Thoughts on Periscope

anand posted this on 26 Mar 2015

I just downloaded the app and was watching a few live streams in the new Periscope app. Looks very cool. 

I like the idea. The idea of upgrading common people’s capability to do things that only specialised agencies were able to do. Television channels were only doing broadcasting and now everyone can do it with their phones. 

My concerns are with the limited capabilities of the phone when it is being used as the broadcasting device. 

  1. Battery life: If the phone is going to be live streaming a video to the internet, it is going to take up a lot of battery life. And so the size of any live stream anyone can make is very much limited by the amount of battery life. Add the GPS tracking for location sharing to this mix, it is going to hit the battery life so hard.

  2. Abuse: There is so much space here to use this tool for pornography and other illegal cases. Its a challenge for twitter/periscope to address this efficiently.

  3. Curation: If say 10 users are broadcasting the same event, which one will any user choose to follow and watch. 

  4. Network: Phones are by their very nature have network access in their extremes. Either it would have access to LTE or it would be in Edge. In such cases, can the app switch seamlessly between low resolution and high resolution broadcasting.

  5. Average attention by viewers: Viewers are not going to be glued to the stream as they would on a tv. They would get a call. A notification. Or a need to put down the phone for some reason. The app must allow the user to join a stream or quit a stream seamlessly and quickly.

I’m sure Periscope cannot deal with all these immediately. Phone’s hardware need to be upgraded by phone companies. Network access need to be very good for majority of the population. Policies have to be put out to avoid abuse. I’d say it will take at least 2-5 years for this broadcasting/live stream space to mature and be used by everyone.