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Travel Tech

As the social media phenomenon that is Periscope continues to grow, travel businesses are beginning to catch up with its potential. And this is exemplified by Turkish Airlines, which has claimed to be the first major carrier to run a live broadcast of the cockpit and cabin crew’s flight via this live video streaming platform.

Turkish Airlines Maiden Broadcast

The transatlantic flight in question began with a live streaming from the crew garden at Istanbul's Ataturk airport, with both pilots and flight attendants contributing. There was then further input from the aircraft itself, where the crew for this journey were filmed going through their preparatory steps. Exterior checks of the aircraft were carried out at this stage, before the flight finally got underway.

Once the aircraft was airborne, live images of the crew at work were broadcast via Periscope, with Turkish Airlines utilising live on board Wi-Fi in order to enable viewers to observe the crew rest area. Once the flight went live from the United States, the number of people viewing the life broadcast grew sharply, And Turkish airlines encourage interactivity by asking viewers to guess the ultimate destination of the journey. The crew then signed off with a farewell message from the iconic Times Square in New York City.

Meerkat and Twitter Face-off

Of course, this is only one example of this live video streaming phenomenon. The major rival to Periscope was really the pioneer in this field. Meerkat has already made a big impression on Twitter, and it was the popularity of this application that forced the social media platform itself to develop its own version. Businesses are already waking up to the potential of Meerkat, and we have already seen prominent examples of the technology being utilised with innovation and imagination.

Meerkat made a huge impact in the tech scene by notably debuting at the South by Southwest Interactive, an important digital conference in Texas. Since then, live streaming apps have become among the hottest new entity in technology, attracting both a lot of consumers and financial investment from corporations.

Although streaming has therefore become extremely hot news in a very short period of time, early adopters are nonetheless attempting to work out how to use this technology effectively. Like anything that is new to the marketplace, Periscope and Meerkat will take a certain amount of time to bed in, and there will undoubtedly be some people that use the technology in its early days that consider it to be unworthy of their time.

This would be a mistake as live streaming will certainly take off in the future, and unquestionably there are numerous legitimate business applications for companies who are already utilising a variety of social platforms.

Live Streaming Potential Worldwide

The timing is perfect for live streaming applications to catch fire. It is estimated that by the end of 2016, 2 billion people worldwide will own a smartphone. The technology required in order to create and consume live video and then broadcast it, is undoubtedly becoming not merely popular, but ubiquitous.

And at the same time as technology is becoming affordable for people all over the world, social media has unquestionably created a culture of sharing. It is no longer a niche activity to share various forms of media content; in this day and age, sharing has become the cultural norm. Sharing photographs and videos of personal moments is now considered perfectly normal, and thus the idea of broadcasting aspects of one's personal life no longer seems as absurd as it once would have done.

With Periscope being directly linked to Twitter, there is a massive opportunity for social media platforms to broadcast directly using this technology. Those businesses who have an existing social network to tap into can easily share all of their Periscope broadcasts. This has seriously positive implications for business.

Effectively, Periscope and Meerkat offer the opportunities for any individual or organisation to develop a specialised television channel. A world of new possibilities for marketing and communication have unquestionably opened up. And even if the early broadcasts based on Periscope can be a little amateurish, there is still potential for this technology to deliver absorbing content in the foreseeable future.

One way that some businesses are already utilising Periscope is to broadcast live question and answer sessions. These have often been modelled after the infamous Reddit site, and can provide an engaging interactive experience for viewers. This is one strong aspect of the Periscope and Meerkat platforms, but another is unquestionably transparency. Being able to put a public face to a particular company or brand can be extremely attractive to consumers, especially in this age when there is so much visual material out there on sites such as Instagram. Humanising a brand is almost always a wise commercial move.

The Power of Live

Many marketers across the world have long since learnt the lesson that nothing attracts human beings like the prospect of a life event. When one considers the technology field, live launches from the likes of Apple have proved to be staggeringly successful, with millions of viewers in fact tuning into the recent Spring Forward conference in which the Apple Watch smartwatch was publicly revealed. Meerkat and Periscope buy into this ethos and attempt to provide a platform to enable companies to achieve similar results, albeit on a smaller scale.

Live streaming applications can provide smaller companies with the opportunity to tap into the same sort of energy and excitement that Apple takes for granted. This can occur in relation to product launches, or just sharing company news with interested parties. Already small businesses are reporting that the amount of engagement with such live streaming applications is surprisingly strong.

Both Periscope and Meerkat are still very much in their infancy, and there are unquestionably issues still to be resolved on a technical level. For example, it is impossible to schedule a Periscope broadcast, and searching for previous videos is not currently allowed for. But these should not be viewed as major difficulties, rather teething troubles in a technology that has huge potential.

Companies that are smart enough to start live streaming now and begin the process of building an audience may end up like the early adopters of Twitter and Facebook. These innovators were well ahead of the curve and now enjoy massive social media followings. Considering that this is the technology of the future, the advantages for travel brands and destinations should be entirely obvious.

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