How AWS helps NASCAR delight its fans
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.”
ShareChat parent raises US$145m at $2.88bn valuation
Mohalla Tech, the parent company behind social media apps Moj and ShareChat, has raised an additional US$145 million at a market valuation of $2.88 billion.
The latest Series F funding, led by Singapore state investor Temasek, Moore Strategic Ventures (MSV), and Mirae-Naver Asia Growth Fund, is an additional investment beyond the $502 million raised in April this year.
"We are immensely proud of what we have been able to achieve with Moj and ShareChat in the last 12 months. We have been very fortunate to attract a bunch of very high-quality names in our series F and the list just got longer with Temasek, MSV and Mirae-Naver joining hands with us," said Ankush Sachdeva, CEO & Co-founder, Moj and ShareChat.
According to the company, investments raised this year, including the latest, will be used to double down on its plans of building an AI feed, incentivising its creator base and amplifying platform health and safety. In the past few months, the company has hired global senior executives with specialisation in AI and ML and continues to look for more such senior hires.
The continuing growth of social media
Founded in October 2015, the social media company has raised close to $911 million over seven funding rounds so far. This has helped both Moj and ShareChat to continue their growth journey, differentiate and deliver a unique social media experience. Moj has become India’s number one short video app with the highest monthly active users, with an average user time spent of 34 minutes every day, scoring over 4.5 billion views daily.
ShareChat, the Indic language social media platform, is positioned uniquely with an average user time spent of 31 minutes daily. Moj and ShareChat together, with a 340 million-strong user community, envision building a cohesive AI-powered content ecosystem to address India’s growing digital needs.
James McIntyre, Senior Managing Director and COO at MSV said, “We are excited to partner with Moj as they build India’s premier short form video platform, and have been impressed by this management team’s speed and agility in capturing the opportunity. This round will help to accelerate that growth and allow Moj and ShareChat to continue to develop the best ecosystem for content creators and consumers alike.”