Live-Video Experiment using Multiple Non-Synchronized Mobile Live-Video Streams

Live-Video Experiment using Multiple Non-Synchronized Mobile Live-Video Streams

Today, we conducted a simple yet fascinating experiment at the Crisis Response Lab, focused on using multiple streams of mobile live video to support a collaborative task. We used the LiveResponse mobile live-video application and two video streams from Bambuser equipped android phones to create a live-video collaborative work space.

The two mobile live-video streams were broadcasted to LiveResponse with a latency on roughly 1 second. The two video streams were not internally synchronized which in our experiment had the effect that one video stream faced the risk of providing lag in relation to the other stream. I took my Android phone (broadcasting video) and my laptop (consuming video) and walked through our lab and used the broadcasted video to communicate to as well as using my laptop to receive communication from colleague Fredrik ( that had a similar setup with his phone and laptop.) We gave each other simple tasks in order to evaluate if the communication between us would break down.

Our communication during the short experiment did however not breakdown, but rather showed how mobile live-video broadcasting worked very well to establish and use a mobile live-video collaborative work space. This simple experiment gave us inspiration and confidence to further explore the design space of collaborative work spaces based on low cost high quality mobile live video broadcasting technology.

Obama uses live video from war zones : Swedish firebrigades use live video from accident sites

American and even Swedish media (, is making a big thing about Obamas ability to follow the hunt-down of OBL using mobile real-time video.


The White House and Central Intelligence Agency didn’t have access to a live audio feed, but they were able to tap other communications, a U.S. official told CNN. There was some live video, though the official declined to elaborate on the nature of that footage.

It is always interesting when the mobile live video over and over again is presented as a kind of science-fiction technology. Its not. Our friends at the Fire brigade in Gothenburg has been live-streaming from response operations since nov 2008. The small and yet functional prototype used back then did over time transform into a commercial service.

What is still a bit surprising is the lack of low-cost head-mounted cameras that have integrated SIM-card/mobile broadband capability so the camera can live-stream the video over public cell-phone networks to remote settings. When this device is available on the market, one could envision a very fast adoption of live-video use in professional work context.

The work of making mobile video from emergency response operations continues with some interesting explorations of geo-temporal traversing. There are so many fascinating visualizations that are now possible to do when we combine live video with footage from the same location but from a different location in time. This geo-temporal traversing is possible when we combine high quality video with data from commercial spatial data services.

Our work including geo-temporal traversing as well as other concepts has been made possible with funding and support from Lindholmen Science Park : Security Arena and the Traffic and Vehicle Safety Institute SAFER at Chalmers University of Technology, Dept of Applied IT at Gothenburg University and the Viktoria Institute.

Video via alla möjliga prylar vi bär med oss.

I morse fick jag ett tips från Andreas D. på Enköpings räddningstjänst att det nu finns glasögon med inbyggd videokamera. Detta är en i raden av produkter som tydligt pekar på den starka trenden kring inbyggd video i alla tänkbara prylar. Sedan tidigare har vi på Crisis Response Lab testat, bluetooth-headset med inbyggd video, videoficklampa och naturligtvis Live-video via Mobiltelefon. Det kan bli dags att införskaffa ett par glasögon. Priset känns lite högt 239 USD + ev skatt för ett spontaninköp. Men man vet aldrig.
En lite begränsande aspekt i fallen med video via bluetooth-headset, ficklampa och nu inbyggd i glasögon är att det saknas möjligheter att sända live-video. I ovan produkter krävs handgrepp för att dela med sig av sin inspelade film. Jag ser fram emot de framtida lösningarna där live-video är möjligt. Poängen med live-video är inte bara att det går att ta del av video i realtid utan att live-video gör processen att överföra inspelad video från sin pryl och till alla de som vill ta del av videon så mycket lättare.

