The Associated Press has cemented their exclusivity with Bambuser, allowing its users to share their live footage with the Associated Press. Last May, the AP and Bambuser began collaborating by allowing an opt-in setting for citizen journalists to release the rights of what they were filming, giving their footage to get greater reach. The option also gave the ability for journalists to get in touch with the video streamers to get more information from the ground. Bambuser is based in Stockholm with an office in Turku, Finland.
In the last four months Bambuser content has been used by AP customers more than 4,000 times – much of it from the front lines in the Syrian conflict where it has been almost impossible to get western journalists on the ground. The streaming video is delivered either as standalone content in real time or integrated into longer edited pieces for AP's network of more than 700 broadcasters.
While the live video streaming service may first come across as a neat way to share experiences live with your friends, Bambuser has become a serious tool used by activists to document and stream on-the-ground realities from nearly any phone with a internet connection. The service has played a large role in telling the world what has been happening in Syria during skirmishes and the bombing of Homs, as well as other areas where it has been difficult and dangerous for foreign journalists to get on site.
Perhaps the best proof that Bambuser has become a powerful tool has been governments' response to their service. During the uprisings Bambuser has been blocked in Egypt and Syria, and recently the service was also hit by a DDOS attack from a known botnet. The company says the attack "was apparently aimed mainly at Russian citizen journalist users."
I've found a horrible and distracting background noise while I work on my articles for ArcticStartup. I'm a news junkie, and I've been following the Middle East on Bambuser, the live video broadcasting service from Sweden. Over the past week I've spent a considerable amount of time listening and watching feeds from Homs, Syria, which usually just shows a still shot of rooftops from a webcam. There's not much to see, so I'll write my articles just listening to Homs while Bambuser runs in another tab. Syria's army has been shelling Homs, a town held by rebels, and at least 300 people have been killed in Homs alone since February 4th. Lots of startups in the region are doing important work, but none have affected how I look at the world like Bambuser.
The concept of Bambuser, the service that allows you to live upload video from your smartphone, came from a final exam project Måns Adler worked on while finishing his studies. At the time, he pictured three use-cases for the project: the first involved a Grandma running late to her grandchild's graduation, yet luckily was still able to watch the first half from her smartphone. The second was a father who couldn't make it to his kid's soccer game, yet was able to get it live-broadcasted from another parent. And the third case Adler pictured was an Iraqi filming daily life in Bagdad, or footage of soldiers shooting at civilians. "This was back during the Iraq war... and I saw a service like this useful for stuff maybe CNN wouldn't publish or the U.S. government would object to."
For a university project it was quite prophetic. As people have taken to the streets protesting governments and corporations around the globe, Bambuser has become a source of truth where emotions and media spin can cloud the facts. Despite the Bambuser website's glowing stock images of couples filming each other on the beach, the service's major impact has been on live-recording angry crowds, tear gas canisters, and riot police.
Last weekend's #Occupy protests saw an outpouring of protesters in the streets of cities all over the world. The anger against banks is accessible to anyone affected by the financial crisis, but is now also easily accessible to anyone able to catch a live stream from a protester's smartphone.
The Swedish mobile live streaming service, Bambuser, has seen a large swing in popularity in part due to the Arab Spring and #Occupy protests. This mobile shift feels like a natural progression as the internet has trended towards making news more instant and unfiltered.
Below you'll be able to follow the ArcticEvening Helsinki event live stream, courtesy of Bambuser.
Great news for all those who can't make it to our sold out event tonight - we'll be streaming it live, thanks to the wonderful guys at Bambuser. Later tonight, at around 6pm (GMT+3) - a blog post will go out with the embedded video stream, where you can watch it. We'll be streaming the introductions, Microsoft presentation of their mobile platform as well as the panel, including audience questions. All this will be about 1,5 hours in length.
So grab a beer later tonight, have a sit by your computer and enjoy the show we'll broadcast live from Korjaamo Helsinki. For all those who want to tweet about the event, the hashtag is #AEHki.
I accidentally bumped into Pouria Ruhi, the VP of Business at Bambuser the Swedish live video streaming startup (thanks to Janne Saarikko for letting me know he was in town!). I've been following the company through different news for a while, but didn't personally know anyone from there until now. While Ruhi was in a hurry to head to the airport we managed to exchange a few words about the current state of Bambuser and where they're headed to in the near future.
Things are cooking in the Bambuser kitchen. The Swedish live video streaming service has pointed out Hans Eriksson, CEO MySpace Nordic, to take over CEO tourch from Jonas Vig, co-founder and now previous CEO Bambuser.
