An Idea: Telescope On Request

1 What Comes To Mind

Suppose there is a wonderful telescope app, how far will you want to see?

That said there are hundreds of thousands of protesters around the presidential palace, really?

I am going to the airport. How about the traffic along the way?
There are special offers on the theme park today. Is it crowded now?

Is cherry blossoms in full bloom at Tokyo? I am planning a trip to Asia.

An earthquake struck central Italy. What’s going on?

How is the weather in New York? Are the passersby wearing coats?

Oh, It will be wonderful if somebody will live stream for me!

2 How It Works

2.1 Every new account will gain 10,000 free points.

2.2 User A1 picks up the mobile phone, opens the map, pan to the wanted location, and sends out a request message.

2.3 The server passes the request message to 5 nearby users who may provide the live stream.

2.4 User B1 is the first one who pushes the [Yes] button and starts live streaming. The video stream runs through the server then flows to user A1’s phone. While watching the video, user A1 should pay 1 point per second.

2.5 User B2~B5 may push the [No] button, or push [Yes] and get an “It’s too late” message. If there is no answer in 30 seconds, it will be the same as saying “No”. The user will not be bothered by request messages in a few minutes after rejecting some request. It’s also configurable to keep quiet in some periods.

2.6 If there is nobody accept the request, the server will send the message to next 5 nearby users until all users inside the scope of map reject it or user A1 cancels it.

2.7 When the stream is finished, user A1 may rate the level of satisfaction as: highly recommended/satisfactory/unsatisfactory or report abuse.

2.8 User B1 may gain points with different proportions based on the level of satisfaction: highly recommended- 60%; satisfactory- 50%; unsatisfactory- 40%.

2.9 If the video is reported as abuse, manual review is required to see whether the video do not match the request, the quality is too low, there is something immoral or the content is illegal. Therefore the user may get unsatisfactory feedback/refund points/account suspended, or be brought to justice.

2.10 If the request message sent by user A1 contains harassment, immorality, criminal incitement, illegality etc., the users who get this message may report it for review.

2.11 The privacy is protected, unless the user reveal it on the initiative. Users will not aware each other’s personally identifiable information, even the account number or alias.

2.12 For abuse, which disadvantages this system, the user may be temporarily/permanently suspended, forfeited all/some points etc.. The first accuser may get free points as reward.

3 Furthermore Scenarios

3.1 Not only scenic sights, the live stream may be token from any legal source, such as facilities inside a B&B/dishes in a crowded restaurant.

3.2 There are some built-in messages for users to send to other country. These messages will be translated into proper languages.

3.3 It’s not necessary to wait for a request, the user can set a subject then start live streaming. Other users may select this video from a menu. Getting more viewers the video shooter will gain more points. But if there is no viewer, the shooter should pay 1 point per minute.

3.4 It’s not necessary to send a request, the user can look for some live stream by subjects, by map interface or by the number of viewers/recommendations.

3.5 Not only live stream, user may watch the playback after the live stream ends. The cost/gained points will be 1/2 compared to live stream.

3.6 Switching to [car camcorder] mode can stream the video into cloud storage. At the same time, user can turn on [Auto accept requests] to gain points. After the trip, user can pay points to play/download the video.

3.7 The request message may want to find some just lost car, elderly people, child, puppy, etc..

3.8 Paying extra points can get extra services. For example, user can restrict the viewer of video only for the shooter (1 point per 10 seconds), increase the number of users to get request message at the same time (10 points per user).

3.9 The shooter can ask for deleting the video. It will cost as restricting the viewer (1 point per 10 seconds). No user can watch the deleted video, but it will be kept in archive for a few days just in case of legal issues.

3.10 The enterprise customers can pay extra points to restrict the viewers in its account group.

4 Exchange Of Points

4.1 Users can purchase the points with cash. Let’s roughly say 250 points per US$. The proper exchange rate should be dealt with risk assessment and benefit-cost analysis. There is no discount rate for bulk purchase, but it can be rewarded some free points.

4.2 The points user purchased are named cash points. Cash points and free points will be recorded separately. The rule of usage are all the same, but the free points will be consumed first then the cash points. The points gained by shooter will be recorded separately according to the source.