Nya framgångar

Vårt lilla forskningsprojekt kring mobil live video för räddningsinsatser lever som ni alla vet vidare i en kommersiell form. Sedan januari finns LiveResponse att köpa som tjänst. Igår kväll blev LiveResponse tillsammans med Räddningstjänsten i Stor-Göteborg vinnare av Cut-the-Wire Awards i kategorin offentlig sektor. Den namnkunniga juryn hade följande motivering:

“Innovative usage of high speed mobile connectivity, mobile video streaming services and positioning in a mission critical usage environment. A practical and useful mobile service area that really makes a difference.”(länk) och tidskriften CIO på webben finns en bra intervju med stf Räddningschef på Räddningstjänsten i Stor-Göteborg om hur de använder LiveResponse och de fördelar som upplevs.

Att det en gång lilla forskningsprojektet skulle gå och vinna mobilpris var inget vi kunde tänka då projektet formulerades vintern 2008. Det känns väldigt hedrande med utmärkelsen och ett fint bevis att de projekt som bedrivs på Lindholmen i Göteborg med finansiering av bland annat MSB faktiskt kan leda längre än enbart välpublicerade forskningsartiklar.

Lyckad Projektworkshop Liveresponse Fas3

Igår hade vi en lyckad workshop i projektet Liveresponse Fas3. Projektet finansieras av Security Arena vid Lindholmen Science Park, Fordon och Trafiksäkerhetscentret SAFER vid Chalmers Tekniska Högskola samt Viktoriainstitutet. Deltagarna i workshopen kom från Räddningstjänsten i Södra Älvsborg, Helsingborgs Brandförsvar, Södertörns räddningstjänst samt SOS-alarm. Under workshopet presenterades resultaten från Liveresponse Fas2 som avslutades i mars. Vidare fick deltagarna möjlighet att själva testa att sända mobil live video från olika mobiltelefoner och ta del av videon i en den driftsatta-version av applikationen LiveResponse. Efter lunchpausen diskuterades de reflektionsfrågor som deltagarna fått ta del av inför workshopen. Frågorna berörde vilka nyttoaspekter, negativa konsekvenser som kan finnas med mobil video från räddningsinsatser. Dessutom diskuterades de utmaningar som kan uppstå när den här typen av ny teknik introduceras i en verksamhet. Avslutningsvis fick deltagarna möjlighet att använda de implementerade FAS3-designkoncepten. Fokus i dessa koncept var olika typer av funktionalitet för att arbeta med den högre videokvalité som nu är möjlig att live-streama. Workshopen var mycket lyckad och det var väldigt roligt att se hur designteamet bakom LiveResponse tillsammans med representanter för olika räddningstjänster diskuterade de behov och möjligheter som mobil live video kan ge för användning vid räddningsinsatser.

Great talk with Department of Homeland Security

Yesterday, I got the chance to have a meeting with a DHS-director that was visiting Sweden. We had a good meeting and discussed how the approach we use at the Crisis Response Lab could be transfered to a US-setting. A key challenge in the US is the lack of in-depth collaboration between crisis management researchers and the industry. According to the director, Swedish Science Park structures seems to be good role model for such collaboration.

We also spent considerable time to talk about LiveResponse and how some form of technology transfer or collaboration could be possible. The DHS-people were impressed by our work with LiveResponse and the underlying principle of make use what already exists on the market in order to create something new. The focus on designing for public organizations low-budget reality was another key aspect. Apparently, few companies have such focus.
Our discussion was very good and I am looking forward to follow-up conversations.

