Microsoft Azure lays platform for BetKing’s gaming success
Microsoft is not simply the supplier of BetKing’s tech infrastructure, but also provides guidance and support for important stages of its digital transformation, including migrating to the cloud, and utilising tools and services such as Synapse Analytics, Azure Databricks and Azure Data Factory.
The Microsoft account team’s relationship with BetKing and the team behind their platform began in Summer 2019, while before that time BetKing worked primarily with Microsoft partners, said Adrian Gatt, iGaming Business Development Manager.
Eva Angelopoulou, who is responsible for Azure and its Data and AI technologies, said: “Initially we migrated the whole infrastructure onto Azure, to ensure agility with minimum maintenance and administration, and they maintained their own on-premise data center as Disaster Recovery site. In the second phase, we moved that over as well.”
Microsoft provided BetKing with technical guidance, governance and best practices, and involved a team of Azure engineers to ensure a smooth transition. “We have invested a lot of effort in streamlining the support experience and discussed their concerns with regards to regulation and potential hybrid approach to cover data sovereignty needs, as iGaming is a highly regulated industry,” she added.
Gatt said its primary focus is to support the organisation as it goes through its M&A cycle, and enhance the platform’s monitoring. “We are making sure the customer’s Azure platform is more resilient in view of expansion into new markets, helping modernise applications and infrastructure, develop and infuse AI into their platform, and enhance Azure skills of BetKing’s technical team through our skilling initiatives,” he said.
“BetKing now has a cloud-only Azure set up but this is an ongoing journey, with more cloud services and continuous modernisation of applications and infrastructure.”
Microsoft ensures that all capabilities that can bring value are recommended and adopted – a case in point being the use of Azure Synapse, an integrated analytics service that can be implemented across data warehouses and big data systems.
Angelopoulou said BetKing has identified that data is the future and will be channelling investment into reporting, insights and machine learning.
“Big data analytics has been discussed throughout many workshops and it is our plan to support them with core investment in piloting new AI technologies to achieve personalised recommendations, fraud detection, VIP prediction, bonus recommendations, churn predictions and digital agents to help users through the platform, and any other AI tools which can help them gain market share and grow their business.”
Consultative services are also a part of Microsoft’s armoury, such as sharing best practice, ideas and trends in the gaming industry, and discussing ready Microsoft partners’ solutions that can be used to improve end users’ experience or grow the platform, thereby improving time-to-market and innovation journeys.
“Our mission is to ensure that we’re seen as a partner that enables BetKing to make an increased impact in their markets – we don’t want to be seen as just a vendor, and our customers to be dependent on us. We want them to be independent with us,” said Gatt.
Discord buys Sentropy to fight against hate and abuse online
Discord, a popular chat app, has acquired the software company Sentropy to bolster its efforts to combat online abuse and harassment. Sentropy, monitors online networks for abuse and harassment, then offers users a way to block problematic people and filter out messages they don’t want to see.
First launched in 2015 and currently boasting 150 million monthly active users, Discord plans to integrate Sentropy’s own products into its existing toolkit and the company will also bring the smaller company’s leadership group aboard. Discord currently uses a “multilevel” approach to moderation, and a Trust and Safety (T&S) team dedicated to protecting users and shaping content moderation policies comprised 15% of Discord’s workforce as of May 2020.
“T&S tech and processes should not be used as a competitive advantage,” Sentropy CEO John Redgrave said in a blog post on the announcement. “We all deserve digital and physical safety, and moderators deserve better tooling to help them do one of the hardest jobs online more effectively and with fewer harmful impacts.”
Cleanse platforms of online harassment and abuse
Redgrave elaborated on the company’s natural connection with Discord: “Discord represents the next generation of social companies — a generation where users are not the product to be sold, but the engine of connectivity, creativity, and growth. In this model, user privacy and user safety are essential product features, not an afterthought. The success of this model depends upon building next-generation Trust and Safety into every product. We don’t take this responsibility lightly and are humbled to work at the scale of Discord and with Discord’s resources to increase the depth of our impact.”
Sentropy launched out of stealth last summer with an AI system designed to detect, track and cleanse platforms of online harassment and abuse. The company emerged then with $13 million in funding from notable backers including Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian and his VC firm Initialized Capital, King River Capital, Horizons Ventures and Playground Global.
“We are excited to help Discord decide how we can most effectively share with the rest of the Internet the best practices, technology, and tools that we’ve developed to protect our own communities,” Redgrave said.