Qik uses your phone's camera to send a live video feed through the cellular network to the Internet, where it is available for live viewing on the Qik website.
The possible uses of streaming live video feeds from a mobile phone to another phone or PC are nearly endless. A company called Qik has made it a reality. Be prepared to unleash your inner Scorcese.
The technology to stream or share live video from one phone to another has actually been around for more than a year, and is offered by the likes of AT&T. Unfortunately, the cost is somewhat prohibitive. For $25 per month, you can stream 25 minutes of video. For $50 per month, you can stream 60 minutes. If you go over, be prepared to pay up to $1.50 per minute. There are also some caveats. Both you and the receiver of the feed have to be in areas covered by AT&T's 3G network. Lastly, feeds are not saved or stored anywere for later viewing.
Qik (pronounced "quick") fixes most of those issues. It is free, works over the slower networks, and stores videos.
Qik was in a private alpha mode for the last six months, and just this week opened up a public beta. Anyone can now sign up and start sharing right away. The way Qik works is, it uses your phone's camera to send a live video feed through the cellular network to the Internet, where it is available for live viewing on the Qik website. Any video you share is also automatically stored so it can be watched later. If you'd like to share a stream, simply give people a link to your feed and they can watch for free.
Aside from being a fun way to share experiences with friends and family, there are a lot of ways this type of service can benefit the medical community. Think of paramedics or other health emergency workers. When in the field, they could send live videos of patient injuries and traumas to emergency room physicians waiting for ambulances to arrive. This way, the ER staff will have a better idea of what to expect when the transport shows up.
The list of similar uses goes on and on.
The one potential drawback is that right now, Qik supports mostly Nokia smartphones. Only several Windows Mobile devices are supported by the Qik client. Qik has said that it is working hard to support more phones, including devices such as Apple's iPhone and BlackBerries.
If you have a compatible phone, I highly recommend you check out the service.