4.3 The refund mechanism is necessary for cash points. A US$ 2 fee will be charged each time. User can request refunds for cash points only, not for free points. The cumulative amount of the refund is up to the cumulative amount of the cash points ever purchased.

4.4 If the points gained by shooters can be redeemed for money, it will attract more people to join. But it also increase the financial risk. It had better start the exchanging service in a few months from getting online. The cash points can be redeemed by the unit of 10,000 points for US$ 40. A US$ 2 fee will also be charged each time. The free points can not be redeemed. The cash points less than the unit can not be redeemed.

4.5 To control the risk, each user can redeem points up to US$ 1000 per month. Some hot shooters may apply for higher limit, it will be reviewed manually.

4.6 In order to prevent money laundering activity, the points can not be transferred to another account directly.

4.7 The account should be bound to the user’s mobile phone. The user can change phone number once a year. One phone number can be bound to one account only. One phone number can apply new account up to twice a year. While the phone number is bound to a new account, the old one will become invalid at the same time.

5 Manpower Requirements

5.1 Product Planning/Product Designer/Interface Designer: 2~3.

5.2 Android App Developer: 1~3.

5.3 iOS App Developer: 1~3.

5.4 Server site developer: 2~4, include Video streaming and storage management/Client management and reviewing system/Billing and payment flow system/Security and risk management.

5.5 Reviewer/Customer service: Several, include some guys familiar with major languages, and some dialect consultants to review video.

5.6 Sales/Tester: Several.

6 Variable Costs

There are some costs depending on the amount of usages as follows:
6.1 Data Transfer: Referencing to the pricing of Amazon EC2, it’s about US$ 0.09/GB. Suppose the bit rate of streaming is 2 Mbps, it cost US$ 0.18 per 10,000 points (seconds). While the users consumed 10,000 points, it’s about 1/2 gained by other users. These points will be consumed and reduced again and again.
10000 points x (1+1/2+1/4+1/8+1/16+…) = 20000 points = US$ 0.36
So we can say that issuing 10,000 points will cost US$ 0.36 for data transfer.

6.2 Server: To be assessed.

6.3 Storage: To be assessed.

6.4 Licence: To be assessed, for example, the fee for uplifts above usage limits of Google Map API.

6.5 Customer service: To be assessed.

7 Schedule Assessment

The development schedule will be about six months to one year. It depends on the quality and quantity of manpower. Even there are super programmers to develop, it also needs quite a lot of days for testing. If the schedule is more than one year, the market opportunity will be probably missed.

8 Revenue Forecast

8.1 Maximum possible yield: To be assessed.

8.2 Maximum possible loss: To be assessed.

8.3 Break-even point: To be assessed.

8.4 Working capital requirements: To be assessed.

9 Competitor Analysis

9.1 Similar products:
There is no direct competitor who is matching the request of live streaming by geography map, at least for now. The similar ones are some live streaming platforms. The subject matter generally consists of eroticism/games/sports/news/nature, etc. in order to get a large audience. There seldom is request-oriented production. Here are some examples:

9.1.1 Meerkat: “was” the biggest competition of Periscope (of Twitter).
Users can connect their Facebook and Twitter accounts, and stream directly to their followers as soon as they go live.
The app had an explosive moment South by Southwest festival 2015, which helped the company raised US$ 12 million in venture capital funding.
Weeks after the release, Twitter cut off Meerkat’s access to its social graph, then announced the competing app Periscope.

On October 4th, 2016, Meerkat was shut down.

It ever reached about 2 million downloads.

9.1.2 Folkcam (镜玩): is developed in China.
Users can offer rewards for the requests of one-to-one live streaming. (Wow! It’s request-oriented!)
It was released on August 14th, 2016 and shut down one month later.
It reached about 0.7 million downloads.

9.1.3 Livestream: allows users to broadcast live video through the Internet.

Users can broadcast live from mobile phone to viewers watching on Facebook, Twitter, Livestream or other website, and can engage with viewers via the built-in chat.

Users can explore the categories of broadcasters. There are a lot of music events.

The customer account database was hacked on December 25th, 2015.

It is only available in English.

It makes money from advertising and over 10,000 paying customers.

It reached about 10 million downloads.

