WebRTC World Feature Article

March 31, 2014

Seeing is Believing: PeepsOut Combines Trends and Technology to Offer Live Stream Network

Let’s say you want to meet some friends at a bar or restaurant who you haven’t seen in years. You call ahead to make sure the scene isn’t too busy so you can all talk and catch up, only to get there and realize whoever was on the end of that phone call was wrong – you can barely hear each other standing just inches away. Or, another night you are definitely ready to go out with the works: loud music, dance floor and a huge crowd. Only…you get to the bar and quickly realize you picked the wrong place for that. There’s a reason so many people text their friends before meeting up, “How is it there?” or check a location check-in service like Foursquare to read reviews, see photos and overall gauge a venue’s look and feel. What if I told you there’s a way to check out a scene for yourself, without taking the time or spending the money to get there and without feeling disappointed (at least about the vibe)?

PeepsOut is a live stream network does two main things: It helps venues attract a wider audience by streaming the vibe and scene on any given night, and it makes life easier for patrons deciding where to go. I caught up with Nobles Crawford, co-founder and CEO of PeepsOut, to learn what PeepsOut is all about, the benefits for both venues and patrons using the service and the trends fueling the next-generation of location-based services.

He emphasizes it’s important to note that not every patron is looking for a crowded, raging bar scene, so venues should not be worried if a live stream features a more relaxed, calm and quiet environment. “The vibe will find you,” he says.

Crawford and partner Sean Carey both come from a background in digital advertising. If there’s one thing you notice while entrenched in this market it’s the trends fueling the growth of different startups, and the lifespan of each company. Crawford and Carey saw the growth of location-based check-in services like Foursquare, Google Places and Facebook’s “Local Search” or location tagging services, but knew none of these companies were providing the details: the crowd, the vibe, the lighting, the music and more. Plus, even if that information is relayed via a check in photo or video, it’s only done so by people opting in – not necessarily an accurate depiction of the scene in real-time. So, they created PeepsOut.

One of the key differentiators about PeepsOut’s service is its wireless live stream service and its focus on privacy. Once Crawford and Carey figured out how to live stream video from a wireless device, they knew they had it figured out. Privacy is the No. 1 objective of PeepsOut, Crawford explained. We’re already on camera almost everywhere we go today anyway, but the goal of PeepsOut is to use that live stream power in a privacy-friendly way – PeepsOut never records video and quality is purposely low to blur out faces. He likes to call it the “delightfully anonymous network.” The team also does some background research to make sure a venue is legitimately a venue, so there won’t be any issues in terms of what type of streaming is up.

PeepsOut currently partners with 35 venues in NYC and 11 in Austin, TX – it was in Austin that it gathered some buzz from digital ad agency 360i, which placed PeepsOut on its guide to the best of SXSWi 2014. And it’s done this with less than $200k in funding, which has gone primarily toward research and development and opening the Austin market. The next step is to get VCs and privacy equity firms on board and up to speed with this type of industry trend and service.

For now, the service mostly limits to one stream per venue. It can do more, but Crawford explains user behavior as a major driver against multiple streams. “They want one shot and then they’re on to the next one,” he said. “Multiple rooms kind of sends mixed messages. Focus on the best side of your venue.”

Key considerations to make sure the technology behind PeepsOut delivers always-on, quality streams is a strong Wi-Fi network and human error. While the streams do not necessarily need to have the best quality in terms of being able to identify people, they do need to have enough quality to stream in real-time without delays, jitter or latency. With human error, the PeepsOut team will usually go in from a “boots in the ground” perspective to troubleshoot and help identify where any problems are or could be.

Calling all WebRTC vendors, PeepsOut is willing to talk to anyone who can stream live video from a Wi-Fi device. This type of application is one that we will likely see in the future, as it uses the power of the browser and mobile devices as a means for video and real-time communication. This is the type of application WebRTC helps enable, making them easier to develop and deploy, more cost-efficient and feature-rich.

Patrons can view streams online at www.peepsout.com, or they can download the app (iOS or Android), PeepsOut User App. Venues also have an app, PO Venues, where they can start the process of live streaming. Venues also have the option to embed the live stream into their website as well. 

Edited by Cassandra Tucker


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