With free time this weekend to explore online, I was able to perform a cursory examination of the landscape of breakthrough communications providers in telephony, web conferencing and streaming video (the last one I’ll discuss in this post). Certainly not a comprehensive analysis by any means, but it gave me a good sense of where we are and what needs to yet happen.
As you can see from this screenshot from one of my non-public ‘test’ blogs, I was goofin’ around and testing streaming video offerings from Stickam and uStream. The former has been around awhile longer so I like their technology better and it works great, but they’re targeting a young, social network crowd and positioning streaming as a way to connect with one another. Cool but not yet useful for business purposes (yeah…I care about the social stuff but we need commerce too!).
uStream is certainly driving toward a more serious technology user — and people that are interested in delivering value of some sort with shows and connecting with an audience — so it suits my needs, those of my clients, and just about everyone else I know that is in business, education or an organization of some sort….but can it or any of these shows deliver?
Listening (and once watching a uStream streaming video) Leo Laporte of TechTV and now TwIT fame, he’d talked with the founders of uStream (on Net@Nite with Amber Macarthur) about one of his shows which he had streamed live. He had just over 4,000 viewers and the server blew up. The uStream team is remedying that problem but this brings up my #1 issue: to be serious contenders, these communications technologies must scale.
I’ve brought up scale over-n-over again on this blog and I know that streaming video is really hard and the bandwidth needed is expensive. What if a hot ‘show’ is streamed on Stickam or uStream and has even 1% of the disappearing network TV show audience (37.5 million viewers in the US in March for broadcast networks), there is NO way that any of these lower end solutions would be up to the task of streaming to an audience of 375,000 people…let alone millions.
When individuals, companies or organizations start down a path of choosing superior communication technologies, they are placing a bet. I view many solutions — Skype, Stickam, uStream, and many Web 2.0 solutions — are bleeding edge and not a safe bet. That said, I’m experiencing many solutions myself and know exactly what I (and many of my clients) want but believe that we’re not quite there yet…
…but man, are we close.
About Steve Borsch
Connecting the Dots Podcast
Podcasting hit the mainstream in July of 2005 when Apple added podcast show support within iTunes. I'd seen this coming so started podcasting in May of 2005 and kept going until August of 2007. Unfortunately was never 'discovered' by national broadcasters, but made a delightfully large number of connections with people all over the world because of these shows. Click here to view the archive of my podcast posts.