When the pandemic brought the world to a standstill, organizations that relied on foot traffic experienced a sudden pause in operations. In Singapore, animal shelters were heavily affected as pet adoptions and fundraising events ceased to a halt.
But with the help of live streaming service provider Kactus Singapore, animal welfare organization Hope for Animals was able to resume adoption activity and fundraising events through a live streaming effort that they called Project Adopt Live.
In the live streams, the hosts of Project Adopt Live introduce the animals one by one to give viewers a better sense of the animal’s personality, characteristics, and type of home they’d best fit in with. Photo courtesy of Kactus Singapore.
Teradek: Hi Kactus Singapore, we saw that you've been live streaming pet adoptions lately! How did that all get started?
Kactus Singapore: We are a live-stream studio called Kactus Singapore that (specializes) in mobile, multicam live-streams. When lockdowns happened last year in April, many of the animal shelters were unable to host visitors and adoption rates plummeted. All adoption-related and fundraising events had to halt. A group of volunteers (hosts, graphic designers, photographers, videographers, etc.) decided to bring the adoption drives online and showcase the animals via live-stream. We have been supporting this live-stream project on a pro bono basis.
We named this collective effort Project Adopt Live (PAL), which goes live every two weeks. So far, we have covered 3 seasons, 30 episodes in total, each about 1.5hrs. Around 70% of the animals we feature on these livestreams go on to be adopted!
Two of Hope for Animals’ furry friends being featured on Project Adopt Live. Photos courtesy of Kactus Singapore
Teradek: How have you been using Teradek live streaming products, specifically the Vidiu Go and Core?
Kactus Singapore: How Teradek Vidiu Go comes into play is when we have to stream at the shelters themselves. The shelters are typically located in less populated areas with poor cellular connections, and we have successfully used it to bond three connections from different telcos so that the live-streams can be done in such areas. In certain cases, we also do multi-destination streams via Core Cloud. With the capability to manage the angles, overlays and videos using iPads (switching device) and iPhones (cameras), we have streamed in such challenging places, sometimes with very limited space.
When live streaming from the animal shelters, network connection can be unstable. Teradek’s Vidiu Go became a vital tool with its network bonding ability to strengthen the signal no matter where they streamed from. Photo courtesy of Kactus Singapore.
Teradek: Can we see any of these virtual adoption drives?
Kactus Singapore: Here are the episodes that we did outside of the studio using Vidiu Go!
The COVID-19 pandemic has reaped rewards for Big Tech companies that benefitted from the shift to remote working and learning. Apple earned $21.7 billion in profit for the quarter that ended in June, the most successful quarter in the company’s 45-year history, while Alphabet and Microsoft also enjoyed strong quarterly earnings. Apple’s revenue rose 36 percent from the same period a year earlier to $81.4 billion, exceeding Wall Street expectations. Apple is on track to earn $86 billion for the fiscal year, according to FactSet analysts.
The Wall Street Journal reports that this profit “would be about 51 percent better than last year’s record” and compares sharply with the 11 percent bump predicted by analysts a year ago. In the same quarter, sales of iPhones skyrocketed 50 percent to $39.6 million, driven by 5G, according to Robert W. Baird & Co. analyst William Power.
Apple chief executive Tim Cook said he is “not predicting the next cycle,” but added that, “we’re in the very early innings of 5G.” Apple usually sees a drop in sales in Q3 compared to Q2, and chief financial officer Luca Maestri predicted sales could dip as much as $4 billion. Instead, it fell 8.5 percent, “just below $3 billion.”
Maestri said that the next quarter’s revenue growth won’t be as strong as the quarter that closed in June, but the company is nonetheless “expecting to grow very strong double digits.”
Still, Apple shares fell 2+ percent when the company said the rate of growth will not continue. “As the last 18 months have demonstrated many times before, progress made is not progress guaranteed,” said Cook. Microsoft’s shares also fell “after its video-game business failed to keep up the blistering pace it set earlier in the pandemic.”
Loup Ventures managing partner Gene Munster noted that, “investors believe the good times will soon slow.” “At the root of tonight’s sell off is the question of the sustainability of the strength,” he added. “The numbers are so impressive, comps get difficult and it’s hard for investors to believe the epic growth will continue.”
CNBC reports that, in the last quarter, “every one of Apple’s major product lines grew over 12 percent on an annual basis.” Maestri said that, “Apple expected less than 36 percent growth in the September quarter because of foreign exchange rates, less growth in its services business and [semiconductor] supply constraints for iPhones and iPads.”
Apple reported $14.76 billion in sales in the Greater China region, up 58 percent from the same quarter last year, and sales in the U.S. “were up nearly 33 percent year-over-year to $39.57 billion.” The company’s services business was up “33 percent year-over-year, an acceleration from last quarter’s 26.7 percent growth rate … [although] Maestri said that Apple expected the company’s services growth rate to decrease in the September quarter.”
Cook reported that Apple “now has 700 million paid subscribers, up 150 million year-over-year … [including] customers subscribed to an app through Apple’s App Store billing.”
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In Q2 2021, Google recorded its highest quarter ever for sales and profits: revenue of $61.88 billion, up 62 percent year-over-year; profit that more than doubled to $18.53 billion; advertising sales of $50.44 billion, a 69 percent surge, and YouTube ad business reaching $7 billion, up 84 percent from a year earlier. The numbers, which exceeded Wall Street expectations, were driven by e-commerce, streaming video and other online business and entertainment activities that surged during the COVID-19 pandemic, driving online advertising.
