[POLYV Insight] What can we do with live streaming? (Part 2 – Consumer products)

In the first chapter of the insight, we talked about live streaming service for entertaining, and draws that it is hard to maintain a steady growth for the audience as well as the commercial value. Here from Part 2, we will start discussing live streaming service for various type of  business and other professional needs.

Consumer product is currently one of the major use for commercial purpose, especially in smart devices, household appliances, clothing and accessories. Millions of customers have learned about how to use the product or how it looks like with the product through the livestreams, and there are more things that live streaming can do.

We have come up with several ideas for using live streaming for now or in the near future.

1. Unboxing

Unboxing videos are currently widely used in product review channels or websites. The audience can learn a lot information – including the appearance, the features and how it works – from the videos.

And since live streaming is more timeliness-demanding, when unboxing events combine with live streaming, the audience can now learn about the new features of the product right at the press convention or first hands-on, with the help of the host or professional reviewers.

The bottom line, live streaming speeds up the way people learn about new products and features even at thousand miles away, and influences their impression on the products and the decision of buying them or not.

2. Product demonstration for training

Product demonstration is also a major use of videos. We’ve already seen a lot in both television and internet, but what if they are on live streaming?

If we put a product demonstration for livestreaming, it is more like a live tutorial for those who are new to the product, to train what it can do and how to use it. For this situation, the live streaming can be used for internal/corporate training and help freeing HR staff from the repetitive job.

3. VR/MR fitting and tailoring

Well, this is literally the “next big thing” in the near future. Even though the VR/MR fitting is still in development, there are some prototypes in progress surfacing to media, and even a few early products (such as FXGEAR) coming into reality.

However, the VR fitting gears currently still sit in big shopping malls and require a set of devices and softwares that are too expensive and complicated for general consumers. And for the VR devices like Oculus, HTC Vive VR and PlayStation VR, the fitting application is not yet developed.

But there’s still hope for the virtual fitting – some developers try to build applications that can scan and build the 3D model of your body using 1 to 3 cameras or even webcams that are easy to get, and the fitting result takes only seconds to send back to the customers. And with the help of MR using projectors, you can even see how the fitting and style is.

At this point, you can find and shop the clothes and accessories that match your style and size, without even going outside.

Another industry that will get benefits from VR/MR is the bespoke tailoring. Traditionally it requires a lot of precise measurements which should be done in the tailor shop, and another 1~3 fitting adjustments during the process. It takes a lot of time for both the tailors and the customers.

With the help of VR fitting, the tailors can instruct the customer how to pose and do the measurement, and obtain all accurate body measurements through a set of cameras or infrared measuring devices, then make a cast from these data using 3D printers. Now they can start the tailoring, and require only 1 or even no fitting adjustments during the process, which saves a lot of time and make the bespoke delivery from at least 3 weeks to only 12~14 days.

Of course, there are many more aspects live streaming can do in the field of consumer products that we don’t mention above due to limitations of the length. So what else aspects do you come up with that related to live streaming and consumer products? Let us know in the comment section down below, and we’ll see you in the next article!

[POLYV Insight] Video convention or Live streaming?

Video convention has been one of the most common ways to connect and interact with each other. It helps people to communicate face to face even they’re thousand miles apart, eliminating what we know as “deserted islands of information”.

However, with the rise of mobile internet, video convention gets old-schooled – especially when businesses and enterprises require online collaboration, cloud office workflows and many things else.

Besides, video convention has several critical flaws:

  • High expense – the whole set of video convention system costs at least tens of thousands of dollars; what’s more, installing it and training sessions afterwards costs another thousands of dollars as well as the time consumed;
  • Poor quality – the transmission of video convention system really depends on the quality of internet, and even with gigabit broadband and super-low latency, the graphic quality doesn’t go very well as expected; and if disconnected, it needs more time to reconnect;
  • Lack of collaboration – you can only hear what other colleagues talking and not able to anything else, or vice versa.

