Financial Mail

The data is on us

- Mudiwa Gavaza

ý Local start-up Send It is poised to take on video conferenci­ng giants, including Zoom and Skype, in the SA market.

Video conferenci­ng and live streaming apps have been the breakout stars in the world of technology during the lockdown period, and there has been a dramatic rise in the number of Instagram live concerts and video conference calls.

Send It — which was started by wireless provider Quick Connect — caught our attention because it is trying to offer people such as artists, fitness instructor­s and other profession­als who haven’t been able to host live concerts or training sessions a chance to get paid through the power of the internet.

Send It is not alone in the game, however. Blue Label Telecoms subsidiary Ticketpro recently launched an online platform called Covid-zero for musicians, comedians and other artists to stream their acts online, giving them a virtual stage to keep performing.

Send It gives users who present an online broadcast of a new live event a unique web page as well as the option to monetise it or grant free access and go live at a scheduled time. For those hosting paid streams, Send It charges a 5% fee, which goes towards credit card processing fees.

Send It says it can accommodat­e 1,000 people on a live stream. But as in the case of any new technology, it does have some bugs.

For example, users of Safari will be met with “internal server error” messages on the desktop version when they try to view some event pages and type in profile informatio­n. It’s best to use browsers such as Chrome. However, Send It works very well on Safari on the iphone.

Perhaps the platform’s biggest draw at the moment is its reverse billing features, through which a user can take on the cost of data for its audience.

Even after mobile data price cuts by SA’S largest operators — MTN and Vodacom — in recent months, internet access is a luxury for some South Africans.

An employer looking to have a company-wide meeting could pay for the cost of the stream, allowing its employees to watch and follow an online event at no data cost to them.

The app is simple to use. It’s easy to sign up and there are no extra apps to download. However, work still needs to be done to improve the user interface across multiple web browsers.

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