The Wall Street Journal reports Alphabet and Google chief executive Sundar Pichai said that, “digital publishers and YouTube partners earned more during the period than any time in the company’s history.”
The company’s Class A shares rose 3+ percent in after-hours training, with stock closing Tuesday at $2,638. WSJ notes that Google’s previous 10-year streak of reporting revenue increases every quarter was halted by the pandemic, when sales fell 1.8 percent due to advertisers cutting spending.
Chief business officer Philipp Schindler said that “retail was the largest advertising sector in the quarter,” adding that sales were boosted by “Google’s decision last year to list brands that weren’t paid advertisers.”
GroupM “raised its forecast for global advertising sales to $749 billion for the year, an increase of 19 percent from last year, up from its prior expectation for 12 percent growth,” but it did not forecast future revenue due to rising COVID-19 rates. Because Google’s search engine “has a 92 percent share of worldwide Internet searches and its Maps offerings have an 89 percent share of digital navigation services,” the company faces anticompetition and antitrust concerns, including its recent agreement to pay French regulators $270 million.
The European Union and three dozen U.S. states are, respectively, formally investigating the company and filing an antitrust lawsuit. The Justice Department also filed a lawsuit “alleging it uses exclusionary agreements to preserve a monopoly for its search engine.”
In cloud storage, Google “has been spending aggressively to challenge the dominance of Amazon and Microsoft,” with its sales rising 54 percent to $4.63 billion this quarter.
CNBC reports that, according to Schindler, connected TV is “the fastest growing consumer surface that we have,” adding that 120 million people watch YouTube on their TVs every month. YouTube Shorts also just topped 15 billion daily views, up from 6.5 billion daily views in March. It notes that the company’s cloud division now has “operating losses of $591 million, a dramatic improvement from last year’s loss of $1.43 billion.”
Google also “recorded a quarterly net income benefit of $561 million, and EPS benefit of $0.83, from an accounting change related to the useful lifespan of its server and network equipment.”
Alphabet chief financial officer Ruth Porat said, although it’s too early to predict longer-term trends, she expects a “more muted tailwind to revenues in the third quarter.” She added that the company will allow employees to work from home at least through the beginning of September.
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Microsoft experienced a successful quarter, due in large part to significant growth in Azure cloud services. The company reported overall Q4 sales of $46.2 billion, up about 21 percent year-over-year, for a $16.5 billion profit, an increase of 47 percent year-over-year. Similar to other Big Tech companies, Microsoft’s numbers exceeded Wall Street expectations. According to chief financial officer Amy Hood, Microsoft expects overall sales of $44.2 billion for the current quarter. Microsoft’s stock is currently up 40 percent over the last year, and its valuation is now $2+ trillion, second only to its rival Apple.
The Wall Street Journal reports that “Azure, Microsoft’s collection of cloud data centers and software tools that has been the backbone of its growth in recent years, saw year-over-year sales growth of 51 percent, topping the 50 percent seen in the two prior quarters.”
Sales of Xbox content and services couldn’t keep up this quarter with last year’s quarter of 65 percent growth, during the pandemic. This quarter, it fell 4 percent; “overall gaming sales advanced 11 percent, down from 50 percent growth in the previous quarter.” But Xbox hardware revenue — Microsoft’s fastest selling Xbox machines — was up 172 percent, “with demand continuing to outpace supply.”
Surface laptops fell 20 percent from the same period last year, and Hood warned in April that it could be impacted by the semiconductor shortage. The Windows operating system also dipped 3 percent, “with device shipments impacted by supply chain issues.”
Microsoft introduced Windows 11 last month, “the first new version in nearly six years” and it anticipates PC manufacturers will begin to install it on devices this quarter, “though revenue associated with those activities will be deferred until the following period.” Hood said it expects $300 million in deferred revenue.
LinkedIn also saw 46 percent year-over-year quarterly sales growth, as the economy began to recover and ramp up hiring. The company “expects more than 30 percent sales growth this quarter for LinkedIn.”
CNBC reports that, “with respect to guidance, Microsoft called for $14.5 billion to 14.75 billion in fiscal first-quarter revenue from its Productivity and Business Processes segment, higher than the $14.07 billion StreetAccount estimate.”
Microsoft “sees $16.4 billion to $16.65 billion in revenue, higher than the $15.71 billion consensus” for its Intelligent Cloud segment (which includes Azure, Windows Server, SQL Server and GitHub) and $12.4 billion to $12.8 billion in revenue for its More Personal Computing segment, just shy of StreetAccount’s figure of $12.67 billion. In Q4, the Intelligent Cloud segment “produced $17.38 billion in revenue, up 30 percent year-over-year” versus the StreetAccount consensus of $16.33 billion.
Microsoft’s Productivity and Business Processes unit (Office software, LinkedIn and Dynamics) added $14.69 billion in revenue, up 25 percent and “above the StreetAccount consensus of $13.93 billion.” Its number of commercial Office 365 subscriptions grew 17 percent from 15 percent, and the Teams chat and calling app in Office 365 now has 250 million monthly active users.
Search advertising grew 53 percent benefitting LinkedIn, which now generates $10 billion in annual revenue, said chief executive Satya Nadella. Microsoft shares are up about 29 percent since the start of 2021.
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