One of the fastest-growing technologies and most rapidly improving over the past several years has occurred in cameras. Comparing the first camera included in the original 2007 iPhone to the latest models in gadgets produced by Apple, Samsung and the rest of the triple-A manufacturers shows an astounding improvement.
Video camera producer GoPro has been among the centre of this revolution. Its small but high quality video cameras have been used to enhance the sharing of experiential video, such as extreme sports. Attaching a video camera to a surf board, mountain bike or any sort of moving object has allowed fans of these sports and experiences to watch their entertainment like they never have before.
This popularity is no doubt part of GoPro’s decision today to file for an IPO worth $US100 million.
For anyone not familiar with GoPro, the brand, started in 2004, creates extremely durable cameras that can be mounted on equipment and film HD video. They’re regularly used to film sports.
But hardware is only one part of the equation. GoPro has been able to achieve more than half a billion dollars in revenue due to its durable cameras and accessories, but the real value lies in the ecosystem – users share content partly because of the intrinsic value of the entertainment, but they also acknowledge the brand when doing so.
Videos on YouTube filmed with GoPro cameras are regularly labelled as such – just as users identify with Apple or Samsung, so too do GoPro owners feel the need to associate themselves with the brand.
Above: Video taken during the 2014 Winter Olympics with a GoPro camera.
This is intrinsic acknowledgement of the quality of the cameras – users feel so impressed by the durable tech they’re willing to stand by the name – but it also speaks to the larger movement in technology of ecosystems and content being just as important as the hardware.
Just as collaborative consumption is empowering customers to become their own entrepreneurs, the most successful tech businesses are allowing anyone to share the content they create in whatever way they like. This is why the rise of microvideos has led to Vine users becoming semi-famous and landing lucrative advertising deals, and it’s also why YouTube is rumoured to be buying Twitch – the ability to promote expression and creativity is becoming vital to success in tech.
The question for businesses sitting outside of this system is how they can create sharing opportunities within their own framework. Most businesses do not create high quality cameras or technology built for sharing. The importance, then, lies in identifying opportunities within their own products for either ecosystems to exist, or for content to be shared. Providing shortcuts for the user to do so will not only create value, but encourage loyalty.