APPLICATIONS

WebPurify Launches New Virtual Reality (VR)/Augmented Reality (AR) Live Team Moderation Studio

WebPurify | April 04, 2022

WebPurify, already leaders in the content moderation industry for over 15 years, has launched their new VR Moderation Studio. The new arm will focus exclusively on moderation for VR/AR and the ever-expanding Metaverse.

The new team is growing rapidly, blending new hires with internally-recruited specialists who already have years of experience ensuring good behavior in VR settings. Now, however, instead of simply being a subset of WebPurify’s conventional image and video moderation services, WebPurify’s new VR Moderation Studio is giving the specialized attention, tech and headcount the VR/AR use case deserves.

“The Metaverse is here to stay, To our knowledge, we’re the first company in our space to offer live moderation services specific to VR/AR moderation, and to allocate employees whose role is solely that of moderation in virtual worlds. We’ve decided this service should not be ‘lumped in’ with conventional moderation. They’re two completely different animals, and require different specialization.”

-co-founder and CTO Jon Freger affirms.

WebPurify is known for its robust AI models that protect user experience by screening out inappropriate content within text, images and video. The company also offers seamless integration with its human moderation services for a “double check” approach to ensure safe content. The new VR Moderation Studio builds on WebPurify’s existing foundation while adding:
  • Dedicated VR headset, controller and haptic suit rooms (designated physical space within WebPurify’s offices), for moderation-through-play.
  • New protocols for QC processes, and client-vendor feedback loops, specific to VR/AR.
  • New moderation techniques, specific to VR, including de-escalation of bad behavior and working with the appropriate authorities should certain behavior qualify as illegal.
  • Revised mental health guidelines for moderators that address VR-specific stressors.

With new experiences comes new responsibility, Freger continues. VR introduces a behavior variable to moderation that is far more nuanced and contextual than, say, harassment by text chat. This includes gesturing, the concept of personal space or the use of virtual economies to mask very real, inappropriate criminality. Our VR teams are specially trained to deal with these situations as AI evolves to help meet these complexities.

WebPurify’s VR team is already actively working with metaverse game publishers globally, and looks forward to growing its client list in the near term.

About WebPurify:
WebPurify is a privately held company specializing in profanity, image and video moderation services (we offer both AI and human moderation approaches, or a hybrid of both). Our robust solutions for brand protection and regulation of user-generated content run the gamut: from enterprise to low-cost, self-serve packages. Developers, brand, and product managers at every level—from individual bloggers to Fortune 500 companies—trust WebPurify for all of their UGC moderation needs. For more information, visit WebPurify.com.

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In this white paper, we’ll explain how Network Adaptive Encoding works to help your live video streams adapt to your network conditions, making sure your stream quality is maximized regardless of what the network is doing.Haivision’s award-winning Makito X HEVC and H.264 encoders are now available with Network Adaptive Encoding, helping ensure that your video stream never fails even when encountering significant network bandwidth fluctuations.


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BUSINESS

Connect Partnership Group Acquires Chicago-Based HARLON to Expand Sports, Music and Immersive Entertainment Offerings Nationwide

