Andela Announces $200M Investment Led by SoftBank

Andela, the global network for remote engineering talent, has announced $200 million in Series E financing. The financing round which was led by Softbank Vision Fund 2 now values the company at $1.5 billion.

Other participating investors include WhaleRock and existing investors including Generation Investment Management, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and Spark Capital. Lydia Jett, Founding Partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers and one of the most respected consumer technology investors in the world, will join Andela’s Board of Directors.

Andela helps companies build remote engineering teams by providing them with access to the best software engineers in the world. Launched in Africa in 2014, the Andela network today represents engineers from more than 80 countries and six continents. Through Andela, thousands of engineers have been placed with leading technology companies including Github, Cloudflare and ViacomCBS. 

“Andela has always been the high-quality option for those building remote engineering teams. Now that the world has come to embrace remote work, Andela has become the obvious choice for companies because we can find better talent, faster,” said Jeremy Johnson, CEO and co-founder of Andela. “If you are a talented engineer, Andela opens up a world of possibilities for you, no matter where you are based.”

With a successful placement rate of 96%, Andela has mastered the ability to evaluate the technical skills and soft skills of engineers to match them to the teams they’ll be most successful in. With the new capital, the company will invest in developing products to simplify global hiring and make engineers’ lives easier. In addition, Andela will continue to expand its talent offering beyond software development to include new verticals such as design and data after launching Salesforce development earlier this year.

“Hiring remote technical talent is one of the top challenges that companies face today. We believe Andela will become the preferred talent partner for the world’s best companies as remote and hybrid work arrangements become the norm,” said Lydia Jett, Partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers. “We are delighted to support Jeremy and the Andela team in their mission to connect these companies with brilliant engineers, and in the process, unlock human potential at scale.”

A fully remote organization with more than 300 employees around the world, Andela is hiring top talent across the board, particularly in product, engineering, and growth. 

andela.com

Nokia and ATU to speed up digital transformation and the knowledge economy in Africa

Nokia has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the African Telecommunications Union (ATU) to drive digital transformation and the knowledge economy for socio-economic development across the continent.

The two parties will leverage the power of telecommunications, including 5G networks, to connect the unconnected and identify innovative use cases, as well as business models.

In addition, the MoU will lay ground for both organizations to better help governments shape telecom policy, develop talent and promote inclusion and diversity. This includes women, as well as the underprivileged in both rural and urban areas.
 
The MoU was signed in Nairobi, Kenya, by John OMO, Secretary General at ATU and Rajiv Aggarwal, Nokia Representative and Head of Central, East and West Africa Market Unit at Nokia.
 
Announcing the partnership, Rajiv Aggarwal, Head of Central, East and West Africa Market Unit at Nokia, said: “We remain keen on supporting Africa’s digital transformation journey and by collaborating with the ATU, we strengthen this commitment. We will leverage our global technology expertise and insights on policy matters to positively impact the universal socio-economic development in the continent.”
 
Co-signing the MoU with Mr. Rajiv, John OMO, Secretary General of the African Telecommunications Union (ATU), said: “Our vision is to make Africa a full and active participant in the global information and knowledge society by enabling universal access to ICT systems and services across Africa. Collaboration with a global industry leader such as Nokia is therefore crucial in this regard and will help us accelerate towards a digital transformation and knowledge economy.”
The MoU framework is guided by six tenets designed to facilitate this acceleration. These are:
•    Sharing of best practices on telecom technology trends and developments
•    Identification of innovative industrial use cases toward the Fourth Industrial Revolution
•    Recommendation on implementation of emerging technologies and business models
•    Promotion of connecting the unconnected with broadband
•    Development of emerging talent for digital innovation
•    Promotion of inclusion and diversity

Nokia has a long history of collaboration with international organizations and bodies across the globe. Regionally in MEA, Nokia recently partnered with UN Women to promote inclusion and diversity in Middle East and Africa.

