Behind Inter Milan’s AI Driven Digital Revamp
Inter Milan - Case Study
#1 Leverage & monetize massive content archives
Inter Milan had more than 600 Terabytes of digital archives that was growing each week with content from game day, player events and even training materials from the player academy. Providing stakeholders with near real time premium content is the lifeblood of any digital transformation strategy. Content needed to be post produced rapidly, and distributed to Inter TV, Inter Media House, the Inter website and of course, social media. Given the massive amount of content, homegrown tools and legacy DAM, which often required manual steps, were obstructing the Inter creative teams and preventing them from truly exposing the exciting brand that is, Inter Milan.
#2 Deeper engagement with a global fan base on digital platforms
Inter Milan has more than 26 million social media followers across the globe. They needed to implement a new digital experience platform that would deliver personalized content and would maintain 24/7 digital connectivity with its global fan base. This presented several challenges for Inter Media House because with so much existing content they needed the ability to quickly search for key moments in thousands of soccer games; focus on target demographics and create clips & images to satisfy their passionate fan base & loyal sponsors. Manually scrubbing through 40 years of videos and millions of images was not going to meet the challenge.
#3 Enrich game day metadata on videos to drive rich analytics
A lack of automation has meant that much of the game day metadata collection is lost. Soccer metadata feed provides Inter Milan with instant access to descriptive information about its content, including commentary, player faces, logos of advertisers and sponsors. However, in the absence of automated workflow, journalists, sales teams and business owners looking for specific match/player/sponsor analytics were relegated to manual search that took countless hours and often proved unreliable.
Inter Milan selected the Evolphin Zoom Media Asset Management Platform. Partnering with the Evolphin team, their first step was to first crawl all their existing on-premises storages & AWS S3 buckets, using Evolphin’s unique preflight storage scanners. They generated a rich set of analytics & used it to set up automated ingest rules. Using Evolphin’s data migration app, they imported ~ 21,000 hours of video content from 2 NAS volumes, 1 S3 bucket, and 3 legacy DAMs into Evolphin in less than a month. To date, 171,938 files have been ingested. Once ingested, Evolphin Transcoder worked round the clock to generate proxies for all the media files and in-parallel drove the the AI engines including: Italian speech to text, custom trained logo detection, custom trained 3000 players & key personnel face recognition. An important part of the process was face to face meetings at Inter’s training Academy in Appiano, with the Evolphin team, including our CTO, as well as the
key stakeholders from 8 different groups: Inter TV, Inter Media House, Inter Photo, Inter IT Broadcast, Journalists, Graphics design, Animation, Sales and Marketing to map out the extensive Evolphin Zoom app to Inter’s post-production workflows.
About Inter Milan
Founded in 1908 Football Club Internazionale Milano, commonly known as Inter Milan outside Italy, is a legendary Italian professional football club based in Milan. Inter is the only Italian club never to have been relegated from the top flight of Italian football.
Since its formation, the club has won 31 domestic trophies, including 19 league titles, 7 Coppa Italia and 5 Supercoppa Italiana. From 2006 to 2010, the club won five successive league titles, equalling the all-time record at that time. They have won the Champions League three times: two back-to-back in 1964 and 1965 and then another in 2010. Their latest win completed an unprecedented Italian seasonal treble, with Inter winning the Coppa Italia and the Scudetto the same year.The club has also won three UEFA Cups, two Intercontinental Cups and one FIFA Club World Cup.
Migrating Inter’s 113 Years of Archive
Data Migration could have been a real nightmare for Inter Milan. Simple ‘drag n drop’ ingest to a MAM just didn’t cut it, especially when Inter was moving TBs of data across thousands of on-premises & AWS S3 folders. Inter needed a tool that could detect duplicate content between their on-premises NAS and AWS S3 to avoid double ingest of the same files. Once data migration started, the ingest workflow incrementally fed the transcoding and AI pipelines. Inter team could monitor progress, resume failed jobs, get duplicate content reports via an easy to use migration dashboard.
