The Globe and Mail moves to AWS, combining SageMaker with Sophi analytics platform

James has more than a decade of experience as a tech journalist, writer and editor, and served as Editor in Chief of TechForge Media between 2017 and 2021. James was named as one of the top 20 UK technology influencers by Tyto, and has also been cited by Onalytica, Feedspot and Zsah as an influential cloud computing writer.

Publishing and media companies continue to utilise the cloud for their archival and architectural needs – and The Globe and Mail is the latest to move across.

The Canadian news brand has selected Amazon Web Services (AWS) as its preferred cloud provider, citing the Seattle giant’s artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) capabilities as key to its decision.

The Globe and Mail’s usage of AI and ML technologies is extensive. Amazon SageMaker, Comprehend, Rekognition and Textract are all being utilised, while Amazon Polly is being used to convert text articles to audio in English, French, and Mandarin.

One of the more interesting injections of machine learning for The Globe and Mail is through assessing the value of articles before they go live. The publisher’s proprietary analytics platform, Sophi, uses SageMaker among other AWS services to help the editorial team identify which stories should go behind a paywall, as well as which stories to promote and when.

“The Globe originally built Sophi for its own use, but has since begun offering Sophi as a service to other news organisations,” said Greg Doufas, chief technology and digital officer at The Globe and Mail. “With AWS, we are able to bring our tech experts and editorial leadership together to innovate and bring new ideas to the newsroom to provide great experiences for our readers.”

Many newly-announced AWS customers are keen to extol the virtues of AI and ML. Of the most recent, NASCAR became the latest sporting franchise – after Formula 1 and Major League Baseball – to sign up, back in June. The US motor racing governing body is looking to uncover its vast archive and release a periodic video series titled ‘This Moment in NASCAR History’, using Rekognition to automatically tag video frames with metadata for easier search capability.

The latter is an interesting use case across media. Boston TV station WGBH has been migrating its archive from tape and hard disk drives, which took up to 72 hours to access, to Cloudian’s object storage, leading to more seamless retrieval.

“What companies want to do is learn from the data – they want to be able to analyse and benefit from it, and it’s very hard to do if that data is sitting on a shelf,” Jon Toor, Cloudian CMO told CloudTech in 2018. “You need it to be sitting there with real-time access – preferably something that is cloud-integrated so you can also use tools in the cloud to help you learn about that data.”

AWS does not have a monopoly for North American publishers, however. The New York Times, when not working on a blockchain project to combat media misinformation, is a well-known Google Cloud customer. The publisher moved its gaming and crossword platform from Amazon in 2017, while in November it announced it was using Google’s AI to analyse its photo archive for story gathering. in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their experiences and use-cases? Attend the Cyber Security & Cloud Expo World Series with upcoming events in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam to learn more.

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