All in all, video convention is not an efficient choice.

 

Now, we have another choice – holding conventions with the help of live streaming.

It’s not a fully perfect plan — the latency of live streaming is within a few seconds, but still acceptable for group discussions or brainstorming.

And its advantages are obvious – you can attend the live streaming convention and continue your work at the same time without interrupting each other; or you can record the ideas together with other colleagues in cloud office applications, Evernote or mind mapping tools; with the help of big data and cloud analysis, you can draw accurate conclusions to the analysis and make improvements to your workflow.

What’s more, this new workflow can be applied to various situations and industries – from long-distance office collaborations to massive live events or exhibitions, from e-learning to financial analysis, you can find its way to the situation or field you are working in.

Still troubling with the old school video convention systems? Now it’s time to embrace the new technologies and switch your workflow to video live streaming!

[POLYV Insight] Virtual Reality or Mixed Reality?

2016 is the year of Virtual Reality – with headset devices like Oculus, HTC Vive or Sony PlaySatation VR, and VR resources like Resident Evil 7, Rick And Morty VR and Google Earth VR, and even some interactive VR commercials, the technology of VR is rapidly changing the way we feel the world – you can now concentrate to the context of the story, and make yourself more involved into it.

YouTube gamer Sean McLoughlin (a.k.a. Jacksepticeye) demonstrating VR game

YouTube gamer Sean McLoughlin (a.k.a. Jacksepticeye) demonstrating VR game

The issues? You have to wear a heavy headset connected with cables to your computers, and interact in the game with some specially-designed controllers; your vision is “limited within the headset”, and not able to see the surroundings or environment, which causes you to knock things, other people or even yourself down.

Then, some researchers and developers begin to build what we know as “Mixed Reality” (MR).

The users don’t need to isolate themselves from the reality – instead, what they see is the combination of reality and the computer-generated graphics that are projected in the environment. The users can react to or interact with both reality and the CG graphics in real time, without them interfering each other.

Currently the most-mentioned solution of MR is the HoloLens by Microsoft. It seems to be similar with the project of Google Glass, but with stronger computing to generate holograms and other CG graphics, making it able to use in practical needs and demands, such as architecture design, clinical research, product demonstration & experience, K-12 education and more.

Microsoft HoloLens in various productive scenarios

Microsoft HoloLens in various productive scenarios

And for France-based THEORIZ, it has a different perspective for MR.

Their solution doesn’t require user to wear a headset or use controllers. It uses multiple projectors to simulate a virtual environment within a specific space like a room or a hall, and cameras or sensors to locate the user and capture his motions or movements. When the user interacts with the virtual environment, the system simultaneously generates graphic that respond the user’s behavior.

The solution makes it simple and intuitive for user to understand and start interacting with the virtual environment, and is very ideal for solo or even group interaction in some specific scenarios like trying on clothes, psychological experiments and zoology study simulations. And with this breakthrough, THEORIZ rises fast and gains much attention around the world.

Demonstration of THEORIZ MR solution (screenshot from Vimeo)

Demonstration of THEORIZ MR solution (screenshot from Vimeo)

The development of MR shares a lot of things in common with VR, but has higher criteria and needs more work on the environment buildup and motion capture. Therefore many MR solutions are still in small test currently and not yet ready for public test.

And there’re chances for VR to evolve while MR is not widely ready – Intel has announced that a technology of fast wireless transmission, specifically designed for VR devices, is under development. It helps the VR devices go wireless, making users can move and interact freely without the restriction of cables and wires between the devices and the computer. Besides, Oculus, HTC and Sony are improving their VR devices based on the feedback and advice from the users, and upgrade devices will be ready in months.

To draw the conclusion, the fight between VR and MR is still on. It’s hard to tell which is better for now, but we can see that both are changing the way we sense, interact and learn about the world.

