Social distancing efforts, which we have all been keeping for nearly a year now, have transformed almost every aspect of our lives. Many technological advancements that, until now, seemed as a convenience or a novelty, now has become a necessity.
The thing that helped to overcome the restrictions on physical proximity and distance was, among others, video streaming. Thanks to our mobile devices and the many live streaming video chat apps available to us, it was possible to sustain at least the feeling that we were facing the crisis together, even if not physically.
Besides reducing the severity of isolation, streaming has also brought many broadcasting opportunities into the spotlight, as well as created some entirely new ones. Following the stay at home order, we began to live-stream yoga classes, religious events, and music performances directly from the artists’ living rooms. And new broadcasting activities mean growth opportunities for the video streaming industry, particularly for video streaming app development.
According to the Grand View Research report, the global video streaming market, even before the pandemic, was valued at 42.60 billion USD in 2019 and is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20.4% from 2020 to 2027.
Now, people around the globe are using various live-streaming apps and platforms to stay constantly updated on the COVID-19 situation, to stay connected with others, to stay educated, entertained, and mentally sane.
But what are the most prominent examples of live video streaming gaining benefits from our recent reality?
Telehealth – streaming for Healthcare
What once was perceived as a very conventional area, based entirely on human and face-to-face interactions, has now morphed into a digital experience – and a life-saving one at that. The leverage of streaming technology for telemedicine has not only been proven to help in flattening the curve but could turn out to be a strong trend that may well stick around for a long time.
Healthcare professionals will probably continue to use live video streaming apps and healthcare mobile apps in the process of modernizing the way they meet and treat patients.
It is reported that consumers (here: patients) have grasped a much firmer understanding of live stream video apps and the prediction is that the percentage of virtual video doctor’s’ appointments will rise to 5% globally in 2021, up from an estimated 1% in 2019.
Live video streaming technology will be applicable in medicine also beyond the apps when it comes to doctor-patient interactions. Live streaming is a great advantage in remote surgery observation and training, as well as a great resource for first responders, in remote patient monitoring, and for public safety.
TV and Entertainment streaming
Retreating to in-home entertainment and engaging in activities beyond our reach during times of social distancing is a new paradigm that is having a significant influence on many industries, many of which we already covered in our How COVID changed startups and the VC ecosystem report.
Video streaming platforms and services have experienced a significant rise in viewership during the lockdown. Major platforms, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, and Disney+, have registered a significant spike in viewership worldwide. Netflix passed the 200 million subscriber milestone in 2020 and this growth spurt was a direct result of changes in our lifestyle caused by the global pandemic.
However, the availability of several live TV streaming apps for television has drawn more attention towards the smart TV segment, such as YouTube TV, Hulu, DirectTV Now, PlayStation Vue, and Sling TV.
But, still, mobile devices and tablets are the go-to devices that allow trouble-free live streaming. Due to easy access and portability, smartphones and tablets are more likely to be preferred for the viewing of online content and this fact should not be overlooked during the app design process.
Remote Fitness and Personal Health
The Global Wearable Devices Market is expected to rise to around US$ 95.40 Billion by 2026. The fitness industry has had to expand and combine products and services in order to stay afloat, especially during the era of social distancing.
IoT is taking the world of apps by storm and the digital fitness market has started to integrate video streaming services in their apps and wearable devices in order to boost user experience. This is what Fitbit has actually already done, and now they are allowing wearers to monitor their movement and stream workouts via the same gadget.
All these services allow for more and more personalization, thanks to in-app AI and machine learning technologies, which is a strong factor in increasing user engagement: they’ve got their very own personal health stats and individual training plans, even when working out alone at their living rooms.
It is very likely we will observe people investing large chunks of money in at-home gym equipment and the apps and services that come with them – mainly due to live video streaming, which seems effective in recreating the in-person experience.
Videoconference apps and Video Chat Software
The global video conferencing market was valued at 5,32 billion USD in 2019 and is projected to reach 10,92 billion by 2027. The cancellation of every possible corporate event all over the world, such as conferences, trade shows, product launches, investor presentations combined with the new remote work protocol, has caused a massive increase in the implementation of video communication and collaboration solutions in organizations.
March 30, 2020, saw 4.84 mobile US Zoom users daily during the Coronavirus lockdown (a 151% increase year-on-year), versus the 1.56 million users of Microsoft Teams.
Although it might be hard to say if the popularity of conference apps and other live video chat solutions will outlast the need for social-distancing, we’re in no way there yet. Until the “new new reality” kicks in and human face-to-face interactions on a massive scale are once again possible, we’ll be seeing several vendors looking to improve the user experience on Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or other live streaming video services of choice, for work and for socializing.
User-Generated Content (UGC) apps
The surge in online competition caused by lockdown, as well as the mandatory closures themselves, have forced marketers of almost every business in almost every industry to redefine their ways of reaching their customers. Brands had to and still have to find new ways to connect with their audience – ways that do not demand arranging big setups or group interactions for shooting commercials, for example.
Since the pandemic’s start, social media consumption has risen more than 42%, with consumers spending their time on popular social media platforms, mainly due to a lack of other activities.
User-Generated Content (UGC) marketing is any content shared by the users, which is then repurposed by a brand for marketing. In times of limited possibilities for creating their own original content, UGC might be particularly valuable – not only as a means of holding onto customer relationships but as an effective marketing tool.
A new form of video content, as delivered by many social media platforms, like TikTok (considered to be the most popular app in 2020), Instagram, and Snapchat, takes the form of a quick, 10-15 second attention-grabbing moment, and is very popular among users. It is then no wonder that user-generated content seems strong among marketing trends, as it’s bringing in a lot of opportunities for video streaming app development.
Undoubtedly, the growth in video streaming enabled interactions is a legacy of the COVID-19 pandemic and the social distancing rules enforced by it. Live video as a feature that provides interactivity used to be a nice-to-have enhancement to our use of mobile technology. But nowadays, interactive video streaming apps seem essential to continue many business activities as well as basic human interaction.