As I met Måns Adler, founder of Bambuser, this weekend, he was very glad and excited about having Hans onboard, as well as where Bambuser is heading right now. Startups go through different stages and the time has now come to Bambuser to move on to acceleration stage where adding experience to team is a quite natural.
Since the recently held European Election I keep getting questions about the Swedish Pirate Party and the Pirate Bay trial. I agree it might get a bit confusing trying to follow the evolving news on both, and while adding the newly enabled IPRED law to the equation one starts to wonder if, and how, it's all connected. Here's a summary hoping to bring some light into the current events. (Note: All link sources are in English, unless otherwise noted, mostly referring to The Register and Wired, who, imho, have been doing a very good job covering both stories outside Sweden.)
Firstly, to clear things up, The Pirate Party is unaffiliated with the Piratbyran, "The Piracy Bureau", which lies behind "the world's largest Bit Torrent tracker", The Pirate Bay. For example, Peter Sunde, the spokesperson of The Pirate Bay, has never been a member of the Pirate Party and voted for the Green Party at the recent European Election.
As widely reported, the European Election was a huge victory for the Swedish Pirate Party receiving 7,1% of the Swedish votes leaving three other established parties behind, as well as resulting to at least one seat in the European Parliament.
Last week we held our 6th pan-regional ArcticEvening event in Stockholm, Sweden. It was yet again a big success. We had a packed house, an amazing panel on Startups and The Future of Mobile with Gustav Söderström of Spotify, Teemu Kurppa of Huikea and Morris Packer of The Bonnier Group and people enjoyed their time. We want to thank our sponsors for making the event possible: Thank you to our trusted startup friendly law firm Hammarström Puhakka Partners, Sombiz and The Borneo Family.
We also want to thank everybody who showed up and who we met during the trip. We loved city and atmosphere and were amazed by the number of quality people you can met during one night. We'll be sure to be back in Stockholm before the year it out.
A mobile video streaming service Bambuser has made new inroads in Sweden. The service is much (if not exactly) like the US based Qik. Bambuser just announced that they released a widely improved version of our application for Symbian S60 and UIQ.
The problem with live mobile video is two fold: First is latency, which kills any meaningful interaction when it passes a certain very low limit. Second, inverserly correlated with the fist one, is the video quality one is streaming. Naturally, a bad quality kills not only the ablity to interact, but quite successfully also the ability to watch the video at all. These two together are the main culprits to why live mobile video streaming has delivered such a terrible user experience.
But now, in order to keep you as close to real-time as possible Bambuser will drop a few frames here and there which often still allows you to get a good video, but will also store any dropped frame or audio that can't get through while you're live and give you the option to complete your video with this data immediately after your live broadcast. This allows Bambuser to keep latency at a minimum while also providing the viewer with a perfect video when watching on demand. Read more about the release here. In addition to the released version for Symbian S60 and UIQ, we have also heard that the company is coming out with a iPhone version soon.
This in itself is newsworthy, but there's more.
Swedish TV4 used Bambuser as a part of their Live talk show "Kvällsöppet" on Swedish national TV. Bambuser was used to provide a live feed from the home of blogger Marcus Birro who couldn't be there in person but took part in the discussion from a distance.
Now, this might sound like a small thing but when put it in a historical context it can be yet again that little snowball that eventually will turn into an avalanche of mainstream. I am not sure whether the big mainstream will ever see a service just like a Bambuser or Qik, but the concept just took another step: To misquote Neil Armstrong, where this was perhaps a small step for TV4, it could be a giant leap for streaming mobile video even though nobody can tell before we can look at it from the comfort of hindsight. The exact format, device, usage culture and context and much of others things around it will change and evolve, but in one form or another, I believe, there is something interesting about to happen with traditional media practically all but dying. Streaming mobile video might be just a piece to whatever is about the emerge, but I believe it has its role to play.
The Swedish startups are looking to share expertise, learn from London startups, and meet great contacts. The startups in London are:
Videoplaza.com - An ad server for video - they help companies monetize online video.
Jaycut.com - Online video editing - named best entertainment website in Sweden 2007
Bambuser.com - Live broadcasting from mobile phones and webcams - recently received venture backing by a Norwegian firm. (The best bit is that you can get a link send to your Jaiku and Twitter account when you are broadcasting so your friend can go see what you're up to)
Moyu.me - Instant picture messenger - early startup that just launched their service.
I personally instantly fell in love with Bambuser and Jaycut. I already tried Bambuser and it appear to work nicely, although there is a quite a time lag between the time you record it and when the link appear on your Jaiku or Twitter feed to notify your friend.
If you'd like to meet them Anders told me that he'd be happy to meet up. Contact Anders via Twitter (here) with invitations or meet them at the Minibar London at 6pm if you're already planning on going.