Data Migration with Automated AI Hub at Inter
The Evolphin team executed its automated preflight storage scan tool to give the Inter team deep insights into their content prior to ingest. The reports allowed the Inter team to identify file & folder patterns and make decisions about their content including ignore, move, delete & archive. For example, the team discovered there were collectively thousands of files with extensions such as SHADOWINDEXGROUPS, TSHADOWINDEXCOMPACTDIRECTORY that were created by a directory tool and they could safely ignore these from the data import process.
The raw media needs to be transcoded to a proxy format suitable for AI analysis. The Evolphin preflight storage scan tool estimated the total time it would take to transcode all of the ingested media, based on available CPU cores. This allowed the Inter team to make tradeoffs between transcode time and CPU cores. In other words, they were able to decide how many CPU cores from their Hypervisor host they wanted to devote to transcoding in order to speed up the AI analysis.
Automated AI Hub
Using the Evolphin AI hub, the Inter team can apply preset rules to automatically send video proxies generated by the Evolphin transcoder, from specific folders to specific AI Engines simultaneously as the data is being migrated. All the communication, including error handling was automated for the massive volume of videos that needed to be recognized by the AI Engines. The innovation here is that the Evolphin AI hub provided all of the automation and queue management services . Without an automated approach, Inter’s dream of using AI to analyze their videos would not have materialized as the AI Engines themselves do not provide the queue management that is necessary for a large volume of videos.
The Inter team estimated that there was a 40% to 50% overlap or content duplication between their AWS S3 storage and their NAS. The Evolphin Data Migration App tracked and analyzed the checksum for each ingested file and using its inbuilt duplicate detector, converted duplicate files to ‘Smart Copies’. Smart copy is a unique Evolphin feature that creates a zero byte copy of a file and will function with any kind of storage including cloud or on-premises based storage.
Organizing 21K+ hours of Inter’s Videos
Using AI & User Generated Data Timelines
Evolphin’s data timeline features are proving to be key differentiators on how Inter’s vast archives are organized. Inter uses both AI and user generated data timelines to drive a ton of value not just for the editors but also in how they organize their vast archives of content.
AI Data Timelines
Inter uses Speech to text (Italian), Logo & Face recognition engines to generate data timelines on their videos. This has completely revolutionized their video production workflows. Without even involving their editors, journalists and sales teams can quickly search and clip videos of sponsors’s logos for example!
User-generated data timelines
Inter is able to use Evolphin’s REST APIs to take time coded metadata feeds they get from various Sports platforms and apply it to match day videos received via satellites at their Appiano office, automatically.
This enrichment on top AI data timelines, allows even more precision for searches. Editors at Inter TV house can search for goals by a specific player in a particular match to rapidly edit their sequences in Adobe premiere Premiere Pro.
Turbocharging collaborating between journalists & editors at Inter
The Appiano Gentile academy where all the action happens is located in a remote part of Como in Italy. Internet access is unreliable. Cloud based collaboration tools will not work. However, using Evolphin’s on-premises Collaboration server hub, allowed the teams to collaborate on videos and other digital deliverables in the absence of any Internet connectivity with the outside world.
Features found in video 3rd party proofing tools are built-in into the Evolphin MAM, which means that Inter’s business owners can securely collaborate without ever uploading a single byte to another service. That saves hours they used to spend waiting for content to upload for review to a cloud server before Zoom was deployed plus it eliminates unnecessary 3rd party collaboration service costs.
A new generation of tools for Inter's Editors
The editorial team at Inter was using sneaker-net: passing USB drives around, email, DropBox .. anything and everything to collaborate with fellow editors. Finding content and getting reliable instructions from producers to get work done was very difficult. The Zoom desktop apps improved things significantly. The editors were able to use their Adobe CC Extensions in Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, After Effects and Premiere to search and link with assets, use pre built project templates to kick off new creative jobs or exports, receive comments & get real time feedback straight into their editing app via the plugin. A process that once took weeks can now be done in a matter of hours.
And the 2021 results...
The Best Support Out There!
During any process where several technologies need to come together seamlessly, there will be issues. This happened for example during the Data migration process. It was noted that the 3rd party AI Engines kept running into errors given the massive volume of videos. The Evolphin support team helped Inter and the AI provider diagnose the issue and resolve the job queueing issues. Partnership is not about pointing fingers, it’s about collective problem solving no matter where responsibility for the issue lies.
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