Nokia is also working with UNICEF as part of a shared-value partnership in Kenya to connect schools with broadband and empower children in rural as well as disadvantaged urban areas.

In November 2020, Nokia supported the Forge Academy in South-Africa with the launch of a fully inclusive artificial intelligence (AI) laboratory to help students to become entrepreneurs in the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the global digital economy.

www.nokia.com

www.atuuat.africa

Digital Transformation a Real Opportunity For Inclusive Growth in Africa, SAS

The digital economy, and with it an increasing demand for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) skills identified by the World Economic Forum in 20161, is here. And while there can be no doubt that digital transformation presents a massive opportunity for economic growth in Africa, it is critical to ensure that this growth is inclusive – and that it benefits women’s equality in the workplace, rather than harming it.

In context, according to the final draft of the ICT and Digital Economy Masterplan for South Africa2, anecdotal evidence suggests that South Africa’s digital economy is growing and contributing anywhere between 2% and 19% to the country’s GDP. Globally, the digital economy is expected to grow to 24% of the world’s GDP by 2025.

“This growth represents both challenges and opportunities for workers. Digitalisation means that, worldwide, women and men in low-skilled, routinised employment face a similar scale of potential job losses, while those in higher-skilled roles face similar gains. The key to realising these gains, at least for skilled women, is digital fluency,” says Leanne Gordge, Manager: Banking, Telco and Public Sector, SAS in South Africa.

Affirming this; an Accenture report released in 20163 stated that: “At the current rate of digital adoption, developed nations likely won’t achieve workplace gender equality until 2065, and developing nations until 2100. But if governments and businesses can double the pace at which women become frequent users of technology, we could reach gender equality in the workplace by 2040 in developed nations and by 2060 in developing nations.”

“If this 40-year reduction in time to achieve gender equality is to be realised, women will need to be skilled, mobile, and tech-savvy. It is, therefore, critical to encourage and develop digital fluency from an early age for girls. However, there are still challenges to overcome in girls’ education, especially in Africa, to achieve this,” adds Gordge.

For example, the Girls’ Education and Climate Challenges Index, which SAS built with Malala Fund4, identifies countries where girls are most at risk of experiencing educational interruptions and predicts lowering of completion rates of girls’ primary and secondary education due to climate change.

The Malala Fund’s report highlights that when natural disasters occur, young female students are often more at risk of educational disruption than their male counterparts. Similarly, when access to water is scarce, girls are most often responsible for travelling long distances to collect water, keeping them away from the classroom. And, when temperatures rise and income-producing agriculture is lost, girls most often leave their schooling behind because families can no longer afford to pay educational fees. Based on the combined indices, the region most affected is sub-Saharan Africa, even though this region contributes the least to climate change.

Melissa Jantjies, Business Solutions Manager: Advanced Analytics and Artificial Intelligence, for SAS in South Africa, adds: “Another concern lies in automation in productive sectors in Africa, where women’s employment is particularly at risk.”

According to a report compiled for the South African Institute of International Affairs (amongst others): “Studies show that in specific female-dominated industries, technology will reduce jobs. The other misgiving in Africa is that the 4IR, like its antecedents, will further entrench gender inequalities. This is based on the observation that most women are unlikely to benefit from technological advances, as they do not possess the skills to compete in the emerging knowledge economy.”5

Jantjies believes that to achieve the approximated 40-year reduction in time towards true gender equality and inclusive economic transformation, there needs to be far more collective focus from Governments, educational institutions and private sectors on twin goals.

“The first must be on collaborative special programmes aimed at encouraging more young girls and women to pursue their education and career in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Women have a vital role to play in leadership – in all tiers of society – and in contributing to development and socioeconomic transformation of Africa’s economies. Yet, they are still significantly under-represented in higher education in STEM,” says Jantjies.

Certainly, this is a global issue, where women make up 43% of the world’s PhD graduates6, but only 28% of researchers in all fields and only 30% of women in higher education pursue STEM fields. However, in Africa, this under-representation is accentuated by prevailing challenges of educational gaps, skills mismatch, and high rates of unemployment.

