Leading tech commentator Robert Scoble has gone mad for a new video streaming service for mobiles called Qik. It competes with Kyte and Seesmic but unlike those you do not have to wait for the video to be uploaded. Instead it streams the video straight into the site with a 5 second delay. To use it you download and install the client software – in Scoble’s case a Noka N95 – click on the icon and then start streaming video. Once finished the live stream turns to a recorded video. This could be pretty interesting hooked up to a micro-blogging platform like Twitter, as Seesmic currently is.
Qik supposedly allows you to sign up from Europe but although I registered today I have not yet had the confirmation SMS delivered to me. As soon as I get it I will see if it’s possible to use Qik from the UK.
I have always wondered why Seesmic launched on the Web first, using Web cams, when the greater opportunity is possibly via mobile phone. But no doubt it is easier to scale faster via PCs than mobiles, where there is an inherent data cost for the user.
In the UK a startup called Rawflow has been running a Seesmic-like site called Selfcast, a live peer-to-peer streaming service, for over a year now. This is the consumer-facing side of, RawFlow which provides broadcasters and content delivery networks with P2P streaming services. It has investment from Benchmark Capital.
I was told a year ago that Selfcast would have a mobile phone trial for its streaming service. But I haven’t seen anything about it since. Either I have missed it or it never happened. I have put in a call to the company today and will find out more.
In the UK the 3G network operator 3 famously launched with video calling but could never realistically deliver and consumers turned out not to want it. But video streaming from mobiles direct to the Web could well be a killer application, given our inherent fascination with You Tube et al, which bodes well for Qik and other startups like it.