Intel Sports Division
Intel may be best known for great processors, but their vision is much broader: innovating at the boundaries of technology to bring the future into being.
Intel established their Sports Group in 2016 to revolutionize the sports-viewing experience. And with a few key acquisitions—including 3D video and a video-tagging AI—Intel saw an opportunity to build out their vision by partnering with Metal Toad.
“The Metal Toad team shows professionalism, enthusiasm, and accuracy to detail that allowed the planning, architecture, development, and personalization of our product to be stellar. I cannot be happier with our working relationship, and I couldn’t recommend a better company to work with.”
A high-performing proof of concept (POC) project was key to meeting Intel’s strategic goal: to solidify Intel’s leadership in the immersive media landscape by dynamically delivering panoramic, stereoscopic True VR video. Intel was anxious to prove the potential of the technology quickly, so after the discovery process, we set an aggressive timeline—completing the build in just 16 weeks.
Because Intel was already building a relationship with the Liverpool Football Club (LFC), our MVP focused on an app to make soccer games even more exciting with personalization and amazing 3D video.
The Metal Toad discovery process—involving in-depth interviews with LFC fans—guided the design of a deeply engaging app. As users watch the live game, they pin their favorite plays in the app. The app curates a custom content feed, using AI to discover relevant videos based on user behavior. Post-game, fans can watch their personal highlight reel in True VR video—plus discover other plays and share their favorite clips.
The level of personalization in the app is unique in the sports-viewing world, as is the immersive nature of the True VR video. Now fans can see the exact plays they like in the thrilling 180-degree video: watching from any angle with the “magic window” on their phones, rotating the camera with their fingers, or even strapping on a VR headset for the ultimate POV.
The app requires tremendous scalability to handle usage surges during live matches and the release of post-game clips. So we rooted our tech in a serverless methodology, AWS Lambda. This cloud-native solution automatically scales in response to traffic demands: the code lives in cloud containers and adjusts to provide as many or as few containers as needed at any given moment. And because the billing increment is 100 milliseconds, it’s tremendously cost-effective.
Other key technologies for the app include:
- DynamoDB, a NoSQL database, scales capacity automatically to easily handle transactional and metadata for any number of users
- Large mezzanine video files run through an electric transcoder that converts them to an HTTP live streaming (HLS) format, which streams flawlessly
- Video distribution through Cloudfront gives users super-fast video downloads anywhere in the world
Perhaps the most innovative aspect of the system lies in the design of how all the technologies work together. The app’s build was cloud-native from the ground up, clustering together a host of powerful functions into a pioneering serverless solution. Using Bamboo for a continuous delivery pipeline increased engineering velocity to deliver an outstanding MVP in an incredibly short timeframe.
As Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said during his 2017 keynote at CES, “Viewers will get to decide what seat they have. That’s the future of sports viewing.” Metal Toad helped Intel take a huge step toward that future with a personalized, interactive video app for soccer fans. Bringing this experience to more stadiums around the world is the next step in Intel’s vision of transforming the future of sports entertainment.
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