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How Online Video is Fostering Global Innovation

November 11, 2010 - 7 Comments

Viewing “TED talks” online is one of my favorite sources of inspiration. TED is a small nonprofit devoted to “Ideas Worth Spreading.” It started in 1984 as a conference, bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED).

In a presentation earlier this year, TED’s curator, Chris Anderson, says the rise of online video is enabling a worldwide phenomenon he calls “Crowd Accelerated Innovation” — a self-fueling cycle of learning that could be as significant as the invention of the printing press.

He adds, to tap into its power, organizations will need to embrace radical openness.

Chris goes on to describe how broadband services have become the enabler of video distribution — from people all over the globe. He quotes the Cisco VNI study findings, that within four years more than 90 percent of the world’s data on the Internet will be video – including content created by non-professional videographers.

I agree with Chris. There’s some unique hobbyist passion that’s captured within these low-cost digital video creations which is being openly shared on public sites, such as Youtube. Moreover, his example of how Jove — a video journal for biological research — was accelerating the peer review of scientific experiments is a fascinating application.

To make his point about the significance of this rapidly evolving video communication medium, Chris then poses the question, “what if the crowd could learn to be net contributors?” – becoming part of the biggest learning cycle in human history.

Crowd Accelerated Innovation in Action

An insightful example of self-empowered innovation comes from the Kibera slums in Kenya. There, within the largest shantytown in Africa, a group of creative local residents formed the Kibera Film School. Using Cisco Flip camcorders, Christopher Macau and his friends are recording, editing and producing video content for their own community television channel, called KiberaTV.

Can you imagine the global network traffic implications of unleashing all the aspiring videographer talent in the world? Well, the Cisco VNI study authors used an analogy to predict the impact that this phenomenon could have on growing IP network bandwidth demands.

If the world’s online video viewers were all standing in one place, they’d constitute the world’s third-largest country. More than 1 billion people in the world will consume video online by the end of 2010 — meaning that the collective population of online video users are roughly equivalent to a very large nation (behind China and India in size).

Other interesting statistics from the Cisco VNI forecast include:

Face-to-face communications via the Internet will grow sevenfold. Video communications traffic (video via IM, video calling) will increase seven times between 2009 and 2014, as face-to-face talking becomes a common communications component — on multiple screens.

Video on Demand (VoD) traffic will double every 2.5 years, through 2014 — making it a major contributor to the growth of video, generating 11 exabytes per month by 2014.

The bandwidth-consuming characteristics of high-definition (HD) video is well known.  However, the emergence of 3D video streams will also increase the impact on broadband infrastructure. HD and 3D video combined will comprise 46% of the total consumer Internet video traffic by 2014; 3D alone is forecast to account for 4% of all Internet video traffic.

Business video conferencing will grow ten-fold over the forecast period, a rate that is almost three times faster than overall business traffic. Can you imagine using video applications to make a difference in your business, or in your local community?

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  1. Hi David! I actually was inspired by the video a few days after it was posted. The inspiration bloomed into a new project that has the potential to change the world. Take a look at my blog post from this morning and let me know if you'd like to meet to discuss the new project I am working on for Cisco's CSR. Charlie

    • Hello Charlie, that looks interesting. Let's discuss a potential collaboration. Thanks for reaching out...

  2. Thanks David for highlighting our work at Kibera Film School. I am a beneficiary of the initiative, and i can tell you that it has really impacted my life positively. having been brought up in a community (Kibera) where everything is potrayed as "slumish" it has been a very big challenge for youth such as me to put their talent at the fore front and get a chance to empower their talents through skill building. Check out the link Mercy gave you and follow our work. You are most welcome to pay us a visit also when you can :-)

    • Josphat, it's my sincere pleasure to feature the Kibera film school in this story. Yes, I have followed the link that Mercy provided, and I've viewed some of the video posts on the site. Keep up the great work!

  3. Thanks David! looking forward to hearing from you!

  4. Mercy M, I mentioned the Kibera film school in this story because your project was very interesting to me -- and I was impressed with the video content that is being produced. I will contact you via email, regarding the Flip cameras. cheers, David

  5. Thanks for mentioning our film school. Yes we do use Flip cameras, and we would like to talk to you in regards to getting more Flips for the youth that we work with. We currently have about 5 Flips and would more beneficial if we got more. We rely on donors or or out-of-pocket for us to be able to purchase them. Would Cisco be willing to donate some flips to the school? Here is a link of a video Kibera TV did talking about how they use the Flip cameras.