UStream + GPS = Seero

New service creates data stream that marries location with video.

Rafe Needleman Former Editor at Large
Rafe Needleman reviews mobile apps and products for fun, and picks startups apart when he gets bored. He has evaluated thousands of new companies, most of which have since gone out of business.
Rafe Needleman
2 min read

Seero officially launched its new livestreaming (and recording) video service at the New Tech Meetup on Wednesday. Like UStream, it lets you broadcast live from a Webcam or record shows for later playback. But it also records location and syncs it to video. That opens up some new capabilities for video producers and for advertisers.

For live online news videos, this is a killer feature, especially if the viewer has the options of selecting from several cameras. And imagine it for sports--bicycle racing, golf, or sailing. (Remember Quokka? They could have used this.) Seero doesn't just display location: it pulls up relevant location-based data and links in a separate window. The service also works well for travel videos, with links to nearby attractions showing up in the related information box as the video plays. (Potential partner: TurnHere.)

This travel TV show works great on Seero.

The Seero founders, all three of whom shared the stage during the New Tech pitch, say they've designed the service for event-based video, not for lifecasting. That's good, since watching someone through a hat cam is weird enough; knowing exactly where they are at all times would be just creepy, and dangerous for the presenter.

The revenue model for Seero is under development, but location-based advertising is obviously the main opportunity for the service.

Seero CTO Dan Rommel, and his geo-video recording rig. Rafe Needleman / CNET

Seero works best when the recording service is run on a PC that has a connection to a GPS device. We saw at the demo a small rig based on an OQO ultramobile PC, a Webcam, and a Bluetooth GPS receiver. That's an expensive rig, unfortunately, so at the moment only the most devoted broadcasters are likely to create Seero videos and shows. Support for GPS-equipped mobile phones is forthcoming; look out Qik.

The technology desperately needs to be exportable to publishers' own sites. There are limited branding and skinning capabilities in this first release; a full API is needed, so content producers can use the technology without having to shunt viewers to the Seero site itself.

Unfortunately, I don't see Seero as a strong consumer play. Notwithstanding the leading-edge geocoding technology and the inviting site, the livestreaming market is crowded. And once geocoding hardware becomes pervasive, I bet that every livestreaming service will begin to record and display geo data. Seero may be able to sell a suite of geolocation and video technologies to professional video production sites, though. It's not as sexy a play as a consumer video destination site, but the pro market might actually have some paying customers in it.