How to Use Live Webcams for Market Research

Live webcams give us a window into places we would otherwise never have access to. From watching sea otters frolicking to gazing at Mt. Rainier, these cameras allow us to witness a tapestry of our planet’s diverse beauty and share it with the world.

These live streams offer a unique way to connect with others, connecting you and your audience in ways not possible before. For example, the onset of Covid-19 has accelerated the use of live video streaming for market research, as traveling from one location to another to conduct F2F focus groups and IDIs is more difficult. As a result, this has opened up a host of new opportunities for marketers to use live video streaming technology, including through the use of virtual environments and remote participants.

The first step is to make sure your webcam is connected to the internet. Most webcams come with a USB controller that translates the data from the camera sensor to the computer. Typically, each frame of video is transferred uncompressed in RGB or YUV or compressed as JPEG. More sophisticated webcams come with a CMOS image sensor and supporting electronics “on die”, i.e. the sensor and controller are combined on a single chip to reduce the cost and size of the device.

Once you have a connection, set up your stream and begin broadcasting. Consider scheduling your streams, noting the time you intend to go live so that viewers will know when to tune in. It’s also a good idea to share your stream in digital communities, from Discord to WhatsApp, as this will get your stream out to an audience that might not otherwise have seen it.

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