AWS, Sky News Bring ML Mainstream for Live Video For Upcoming Royal Wedding

On May 19, millions of viewers from across the U.K. and Europe will  witness the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. For Sky News, the historic event has become a singular opportunity to bring viewers a powerful, interactive experience and a world first in the way it uses machine learning to enhance the user experience of a live-streamed news event.

To achieve this functionality, Sky News has collaborated with Amazon Web Services and AWS partners GrayMeta and UI Centric to bring machine learning-enhanced, at scale live video to 23 million Sky viewers.

“Sky continuously searches for ways to innovate and bring better coverage to its customers. This new functionality allows Royal Wedding viewers greater insight into one of the biggest live events of the year, wherever they are. We’re excited by the software’s potential and ability to give audiences new ways of consuming content,” says David Gibbs, Sky’s Director of Digital Sports and News Products.

Sky News app users will see much more than a procession of guests as they arrive at the castle. The app’s “Royal Wedding: Who’s Who Live” functionality will automatically highlight celebrities as they appear on screen and immediately present details about their connection to the royal couple with on-screen captions and graphics. Users can navigate the celebrity data without leaving the app and keep the primary video content on-screen, enjoying a self-guided, hands-on experience for every celebrity sighting.

A video feed from an outside broadcast van located near St. George’s Chapel will capture faces of arriving guests and feed the signal to an AWS Elemental Live small form factor appliance located nearby for real-time ingest to an entirely 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 content delivery network (CDN). Sky News will also use the AWS Elemental MediaPackage service for live-to-VOD applications such as catch-up TV.

In parallel, Sky News is combining the GrayMeta data analysis platform with the Amazon Rekognition video and image analysis service for real-time identification of celebrities and tagging with related information.

Finally, Sky News is using the Amazon CloudFront content delivery network to unify the content for faster distribution to viewers. UI Centric has designed and developed the front-end application and video player to enhance the viewing experience and to leverage the Sky machine-learning workflow.

We’re excited to have helped Sky News successfully build and deploy the Royal Wedding: Who’s Who Live app,” says Alex Dunlap, GM, AWS Elemental. “The high visibility and unpredictable audience size for this type of event made AWS cloud services, including those for media, a great solution by giving Sky the ability to test quickly, only pay for what was used, and produce a reliable, high-quality experience in a matter of weeks. Sky News is making their content even more engaging to viewers by enriching content with AWS machine learning services.”

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