[POLYV Insight] A brief introduction to interactive videos

We all know that videos are more attractive than texts or images, and can be more engaged to the audience. Yet it is somehow lack of interactions with the audience since most of the time they can only watch and comprehend the content that videos provide, not feedback or even change the plot.

But what if we can actually do something to the video we are watching? That’s what we are talking about today – interactive videos.

One of the first interactive videos dates back to 2010. It is called Last Call, a horror film made by 13th Street that allowed the audience talk and send commands to the protagonist by their cellphones. It is a good attempt to build connections between the plot of the video and the audience.

“Last Call” is considered one of the earliest attempt for interactive videos.

“Last Call” is considered one of the earliest attempt for interactive videos.

To say it strictly, the audience were not really interacted with the film, but in fact a part of the live action. Still, it was a good attempt to connect the audience and the videos.

Later, with the evolution of mobile video and interactive scripts, it is more likely to make online interactive videos that are available for the audience to click and make their choice for the plot, no matter if you are watching it on PC, mobile browsers or video apps.

A viral example is a web series called Virtual Morality. Consisting of three episodes, Virtual Morality discusses about the influence of social network nowadays and how people use it when bad things (in this case, group murder) hit.

With new interaction ways for mobile and web, “Virtual Morality” gets viral once it is released.

With new interaction ways for mobile and web, “Virtual Morality” gets viral once it is released.

There are a few “checkpoints” which allow you to click on and make your choices that changes the plot of the episode. The protagonist can be killed, reveal the truth or stop the crime, all depends on your decisions in your clicks.

Another example is A Date with Markiplier, an interactive video story made by famous YouTuber and game commentator Mark Fischbach (a.k.a. Markiplier) based on YouTube’s annotation system. At the end of the entry video, you will face two different options, and once clicking on the annotation above the option, you will be redirected to the next video (set as “restricted”, for the sake of “Spoiler alert”) that continues the plot based on your choice.

“A Date with Markiplier” has made good use of YouTube's closed captions and annotations within the system.

“A Date with Markiplier” has made good use of YouTube’s closed captions and annotations within the system.

As Mark reveals, it takes more than two weeks filming and finishing the project, and gains widely positive responses from the audience. He says, not only the plot and the content is good, the way to present it is very engaging, and gives a chance to the audience to interact with the content.

If Mark’s project is just an experiment, then Late Shift – a thriller movie/game that literally brings interactions to the audience.

Developed by CtrlMovie, Late Shift tells a story of a man gets involved with a crime syndicate when he starts his late shift in the parking lot. Throughout the whole movie, you need to make at least 10 decisions, which will lead to different plots and endings.

Game commentator Jacksepticeye (top left corner) playing “Late Shift”.

Game commentator Jacksepticeye (top left corner) playing “Late Shift”.

It is reviewed by lots of players in Steam, as well as professional gamers like Jacksepticeye and PewDiePie, who give positive ratings on the concept and how it is presented.

Besides the setting of the plot, the cinematography is pretty good as well – the transition for making different choices (or even not doing anything) is very smooth, and there’s no abrupt changes when your decision is made; also the grading is well done, in which you can see by the cool tone of the whole movie.

As we have the technique of filming, and different ways for interactions between the screen and the audience, we can see there will be more well-made interactive videos in the near future, and make great changes in the way we entertain and learn.

[POLYV Insight] Some thoughts on Qianliao Scandal

Earlier this week, our office was shocked by the following news –

Lycheer (literally Lychee WeChat Course, www.lizhiweike.com) accused Qianliao (www.qlchat.com) of hacking and attacking their WeChat live streaming classroom service several times between October 2016 and May 2017.

Reports say Qianliao trashed Lycheer with porn media or rebellious videos on forbidden political issues, as well as hiring trolls and “zombie users” to flag the service, causing students affected by the inappropriate content or service interruption, and WeChat to block the domain of lizhiweike.com for 7 days due to the misguiding by the false flags.

