Bambuser CEO Explains How Their Platform Agnostic Video Platform Is Helping Middle Eastern Protesters

I had the opportunity to ask Hans Eriksson, the CEO of live mobile video streaming service Bambuser, a few questions about Bambuser’s role in documenting the protests, as well as the inspiration behind the mobile video streaming service, their new iPad 2 application and more.

Citizen journalism is, more and more, becoming an integral part of how we consume news and discover what’s going on in other parts of the world.  Videos have been uploaded to the web about everything from natural disasters to protests.  In recent months live streaming has become a popular way to broadcast events from around the world as well, especially to document recent protests in the Middle East.

I had the opportunity to ask Hans Eriksson, the CEO of live mobile video streaming service Bambuser, a few questions about Bambuser’s role in documenting the protests, as well as the inspiration behind the mobile video streaming service, their new iPad 2 application and more.

I was very interested in the role Bambuser has played in documenting the protests in the Middle East.  Bambuser CEO Hans Eriksson said, “It’s been fascinating to see how Bambuser has emerged as a tool for protesters to share live video from the Middle East, especially within the recent protests in Egypt.  It actually started in connection with the Egyptian elections where no external international observers were allowed to monitor the elections.  We saw a sudden major increase in downloads from Egypt but didn’t see many broadcasts.  During the Election Day alone though, more than 10,000 videos were streamed from Egypt.  The purpose was to document any violence or any attempts to prevent people from voting.”

Eriksson said, “Before the adoption of live streaming mobile video services, phones and cameras were often taken by authorities before footage could be uploaded.”  The live streaming services offered by Bambuser got around this issue, streaming footage to the web live as it was shot.

Eriksson told me, “We are still not sure how the resistance and human rights activists initially found Bambuser, but we are sure that the platform agnostic nature of the Bambuser service played a major role, as Bambuser works on most of the smartphones on the market.”  Eriksson says that since protesters began using the service in the Middle East, Bambuser has had “an ongoing dialogue with some of the leading human rights activists, and have been providing our video platform to journalists, bloggers, and human rights organizations throughout the world.  Bambuser has also done everything we can to help distribute the content in terms of reaching out to media globally as well as creating a tab on the site to which we’ve been feeding in all live videos coming in from North Africa and the Middle East.”  Click here to browse trending videos on Bambuser.  As you can see from the screenshot below, Bambuser definitely has a lot of feeds from Middle East and North African countries, including Egypt and Morocco.

I also asked Eriksson about the inspiration behind Bambuser and how the service became a reality.  He told me, “The idea behind Bambuser was to enable anyone with a mobile phone to broadcast interactive live video to friends, family and followers all over the globe—sort of like YouTube fell in love with Skype and had a love child.  The idea was formed as a student project in early 2007 and a pilot project in which a 24-hour live show was broadcast from a mobile phone to local television.  Realizing the potential of the concept, the company Bambuser AB was founded.”

These days people are streaming all sorts of things using Bamuser, from fun things, holidays, conferences, live events, cooking shows, street promotions, interviews, and more.  Eriksson tells me, “We even have a maniac who’s been broadcasting while paragliding for the first time.”  I think, however, that the ability Bambuser gives people to broadcast live current events, like the Middle East and North Africa protests, is definitely one of the coolest ways that the service has been used.

Bambuser has recently launched an app with support for the iPad 2 as well as a site redesign.  Check them out at Bambuser.com and let us know what you think.  What do you think about the service in general, as well as the ways it has been used to document the Middle East protests?

Megan O’Neill is the resident web video enthusiast here at Social Times.  Megan covers everything from the latest viral videos to online video news and tips, and has a passion for bizarre, original and revolutionary content and ideas.