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AWS Elemental highlights benefits of royal wedding recognition tech

The image recognition technology that Sky News will use to enhance its coverage of the forthcoming UK royal wedding between Price Harry and Meghan Markle could have a wide range of applications including in sports, according to AWS Elemental chief marketing officer Keith Wymbs.

Sky News and AWS Elemental announced yesterday that they would use cloud-based machine learning technology to identify and name guests as they enter St. George’s Chapel, Windsor, and enrich the video content with facts about the attendees.

Wymbs said the technology could have a wide range of applications to enhance digital coverage of events, including sports.

“While we can’t speak for Sky News or their plans, it’s easy to see how technology like this can be used to enrich almost any type of live video content. Sports, news, and entertainment content can all be enhanced by machine learning-enabled video workflows,” said Wymbs.

“As one example, imagine a cycling race. It takes a long time to watch, and not every viewer is going to be satisfied with a five-hour long, linear presentation of the race. What if users could also access certain aspects of the event that are most interesting to them? That may be big climbs, or crashes, but it could also be things like the moment their favourite racer caught a breakaway, or fell off the back of the peloton.”

Wymbs said that social sharing of this enhanced content could add “yet another layer of user interaction”.

For the royal wedding coverage, a video feed from an outside broadcast will capture faces of arriving guests and feed the signal to an AWS Elemental Live appliance located nearby for real-time ingest to a cloud-based workflow. Video processing is handled with the AWS Elemental MediaLive service. AWS Elemental MediaPackage integrates digital rights management for secured distribution over the Amazon CloudFront CDN. Sky News will also use the AWS Elemental MediaPackage service for live-to-VOD applications such as catch-up TV. Amazon Rekognition and the GrayMeta platform perform real-time celebrity identification and produce metadata for delivery to the player.

This is a second experience, similar to a high-profile entertainment event red carpet arrival, that adds a dynamic, first-of-its-kind user interaction,” said Wymbs.

He said that a custom-developed user interface by UI Centric will enable viewers to interact in real time with tagged information about celebrities arriving for the wedding.

In addition, users can make use of restart and replay functionalities such as the ability to jump backward through the stream to watch earlier arrivals of certain guests they might have missed.