9.1.4 Periscope: is a live video streaming app acquired by Twitter.

Users can share live videos to Twitter.

Users can browse streams from specific locations with a map view.

It supports more than 30 languages.

There is no force-fed advertising, at least in the near term. The revenue model is still unclear.

It reached about 50 million downloads.

9.2 Abilities about prospective competition analysis:

9.2.1 Streaming technology: The familiarity affect the schedule. The compression ratio affect the cost of data transfer and storage. The quality of video affect customer loyalty.

9.2.2 Interface design: It is one of the key factors that determine the success or failure of almost all consumer software. While the other conditions all look the same, the more heart-touching interface will catch more users.

9.2.3 Network and security: The load balancing ability will limit the scale of system. Security leaks may destroy the system in a moment.

9.2.4 Global marketing management: More users and wider distribution, this system will be more powerful and useful.

9.2.5 Innovation and contingency: While this system succeeds, the competitors will swarm in quickly. If there is no enough innovation and contingency ability, the fruit of hard work will be left in ashes.

9.3 SWOT analysis to world well known enterprises:

Strong capital base, mass customers, trusted brands, and international experience are the common strengths of world well known enterprises. The success trap and slow reaction to market changes are their common weaknesses. Following analyses to some large enterprises, coincidentally owns instant messengers, are trying to see what would happen if they develop this system.

9.3.1 Google:
YouTube, with strong technology of video streaming.
Google Map, a very popular geographic product.
Speech to text conversion powered by machine learning.

Preferring automation, rather than labor intensive process.
Slow customer service.
User unfriendly interface.

If the live request matching function is built in Google Map, like Google Street View, it will beat competitors heavily.

Struggling with the immature technology of image recognition and natural language understanding.
Even the Google Street View on mobile is still very poor user-friendly. So the competitors may get far in advance by heart-touching interface.

9.3.2 Facebook:

Social networking website, it’s good for word-of-mouth marketing.
Facebook Live Map, an interface for users to tune into live streams shared publicly.

Activities are focused on social network.
Leakage of personally identifiable information.
Poor map interface.

If Facebook can step out of comfort zone — social network, or there are enough users willing to expose personal tracks, they may get enough shooters to satisfy the streaming requests.

A competitor focused on the interaction of strangers will beat them down.

9.3.3 Apple:

Easy-to-use interfaces.
Consumers willing to pay more.
FaceTime, a video telephony product.
Apple Maps, having thousands of employees working on.

Niche market strategy.
Software lock-in with Apple platform.

Even if this system only works for Apple users, it’s still enough to run very well.
The competitors can take the market besides Apple platform.

9.3.4 Microsoft:

Skype, ready for video conference with mobile phone.

Very low market share of Windows Phone.
Focus on productivity.
Poor user interface design.

If they can consider the live streaming from strangers may improve productivity, and make more efforts for user experiences on various platforms, they may make this system work.

Constraints on product lines make too many opportunities for fast-moving competitors.

9.3.5 Yahoo:

Yahoo! Live, a live streaming video service, closed in 2008 due to lack of bandwidth.
Yahoo! Video, a video hosting service, closed in 2011 due to lack of active users.
Yahoo! Connected TV, a smart TV platform.
Yahoo! View, a video on demand service.
Yahoo! TV, a site with live programs, TV guide, video clips, news, etc..

Focus on category search too much.

If they can stop thinking what everyone wants, and let user’s demand creates supply naturally, they may learn from past failures to reach success.

Too much localization will be beaten by globalized competitors.

10 Something Else

10.1 The rough pricing in this article is just to make it easier to do the feasibility study. The final pricing model need more considerations.

10.2 This system may run on YouTube to save some costs. The down sides are more API fee, less control of video permission, and harder to reuse the video database.

10.3 To support watching live stream on PC/Web browsers may break the rule of binding phone number. It needs further assessment and analysis. The enterprise customers may will to pay for this feature.

10.4 Thinking about the legitimacy in various countries needs the assistance of legal specialists.

10.5 My friends may want to talk with me about multi-source points/value added video database. Please send me a private message.

This is a free article released into the public domain. Anyone is free to use for any purpose by any means. Just do not use it for something bad.

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