sand in a man's hand

Livestreaming — brief online broadcasts that let users respond to followers in near real time — is the latest craze to hit marketers and digital enthusiasts.

Thousands of users are realizing how livestreaming can create buzz-worthy content for attracting followers. But with IoT devices becoming more prevalent, sharing buzz will grow, creating challenges for measurement and assessing reception of a message.

The Players

The rising popularity of livestreaming platforms has stemmed from a few options with convenient features.

Periscope and Meerkat are two leaders, after having expanded availability to both iPhone and Android. Periscope reached 10 million accounts in 4 months, according to its site. Meerkat has not published the size of its user base.

There are plenty of wanna-be apps beyond the two main players.

Vine, a short-segment video creator, is a perfect example, as is Instagram’s Hyperlapse, a time-lapse video app.

Blab is a livestreaming platform with a collaborative twist. Groups can livestream, allowing four people to share the stream at once.

A little known fact is that YouTube has added livestream beta features. Users with a channel can navigate to the livestream feature in the channel manager menu.

Moreover, new consumer devices such as Samsung Note 5 and Playstation 4 have built in features to leverage YouTube streaming.

Even Facebook has been positioning itself with Facebook Live, which is currently limited to high profile users. But it is expected to roll out to general users over time.

Companies are starting to discovery the value livestreaming can bring to marketing campaigns.

Cisco reported in a recent study that 69 percent of all online traffic will be attributed to on-demand video by 2017. Imagine reviewing an analytics report and seeing referral traffic listing Vine listed among the dimensions with highest visits and time on site, then you get the idea of where things are headed.

The Word of Things

What livestreaming ultimately changes is how word of mouth (WOM) exists digitally.

In the past few years WOM meant social media mentions.

The difference lies in the immediacy of the buzz created among social media users. Livestream videos can entertain or provide useful information, just like a blog post or tweet, but they are meant to augment current social media channels.

Metrics surround their plays, from loops in Vine to hearts in Periscope, can indicate interest, particularly with average time played.

The IoT design of devices can further influence livestream because of the changed context in which the stream is shared.

Most online videos contain content in which the users are “set around the camera in a given location. The on-the-go nature of livestreaming means user can take advantage of their immediate environment. A network established with smart devices can augment that usage.

Potential Issues

There are technical challenges for livestreaming, of course. You need enough bandwidth for smooth communication.

And there is still some debate about networking protocols: for an example, read the CMS Wire post which mentions MTConnect, an IoT protocol designed for addressing unique Manufacturing-to-Manufacturing (M2M) device communication issues.

Furthermore, shifts in operating systems behind devices can drive device development. Recent reports of Google considering expanding the next Android operating system are an example.

Digital Trends noted that the expansion could replace the Chrome OS in the next update of the Chromebook laptop line, demonstrate that mobile computing will be a primary development focus, benefiting devices that can leverage the programming capabilities.

Another concern is simply designing interfaces devices that can share livestream. This does not mean that every device should stream video - imaging livestreaming from behind the wheel of a car, even an autonomous vehicle, and you get the idea.

But streaming can be useful when context of usage is established.

The best solutions examine how video can be optimized. For a few ideas, take a look at my CMSWire post on Periscope and its influence on Twitter.

As I stated in that post, the Internet of Things era is introducing new operational behaviors to deliver product and service to customers.

It will also incorporate video such as livestreaming as a great next step to evolve a marketing strategy.

Monitor developments in IoT devices over the next year will put your team at the right interaction of innovation and livestreaming engagement.

Title image by Forrest Cavale