HARLON | June 24, 2022

Connect Partnership Group, a Dallas-based sports and entertainment agency, announced the strategic acquisition of HARLON, a full-service sponsorship sales agency that specializes in representing rights holders across sports, music, and entertainment. The acquisition will expand Connect’s growing portfolio of property sales clients, including the addition of immersive entertainment experiences to the company’s suite of offerings.The announcement comes on the heels of the XFL selecting Connect as its sponsorship sales agency to enhance and execute the League's corporate partnership strategy. As part of the acquisition, HARLON founder and industry veteran Scott Howard will join Connect as Executive Vice President of Property Sales out of the company’s Chicago office, bringing along HARLON’s exciting portfolio of immersive entertainment and music clients. For years I’ve admired the impressive work the Connect Partnership Group team has done, and I could not be more excited to step in and be a part of the company during an incredible period of growth,” Howard said. “I look forward to working alongside the Connect team and growing our business to provide the very best services for our clients. HARLON has been one of the Midwest’s most-respected emerging sales and marketing agencies, trusted by properties such as the Mempho Music Festival and Lighthouse Immersive, the powerhouse that created the Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit. To date, the attraction has sold more than 5 million tickets across 20 markets in North America in less than two years and is one of Ticketmaster’s best-selling exhibitions in history. Connect Adds Sales Veterans In addition to the acquisition, Connect announced the addition of three new members to the sales and consulting teams, all with extensive partnership sales and consulting experience with some of the country’s leading sports and real estate properties. Kristin Harwood joins Connect as Senior Director of Sales in Connect's Property Sales Division. Harwood spent more than five years managing partnership sales with the Seattle Mariners organization before assuming corporate partnership roles with the Dallas Stars, the XFL’s Dallas Renegades and Premier Partnerships. Joining Harwood as Senior Director of Sales in Connect’s Property Sales Division is Matt Castellan, who will be headquartered in New York and will focus on Connect’s representation of Hudson Yards’ sponsorship rights. Castellan most recently oversaw sponsorship sales for the Bryant Park Corporation and 34th Street Partnership in New York City, and has extensive marketing and sales experience from past roles with Stanton & Company, Citi Bike, the 2016 Chicago Olympic City Bid and the 2012 NYC Olympic City Bid. Price Johnson, who spent the last six years leading Topgolf’s Global Partnerships sales team, is joining Connect’s Consulting Division as a Special Projects Consultant to assist with its rapid national growth. Mr. Johnson brings over 25 years of combined sales, marketing and operational experience to Connect, including nearly 10 years in the software and communications industries, which aligns well with the Consulting Division’s growing roster of industry-leading technology companies. “The past year has been one of incredible momentum for Connect, our team and our clients, and by adding HARLON and a powerhouse of experienced sales members to our team will only accelerate our ongoing scaling efforts, help secure more key wins for clients, and further position Connect as a leader in the sports and entertainment industry,Connect is now bigger and more established than we ever have been, and we’re just getting started.” -Connect co-founder Danielle Shuff. Last Fall, Connect rebranded to reflect its rapid growth in areas beyond its formidable Partnership Sales and Strategy division, most notably its Consulting division, which has secured a unique niche in the industry by providing an outsourced business development team to companies that desire to sell their product or solution to large public venues. To support the continued growth - with Connect expecting year-over-year revenue to double as it readies more client announcements and client transactions in the second half of the year - the company is actively hiring sales professionals and account managers, with immediate openings in Los Angeles. Since it was founded in 2015, Connect has been trusted by some of the most prestigious companies in the world, including the Dallas Stars, LA Chargers, Chicago Cubs, XFL, Related Companies, Circuit of The Americas, VIRGIN FEST, IBM, Nokia, American Tower, and CommScope, amongst others. For more information about Connect Partnership Group or to contact directly, visit ConnectWins.com. About Connect Partnership Group Connect Partnership Group is a strategic sales and consultancy agency that specializes in representing and selling sponsorships, naming rights and other media assets in sports and entertainment, while also providing an outsourced business development team to companies that sell products and services to the industry. Based in Dallas, Tex., Connect capitalizes on a combined 120 years of sports business experience selling and activating sponsorships, operating events, consulting on behalf of Fortune 500 companies, and creating strategic and mutually beneficial partnership opportunities for properties and brands around the world.

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APPLICATIONS

Sony Electronics Introduces Additional Model to LinkBuds Series, a New Frontier for Headphones - LinkBuds S

