Amazon Considers Opening 3,000 Cashierless Stores by 2021

According to sources, Amazon is contemplating aggressive growth for its new Amazon Go cashierless stores. With plans to open as many as 3,000 new stores, Amazon would rival 7-Eleven, Subway, Panera Bread and mom-and-pop shops where people go to get a quick meal. Chief executive officer Jeff Bezos sees the move as a way to reduce time to buy a meal in busy cities and “reinvent” the brick-and-mortar store experience but hasn’t settled on the best format: a store for prepared foods and limited groceries or one that offers speedy meals. Continue reading Amazon Considers Opening 3,000 Cashierless Stores by 2021

Hybrid Cloud Becoming an Effective Tool for Media Analytics

The public cloud is significantly impacting media by moving information technology into a world of utility where compute and storage are available as needed — easy to implement and decommission. It provides a flexible infrastructure for a media-centric world increasingly based on analytics where experimentation is the foundation of digital transformation. The media industry is changing — from the way content is produced and managed to the methods used to protect, optimize, distribute and analyze that content. These changes to the value chain have created enormous pressures (and opportunities) for creative professionals. Continue reading Hybrid Cloud Becoming an Effective Tool for Media Analytics

Nintendo Switch Online Debuts as a Multiplayer Game Service

When Nintendo Switch Online debuts today, gamers will have a multiplayer option similar to Xbox Live and PSN. The new service allows users to save online games in the cloud and offers a library of NES games. Subscription prices range from $4 per month, $8 for three months, to $20 for a year and $35 for a family plan with at least two accounts. Gamers can also sign up for a seven-day free trial. Some games, such as “Fortnite,” will not require a subscription to play online. The service will debut with 20 games. Continue reading Nintendo Switch Online Debuts as a Multiplayer Game Service

The Reel Thing: Machine Learning Powers Restoration Engine

During last week’s The Reel Thing at the Academy’s Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood, Video Gorillas managing director/chief executive Jason Brahms, formerly a Sony Cloud Media Services executive, and chief technology officer Alex Zhukov described the Bigfoot “Frame Compare” solution that leverages machine learning to speed up preservation, asset management, and mastering workflows. The engine, whose development dates back to 2007, relies on a proprietary, patented technology, frequency domain descriptor (FDD). Continue reading The Reel Thing: Machine Learning Powers Restoration Engine

vETC 2018: The Current Immersive Media Landscape: Trends and Opportunities

Tipatat Chennavasin, co-founder of the Venture Reality Fund, the largest VC fund focused on VR and AR, discussed the Current Immersive Media Landscape: Trends and Opportunities. As an investor, Chennavasin cares about sales — what consumers are actually buying. VR is looking for the killer app that will drive adoption. Forty-four VR titles have generated over $1 million in revenue, so the market is looking pretty good to him. “Beat Saber” is the first game to unlock the potential of VR, with over 500 million views on social media in addition to the game’s VR users. Continue reading vETC 2018: The Current Immersive Media Landscape: Trends and Opportunities

ETC@USC Posts vETC 2018 Videos on its YouTube Channel

The Entertainment Technology Center @ USC hosted its fourth annual virtual conference, “vETC 2018 | The Grand Convergence” June 27-28 at the Technicolor Experience Center in Los Angeles. This year’s program highlighted talks in the artificial intelligence, immersive experience and adaptive production sectors. Thought leaders from the entertainment and service industries presented an insider’s look into the emerging technologies disrupting everything from the creative process to business models and consumer behavior. Videos from the conference are going live for viewing on the ETCenterVideos YouTube channel and include presentations from Microsoft Azure, Technicolor, Equinix, Deluxe, Amazon Web Services, USC School of Cinematic Arts and Viterbi School of Engineering. Watch your daily eblast over the next few weeks for updates highlighting the vETC 2018 videos. Continue reading ETC@USC Posts vETC 2018 Videos on its YouTube Channel

Amazon Makes the Case That Rekognition Is a Force for Good

In June, in a letter to Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos, almost 19 groups of Amazon shareholders expressed concern about the company’s cloud-based facial recognition system Rekognition being provided to law enforcement in Orlando, Florida and the Washington County (Oregon) Sheriff’s Office. They joined forces with Amazon employees, the ACLU, academics and more than 70 other groups to protest the decision. After the ACLU showed how Rekognition can err in IDing people, three Democratic lawmakers joined the chorus. Continue reading Amazon Makes the Case That Rekognition Is a Force for Good

