Technology is bringing us closer to disasters than we ever thought possible. While I was at the Station Fire Incident Command Post just north of Los Angeles this past week I noticed something different roaming around in the mass of press assembled for a news conference with Governor Schwarzenegger – an unassuming guy wearing a backpack broadcasting live video from his handheld camcorder. At first I thought it was just some geeky tech head like myself trying out something new. But upon closer inspection, it wasn’t some unknown geek – it was the Associated Press’s John Mone and he was broadcasting live using the latest in live technology – called LiveU. I looked around and saw one other “LiveU” box on the ground under the tripod of Fox News.
Completely fascinated by the find, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to ask him a few questions and see what this new technology is all about. Here’s a short 5 minute interview with John (video embedded below or click this link). He explains what LiveU is, how he’s been using it, and why it’s clearly the wave of the future for broadcasting.
According to a story in TV Technology, NBC has been experimenting with the LiveU system for about a year. It bridges the bandwidth gap needed for live video transmission by “bonding” together multiple cell phone circuits, and according to network personnel, could substantially reduce the cost of newsgathering.
“NBC News is always considering new technologies, particularly ones that can improve on our production capabilities, while decreasing expenditures, and discovered an Israeli technology called LiveU that can provide a video interconnection without the need for a satellite,” said Lauren Kapp, NBC’s senior director of news communication. “We were able to provide coverage of the recent earthquake damage in Italy with just a small backpack unit. We also used it for covering the Obama train ride. It worked all over the Amtrak route.”
PS – Right after I shut off the camera, a guy from the press corp (I think a photographer), came up behind me and said to us, “This isn’t cool. It’s taking away jobs. It’s not cool.” Clearly this new technology has its detractors – namely those whom it may eventually replace. John responded back to the dissatisfied guy, “Yeah, I understand man. I understand.”