One of our "Massive Lists" was websites that allowed you to stream video from your video enabled phone live to the web (Berman Post: Stream Videos From Your Cell Phone). This post will be about why I believe that this is an extremely important and valuable technology that everyone should have on their cell phone.
There are a number of useful applications which do not raise this technology to critical but make it worth having. When you stream video directly from your phone to the web, there is no need to worry about running out of memory on your cell and memory card. The data need not be stored on your phone, and it usually is not. Since the data is not stored on your phone or memory card, the survival of the video is independent of that of your phone. In other words, if your phone is stolen, destroyed, misplaced, or corrupted, your videos remain unaffected. There is no need to worry about backing up the data as the web service you are using is/should be doing that on their end.
As a side note, it is still worth backing up any important videos as the company you are using could have any number of problems. Chose the right service provider and it is less likely that they will lose your data then the average person. Still, it never hurts to have a back up just in case.
Instant turn around time is another useful feature. For example, you just has a baby. Your friends and family are scattered all over and want to see the child. Without this technology you had to take the video, drive home, load the video onto your computer, upload the video to the web, and then send out a link to people who want to see the video. With the technology all you need to do is give the people a link and you can stream live from the hospital. If they are not available to watch the video live, it is automatically archived for them to see when ever they have a free moment. Often, the people on the receiving end of the video do need to find an internet connected computer and can just watch the video on their phone.
All of this is just icing on the proverbial "critical" cake. The reason this technology is extremely important is because of what else you can do with it. To truly understand its importance, we must reflect upon a given situation occurring with different problems and how they have been solved. The example is witnessing a crooked cop in action, but this applies to many situations including seeing human rights abuses commited by represive governments or being in any dangerous situation.
1) No video cameras / you do not have your camera -> your word against thiers
Likely Result -> you lose or at least you do not win
Solution -> smaller cameras that are now in phones and are always with you
2) No effective distribution method -> you have the tape but do not have a way of easily disseminating it for viewing
Likely Result -> Failure to reach a critical mass of outrage and apathy prevails
Solution -> the internet, more specifically YouTube and other sites of similar nature
3) In camera data storage -> risk of being discovered and having the video destroyed
Likely Result -> if discovered same as example 1
Solution -> Technology that streams video to the web from your phone instantly
As you can see, this technology easily solves the last two problems by ensuring the survival of the video (provided you have service or an internet connection which is likely and becomes more likely every day) and placing it onto a disseminating network.
When you find yourself in a dangerous situation, your best chance for safety after going unnoticed is publicity. The likelihood of you being able to defend yourself against a crooked cop trained to fight and in the use of their weapons is minuscule. While slipping out unnoticed would be the safest, once discovered the more publicity the safer you are under most circumstances.
Lets look at another example. You are waling on the street alone at night. Most of the time nothing will happen, but their is always that chance that your situation will be one of sad few. What can you do? Not put your self into that situation in the first place. Of course, sometimes they can not be avoided, and that notion really does not help once you are in that situation. As long as their is enough "juice" (electricity / battery life) left in your cell phone, just turn on the live stream.
If nothing happens to you, great. Delete the video later. If you are approached by a suspicious individual or group make sure to get a shot of them. If you pass without incident, great. Delete the video later. If that individual or group approaches you or confront you in a threatening way, explain that pictures of them, along with everything that is being said, is / has been streaming to the web and nothing they can do will erase that video. Depending on the situation explain further that nothing they have done yet is a crime, and you are content to walk away and forget about this unfortunate misunderstanding. It does not matter if this is true, you are creating an out for them and hoping they take it instead of escalating the situation. Finally, if necessary, tell them that if anything happens to you their is someone who has access to the video and knows to check it. Most, if they believe you, will be dissuaded from continuing. They are not stupid and know that the $50 they might get from you is not worth the police having at least their picture and possibly some of the crime on video.
That last spoken part should be true. Most people have an unspoken checklist of where to look for someone who they think is missing: call the cell, check their home, where is the car, local hospitals.... This one should be spoken, or set up a delayed message that will be sent to them when you stop postponing it. This includes making sure they have access if you have your account default set on privet.
This same principles applies to helping others.
Other examples are abundant but need not be explored here. Surely you can imagine many situations in which the ability to stream live video could be extremely important.
This technology does create some problems or headaches in some circumstances. Imagine having people in the audience of a concert streaming it live across the internet. All in all, these problem seem heavily out weighed by the benefits.
Finally, the technology is free so their is absolutely no reason not to get it once one of the services offers their service for your phone. Even if you never need to use it, what is the harm in having it available. Chances are good that even if you never need to use live streaming technology for a critical situation, you will still use it for some non critical situations.
In case this post has been to subtle, you should head over to Berman Post: Stream Videos From Your Cell Phone, find a service that has support for your phone, and get the free application.