Comment on potential misuse with live-video

Our work with LiveResponse has now even found its way to New York Times website with Janko Roettgers from GIGAOM and industry blogs such as TMCnet with Kelly McGuire. This did not happen by accident but as a result of a Bambuser press release. Anyway, two of the commentators that published a story about our work with Bambuser elaborate on the issue if LiveResponse could mean that emergency responders will take the chance to also sell video streams to commercial news actors. These ethical dimensions of technology use are critical and should not be ignored. As a designer, we are responsible to also be held accountable for misuse. Our job is to maximize intended use, minimize non-intended use while at the same time provide generative properties so the users can to some extent invent unanticipated positive-use. Balancing between positive aspects and negative consequences are delicate, yet critical. In the LiveResponse solution, we have made our very best in making sure that no video is stored on the mobile handset. The video is transfered to a secure and protected website. Still, we can never claim that misuse will never happen. However, we have also embedded traceability and made this traceability visible to the users so they as professionals can provide a sense of social control that could block some types of unethical use. Still, at the end of the day, if someone wants to broadcast and sell live video from an accident site, why bother do it using the LiveResponse solution. Instead, I would imagine that such people will use an unregistered private cell phone and broadcast directly to the target area in mind.

Having said this, unethical use will for a long long time be a topic that we must spend considerable time on and make sure that we protect peoples integrity while at the same time enable professional responders to make efficient response operations.

Live video in emergency response work becomes more common

Yesterday, Mats Bomström at the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) informed me about the news that FDNY is now using live video as part of emergency response work. According to the news, FDNY use live video in order to provide safety on location when there is a risk for building collapses or other types of risks for their own personnel. What is a bit exciting here is how they use live video not only to provide a “situation view” for the command centre, but activley use the video as material for decision making on the accident site. Read more at Wall Street Journal

Crisis Response App-store?

In the last few weeks, I have started to become more and more interested in how the whole App-store phenomena might be used in the emergency and crisis response domain. Would it be possible for a consumer oriented business model work in our domain? What are the key issues that must be solved in order to provide a US or European Crisis Response App-store?
Or if we shift perspective, Why would it fail? I would be more that happy to hear your insights on this topic.

A conceptual illustration with some of the current and future applications in Swedish Emergency and Crisis Response:

TANDBERG: Communication Challenges Facing First Responders

Yesterday, I was approached by a senior account executive from a big US-based marketing company, informing me that their client TANDBERG have live video broadcasting products and services for emergency and crisis response work. Apparently, they have a short Youtube video where “Scott Feinberg, TANDBERG Public Sector Market Manager, discusses examples of the most critical communications issues faced by first responders and how video can play a role in improving communication.” The video is very brief and there is no product demo showing what they have in mind. It would have been great to see how their customers use and percieve the benefit of such mobile live video broadcasting….and perhaps also the costs that are related to such use. Anyway here is the TANDBERG video on youtube, and NO, I did not get any money for publishing this.

Livlig debatt om applikationen LiveResponse

Efter att tidningen NyTeknik publicerade en artikel om projektet med live video från 3G-mobil på skadeplats så initierades en ström av kommentarer i relation till artikeln. En del handlade om TETRA, andra om att det är märkligt att denna teknik inte redan fanns tillgänglig för räddningstjänsten, någon kommenterade kring användning av Action-Cam istället för mobiltelefon. Dessutom så uttrycktes en del munterhet kring att vi forskat kring detta sedan 2001, vilket inte riktigt var fallet. LiveResponse är ju resultatet efter ett 5 månadersprojekt där Fredrik Bergstrand (bilden) gjort ett extraordinärt arbete med att paketera och designa samman de olika teknologierna.

Great talks with industrial corporations about future collaboration

Last week, I had the opportunity the meet great people from Swedish civil security industry. By accident, during the same day, I had in depth meetings where we discussed how the work, we do at the Viktoria Institute and the Department of applied IT at University of Gothenburg, could be linked to industrial R&D-projects. We found several very nice links. Especially promising is the interest the two companies expressed in supporting our ongoing work on the LIVE:RESPONSE platform. It is always very nice when research and industry has similar interests, even if our time-scales often are less syncronized. In this case we found some good prospective projects and I am looking forward to continue the talks in order to move our conversations in to action plans. Oh, the companies? Sorry it is still to early to break the news.