Up Periscope

Marco Polo’s friends had to wait a long time to hear about his travels to China. Twenty-four years in fact. But the wait was clearly worth it. So fantastic were his travel adventures that they inspired Christopher Columbus to set out on one of his own. Much later, as the costs of mass travel and photography fell, travellers had to wait only a matter of weeks, until their photos were returned from the ‘processing lab’, before they could share them with their friends.

The internet dramatically reduced the time that it took between having a holiday experience and sharing it with your friends still further; to about as long as it took to post a photo to a Facebook page or attach it to an email.

Now, even that time lag is disappearing as technologies are emerging that will allow you to share your holiday experiences with your friends and family – as you are having them. One app that is rapidly gaining ground in this area is called Periscope and we at Explorer Travel Insurance, mindful that many of our customers are back packers, feel this is one to watch. (Although we suspect many of them will have already beaten us to it).

The app  is owned by social media giant Twitter and is termed a ‘video streaming platform’. In plain English, this means that you can transmit a live video recording of yourself to your Persicope and Twitter followers.

Now we realise that that sentence alone could divide our readers into two groups. One group (may we venture to suggest the older ones?) might read it and think ‘who on earth would be interested in a live video of myself?’ Whilst the other group might read it as, ‘great, now I can share my holiday experience in real time’.

Although the app has only been around for a relatively short period of time, it is growing exponentially. First launched in March last year, it signed up over two million users in its first three months. And for thrill seekers, it just got better because the company announced a deal earlier this month with Go-pro where it will now be possible to livestream video footage from a GoPro action camera. (For this to work, Periscope’s iPhone app will ‘recognise’ a GoPro once it’s connected to your device, offering an option to host a live stream from the camera).

But let’s not get too technical, let’s think of the opportunities here. Periscope’s strap line is ‘explore the world through someone else’s eyes’ and although we think it’s a big clumsy, we like it.

Couldn’t afford to make it to your best friend’s beach side wedding in Mexico? Well, now you can be there. Always wondered what it was like to run with the bulls in Pamplona? Now you can. Too ill to make that ski trip? Join it anyway.

We think Periscope has the ability to transform travel. We just wonder what Marco Polo would have made of it.

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