The second goal, Jantjies believes, is upskilling and reskilling people for a digital-first and data-driven environment. “In many respects, the pandemic has accelerated digital transformation across numerous markets at a pace that previously may not have been conceivable. This has amplified challenges around skills shortages and mismatch globally – and coupled with remote working trends, it also means that people with highly sort after skills have more choice on where they want to live and who they want to work for. Together this is compounding the need to retain scares talent, while establishing special programmes to upskill and reskill people.”

“Interventions are needed to better secure talent pools, now and for the future. Clearly Governments, educational institutions and private sectors must make not only a concerted effort but tangible investment in ensuring young women have access to the digital economy if they are not to be left behind. We must ensure they know what skills are required to participate in the 4IR, how these can be applied in a variety of careers, and have access to learning opportunities and the technology needed to enter the digital economy,” concludes Gordge.

www.sas.com

eLearning Africa returns to Kigali with the theme of ‘A New Purpose for Education’

The Convention Centre in Kigali will be the setting for the next edition of Africa’s leading conference and exhibition on technology-assisted learning, bringing political leaders, investors and some of the world’s leading experts on education and technology to the Rwandan capital for three days of talks, workshops and a ministerial roundtable.

eLearning Africa’s founder and CEO, Rebecca Stromeyer, said that she hoped the conference would help to establish “a new purpose for education” by facilitating in-depth discussions on “what the world will be like after Covid.”

“The pandemic has brought about many changes, some of which will be permanent,” she said. “Now we need a real focus on adaptability, resilience and sustainability in education. And we need an African agenda – not just for Africa itself, but because Africa has so much to teach the world.

“African experience and traditions, such as ‘ubuntu’, will enjoy a new relevance. Equally, African ideas of community and partnership with nature could soon mean that Africa is increasingly recognised as a resource of knowledge, experience and education for the whole world.”

The conference, which will have ‘A New Purpose for Education’ as its main theme will consider issues including:

  • the challenges facing African countries in the aftermath of the pandemic
  • the suitability of global models in the African context
  • how to redirect education to meet African countries’ future needs
  • using technology to enable African countries to respond to specific needs in context
  • the single African market and the opportunities and requirements of employers
  • Africa’s contribution to global learning and problem solving

Featuring plenary sessions, seminars, workshops, debates and discussions, eLearning Africa will be accompanied by a major exhibition, showcasing some of the latest EdTech technologies and solutions. The conference will take place from 11 – 13 May, 2022 at the Kigali Convention Centre in Rwanda.

“I am delighted that eLearning Africa is back on the road and returning to the splendid, state-of-the-art conference centre in Kigali,” said Ms Stromeyer. “It has been a long wait but I hope this conference will show it has been well worth it. It will be wonderful to see the eLearning Africa family – our amazing network of experts, solutions providers, managers and investors – back together again for what will be the most important programme of discussions in our history.”

Founded in 2005, eLearning Africa is the leading pan-African conference and exhibition on ICT for Education, Training & Skills Development. The three day event offers participants the opportunity to develop multinational and cross-industry contacts and partnerships, as well as to enhance their knowledge and skills.

Over 14 consecutive years, eLearning Africa has hosted more than 18,000 participants from 100+ different countries around the world, with over 80% coming from the African continent. More than 3,830 speakers have addressed the conference about every aspect of technology supported learning, training and skills development.

The eLearning Africa 2022 Call for Papers is now open until October 01, 2021! Submit your proposal HERE.

www.elearning-africa.com

Ecobank launches 2021 edition of its fintech challenge for African startups

The pan-African banking group, Ecobank group, is inviting African fintech entrepreneurs to join the 4th edition of the Ecobank Fintech Challenge.

The Fintech Challenge is in line with the Bank’s commitment to championing digitization by giving innovative African startups the opportunity to promote their fintech solutions. The startups can potentially partner with Ecobank to scale their solutions across Ecobank’s 33 African markets as well as its international operations in France.  

