How much is live video changing the business world?
I read an interesting article last week which questioned whether Facebook Live will be a serious threat to broadcast TV and advertising. Although some argue that it will never replace traditional channels, to me, it’s clear that it is changing the game.
Just look at some of the examples of its use recently. We’ve seen use cases of it which vary from a criminal using it to stream a car chase, to ABC News incorporating it into the coverage of the presidential election. The latter attracted 28 million views during the Republican and Democratic National Convention – compared to just 7.5 million views on CNN’s TV channel. The immediacy of consuming live events on your mobile phone cannot be matched with TV; live, on-demand or otherwise. Access anytime, anywhere to events which we might have previously not been able to witness thanks to the ease at which live footage can be shared and captured is what’s driven this change. We are hungry for information which requires minimal effort to consume. Facebook Live has simply made it easier to broadcast to millions of people regardless of time and location and other social media platforms – like Instagram – are following suit.
What does this mean?
We are reaching a tipping point. Companies, governments and celebrities alike are using live video as more people continue to demand it. It’s clear, this trend has been driven by mobile – in both the supply and demand of live video – but for it to become the norm for everybody, three things need to happen:
- Improved bandwidth – The introduction of 4G six years ago has impacted internet usage on the move. The increased availability of fibre will change this dynamic even more and give people the ability to watch live videos wherever they are without interruption.
- Better battery tech – The technology present in smartphones or laptops today hasn’t changed significantly since it was first used by Sony in 1991. Current smartphones do not last more than a day without charging and that’s just with regular use. Watching videos causes the battery to drain even quicker, preventing people from watching them on the move. As soon as this technology improves and people no longer have the fear of their phone switching off before they make it home, we’ll see a big spike in the amount of live video watched.
- More brands offering it – Facebook has Facebook Live. Twitter has Periscope. Tumblr has Tumblr Live. The uptake of live video communication on social media platforms has transformed the way we communicate. We will also soon start to see more brands and news outlets improve their video capabilities on mobile devices which will give people a lot more choice and drive the live video revolution.
Taking advantage of this new world
As we’re so close to the tipping point, the time is now for businesses to act to get one step ahead of their competition. Let’s look at advertising for example. Why would people pay for expensive advertising slots when they can reach a bigger audience through Facebook Live? If you’re a big star, it’s a no-brainer, you already have a high number of followers that will watch and share your videos and help them to go viral.
For smaller brands, they can become broadcasters at a fraction of the cost. Sky high television advertising may have prevented them from using video to reach potential customers before but this should no longer be the case. By working with an industry influencer, a brand can take advantage of their follower base and reach their target audience instantly.
Live video may not be a significant threat to broadcast TV and adverting today but it’s clearly changing the game. As we move into 2017 and beyond, it’s clear that live video is becoming even more impactful. The time is now for brands and businesses to start taking advantage of its capabilities and be at the forefront of the live video revolution.
By James Campanini, VP and GM, EMEA, BlueJeans
SAS: Improving the British Army’s decision making with data
SAS’ long-standing relationship with the British Army is built on mutual respect and grounded by a reciprocal understanding of each others’ capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses. Roderick Crawford, VP and Country GM for SAS UKI, states that the company’s thorough grasp of the defence sector makes it an ideal partner for the Army as it undergoes its own digital transformation.
“Major General Jon Cole told us that he wanted to enable better, faster decision-making in order to improve operational efficiency,” he explains. Therefore, SAS’ task was to help the British Army realise the “significant potential” of data through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to automate tasks and conduct complex analysis.
In 2020, the Army invested in the SAS ‘Viya platform’ as an overture to embarking on its new digital roadmap. The goal was to deliver a new way of working that enabled agility, flexibility, faster deployment, and reduced risk and cost: “SAS put a commercial framework in place to free the Army of limits in terms of their access to our tech capabilities.”
Doing so was important not just in terms of facilitating faster innovation but also, in Crawford’s words, to “connect the unconnected.” This means structuring data in a simultaneously secure and accessible manner for all skill levels, from analysts to data engineers and military commanders. The result is that analytics and decision-making that drives innovation and increases collaboration.
Crawford also highlights the importance of the SAS platform’s open nature, “General Cole was very clear that the Army wanted a way to work with other data and analytics tools such as Python. We allow them to do that, but with improved governance and faster delivery capabilities.”
SAS realises that collaboration is at the heart of a strong partnership and has been closely developing a long-term roadmap with the Army. “Although we're separate organisations, we come together to work effectively as one,” says Crawford. “Companies usually find it very easy to partner with SAS because we're a very open, honest, and people-based business by nature.”
With digital technology itself changing with great regularity, it’s safe to imagine that SAS’ own relationship with the Army will become even closer and more diverse. As SAS assists it in enhancing its operational readiness and providing its commanders with a secure view of key data points, Crawford is certain that the company will have a continually valuable role to play.
“As warfare moves into what we might call ‘the grey-zone’, the need to understand, decide, and act on complex information streams and diverse sources has never been more important. AI, computer vision and natural language processing are technologies that we hope to exploit over the next three to five years in conjunction with the Army.”
Fundamentally, data analytics is a tool for gaining valuable insights and expediting the delivery of outcomes. The goal of the two parties’ partnership, concludes Crawford, will be to reach the point where both access to data and decision-making can be performed qualitatively and in real-time.
“SAS is absolutely delighted to have this relationship with the British Army, and across the MOD. It’s a great privilege to be part of the armed forces covenant.”