Oct 15, 2020

Akamai and Bell: Securing and accelerating content

Akamai
Bell
Canada
Content
William Smith
2 min
Tony Lauro, Director, Security Technology and Strategy at Akamai, on its work to accelerate content, enable remote working and provide cybersecurity
Tony Lauro, Director, Security Technology and Strategy at Akamai, on its work to accelerate content, enable remote working and provide cybersecurity...

Tony Lauro is Director, Security Technology and Strategy at Akamai Technologies - the world’s first content delivery network upon its founding in 1998. “The co-founders of Akamai said that as the internet starts to grow, it will be almost impossible to have a single or even a cluster of servers handle the traffic from multi-millions of connections coming in. The solution was edge servers, and we've deployed over 250,000 of them geographically dispersed around the world closest to where the pockets of internet users are.”

“We see about 25 to 30% of the world's web traffic every day come across our platform,” says Lauro. “There's major insights there that we can take to let us say this is bad traffic based on X, Y and Z. Over the years, we've expanded into protecting businesses from downtime against cyberattacks as well as enterprise services to make sure that employees working from home can do so securely.”

The company’s relationship with Bell Canada extends back to 2016, with the partnership highlighting the key competencies of both businesses. “Some of the things we've been doing include accelerating content,” says Lauro. “We deliver live streaming services for Bell Raptors content. The Akamai platform is able to accelerate that content and make sure it's highly available for all the devices that want to stream it.” Like many companies, its customers want more content, on more devices, anywhere and at any time. “We're helping support that mission of Bell Canada and also supporting the needs of the internet at large.”

Akamai’s solutions for remote working involve expanding a Zero Trust methodology. “That’s a SASE model which effectively says, as you connect from the outside and you come to the inside to an application, you're not going from untrusted to trusted. Everything is considered untrusted. So instead of providing network connectivity to access an internal application, you're just providing an application experience.”

Lauro sees that change to remote work as being a continuing trend for the Akamai-Bell partnership to respond to. “Companies are asking: how do you securely monitor the user experience that users are having while they work remotely? How do you monitor security on those devices to make sure that any corporate data is not compromised? The remote work model, alongside the digital transformation of all the other services that organisations are already trying to, is going to continue to grow and be a key driver in the year ahead.”

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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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