Sony Electronics Inc. | May 19, 2022

Sony Electronics Inc. announced their newest addition to the LinkBuds series: LinkBuds S. The latest model empowers a new sound experience through Sony's sensing technology and partner collaboration, while retaining a "Never Off" wearing experience perfect for staying connected to online and offline worlds due to their ultra-small and lightweight design with natural ambient sound.By leveraging sensor and spatial sound technology, they deliver new and immersive sound for AR games such as Niantic's game Ingress,1 for consumers looking for new options for entertainment beyond music and calls. The model also makes music listening easier than ever with a new and unique "Auto Play2" feature. By detecting the listener's environment, such as wearing LinkBuds S, the feature enables their music to play automatically, delivered accordingly to their activity. LinkBuds S are perfect for streaming content all day long. Consumers can enjoy music, video, or social media content just as the creator intended with Sony's highly acclaimed noise canceling technology and high-resolution capability. The world's smallest and lightest, noise canceling, Hi-Res Truly wireless headphones3 Sony Electronics has engineered these remarkably small and lightweight truly wireless headphones with comfort in mind. LinkBuds S combine a shape that matches the human ear with an ergonomic design for a more stable fit to avoid discomfort in the ear that gets in the way of entertainment. Adaptive Sound Control and Auto Play2 for seamless music listening LinkBuds S provide music listeners with the best of both worlds. These headphones combine the LinkBuds' innovative ambient sound concept that lets the listener interact with the world around them, with high-quality noise canceling technology allowing them to focus on the content they love and nothing else. Consumers can step into a coffee shop and quickly order with ease, then just as quickly sit back and enjoy their favorite entertainment distraction-free. Adaptive Sound Control is a smart function that senses the user's activity, then adjusts ambient sound settings for the ideal experience. With Auto Play, LinkBuds S can automatically play music as soon as the headphones are put on or end a call, auto-triggering music to play based on behavior, such as going on a mood-boosting walk. Auto Play automatically delivers music and audio notifications right when a listener needs them. Headphone sensors work with a unique algorithm that analyzes activity. For instance, when the listener was wearing headphones earlier, or is on the move after finishing a call, the headphones will resume music from Spotify2 or soundscapes from Endel2 based on pre-sets configured by the user Additionally, audio notifications can be read aloud without pausing music. A new sound experience for AR gaming Sony is collaborating with its partner company Niantic in the area of audio AR by developing an AR game that can be enjoyed both visually and audibly. When playing the game "Ingress" using LinkBuds S, the sensor and spatial sound technology enable players to enjoy a new experience with sound delivered according to the direction they are facing. Crystal clear calls Making a call on a noisy street or on a windy day has never been easier with LinkBuds S, thanks to Sony´s Precise Voice Pickup Technology that optimally controls the microphones on both earbuds and with the use of a mesh structure around the microphones. Consumers can enjoy crystal clear conversations, letting them catch up with colleagues and friends no matter where they are. Immersive sound, authentic music LinkBuds S create immersive sound and authentic reproduction, so users can enjoy their music, video or social media content just as the creator intended. With the help of a new 5mm driver unit, these small earbuds pack a punch, producing powerful bass and stunningly clear vocals despite their size, bringing out the best in whatever genre or entertainment you choose. Sony's Integrated Processor V1 improves noise canceling, enhances sound quality, and reduces distortion with less power for distraction-free listening perfect for busy commutes. These new headphones also allow the listener to experience High-Resolution Audio Wireless4, thanks to Sony's industry-adopted audio coding technology, LDAC. All music will be restored back to high range sound with the use of DSEE Extreme™5 that upscales digital music files in real time, allowing the listener to appreciate all the fine-details the artist recorded into their most-loved tracks. Effortless hands-free control Life should be full of interactions, so with the help of Speak-to-Chat6, based on precise Voice Pickup technology, music will automatically pause when the user needs to speak to someone, making it easier than ever to have a conversation when their hands are full. These new headphones are also Google Assistant and Alexa compatible, helping with everyday tasks for hands-free help on the go.7 Users can connect with friends and family, get information, listen to music, set reminders and more, just say "Ok Google" or "Alexa" to activate their preferred voice assistant. Full control with just a few taps Thanks to the intuitive touch sensor control panel, consumers can change