All selected Finalists will be inducted into the Ecobank Fintech Fellowship following the Finals and Awards ceremony slated for November 2021. The selected top three winners will receive cash prizes worth $15,000, $12,000 and $10,000 respectively. All Fellows will however qualify to explore the following opportunities with the bank:

  • Multinational product roll out: an opportunity to pursue integration with Ecobank and potentially launch products in parts of Ecobank’s Pan African 33-country ecosystem.
  • Service provider partnerships:  Ecobank may select start-ups as pan-African service partner within the bank’s ecosystem.
  • Access to Ecobank’s Pan-African Banking Sandbox: Fellows will be given access to Ecobank’s APIs to test and improve their products for the pan-African market.
  • Mentoring and networking support in the network of global and African partners of the Group.
  • Priority Access to Ecobank’s VC partners for funding exploration.


Ade Ayeyemi, Chief Executive Officer, Ecobank Group, reiterated Ecobank’s dedication to support innovation across the continent: “The global impact of COVID-19 has accelerated the dire necessity to digitize and transform banking operations. As a banking group, we are convinced now more than ever that innovation and technology are the future of banking and therefore reaffirm our continuous commitment to identify and support Africa’s brightest developers to promote their solutions and help improve our services through the Ecobank Fintech Challenge.”

The Challenge resulted in Ecobank successfully launching the Ecobank Investor App, originally developed by Finance Mobile, a startup from the 2017 Ecobank Fintech Fellows cohort. Following the successful rollout of the app in 9 Ecobank markets and currently launching in additional countries, Ecobank is working on finalizing other such partnerships with Fellows from the 2020 Fintech Challenge.

Tomisin Fashina, Operations and Technology Executive, Ecobank Group: “We are firm believers that Africa’s talent pool is enormous and requires specialized and targeted mentorships to fully crystallize and ready fintech startups for business engagements. Through the Ecobank Fintech Fellowship, we are creating a learning experience through mentorship sessions with in-house, high-level technical teams and with our global partners to help shape and reshape the strategy and focus of African Fintechs.”

The Ecobank Fintech Challenge was designed in partnership with the advisory firm Konfidants and is supported by several partners across Africa and globally including ACCION, Catalyst Fund, Nedbank VC and Cellulant. Applications will close on 20 September 2021.

Applications have opened for entries from all startups and developers in any of Africa’s 54 countries and global Africa-centered fintechs. More information on the competition, benefits, and how to apply is available here.

www.ecobank.com

ICASA to hold virtual public hearings on draft mobile broadband rules

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) will hold public hearings in respect of the draft Mobile Broadband Services Regulations published on 26 March 2021 for public comments. The virtual public hearings will be held on 12 and 13 August 2021.

The draft Regulations, amongst other things, define relevant wholesale and retail markets or market segments for mobile broadband services, and determine whether there is effective competition in those relevant markets and market segments. Most importantly, the draft Regulations impose appropriate pro-competitive licence conditions on those licensees with significant market power, to remedy the market failure.

The Authority is of the view that the current Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector remains highly concentrated, with market dominance enjoyed by a small number of major providers in various market segments, as identified in the Findings Document on Mobile Broadband Services Inquiry published on 26 March 2021. This dominance and ineffective competition in some of the markets, if not addressed, together have the potential to constraint the sector, and continue to contribute towards the high cost of data services, while stifling dynamism and innovation in products and services.

The Authority’s mandate is centred around the public interest, and it is committed to protecting consumers, while ensuring the sustainability of those conducting business within the ICT sector. “This is spirit within which we should all be looking at this regulatory intervention i.e. to meet the broadband needs of all South Africans, especially during the time where the paradigm has shifted and the public relies more on broadband, or data services and bandwidth, to go about their communication lives,” says ICASA Councillor, Ms Thembeka Semane.

The Authority has identified and published several pro-competitive terms and conditions, in relation to which stakeholders made submissions. The public hearings provide ICASA with an opportunity to interrogate these representations further in order to make informed decisions in the final Mobile Broadband Services Regulations.