Lycheer have provided the data and evidence during the period of hack and attack to Guangzhou Police for investigation. GZP charges Qianliao for breaching production and business operation, and one individual is in detention.

Source: Jiemodui, Weibo

Lycheer accused Qianliao of hacking and attacking their WeChat live streaming classroom service

Qianliao is one of our competitors in the domestic market, and is one of the biggest live streaming services with millions of users here as it proclaims itself “a free platform for open classes and interviews”.

What really shocks us is that Qianliao would beat competitors in such ways that against laws. They only think about poaching tutors from the competitors, but never think about the consequences that brought to the lecturers and students.

These acts actually do significant harm to the tutors who provide useful courses that help us think and practice, as well as the innocent students who just want to learn practical skills through Lychee WeChat Course. As reputation is important in the online education industry, what Qianliao did does not promote any benefits to the tutors and students – which are also their potential users, but in fact damaging their own reputation and setting up a bad example for them instead.

What’s more, if these “hack and attack” acts continue, every other fellow platforms will ultimately get involved, and takes a lot of time to recover from the financial loss and the damage of reputation – and more importantly, the time of tutors and students, which are invaluable.

We never promote being evil in the competition, as it only brings lose-lose situations for both sides. We believe that by providing good services, keeping listening to the users and using proper ways of marketing and promotion, can we gain true growth for ourselves as well as the industry.

After all, the Qianliao Scandal brings us an alarm of unfair competition, and reminds us how important the users and product are to us. We hope there will be a just judgment for this case, and the affected users of Lycheer are going back on their track of learning and inspirations.

[POLYV Insight] Some thoughts on PewDiePie controversy

Over the past few weeks, the coverage of PewDiePie controversy has been getting more and more attention from all over the world. YouTubers, mainstream media as well as the internet are discussing and debating on this issue, and by now it hasn’t seemed to be settled down.

So what is the story of this controversy around Felix Kjellberg, the most subscribed YouTuber in the world, and what lessons can we learn from this?

I. A brief timeline of PewDiePie controversy

In the first week of January 2017, PewDiePie uploaded some non-gaming videos that raised criticism for using inappropriate words or language, including one in which he seemingly uses the word “nigga”. After that, a tag called “#PewdiepieIsOverParty” began to trend on Twitter.

The controversy escalated when on January 11, PewDiePie uploaded a video on reviewing Fiverr, a global online marketplace offering tasks and services that headquartered in Israel, in which he showed his reaction to a duo he had paid to display the message “DEATH TO ALL JEWS” on a sign, as a joke and attempt to highlight the ridiculous things which can be provided as a paid service on the Internet.

He immediately apologized for what he did later in the video, stating –

“I am sorry. I didn’t think they would actually do it. I feel partially responsible.”

“I’m not anti-Semitic, […] so don’t get the wrong idea. It was a funny meme, and I didn’t think it would work, okay.”

His actions soon got lots of rage comments on his videos, as well as some negative coverage from the media. Not long after Fiverr banned the account of PewDiePie and the duo, and urging them to upload a video to apologize and express they were sorry to all Jews. PewDiePie deleted this Fiverr review video from his channel afterwards.

Yet the story didn’t end here – in February, Wall Street Journal reported this incident, with their listed evidence of anti-Semitic jokes or Nazi imagery in 9 of his videos since August 2016. PewDiePie gave his response to the WSJ coverage, but it didn’t help with settle down the outrage, and Maker Studios, a multi-channel network owned by Disney, cut its tie with PewDiePie. Google also took action by abandoning his YouTube Red exclusive show Scare PewDiePie Season 2 and removed his channel from Google Preferred advertising program after the WSJ report.

Many YouTubers, the media as well as the netizens have been debating on this incident and the consequences afterwards till now.

II. The lessons to be learnt

As we all know, PewDiePie has been a legend in the world of YouTube – starting his YouTube channel in 2010, his subscriber count skyrocketed since 2012, surpassing Smosh to be No.1 in August 2013, and now have over 53 million subscribers, 70% more than HolaSoyGerman, the second most subscribed channel.