their sound settings, activate Quick Attention, and even resume Spotify7 music playback or Endel8 with just a few taps on the earbuds. Endel creates personalized soundscapes that give the body and mind what they each need to achieve better focus, relaxation or sleep while enjoying total sonic immersion. Easy Bluetooth Pairing with Fast & Swift Pair LinkBuds S support Google's new Fast Pair feature where users can pair the headphones with their Android device quickly and easily4. Swift Pair makes it quick and easy to pair headphones to Windows 11 or Windows 10 laptops, desktop PCs or tablets via Bluetooth®. If there are multiple devices to connect, it is simple to automatically switch to a new device with just a tap of the play button9. Next generation Bluetooth audio These earbuds are ready for LE Audio9 next generation Bluetooth audio that enables ultra-low latency that is ideal for gaming. Made with the environment in mind LinkBuds S aren't only designed to be slick and stylish, but also with the environment in mind. Like the rest of the LinkBuds series, all packaging on the headphones are plastic free10 and the headphones use recycled materials from automobile parts11 reflecting Sony's commitment to reducing the environmental impact of their products. Stay connected with others with long battery life Sony understands how important it is to audiences to enjoy their favorite content on their smartphone without anything getting in the way of their listening experience. Therefore, Sony has packed LinkBuds S with a full working day of charge, up to 6 hours with noise canceling from the headphones and storing another 14 hours in the stylish, compact charging case12. Even when in a rush, just a 5-minute quick charge offers up to 60 minutes of play time. Messages from Sony's partners LinkBuds S connect online and offline worlds and will continue to provide various services for better and new sound experiences. Here are some messages from some of Sony's strategic partners. "Niantic has a vision of a 'Real World Metaverse,' which means adding the AR digital layers onto the real world," said Archit Bhargava, Director of Product Marketing at Niantic, Inc. "Currently, the AR layers are visual layers, however, we believe that adding a sound layer will create a richer AR experience and it makes the real world more enjoyable and convenient. Sony's LinkBuds series adds the sound layer without compromising the visual and audio information of the real world. When it is used with the various games offered by Niantic, they can create a richer, more enjoyable gaming experience. Ingress, which is celebrating its tenth milestone this year, is going to have a new feature before the summer. We hope players will enjoy the feature with the LinkBuds series. Also, please stay tuned for the AR experience by the combination of LinkBuds series and our Lightship platform, which is the foundation of Niantic's game titles, which shall be available soon." "At Spotify, we're always working to create the most seamless listening experience for every moment," said "It's one of the reasons we're so excited about our ongoing partnership with Sony. Spotify Tap on LinkBuds S provides an easy way to bring music to your ears without having to reach for your phone. Simply tap to get the music playing right away and tap further to enjoy great recommendations made just for you. We look forward to continuously innovating whilst delivering more seamless experiences together with Sony." -Edward Layoun, Product Director at Spotify. Our vision is to make wellness accessible to all through the power of sound," said Oleg Stavitsky, Co-Founder and CEO of Endel. "Endel is a science-backed technology that creates personalized, adaptive soundscapes to help people focus, relax, said, and sleep. The integration with Sony's LinkBuds series and sensor technology enables a genuinely seamless functional sound experience for any moment of the day, be it commuting, a relaxation break, a power nap, or a deep work session. Pricing and availability LinkBuds S have a suggested retail price of $199.99 and will be available for purchase on May 20, 2022, or for pre-order today in color options White or Black at Sony.com, Amazon and other authorized dealers. Exclusively at Best Buy, a third color option will be available, Ecru. About Sony Electronics Inc. Sony Electronics is a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America and an affiliate of Sony Group Corporation, one of the most comprehensive entertainment companies in the world, with a portfolio that encompasses electronics, music, motion pictures, mobile, gaming, robotics and financial services. Headquartered in San Diego, California, Sony Electronics is a leader in electronics for the consumer and professional markets. Operations include research and development, engineering, sales, marketing, distribution and customer service. Sony Electronics creates products that innovate and inspire generations, such as the award-winning Alpha Interchangeable Lens Cameras and revolutionary high-resolution audio products. Sony is also a leading manufacturer of end-to-end solutions from 4K professional broadcast and A/V equipment to industry leading 4K and 8K Ultra HD TVs. Visit http://www.sony.com/news for more information.