Walmart Expands Offerings in Growing Rivalry With Amazon

To better compete with Amazon, Walmart is reinventing itself from a big box retailer into a tech powerhouse, starting with the 2016 purchase of Jet.com. Other recent deals in this vein include a partnership with Alphabet’s Waymo to provide rides to and from its stores; Uber, Lyft and Postmates deals for grocery delivery; and another with Japan’s Rakuten for Kobo e-readers. Last month, Walmart switched its cloud operations to Microsoft Azure and Office 365 and inked a five-year deal to work with Microsoft on AI projects. Continue reading Walmart Expands Offerings in Growing Rivalry With Amazon

Vizio Adds WatchFree Service to SmartCast TVs via Pluto TV

On Wednesday, Vizio debuted WatchFree to its TV sets with its SmartCast operating system, adding more access to free, ad-supported TV programming. Pluto TV, an ad-supported streaming service, powers the service, which will offer 100 channels including NBC News/MSNBC, Fox Sports, MST3K and The Surf Channel, as well as movie channels. In the near future, “Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares” and “Unsolved Mysteries” will appear as pop-up channels. Vizio’s SmartCast operating system was first launched in 2016. Continue reading Vizio Adds WatchFree Service to SmartCast TVs via Pluto TV

ETC@USC Posts vETC 2018 Videos on its YouTube Channel

The Entertainment Technology Center @ USC hosted its fourth annual virtual conference, “vETC 2018 | The Grand Convergence” June 27-28 at the Technicolor Experience Center in Los Angeles. This year’s program highlighted talks in the artificial intelligence, immersive experience and adaptive production sectors. Thought leaders from the entertainment and service industries presented an insider’s look into the emerging technologies disrupting everything from the creative process to business models and consumer behavior. Videos from the conference are going live for viewing on the ETCenterVideos YouTube channel and include presentations from Microsoft Azure, Technicolor, Equinix, Deluxe, Amazon Web Services, USC School of Cinematic Arts and Viterbi School of Engineering. Continue reading ETC@USC Posts vETC 2018 Videos on its YouTube Channel

Cloud Services and Advertising Push Amazon to Major Profits

Amazon posted $2.53 billion in profit for the first time, with the highest profit margin ever, the result of the company’s more recent service businesses, including cloud computing, advertising and other services for sellers. The Q2 profit compares to $197 million a year earlier, and represents three straight quarters of profits over $1 billion, forever changing Amazon’s former profile as a company that posts either red ink or bare bones income. Alphabet and Microsoft, however, still deliver much bigger profits. Continue reading Cloud Services and Advertising Push Amazon to Major Profits

Google to Open Up Its AutoML Vision AI Tool for Public Beta

At its Cloud Next conference, Google revealed that its AutoML Vision, which allows non-experts to train their own self-learning models for image and object recognition, will soon be available in public beta. It also debuted AutoML Natural Language and AutoML Translation. To democratize such techy AI tools, Google relied on a simple graphical interface and such widely adopted interfaces as drag-and-drop. The company is also pitching its cloud services to corporations, having recently nabbed Target as a client. Continue reading Google to Open Up Its AutoML Vision AI Tool for Public Beta

Technology Titans Join Forces on New Data Transfer Project

Tech giants Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter have announced the Data Transfer Project (DTP) to help people move data more easily between online services. DTP was formed last year with plans “to create an open-source, service-to-service data-portability platform” that any online service could join. While numerous services allow individuals to download data, only few allow uploading data to multiple accounts. If successful in creating universal data portability, the project could dramatically impact the tech industry and its current business models. Continue reading Technology Titans Join Forces on New Data Transfer Project

Microsoft Azure Grows to the No. 2 Spot in Cloud Computing

Amazon has thus far dominated the cloud computing business, but Microsoft is now a strong No. 2. The latter, in a quarterly financial report, indicated that its Azure cloud computing unit grew 89 percent over the same period a year ago and demonstrated growth in other cloud offerings. Synergy Research Group reports that the overall “core cloud business” is valued at $60 billion a year, having grown by 50 percent in Q1 2018. Amazon is responsible for a 33 percent share, which had held steady since the end of 2015. Continue reading Microsoft Azure Grows to the No. 2 Spot in Cloud Computing

Amazon Web Services Testing Two ‘Provable’ Security Tools

To help its Amazon Web Services customers keep their data secure, the AWS Automated Reasoning Group is beta-testing two new tools, Zelkova and Tiros, which analyze security configurations, provide automated feedback on various set-ups and help administrators avoid mistakes that could endanger their data. Tiros focuses on checking for “unexpected access from the open Internet,” and Zelkova aids developers in understanding how permissive their setups are compared to existing infrastructure. Continue reading Amazon Web Services Testing Two ‘Provable’ Security Tools

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