Mobile phones have become ubiquitous in the day-to-day functioning of people's lives. The exploding number of smartphone users and the ever-increasing Internet penetration has made digital sharing very convenient. Gone are the days when you needed to carry a HandyCam to shoot videos and broadcast them later. Nowadays, you can shoot HD videos from your smartphone and broadcast them simultaneously to your followers.

There are many apps available in the app store for both the Android and iOS versions which facilitate live streaming. Let's take a look at some of the best options.

1. Periscope

Available for both the Android and the iOS platforms, Periscope is one of the most widely used and preferred live streaming apps, largely due to its extremely simple to use interface. Here are some noteworthy features about the app:

·Simple interface with one-touch operation.

·The latest update allows streaming in both portrait and landscape orientations.

·Supports Twitter integration (quite understandably as it is owned by Twitter).

·Stream to the public or invite people to view your broadcasts.

·Upload videos to YouTube after you are done streaming.

·Your videos are available for viewing up to 24 hours after you finish broadcasting.

See the most recent streams, use Highlights to view a trailers, and when you click on any archived stream, you can see the video and the text messages as they appeared in real time.

The best thing about Periscope—which made it highly popular relative to earlier streaming apps—is its compatibility with services like YouTube, unlike its predecessors, which tried to replicate a platform similar to YouTube and failed.

Periscope's tight integration with Twitter helps you to follow your Twitter contacts on the app, sort the feeds by geographic location and see which of your friends is broadcasting at a particular time. Alternatively, you can use your address book to selectively follow people.

2. Meerkat

Meerkat has the same basic functionalities as Periscope, but there are some differences that set them apart. Meerkat is more suitable if you want to broadcast public events to a large audience. Moreover, the UI is full of notifications and messages and this is what Meerkat counts on—enhanced interaction among your followers and even the broadcaster, if he/she is watching the chat.

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Meerkat also allows you to connect to followers using Twitter as well as Facebook. Signing up and starting a broadcast is quite simple: you don't even need to connect via Twitter.

When you start a broadcast, your followers will get notified through a push notification. Messages from followers appear at the bottom of the screen. You can scroll up to see past messages, and can even tweet the broadcast to your followers or enable an option to automatically tweet the replies in the chat section.

Meerkat does not directly enable a user to view a video after the broadcast ends, but Katch Kats for Meerkat does. If you use the hashtag #katch in your broadcast title or comment, it can be uploaded automatically to YouTube.

Meerkat is also available to download for free on both the iOS and the Android platforms.

3. Hang w/

Hang w/, in addition to a live streaming app, is a very versatile social media platform with a plethora of features and customizations. Let's take a look at some features that set it apart:

·Browse, discover and follow broadcasters

·Share your broadcasts directly to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and your own webpage.

·Search for your favorite channels such as hip-hop, cooking, etc.

·Viewers can tip broadcasters (from 10 cents to 10 dollars!) either publicly or privately.

·Monetize your broadcast by issuing digital tickets for your show- be it cooking, a lecture or a meditation show.

·Many customization features for broadcast chat controls, video streaming, video broadcasting, and privacy.

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Possibly the best feature of Hang w/ is that it allows you to point people to your own webpage with a simple widget. This helps you to increase traffic to your webpage. Moreover, the digital tips and tickets make it a very attractive option for YouTubers and video bloggers.

There are many other popular live streaming apps such as LiveStream, UStream, YouNow, StringWire, etc. All of these have their own set of features that make them the right choice for their users. Be sure to check those out too and see what's best for you.

Roy Castleman founded Prosyn Ltd (PROfessional SYNergy) after gaining seven years of experience supporting critical IT networks and systems. Nurturing the growth of small and medium sized business has been a major area of focus for Prosyn and over the years, Roy has guided the company through the growth of the latest technology solutions.