Today’s live cam industry is based upon technology — but it is also driving technology and the business models it enables, bringing both challenges and opportunities to the companies competing in this arena.
According to cam studio chief Juan Bustos, over the last several years, the webcam industry has seen a transition from private show-based sites to token-based sites — with this shift in business models also influencing the technology used by cammers and customers.
Technology is trending towards the consumption of streaming — making video, audio, movies, news, social media and other media [with] 360-degree views, and soon surely in 3D. -Juan Bustos, JuanBustos.com
“It started approximately eight years ago with MyFreeCams, then Chaturbate came, followed by CAM4 that implemented the system of tokens, and then other players entered the market such as BongaCams, Stripchat, and CamSoda, while Cams and F4F, which despite being private-based cam sites implemented something similar to tokens too,” Bustos explains. “The reason? Private show sites are very restrictive, focusing on the client having to join the model in a show that is mostly sexual. In these sites, models cannot share information such as their social networks, which would bring them closer to their clients.”
“Token-based sites aim to be the opposite: They want their models to build strong friendship bonds and become more intimate with their fans through networking,” Bustos added. “They allow for entertaining, artistic performances that are mainly fueled by creativity — shows that turn clients into fans who give generous tips in gratitude to the models that make an effort camming — not just for sex. This approach encourages more models and clients to participate more in an entertainment show”
From his vantage point, Bustos sees technological advances from augmented and virtual reality to wearable tech, social media and more all bringing fans and models closer together.
“Products such as Google Glass, Microsoft’s Hololens or the Oculus Rift are just a few names in a blooming market where companies including Sony, HTC and Samsung are already starting to compete,” Bustos explains. “Technology is trending towards the consumption of streaming — making video, audio, movies, news, social media and other media [with] 360-degree views, and soon surely in 3D.”
“This is why it’s essential that webcam sites start planning to have technology that allows clients to use augmented and virtual reality goggles,” Bustos adds. “Imagine a user on his phone or computer, with an app that allows him to visit a model who has smart cams set up at her home (GoPro-style) and that are broadcasting in a panoramic 360-degree view.”
Bustos points to smart garments and wearable accessories as other areas for opportunity.
“Watches, bracelets, earrings paired to an app that can easily be toyed with through the smartphone, or other pieces such as vibrating panties and massaging bras (that already exist) will give other possibilities for clients to play with and enjoy their models — while they are at the movies, walking down the street or with their boyfriend,” Bustos told XBIZ, while pointing to another significant technology — but this time instead of something some of us might wear, it is something that all of us carry.
“High-resolution frontside cameras on smartphones along with their high-powered processors and software will allow the development of new apps that let the model broadcast her cam from her phone, just as it is happening right now with apps such as Periscope,” Bustos explains. “Thanks to the Wowza server technology that allows anyone to broadcast from anywhere, with fluid and crisp streaming onto any device, [we can leave] behind the clunky and obsolete Flash Media Player that almost every webcam site in the world uses, and which only allows those sites to be used on a computer.”
This focus on embracing mobile users and investing in the technology to reach them is an important step in the success of cam companies today, with Bustos noting that 65 percent of internet consumption now occurs through smartphones, with five percent through tablets, and the remaining 30 percent via PCs.
“Media consumption is moving away from computers, resulting in a perfect world for smartphones with 3G and 4G connectivity,” Bustos adds. “This allows models and clients to broadcast with their phone’s camera with low data consumption due to the quality and speed of data delivery thanks to Wowza.”
Bustos also sees a future with interactive toys connected through a USB port or Bluetooth that are custom produced using 3D printers for a perfect fit.
“A model in Colombia will connect her computer to a 3D-printed penis custom made to the Australian client’s measurements,” Bustos explains. “Her client will enjoy an also 3D-printed vagina, identical to the model’s parts — and through a program or app, they will make love in real time — thanks to high-speed data connections.
Another important ingredient in camming success is social media, which is becoming more popular than ever as people use it to communicate and interact with family and friends — constantly posting, telling everyone what’s going on in their day-to-day lives.
“This is also true for webcam models, who now use their Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter as mediums to tell about their lives in real time. And clients, always eager to see information about their favorite models, follow them, post and comment on everything they share,” Bustos says. “Webcam sites must be prepared to allow this flow of precious information.”
“Preparing chat systems and profiles for sharing social media is paramount,” Bustos adds. “Denying the access and exchange of this information is putting a stranglehold on both models and clients who are living in other times. To not do it is to be stuck in the past, and sooner or later, perish.”
Finally, Bustos sees opportunity in the internet of things, which encompasses everything from smart houses that are connected to a fridge that sends a list to your phone or smartwatch with the groceries that are missing, to an AC system that tells you which temperature is ideal — and turns itself on or off according to the number of people in the room, to TV sets that customize their programming to their user’s mood, tastes and gestures.
“And, of course, high resolution smart webcams, calibrating contrast and color whether it’s day or night, connected simultaneously to the phone, TV, tablet and/or computer, and updating constantly where the model is,” Bustos explains, “[will reveal] when she’s moving, her levels of sweat, heat, excitement, and vaginal wetness — while broadcasting from every angle and with devices connected to 3D-printed sex toys that the client will be able to manipulate to make love to her anywhere.”
It is a vision of a brave new future — a sexy future, delivered via cam, 24/7.