On November 8, 2016, I walked into my living room to see my roommate on the couch, strapped into a Samsung Gear VR headset. He wasn’t lost in a dungeon or blasting a horde of aliens, he was literally watching the election… in VR. Big Screen is responsible for this, a virtual home theater app that allows people from around the world to watch video content together.
Today, two years later, our office is immersed in an Oculus Rift game, VR Chat. The premise of VR Chat is pretty much like the movie Ready Player One. You join a virtual community of players, freely roaming a world embodied in the avatar of your choice, from Nemo to Batman. Going in and out of this virtual world had us thinking more about the direction of live streaming. We’ll get back to VR in a bit, but first let’s look at the more mainstream platforms.
Consider what Youtube, Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram are all starting to have in common. Growing trends point to group video calls and methods of live streaming between users. These platforms are providing new ways to connect with people in real-time, destroying geographical boundaries even more than before. The main strength of live video or group video calls is the immediacy of the platforms. It’s the closest thing to hanging out with anyone from the comfort of your own home. Furthermore, the immediacy of streaming live television also presents similar benefits.
Getting a deeper look into the live streaming industry, the numbers show just how big this industry is getting. The billion-dollar industry is growing rapidly. In 2016, 81% of internet users viewed more live-streamed content than the previous year, with 56% of most-watched live content being breaking news (my roommate in VR included).
With an eye on these trends, we helped to launch a new update to Rooms Live.
Rooms Live was created to close the gap in video calling by providing a way to seamlessly connect live with friends and family members through one of the most used iOS platforms, iMessage.
In the most recent release, we've added a new feature that allows users to view streaming content while waiting for their roomies to join their call. We encourage you to attend a meeting, watch some TV, sing with your sister, or watch the sunset with your friend who’s studying abroad - all within iMessage - through Rooms Live.
Although Rooms Live doesn’t have any VR features (yet), we believe it’s an important technology to keep an eye on when it comes to streaming.
Virtual Reality apps like VR Chat and Big Screen are great examples of where live platforms are headed. These apps are creating new forms of human connection, by creating a new reality in real time.
And these virtual worlds have it all, from nightclubs to Bikini Bottom. With so much to explore, you could easily get lost hanging out with Mario and Bugs Bunny in outer space.
That being said, there are endless opportunities to keep an eye on when it comes to growing your brand. Although we can’t fully predict where live platforms are headed, we hope this post provides some new perspectives on where the technology is going.