Vokle, a live video broadcasting platform, closed a round of seed funding in April, led by Tech Coast Angels, Sierra Angels, and a Grammy-nominated singer. As we wrote in April, the startup allows anyone to live stream video content, broadcasting it to a virtual room of viewers — townhall-style. But unlike Ustream or GoToMeeting, Vokle’s value proposition is that the broadcaster can take live text and video questions from the audience, so that those watching have an opportunity to actually shape the direction and arc of the content.
Vokle itself is not a destination site, each broadcast is embeddable and intended to be added to users’ blogs, websites, and so on. The user-facing interface offers a fairly straightforward video chat layout, where those watching the broadcast can submit realtime feedback and interact with a simple chat feature, while the broadcaster is able to take advantage of various curation and editing tools. The creator can also assign roles to assist in moderating the event, including video screeners and remote co-hosts.
It’s a nifty little platform, great for creating branded events, and I see it being very useful in auditions, political town hall meetings, conferences, etc., but it’s been some missing essential features. Now, it seems, Vokle is finally closing the gap, having announced that its users will now have access to video recordings of every event created on the platform (going forward). Ten to twenty minutes after each event has concluded, the video recording will automatically be updated to appear to users’ event and series pages on Vokle, or to the location of a user’s embedded video.
What’s more, recordings allow viewers to skip ahead to specific questions (called “chapters”) asked during the live event, making the viewing of the recorded video more akin to watching a DVD than VHS. Vokle automatically turns each question taken by the host, whether text or video, into a mark on the video timeline (which is seen as a small circle) below the video. Not unlike SoundCloud’s embedded comments in its waveform layout.
So, as a users click to a new video, users can view the series, the topic of the video at hand, and are now able to scroll through what is essentially a table of contents to view the “chapters” or “questions” that are most interesting to the viewer.
With one click, viewers hover over that circle, at which point they will be given the option to blast out a link to a specific question via Facebook or Twitter that will link to a specific segment in the recording. So, if a user embeds a live event onto their site, once the event is over, that embed code will automatically update later with all the chapters and sharing features, and every live broadcast is automatically turned into a recording, so this isn’t a feature users need to request as needed.
Vokle has a lot of growing left to do, and it needs to make sure that it’s building a viable business rather than something that’s just a snazzy set of video features. It’s added a couple of integral enhancements to its overall product, and has a lot of potential, but there are still miles to go, especially considering that Google can simply add “Hangouts”, its cloud-based video-conferencing platform that’s part of Google+, and the tech industry will reflexively declare it the winner in group video.
So, there’s more to go, but Vokle — being ad-free and containing live chat, the ability to add video and text questions in realtime, a mobile app, and polling — is off to a pretty good start.
For more on Vokle’s new features, check out the video below: