Feb 16, 2021

Nokia and the City of Hamilton: Smart City Innovations

Nokia
city of hamilton
Technology
William Smith
3 min
Nokia and the City of Hamilton: smart city innovations
Nokia Canada’s Shawn Sparling, VP Enterprise and Public Sector, Nokia Canada, discusses the company’s smart city work with the City of Hamilton...

“Our ambition as a company is to create an inclusive, digital world,” says Shawn Sparling, VP Enterprise and Public Sector at Nokia Canada. Achieving that requires network connectivity, something in which the company is a specialist. “We look at networks as foundational to bringing that inclusiveness to the world, whether we’re talking about smart cities or rural areas. That’s especially true in today’s world where our technology is helping communities secure access to healthcare and education.” Nokia provides the infrastructure that make this possible. “At Nokia, we offer the foundation through optical networks, high-speed networks, home IP routing, and of course, wireless 4G and 5G connectivity.”

In recent times, Sparling has seen the industry shift towards more efficient and greener solutions, alongside a move towards virtualization. “This creates complexity but also enables a quicker turnaround to new solutions. With technology changing so fast we’re focused on creating cities that are connected and smart, while simultaneously being safer and more efficient.”

It is precisely this impetus that has driven Nokia to partner with the City of Hamilton. “We're outcome-based, so the question really was: what do they need? What are the issues that they're facing as the city? Whether it's air quality, traffic, or responsiveness to health emergencies.” Aside from working directly with the city, Nokia also works with service providers. “We're one of the largest suppliers to network operators across Canada and our equipment is bringing connectivity to homes across the country,” says Sparling.

The benefits of a smart city are manifold. “It attracts industry for one, but it also enables new ways to provide education for our children and allows flexibility for workers,” says Sparling. “That ongoing work with the city is what we see as really beneficial. It's been exciting to work on this project. We're seeing a lot of opportunity and look forward to helping create the next generation of cities.”

Sparling anticipates that next generation to be driven by sensors which can be repurposed for different applications. “It was a very siloed world before. Now what we're doing is really looking at leveraging data into an integrated operations command and control centre. Leveraging those open assets while of course remaining secure.” Automation is another area growing in importance. “With that complexity, we need to start to automate so we can react more quickly. We can take information from four or five devices and have the system make a decision or notify an operator as to what might be happening.”

Another key trend is the move to operational simplification. “One of the things we've done is make it simple enough that with very easy training, you can take a piece of equipment, plug it in, turn it on, bring it up and operate that network within 10 minutes. Something that previously took weeks is now a 10-minute exercise to have a 4G or 5G wireless network fully up and running.” Going forward, the uptake in smart city solutions is only set to accelerate. “It's an exciting time to be in the industry, and we've enjoyed working with the City of Hamilton to bring innovative technology that will serve to make the community a safer and more efficient place.”

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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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