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If you’ve ever watched a royal wedding, you’ve no doubt asked yourself questions like “Who is wearing that hat?” or “Who’s that talking with Prince William?”
To help viewers answer those questions, Sky News in the U.K., Amazon Web Services, and AWS partners GrayMeta and UI Centric are rolling out a new feature to help onlookers identify guests as they enter St. George’s Chapel in Windsor for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s May 19 nuptials.
Accessible in the Sky News app or via SkyNews.com, the “Royal Wedding: Who’s Who Live” function will allow viewers to select a guest during the livestream, and the feature will identify and provide background on that person. (It will also be available on-demand after the live broadcast.)
Who’s Who Live is made possible by Amazon Rekognition, a cloud-based image-analysis software that uses machine learning/artificial intelligence technology.
“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,” said David Gibbs, Sky’s director of digital news and sports products.
Hollywood is also eyeing the tech for various uses. At the recent National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show, editor and USC professor Norman Hollyn (Heathers) suggested that advanced image recognition capabilities enabled by AI and machine learning could help editors organize their video clips and work more efficiently. And a ‘Who’s Who’ type of service could potentially be used to identify stars on the Oscars or Golden Globes red carpets.
Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, AWS Elemental’s chief marketing officer Keith Wymbs says machine learning makes these applications cost effective. AWS Rekognition is a pay-as-you-go service that charges users such as Sky one cent (yes, one penny) for every 1,000 pictures that it uploads (for storage up to one month). And then it charges an additional 10 cents per minute for image recognition. (This doesn’t include related services such as compression and delivery.) Wymbs suggests that automated image recognition is more cost-effective for a broadcaster than, for instance, asking employees to research each wedding guest.
Sky News coverage of the royal wedding starts at 9:30 GMT (2:30 a.m. PT) on May 19.
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