Ustream iPhone app review

ustream-live-broadcaster-iphone-app_1While putting in a few hours the other day to research new technologies I may want to incorporate into social media future projects, my colleague, Mike Olaski, came across a the new Ustream iPhone app.  Of course, we had to test this out, but didn’t have high expectations as most new high-tech apps always have a few bugs that make you quit using them after a few minutes.  And, of course, both of us are still sporting the iPhone 3G which, of course, does not have a video recorder built in.

For those of you that are not familiar with the service, Ustream allows anyone with a Webcam to broadcast live video to a private or public audience. In this case, the iPhone acts as the Webcam; all you need is a Wi-Fi or 3G connection. (If there’s no connection available, you can record your video and upload it to the service later.)

uStream Broadcaster

So, the two of us downloaded all three of the new Ustream iPhone apps (Broadcaster, Viewer, Recorder).  The Broadcaster app was the most intriguing as it was claiming to be able to stream live video as well as a number of other cool features.

To our amazement, the app worked seamlessly and soon we were watching each others live streams on our personal Ustream channels.  Obviously, the quality of the video was not exceptional, but considering that we were recording video and audio on a iPhone 3G, the two of us had all kinds of ideas in our heads on how we could leverage this new tool!

Here’s a peak at some of our live video recordings over the past few days (again, keep in mind that we were just testing, so there is no real theme here.  But, it will give you an idea of how the new app works!)

Mike’s Ustream channelhttp://ustre.am/98fL

Trevor’s Ustream channel http://ustre.am/698u

Features

The fact that this app allows you to stream live video to the internet with an iPhone 3G is cool enough, but there are a number of other features that really make this my favorite new iPhone app.

  1. Broadcasting – You can choose to broadcast the video “Live” where the feed is sent instantly to your personal uStream channel.  Or, you can choose to record “Local” where your video is recorded and saved on your phones harddrive
  2. Geo-location allows you to record where the broadcast originated and then gets included in your description when you are done recording
  3. Polling – this feature allows you to ask viewers a question and get an instant “Yes” or “No” response (Although I haven’t used this feature, I think it could be quite useful if you have a large audience and want to put out a quick poll.  However, the simple Yes/No options are quite limiting
  4. Live Tweet – There is a Twitter “share” feature included that allows you to sync your personal Twitter account to the app.  By simply pressing this button, an automatic tweet is generated that looks something like this. “I’m broadcasting, from my iPhone, live on Ustream. Come watch! http://ustre.am/698u”
  5. Saving – Once you are finished broadcasting, the app asks you if you’d like to save the video (By clicking “Yes”, it takes you to a screen that allows you to give the video a Title and description.  The time, location and date are automatically included in the description)
  6. Sharing – Once the video is saved, you have the option to then “Share” the video with your social network through Ustream, Twitter, Facebook, AIM, MySpace and YouTube (Each one of these accounts can be linked to your Ustream account by logging into your Ustream profile online)

I recorded a short video to test out the SHARING feature.  If you check out my social accounts listed in the sentence above, you’ll see that this video was automatically posted to all of my personal social accounts as well.

Conclusion

There have been a ton of amazing advancements in technology this past year, but this app could be one that changes the way organizations, businesses, brands, sports teams, athletes, etc use social media.  One of the biggest challenges of social media is the time commitment. Many people fear, and are hesitant to engage in social media because they feel they are busy enough with their own daily lives to get involved. The idea of managing multiple accounts and making sure that you are not neglecting one vs another is challenging to say the least (if not impossible).

I research and use social media tools in my everyday life as a social media consultant, so when I come across an app like this, it gets me very excited!!  The fact that you can stream live video to the internet with a phone that does not include a video recorder is amazing enough.  But, what makes it even better is that you can link all of your social accounts to the app and with one push of a button, send your video out to your entire social network.

Since downloading and testing the app, my head is spinning with ideas on how to incorporate this into my future projects. I look forward to sharing those ideas with everyone very soon!  In the meantime, once you’ve had a chance to try the app yourself, please let me know what you think by leaving a comment!