offers incredibly convenient viewing for consumers, and an easy way for broadcasters to reach a large market and thus monetize their offerings.
Twitter Fights Back With Periscope
Meerkat may have made all the headlines over the last two weeks, but Twitter isn’t taking it lying down. Periscope, their own live streaming solution, may not yet be ready to reach out to the social media masses but the team from San Francisco made it clear that they will do all it takes to make their offering the tweet streaming platform of choice. One way they did this was to announce that they had restricted Meerkat’s ability to push notifications of Meerkat streams to their users. This was more a statement of intent than a deadly blow, and the real battle will be staged when Periscope is fully up and running. Whatever the outcome, increased competition has to be a good thing for broadcasters and consumers, allowing them to pick the platform that’s most suitable for their own needs.
The Future For Google Glass
Google Glass garnered a lot of publicity in recent years, not all of it good. Still, it was a surprise to many when the project was unceremoniously dropped at the start of 2015. Astro Teller, one of the leading scientists behind the Google X laboratory project, was at SXSW to explain what went wrong, and what the future holds for Google Glass. One mistake, he freely admitted, was that too much publicity was allowed to build up around what was still very much a beta product. Problems they encountered included the size and functionality of the battery, and the public’s perception of the look of the product. Nevertheless, as Astro Teller, confirmed reports of the death of Google Glass have been greatly exaggerated. Google X are already working on a second prototype, and the expectation is still very much that one day soon consumers will be able to interact with their surroundings as they walk around. This will also provide perfect opportunities for live streaming content via the new glasses.
As always SXSW wasn’t all queues, beer, and barbecues, although they were all essential elements of course. The 2015 festival gave further clear evidence that live streaming is at the center of technological innovation, and interaction will be the key to its growth.