However, as his fame grows, so do the controversies around him – he made bad jokes in some of his non-gaming videos, in order to make them look funny or entertaining. Even though he apologizes in the same video later or in the next video, some of the audience think that his jokes fall flat and are offensive to some people, and disagree him using nudity or body parts as well as sensitive, inappropriate topics – like racism – as click bates.

Felix himself has stated in many videos and in public as well that he is not a good writer, not good at making comedies, and the intention of these “offensive jokes” are to troll back the trolls, or to show the hatred commentaries and issues like neo-Nazi and white supremacy is not right, after all. But unfortunately, things don’t seem to be as he expected, and his stating about being a terrible comedian is not a reason that he can get away with these offensive jokes.

Before the Fiverr incident, he did make some inappropriate or offensive jokes in different videos, and he knew those were kind of stupid moves and “ultimately offensive”. Yet he still decided to keep on that because he thought the backlash, the negative effects were just for himself, not involving anyone else, and he could take it and go on. This time, however, things take a drastic turn as the turndown of Disney and cancellation of his show affects not just himself, but also the staff and many fellow YouTubers.

“With great power comes great responsibility.” It is true indeed when you have a subscriber group as large as a whole country. You can be who you are in front of the camera, of course, but that doesn’t mean you don’t care about what you say and what you do – especially when you are facing millions of people looking for your mistakes and magnify them to the public that doesn’t take time to think whether it is true or not on the internet.

For serious or political issues, you’d better just not cross the line, or deal with them with extreme caution – Well, even South Park got criticism from the Hitler-mocking episodes though the writers had been crafted the jokes very carefully, let alone the rallies of Chinese communities against Jimmy Kimmel as they watched the words of “Kill everyone in China” from a child in this late-night show.

And now, let’s turn to the Wall Street Journal, and take a deeper look on the report of PewDiePie.

As one of the “mainstream media”, Wall Street Journal gains reputation among readers and audience over the years. For this PewDiePie incident, they absolutely have the rights to cover the story, just as other events or stories.

For the evidence – the 9 videos with inappropriate jokes they found, can you find those anti-Semitic jokes or use Nazi imagery inside? Yes. But are those jokes or imagery really appreciating or promoting anti-Semitism or Nazi? No, not really.

And this leads to the origin of context debate – “Does context matter?”

Yes, Context always matters – especially when you look through the whole PewDiePie incident and the content involved in the timeline WSJ listed, you will find that what Felix ultimately wants to express – he disagrees with racism and Nazi, as well as those Neo-Nazi and white supremacy group that claim he is one of them or supports their groups or actions.

The author of the specific article of Wall Street Journal listed some facts about PewDiePie incident, but many of the points were based on the misquoting and misinterpreting of these videos in order to “mold to fit” the purpose – setting up the point of “YouTuber against mainstream media” and destructing the fame of these YouTubers by manipulating the 98% of readers and netizens who didn’t do research on the incident and got easily driven by the media without thinking, then coming to Felix and say to offer a platform for him to defend himself (which obviously unnecessary because he has been defending himself already on YouTube, the one he is most familiar with).

It seemed work, but then lots of YouTubers as well as readers and netizens began to point out the what is wrong with the perspective, and denounce WSJ and other mainstream media have gone too far for making up reason to accuse PewDiePie in such manner.

Though dropping half a million subscribers, his channel regained subscribers 3 days after the WSJ coverage and even boosted for a week. And most importantly, as he is now free and out of any kind of MCN (Multi-channel network), he can do more things he had planned or haven’t been able to do, despite the cancelation of some projects like Season 2 of Scare PewDiePie.

Even though there are some stringers, contributors and guest writers still going on blaming PewDiePie, afterwards, it doesn’t draw the public’s attention anymore and begins to backfire to themselves. Ironic.