All interested stakeholders are invited to take part in the public hearings by clicking on the link below.

Click here to join the meeting

www.icasa.org.za

Google joins Smart Africa Alliance to drive digital transformation in Africa

Google has joined Smart Africa as a platinum member of the Alliance, advancing its commitment to the digital transformation of Africa.

The Alliance is tasked with defining Africa’s digital strategy to ensure socio-economic transformation and this is in sync with Google’s vision for Africa. Therefore, Google will contribute towards closing the digital gap through advancing digital skills development. Africa has a growing youth population which offers an unparalleled opportunity for development and economic growth. Therefore digital skills development is essential for Africa to develop.

In addition to skills development, Google will use its vast experience, competencies and networks to contribute towards Africa’s development of broadband connectivity, data governance and the ICT startups and innovation ecosystem which are all key initiatives that Smart Africa is undertaking. Google and Smart Africa will also work together towards promoting the adoption of Artificial Intelligence, promoting the innovative use of data, encouraging cloud technologies, promoting digital government and enabling an inclusive payments system.

With 32 countries under the Smart Africa Alliance, representing 815 million people across the continent, the partnership between Smart Africa and Google is well poised to make a significant impact on the vision of Smart Africa.

Google joins other international and African technology firms as members of Smart Africa including Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), Microsoft, Facebook, Inmarsat, Liquid Telecom, Orange, Intel, Ericsson, Huawei and Tata Communications & Transformation Services. Smart Africa also partners international organisations such as the International telecommunications Union (ITU), the African Development Bank (AfDB), GSMA and the World Bank among others.

Google is focused on leveraging its expertise to help make advanced technologies available to more of the world’s citizens, regardless of geographic location. By creating innovative and accessible digital infrastructures and skills, Google and other organizations within the Smart Africa Alliance can lead the world into an era of advancement and sustainable development.

Together with other members of the Alliance, Google is committed to transform Africa into a single digital market.

www.smartafrica.org

Orange Mali and German Cooperation inaugurate 4th Orange Digital Center in Africa and the Middle East

Orange and the German Cooperation are inaugurating, an Orange Digital Center in Bamako, an ecosystem entirely dedicated to the development of digital skills and innovation.

Following on from Tunisia, Senegal and Ethiopia, Mali will inaugurate the fourth Orange Digital Center in Africa and the Middle East. Spread over 1,557 sq.m, the Orange Digital Center brings together the four strategic programs of the Orange group, namely: a coding school (Orange Digital Kalanso), a FabLab Solidaire -one of the Orange Foundation’s digital manufacturing workshops -, an Orange Fab startup accelerator and Orange Ventures Africa, the Orange Group investment fund. All of the programmes provided are free-of charge, open to all. They range from digital training for young people, 90% of which are practical, start-up acceleration, guidance for project bearers and investment.

Alioune Ndiaye, Chairman and CEO of Orange Africa and the Middle East, says: “I am very proud to inaugurate the fourth Orange Digital Center in Africa today in Mali, which is part of the network of 32 Orange Digital Centers deployed in all the countries where Orange operates to support the startups. The main objective is to democratize access to digital technology for young people – with or without qualifications – giving them access to the latest technological trends to improve their employability and give young Africans the ability to write their digital future.”

Working as a network, the Orange Digital Centers allow experiences and expertise to be shared between countries and offer a simple and inclusive approach to improve young people’s employability, encourage innovative entrepreneurship and promote the local digital ecosystem. Moreover, discussions are underway between Orange Mali and the Ministry of Higher Education for the digital transformation of universities in Mali. An Orange Digital Center Club will be installed in each university in the region, thus completing the system to give as many people possible access to new technologies and support in using them to their full extent.

