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HANOVER, GERMANY - MARCH 14: Visitors arrive at the cloud pavillion of Amazon Web Services at the 2016 CeBIT digital technology trade fair on the fair's opening day on March 14, 2016 in Hanover, Germany. The 2016 CeBIT will run from March 14-18. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

New AWS Cloud Services Take Aim at Video, AR and VR

New AWS cloud services to help content creators expand and improve their offerings by streamlining workflows.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) opened its AWS re:Invent conference by unveiling a suite of five new broadcast-quality, cloud-based media services which aim to help professional video content providers better meet demand spikes and improve their products for consumers.

The latest AWS cloud services were announced on Nov. 27 as the re:Invent conference opens in Las Vegas for five days of AWS educational training sessions, hackathons, boot camps, hands-on labs, break-out groups and keynotes on a wide range of AWS topics.

The AWS Elemental Media Services offerings include five integrated cloud services which allow users to create complete workflows for live or on-demand video using professional features, high image quality and the high reliability needed to deliver premium video experiences to viewers across a wide range of devices, according to Amazon. Using the AWS Management Console, customers can build customized video applications using a few clicks and then pay for only the technology resources they use, rather than having to buy and maintain their own costly infrastructures for video delivery. The services are flexible and scalable to meet the needs of end users, even when demand can spike, the company said.

"For the better part of six decades, professional-grade video workflows were limited to a few major industry players who could afford to build and maintain customized infrastructure that would be updated only once or twice each decade," Alex Dunlap, general manager at AWS Elemental, said in a statement. "These companies spent a great deal of time, money, and focus operating infrastructure with resources that could have been better spent creating great content and viewer experiences."

To help solve these problems, the new AWS cloud services "let customers focus on delivering top-quality video reliably to any device, everywhere, without the undifferentiated heavy lifting of managing infrastructure," said Dunlap. "This not only helps traditional video providers innovate faster, but it also opens up new opportunities for startups, government agencies, schools, and multinational enterprises that, before today, had limited access to premium-quality video technology."

The new services include AWS Elemental MediaConvert, which provides the ability to format and compress video-on-demand content for delivery to devices; AWS Elemental MediaLive, which allows encoding of broadcast-grade live video for televisions or connected devices; and AWS Elemental MediaPackage, which allows users to prepare and protect live video streams for delivery to internet devices. Also included are AWS Elemental MediaStore, which allows users to deliver video from high-performance storage; and AWS Elemental MediaTailor, which allows users to insert targeted advertising into their video without sacrificing quality to increase viewer engagement and boost revenues. AWS Elemental Media Services are built to integrate with other existing AWS services.

Early users of the new AWS media services include Pac-12 Networks, Amazon Prime Video, Fox Sports Australia, fuboTV, Nine, Spuul, M2A Media, Cinépolis, and IMAGICA.

Also announced at the conference was Amazon Sumerian, a selection of tools and resources that allow users to quickly and easily create and run augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and 3D applications. Sumerian allows users to build multi-platform experiences that run on hardware like the OculusHTC Vive, and iOS devices using WebVR compatible browsers. Also included is support for the soon-to-come ARCore services on Android devices.

Included in Amazon Sumerian are a web-based editor for constructing 3D scenes, importing assets, scripting interactions and special effects; an object library of pre-built objects and templates; an asset import feature to upload 3D assets for use in scenes; support for importing FBX, OBJ, and Unity projects; a JavaScript scripting library; hosts for animated, lifelike 3D characters that can be customized for gender, voice, and language; and integration with a wide range of AWS services.

The sold-out AWS re:Invent conference, which runs through Dec. 1, includes a full schedule of events, such as daily AWS certification exams, more than 1,000 breakout training sessions and Robocar Rally, Security Jam, Alexa Smart Cities and Game Day hackathon events.

Several guest speakers will also be highlighted, including a "Tuesday Night Live" presentation from Peter DeSantis, the vice president of AWS Global Infrastructure, from 11 p.m. ET to 1:30 a.m. ET on Nov. 28, and keynotes from Andy Jassy, the CEO of Amazon Web Services, at 8 a.m. Nov. 29, and from Werner Vogels, the CTO of Amazon.com, at 8:30 a.m. on Nov. 30. The keynotes will be live-streamed from the event.

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