Broadcasting live video from your smartphone has quickly become all the rage. The most popular enablers of this craze are Meerkat and Periscope, both of which aim to create a global community of streamers and voyeurs that find each other's feeds through open social networks. New player Skeegle, however, wants to do things a little differently, by making mobile live-streaming a more private affair. The premise is simple: you choose exactly who you want to broadcast to. Once you've downloaded the app, logged in with a Facebook account and associated your phone number with it (WhatsApp-style), you can start building groups from your phone's contact list (think "friends," "family," etcetera). When you stumble upon something worth streaming, you simply select the groups you'd like to be notified of your activity, start broadcasting, and that's it.
Those who you've decided to share that moment with will be alerted you're on air (by SMS or Skeegle notification), and can either watch the stream through the app, or in a browser window if they're not signed up. All broadcasts are also archived in the cloud so you and select chums can revisit them at a later date. Anyone that's able to receive an SMS can watch a stream, but for now, broadcasting is reserved only for those with a UK mobile number.
Skeegle was funded and is effectively owned by EE, but it's available to everyone regardless of their chosen carrier. Usually masters of PR, EE's let Skeegle slip into Android and iOS app stores without so much as a whisper. In fact, EE isn't planning to promote the app at all; it's not branded in any way, and the carrier expects the Skeegle user base to grow organically (as in, without a publicity campaign). According to EE, the app's been in the works for the past year, long before Meerkat and Periscope found popularity. Rather than develop it internally, the network provider drafted in an external consultant to create a kind of in-house start-up that could operate outside the EE corporate machine. But why go to all the trouble if there's no tangible benefit to the company? EE's answer is simply that anything demonstrating the type of new experiences 4G affords can only be a good thing.