On TouchCast: Two Years In
The Second Mile of Our Marathon
“TouchCast is ultimately about freeing digital communication to meet our needs and habits for the 21st Century.”
Just when you think nothing ever changes, you look around and wonder “when did everything change?!!” We’re having one of those moments at TouchCast.
When we started building our iPad app three years ago, our focus revolved around the question: “what can a camera connected to the internet do?” Our hope was ‘amazing things.’
After the launch two years ago, it was clear our app solved a lot of pain-points for video production — made clear by the organic K-12 education community that grew around our free product. From there, storytellers got involved like the BBC and the Wall St Journal. They like our product because it enables new ways to tell stories paired with a fast and mobile workflow. But then a funny thing happened. And happened again. And has kept happening.
Organizations from all over the world (large and small, across all industries) are asking to use our platform for internal communications. Things like training, presentations and video memos.
So now, two years later since we launched, our focus now revolves around a new question: “what can people connected through interactive video do?” They can certainly teach, engage through incredible stories, and soon collaborate in entirely new ways.
Back in the early days, when my co-founders Edo Segal, Erick Schonfeld and I would explain the idea of TouchCast (with a mildly functional demo running on an iPad 2), we asked people to rethink the idea of video. It was a tough sell. The old guard was seeing big numbers in online video advertising but that meant sticking a tiny 16:9 static video on a page with pre-roll.
Think of all that’s changed about video in the three years since we started building TouchCast in March of 2013:
- Videos don’t have to be rectangles, thanks to Vine.
- Vertical video is acceptable, thanks to Snapchat.
- Autoplay is the norm, thanks to Facebook.
- Live streaming is accessible to everyone, thanks to Meerkat and Periscope (who predicted that?)
- Traditional TV networks are going online and a la carte, thanks to HBO and others.
- Videos are being captured from places never imaginable, thanks to drones.
- The quality of smart phone video is catching up with that of professional equipment, thanks to Apple, Samsung and Nokia.
- Compression, encoding and general video delivery are so optimized that it’s strange when you see a video buffer.
- Viewers are leaning forward, especially young ones who expect video to be interactive.
So when did everything change? As I lead product development for our growing platform, it means I keep my head down in the weeds most of the time. But it’s fun to reflect across the entire industry and see this sort of progress. And it’s only the beginning.
In my Medium post this time last year, here were the promises of what we were (and are) aiming to do (in bold) with updates for each:
- Build a video camera of the 21st Century. We are still pushing the envelope using the latest technology to reimagine video from the point of creation through the point of consumption… including making sure TouchCast videos can be made and consumed on mobile devices.
- Democratize video creation through powerful software. Now we can add “and hardware” to that sentence with our first product Studio In A Box.
- Make video smart. We’ve certainly achieved this and that’s why so many companies are using TouchCast for internal communication. TouchCast is ultimately about freeing digital communication to meet our needs and habits for the 21st Century. Why write a lengthy email with an attachment when you can do the same with TouchCast in half the time? We’re a distributed team at TouchCast yet video brings us together everyday through video conferencing, video memos and short presentations. The truth is: we’re all making videos everyday… meaning we’re all video makers. It’s not only how we work, it is the work.
- Redefine the relationship between the video author and its viewer. We still believe that video should enable a conversation that’s immediate and intimate, and one that runs both ways between author and viewer. This is what makes video the most powerful communication tool.
- Free video of the constraints of time and space. When I write this post next year, I’m sure there will be mention of virtual reality and 360 degree environments.
- Free new stories. Done. In fact, TouchCast has working studios now in London, New York City and Los Angeles where we can help anyone make their TouchCasts. We led the production of The Story of Now for the BBC which was nominated for and won several awards (including Cannes).
- Think outside of the box. See #5 above for a literal answer. But figuratively, I promise the product visions of TouchCast will continue to think way beyond any boundaries.
I can’t wait to write this again next year. In terms of TouchCast, let’s just say I know things that I can’t giveaway quite yet. ;)
In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you with your ideas about how video is going to evolve. Leave a comment, make a prediction and share this please. Because video should bring us together.
Happy Birthday ☺