As part of its Corporate Social Responsibility approach, Orange Mali wishes to support new ideas, which bring progress for all and in particular those that create economic value and jobs at the local level. This is why Orange Mali wanted to set up and support, in a partnership-based approach, initiatives that help accelerate this positive change. As the leading contributor to digital development in the country, Orange Mali supports the emergence of a creative, prosperous ecosystem that gives digital players the opportunity to create and develop. 

Orange and the German Cooperation by GIZ are working together as part of a development partnership within the develoPPP program, which GIZ is implementing on behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The goal is to fulfil their shared vision: fostering youth employability – and access to ICT jobs for women and girls – while supporting sustainable growth and the country’s digital transformation. This joint project by Orange and GIZ is an example of successful cooperation between German Cooperation and the private sector.

Because digital technology must provide opportunities for everyone, this initiative fully embodies our commitment as a responsible operator and meets the following six sustainable development objectives: (4) quality education, (5) gender equality, (8) decent work and economic growth, (9) industry, innovation and infrastructure, (10) reduced inequalities and (17) partnerships for goals.

So far, eight Orange Digital Centers have already been opened in the region: Tunisia, Senegal, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Jordan, Morocco, and Mali. This means other inaugurations are still to come in 2021.

Brelotte BA, CEO, Orange Mali: “Orange Mali is truly committed to the digital transformation. Being the partner of the digital transformation makes us a leading player in the socio-economic development of the country thanks to innovative ecosystems and specific actions intended to develop entrepreneurship. The Orange Digital Center brings together all the necessary skills in a single place to illustrate Orange’s commitment to digital inclusion.”

Orange is present in 18 countries in Africa and the Middle East and has more than 130 million customers at of 31 March 2020. With 5.8 billion euros of revenues in 2020, Orange MEA is the first growth area in the Orange group. Orange Money, its flagship mobile-based money transfer and financial services offer is available in 17 countries and has more than 50 million customers. Orange, multi-services operator, key partner of the digital transformation provides its expertise to support the development of new digital services in Africa and the Middle East.

www.orange.com

The Continental headquarters of the AeTrade group has been awarded to Rwanda

The African Electronic Trade Group (the A-eTrade Group) which also includes the African e-Commerce Development International, today announced that it has accepted the offer of the Government of Rwanda to host the continental headquarters.

This announcement is one of the significant events of the Second Africa Integration Day. This follows the last announcement exactly two years ago in Niger, Niamey when the Kingdom of Eswatini and the Republic of Guinea were awarded the regional headquarters for Southern Africa and West Africa respectively. This brings the total number of host governments to four, leaving the regional offices for North Africa and Central Africa vacant for now.

After an open and transparent process to invite all AU Member States to express interest which was launched in October 2019, the AeTrade Group has received fourteen written expressions of interest and three verbal expressions bringing the total to seventeen countries. After physical and virtual exploratory missions were held with all the interested countries, and a rigorous review of the offers submitted by candidate countries, the High-Level Panel recommended two countries be considered by the AeTrade Group Board of Directors on the 25th June 2021. The AeTrade Group Board met on the 29th June 2021 and pronounced itself on the outcome of the competitive bidding process.

“ On behalf of the AeTrade Group and we wish to extend our warmest congratulations to the Government and the people of Rwanda for winning the bid. We thank all seventeen countries for their confidence in us and  look forward working with all AU Member States in line with our partnership with the African Union to ensure an inclusive approach to building digital capacities at the grassroots to enable SMEs, Women and Youth to be key players in the emerging digital economy in Africa. “ said, Mr. Mulualem Syoum, CEO and Chairman of the AeTrade Group.

The AU Commissioner for Economic Development, Trade, Industry and Mining also congratulated the significant progress being made to establish public-private partnerships in support of the implementation of AU regional integration initiatives. “We also congratulate the Government of Rwanda for their significant achievement and look forward to working with all AU member states as they harness digital technologies and enabling policy measures including the African Continental Free Trade Area in order to create millions of jobs, especially for the youth across the continent.”