III. The Conclusion

To summarize the PewDiePie controversy, we agree that both sides handle the incident very poorly – for PewDiePie (and other video producers or presenters), the idea or opinion should be presenting or demonstrating in a clearer and more direct way, since offensive jokes can easily lead to misunderstanding in the current world climate of hate speeches rising; for Wall Street Journal (and other mainstream media), the questionable and somehow “unethical” practice to PewDiePie in the coverage also raises our awareness of identifying the facts, theories and lies in each piece of news we hear.

We would like to end this article with the words from Jacksepticeye, the fellow YouTuber of PewDiePie –

[…] And again I think that could have been handled a lot better. That’s what this situation comes down to everything could have been handled a lot better.

[…] The insane endless attacks on him and witch hunt are out of control and going too far. We all make mistakes and should be given an opportunity to learn from them.

And, if you have any thoughts or opinions on this, feel free to let us know in the comments. We’ll see you in the next article.

[POLYV Insight] What can we do with live streaming? (Part 1)

Live streaming service has been skyrocketing over 2016 – there are over 200 live streaming services active and still more to come, each attracting thousands or even millions of audiences. From daily life recording, sports events to business conferences and seminars, or even more specific fields such as medical examinations and surgeries, live streaming has changed the way we live in a way beyond our imagination.

Every coin has two sides, however – some livestream hosts began to provide explicit, harmful or even illegal content such as sexual seduction, gambling, violence, self-mutilation or crime acts to the audience, while the live streaming service providers did nothing to stop or ban these contents.

These issues caused detriments to the healthy growth of live streaming business, and finally led to government’s actions –

As of the end of 2016, more than 30 live streaming service providers, including major entertaining platforms like DouyuTV, Panda.tv, Huajiao and 6.cn get fine penalties and are ordered to rectify the issues by removing the explicit/illegal content and terminate the contract of those unqualified hosts. Some of the services are shut down, and their person in charge are detained for further inquiries. (Not proud to say, we have seen some of our fellow companies in the industries shutting down their service this way)

All these lead to the question – what can we do with the live streaming?

First things first, live streaming should be utilized within “commonly consented” guidelines. We would like to take YouTube’s Community Guidelines as example –

(… The violation) includes but is not limited to videos that contain –

  • Nudity or sexual content;
  • Violent or graphic content;
  • Harmful or dangerous content;
  • Hateful content;
  • Threats;
  • Spam, misleading metadata, or scams.

We approve of the rights of using live streaming for everyone, except when you attempt to do harm to others or violate the law with it. As you are reading this article, we believe you know the right way to livestream and never cross the line. 🙂

Entertaining livestreams are in great demand right now – many of the hosts are doing live chats, Q&A/AMA (Ask Me Anything) or just simply recording their daily routines as their livestream content, attracting hundreds of thousands of audience.

But these contents are not unique enough – it doesn’t need extra requirements and everyone can edit their chats or daily life to make his own show – to engage with the audience for long time, even the hosts can regularly update their channel.

Gameplay also makes up a large amount of live streaming. From common leisure games, mobile games to big shots or phenomenal games like StarCraft II, Far Cry 4, Resident Evil 7 and Undertale, gaming livestreams get attractive and lucrative at the same time.

However, gameplay live streaming requires not only skills, but also the ability to understand the core, the story or the emotions of the game and give commentaries from your own perspectives – well, not everyone can make it engaging like PewDiePie, Markiplier or Jacksepticeye. What’s more, sticking to only one or two types of games – especially leisure games and mobile games.

The bottom line – live streaming for entertainment is good, but not good enough to make long-term engagement or useful for audience.

Compared to entertainment, live streaming for business and professional use seems more promising – from consumer-centered product introduction and video manual, to specific fields like medical science. We will go on with this topic in the next article, so stay tuned for our update, and don’t do bad deeds with the live streaming. 🙂