How coronavirus could be the tipping point for video collaboration

The stock markets are jittery. Investors are skittish. Coronavirus Covid-19 is making everybody nervous.

Everybody knows that the Plague is coming. Everybody knows that it’s moving fast

L. Cohen, Everybody Knows

No one hates uncertainty more than investors. Two days ago global markets were down by record amounts and the G7 finance ministers were arranging emergency talks on how to ward against the impacts of a global slowdown. Chinese factory output is down, global air travel is highly disrupted and global business events are being cancelled.

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But, as proved by the rallies on the Dow Jones, FTSE and DAX, investors have found many stocks to be underpriced in the new reality. The obvious companies to invest in (vaccine makers) were all snapped up. Invest in cleaning services, face masks and hand sanitisers.

Look a little deeper, however, and smart investors are looking at the new technology that will prosper if a new pandemic is announced. Video streaming has already seen sharp uptakes as people stay indoors. But the disease takes hold, this is just the start. 

Human interaction could be limited. The rise of robots, long predicted, will be accelerated due to the fears of personal contact. If 2020 changes our business behaviour, here’s a list of technologies that will become part of our new way of life sooner than expected:

  • Automatic door sensors 
  • Autonomous delivery services 
  • Video collaboration services

The first signs that video collaboration would benefit were shares in teleconferencing software company Zoom, that rose dramatically over the past week as office workers telecommuted rather than go to the office. 

Because collaborative video is a new field of technology, Zoom may be the only publicly-traded stock to give us an indication of the potential shift to decentralised video production. 

Raw, unedited video blogs and streams from the stricken Diamond Princess boat made unlikely YouTube stars out of pensioner cruise ship passengers. The news media has been looking for ways to easily source video content from places it would usually dispatch a film crew. Frame.io, which offers secure cloud-based video file storage for professional video production houses and broadcasters, has also seen an uptake in its services. 

At Vloggi, we have also seen a short in the conversations we’re having with clients. We offer not only the crowdsourcing capabilities of Frame, but also the cloud-based desktop video production software to enable marketing teams to pull the clips together into finished episodes. Born out of the tourism industry, which saw the need to source footage easily and quickly from remote locations to compile social media videos, we have suddenly received enquiries from local government, global corporations and broadcasters. 

Many devices collaborating to produce a Vloggi

Because collaborative video production doesn’t replace any existing service per se, it has struggled to get beyond the “that’s a cool idea” phase. The ability to bring many devices, many locations and many perspectives easily and quickly into finished videos runs contrary to the established video production process where a film crew (or video blogger) shoots one point of view and then edits together their view of the highlights. The data contained in each clip uploaded to the Vloggi platform is rich enough for our algorithms to stitch together highlights videos without the need for a human eye. 

The microblogging value of Twitter wasn’t clear initially. But after Twitter’s real-time functionality as an effective emergency communication system for breaking news was proved in Californian earthquakes of 2001, its growth trajectory took off.

Sadly the industry has already seen some casualties: Fresco News was a video sourcing platform that would have been perfectly placed for Coronavirus, but was ahead of its time and closed in 2018. Here in Australia we have also seen video aggregators come and go. 

But as we sit here planning the next wave of our technology for 2020, bringing automation very much to the fore, we can tell you that there’s never been a better time to be at the cutting edge of a new technology that will change the way the world makes video.

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