In response, Honorable Paula Ingabire thanked the AeTrade Group and the African Union Commission for their confidence in the vision of Rwanda to become the continental e-trade hub. “We are confident that the AeTrade Group initiatives fully align with the Government of Rwanda’s agenda to become an ICT and logistics hub. Therefore, the Republic of Rwanda commits to provide the required support to ensure the success of the initiative. We look forward to welcoming you to Rwanda and from here to facilitate the implementation of the AeTrade Group vision towards productive impact to continental sustainable economic development inspired by the African Union Agenda 2063.”

www.minict.gov.rw

Call of Duty League and Google Cloud deliver new feature for esports fans

Millions of people annually view esports, as top players and teams compete in thrilling, fast-paced tests of reflexes, strategy, and teamwork. Fans are a diverse group, sharing a passion for action. A new, revolutionary project we’re working on with Call of Duty League just made that action a lot better.

ActivStat brings fans, players, and commentators the power of competitive statistics in real-time—stats that matter not only to the game at hand, but also for a full roster of competitors globally. Using ActivStat, live broadcasts will soon be enhanced with more depth and color-of-play while they’re happening, building excitement and adding to the overall experience.

Technically, ActivStat is an entirely new capability for esports. It’s a constantly updating catalog of statistics that is sourced, analyzed, updated, and delivered in an easy-to-consume way across global-scale computing systems, with a latency of milliseconds or seconds, rather than minutes or hours. By comparison, many of these stats today are available to fans after a day or more of processing.

Call of Duty League plans to begin rolling out ActivStat during the 2021 season. The initial rollout will include critical information like player and team standings and winning ratios across multiple aspects of virtual combat—including ultimately what these numbers mean for rankings. ActivStats are delivered both in raw statistics and via visualizations and graphics, providing commentators with fast access to the types of insights fans crave. 

For engineers at both companies, building the service has been an epic success all its own. Due to a sponsorship with Call of Duty signed last February, our dedicated game engineering team quickly innovated a new solution incorporating high-speed networking, data pipelines from multiple cloud sources, and data warehousing to create a user-friendly dashboard. Real data was flowing into commentator dashboards by April.

Esports are more complex to cover in many ways than regular sports. Instead of a well-defined physical playing field (often a simple rectangular space), multiplayer games involve complex and sprawling virtual environments that can be the size of a large campus or airport with multiple levels and hidden locations.   

Gameplay between competitors happens across many of these locations simultaneously. In addition, competitors also each choose their own configurations of equipment, known as “loadouts,” which can dramatically affect gameplay and strategy. All of this additional complexity in online gaming involves data that needs to be captured, analyzed, and communicated to the fans in insightful ways.

Two Google Cloud technology capabilities play central roles in the operations of ActivStat. BigQuery—a planet-scale data warehouse that can store and query petabytes of information in real time—is the foundation of the ActivStat platform for gathering and summarizing millisecond-level statistics. Looker, an intuitive analytic dashboard, surfaces those insights to commentators in an easy-to-use, real-time dashboard that enables the commentators to speak to compelling insights and statistics in sync with the gameplay as it is happening in the live broadcast.

While the initial release of ActivStat for this season of Call of Duty League provides compelling and powerful capabilities, it’s only the beginning of this Call of Duty League-Google Cloud co-innovation partnership. Our future vision is mapping gameplay hotspots on the field, and predicting where to place cameras with machine learning as the match evolves–enabling broadcast producers to build excitement for fans by always being in the middle of the best action. Call of Duty League and Google will also look to drive statistics and metrics directly into the broadcast feed.

The implications of the real-time statistical capabilities of ActivStat go beyond gaming and esports. Historically, gaming has been at the leading edge of what computer processing, computer graphics, wide-area networking, data analysis, and insight can do. The real-time data ingestion and output used in ActivStat could one day be useful powering live broadcasts in other types of sporting events, as well as blending live video feeds and data to support use cases in media & entertainment, healthcare, finance, manufacturing, and other verticals. We’re excited about the potential for this bold new solution and partnership between Call of Duty League and Google in esports and beyond.

www.cloud.google.com