May 17, 2020

Apple joins streaming sector with Apple TV+ and Apple Arcade

Mobile
William Smith
2 min
Apple announces twin TV and video game streaming services: Apple TV+ and Apple Arcade
Apple has used its annual event to announce its entrance into the streaming business with Apple TV+ and Apple Arcade.

It’s fair to say that much of A...

Apple has used its annual event to announce its entrance into the streaming business with Apple TV+ and Apple Arcade.

It’s fair to say that much of Apple’s success has been built on the back of hardware. With the influence of outgoing Chief Design Officer Jony Ive, Apple’s products have been widely recognised as icons of design.

It was no surprise, then, that yesterday’s Apple Event saw the announcement of the latest iPhone 11, as well as a new Apple Watch. What was less expected, however, was the launch of twin streaming services in the form of Apple TV+ for video content and Apple Arcade for game streaming, suggesting a tweak to the company’s direction moving forwards.

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Apple TV+

The former sees Apple gearing up to take on the big beasts of the streaming world such as Netflix and Amazon. The service, which Apple says is the first “all-original” video streaming subscription is set to launch on 1 November, costing $4.99 a month – the discount price initially causing Netflix’s stock price to dip. To entice customers, Apple is promising a year’s free subscription to the service to anyone purchasing an iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, iPod touch or Mac. It remains to be seen whether Apple’s exclusive offerings are high profile enough to enable it to carve out a niche in the market, with the company banking on the likes of “See,” starring Jason Momoa and “The Morning Show” with Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon.

Apple Arcade

Not content with just entering the video streaming business, Apple is also joining the likes of Google and its Stadia streaming service, albeit targeting a more casual demographic. Priced the same as Apple TV+, Apple Arcade is to undergo a staggered launch over the month of September, eventually coming to iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac and Apple TV. As with Apple TV+, Apple touts the exclusivity of its games, somewhat euphemistically saying that “users will not find the games on any other mobile platform or subscription service”. 

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Jun 21, 2021

How AWS helps NASCAR delight its fans

AWS
NASCAR
3 min
Customer obsession and working backwards from the customer is a mantra of Amazon Web Services (AWS), epitomizing its partnership with NASCAR

AWS needs no introduction to readers of Technology Magazine but we rarely get an opportunity to look closely at how it serves the sports sector. All major sports draw in a huge supporter base that they want to nurture and support. Technology is the key to every major sports organization and enabling this is the driving force for AWS, says Matt Hurst, Head of Global Sports Marketing and Communications for AWS. “In sports, as in every industry, machine learning and artificial intelligence and high performance computing are helping to usher in the next wave of technical sports innovation.”

AWS approaches sports in three principal areas. “The first is unlocking data’s potential: leagues and teams hold vast amounts of data and AWS is enabling them to analyze that data at scale and make better, more informed decisions. The second is engaging and delighting fans: with AWS fans are getting deeper insights through visually compelling on-screen graphics and interactive Second Screen experiences. And the third is rapidly improving sports performance: leagues and teams are using AWS to innovate like never before.”

Among the many global brands that partner with AWS are Germany's Bundesliga, the NFL, F1, the NHL, the PGA Tour and of course NASCAR. NASCAR has worked with AWS on its digital transformation (migrating it's 18 petabyte video archive containing 70 years of historical footage to AWS), to optimize its cloud data center operations and to enable its global brand expansion. AWS Media Services powers the NASCAR Drive mobile app, delivering broadcast-quality content for more than 80 million fans worldwide. The platform, including AWS Elemental MediaLive and AWS Elemental MediaStore, helps NASCAR provide fans instant access to the driver’s view of the race track during races, augmented by audio and a continually updated leaderboard. “And NASCAR will use our flagship machine learning service Amazon SageMaker to train deep learning models to enhance metadata and video analytics.”

Using AWS artificial intelligence and machine learning, NASCAR aims to deliver even more fan experiences that they'd never have anticipated. “Just imagine a race between Dale Earnhardt Sr and Dale Jr at Talladega! There's a bright future, and we're looking forward to working with NASCAR, helping them tap into AWS technology to continue to digitally transform, innovate and create even more fan experiences.”

Just as AWS is helping NASCAR bridge that historical gap between the legacy architecture and new technology, more customers are using AWS for machine learning than any other provider. As an example, who would have thought five years ago that NFL would be using  ML to predict and prevent injury to its players? Since 2017, the league has utilized AWS as its official cloud and ML provider for the NFL Next Gen Stats (NGS) platform, which provides real-time location data, speed, and acceleration for every player during every play on every inch of the field. “One of the most potentially revolutionary components of the NFL-AWS partnership,” says Matt Hurst, “is the development of the 'Digital Athlete,' a computer simulation model that can be used to replicate infinite scenarios within the game environment—including variations by position and environmental factors, emphasizing the league's commitment to player safety.”

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