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BUSINESS

Synamedia acquires Quortex to add just-in-time live video streaming and accelerate its SaaS offerings

Synamedia | July 14, 2022

Synamedia, the world's largest independent video software provider, announced it has acquired Quortex, the privately-held provider of a leading cloud video delivery platform optimized for just-in-time processing of live video streaming. With this acquisition, Synamedia will enhance its cloud Video Network capabilities, complementing its VIVID Workflow as-a-Service (WaaS) with a set of innovative solutions for OTT content processing, disaster recovery, long tail content processing for large service providers, and live events. Using a patented, industry-first, pay-as-you-stream model, Quortex's just-in-time technology provides exactly the resources required at any given time. If no-one is watching a channel, it simply frees up those resources. This methodology provides time to market and considerable cost advantages over existing cloud approaches, while ensuring that every deployed resource has a purpose. For example, for long tail content, Quortex's technology reduces cloud costs up to 67%. Quortex's multi-tenant SaaS technology builds video streams on-the-fly, based on the end users' requirements and matched to viewers' locations, devices and time zones. It adapts to unpredictable network, infrastructure and audiences, and automatically scales cloud resources up and down, leveraging spot instances that take advantage of spare cloud capacity at a fraction of the typical cost, while maintaining quality of experience. The service is designed for any live streaming provider including telcos, cable operators, direct-to-consumer (D2C) players, and broadcasters. As a founding member of Greening of Streaming, and as energy costs spiral and organizations commit to cutting CO2 emissions, Quortex is well positioned to play an important role in sustainability strategies. "By pioneering just-in-time video streaming processing and delivery, Quortex has broken new ground with live services that dynamically spring to life when processing a user request. This radical change in the economics of cloud processing will accelerate the migration of live video services to the cloud. We see enormous potential as we expand Quortex's reach globally - for the fast-growing D2C live streaming market as well as our traditional service provider customer base who want to reduce infrastructure costs and meet their CO2 reduction commitments." -Julien Signes, EVP and General Manager of Video Network at Synamedia Ben Keen, independent analyst and advisor, commented, "True innovation often derives from a dismantling of legacy approaches to a problem and Quortex has brought some timely fresh thinking to video streaming technology. Reversing the traditional 'push' architecture, the Quortex team has come up with a potentially more efficient scalable 'pull' process that uses bandwidth only when it is required. The addition of this true SaaS proposition to the portfolio should allow Synamedia to offer live streaming services to a far broader range of increasingly cost-sensitive and environmentally-aware customers." Marc Baillavoine, CEO and Founder of Quortex, said, "With our breakthrough just-in-time approach, we have turned the live streaming model on its head, ditching the need to wastefully provision streaming resources just-in-case. We believe that with Synamedia's global reach and complementary product lines, we can accelerate our mission to transform the agility and cost of streaming and slash its carbon footprint." Quortex was founded in Rennes, France, in 2018 by a team of video industry experts with more than 100 patents. Customers include beIN Group Media, M6 and Red Bee Media. The company's employees in France and the UK will be joining Synamedia. Quortex has been supported since its inception by Elaia, Go Capital, Unexo and business angels. Its technology will be part of Synamedia's Video Network portfolio, and the company will continue to operate under its own brand while taking advantage of Synamedia's customer base, financial strength and global presence. About Synamedia We're trusted by service providers and content owners to protect, enrich, and deliver video. The flexibility and agility of our cloud products enable customers of all types and sizes to launch, monetize, and scale services at speed. Our award-winning portfolio includes intelligence-led anti-piracy, advanced advertising, business analytics, broadband and streaming video platforms, and video network cloud and software solutions. Synamedia is backed by the Permira funds and Sky.

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TECHNOLOGIES,BUSINESS

disguise Acquires Creative Studio Meptik to Accelerate Global Delivery of World-Class Immersive Productions

disguise | July 13, 2022

disguise, the market leader in extended reality (xR) technology, has acquired Atlanta-based immersive entertainment specialists Meptik, to empower the global deployment of trailblazing immersive productions, studios and installations delivered by Meptik and powered by disguiseWhile both companies will continue to operate as separate entities, disguise will be leveraging Meptik’s expertise to expand its global reach, helping creatives build the next generation of extended reality and metaverse experiences. Meptik’s teams will work with disguise to workshop new solutions, create product roadmaps and drive new standards in entertainment technology. Meptik specializes in creating dynamic virtual worlds that blow audiences away—and keeps them coming back. Their clients range from film studios to lifestyle brands, Fortune 500s, musical artists and more. Combining creative chops with technical skills, Meptik is always working behind the scenes to define what’s next for extended reality (xR), augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR) and virtual production (VP). Led by Sarah Linebaugh and Nick Rivero, their team of experts deliver groundbreaking projects for filmmakers and broadcasters as well as remarkable corporate and immersive installations. xR technology unleashes storytelling potential by delivering photorealistic, three-dimensional, real-time graphics that immerse performers and audiences alike in a virtual world visible on set and in-camera. disguise’s market-leading extended reality (xR) workflow has, in the past two years alone, enabled over 600 xR productions in over 50 countries, powering live entertainment productions for music artists such as Katy Perry and Billie Eilish, film and episodic TV productions for Netflix and Amazon Prime, corporate presentations for Siemens and Verizon and live broadcast programs from Eurosport, MTV and ITV. With new disguise locations opening up around the world and a software interface available in multiple languages, disguise is accelerating the democratization of its xR workflow to meet the expanding appetite for xR, virtual production and virtual studios. As a rapidly growing global player in the events, media and entertainment space, disguise is well placed to support a similar growth trajectory for Meptik, bringing their creative and technical expertise to all. Customers can expect a Meptik team with the latest technology in their back pocket, and an ever-growing global team of experts to support them on their creative journey. Meptik will also use its unique combination of creative and technical expertise to aid disguise in its mission to empower game-changing virtual experiences at the intersection of physical and virtual worlds. “We have always prided ourselves on our ability to service both sides of the xR equation the creative and the technical—and we love creating dynamic virtual worlds that blow audiences away, Joining forces with disguise will enhance our ability to continue to serve our clients from start to finish while maintaining our down-to-earth spirit.” -Nick Rivero, Co-Founder of Meptik “Meptik has been a trusted partner of disguise for many years, growing to excel at bringing out the very best capability for disguise solutions. Given that we have both been, in the past two years, bringing extended reality and immersive entertainment to the world, this acquisition would expand on these efforts and lead the next era for extended reality and metaverse experiences,” says disguise CEO Fernando Küfer. About disguise disguise is the platform to imagine, create and deliver spectacular visual experiences. Its award-winning extended reality (xR) solution has powered over 600 immersive real-time productions across live entertainment for music artists such as Katy Perry and Billie Eilish, film and episodic TV productions for Netflix and Amazon Prime, corporate presentations for Siemens and Verizon, and live broadcast programs from Eurosport, MTV and ITV, in more than 50 countries. With an ever-increasing global partner network and working alongside the world’s most talented visual designers and technical teams in live events, TV broadcasts, films, concert touring, theatre, fixed installations and corporate and entertainment events, disguise is building the next generation of collaborative tools to help artists and technologists realize their vision. Recognized as one of the Financial Times’ top 1000 fastest growing businesses for 2021, disguise has recently announced new majority backing from investment firm Carlyle Group, with Epic Games taking a minority stake. About Meptik Meptik is your creative partner for building mind-blowing xR experiences from start to finish. From content creation through to technical workflow integration, Meptik’s experienced designers and xR specialists push the boundaries of what’s possible

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Spotlight

In this white paper, we’ll explain how Network Adaptive Encoding works to help your live video streams adapt to your network conditions, making sure your stream quality is maximized regardless of what the network is doing.Haivision’s award-winning Makito X HEVC and H.264 encoders are now available with Network Adaptive Encoding, helping ensure that your video stream never fails even when encountering significant network bandwidth fluctuations.

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