Amazon Sumerian: An Experimental Service with Enterprise Potential

An article on SearchAWS discussed AWS’s intention of making Augmented Reality more accessible to developers using Amazon Sumerian. Using the tool, developers without any prior experience can build Augmented and Virtual Reality as well as 3D applications in the AWS cloud.

Previously, on-premises products enabled 3D environments and virtual actors for various use cases such as training, simulations, and marketing. The Sumerian-managed service brings this tech to the cloud and works on a range of platforms, such as web browsers, mobile phones, and VR hardware.

Amazon Sumerian aims to simplify the app-building process. It functions as follows:

  • Developers create or upload their 3D environment in AWS Management Console.
  • Sumerian Hosts, 3D animated characters, can be added, which can use natural language understanding and automatic speech recognition to read scripts or answer verbal questions.
  • Developers can customise Sumerian Hosts’ genders, appearances, clothing, and other features, before adding them to any virtual scene.

Other vendor producrs, such as Maya, Cinema 4D, oe 3ds Max Design, also produce similar results, although they have an increased cost. Sumerian also helps accelerate speed to deployment.

Enterprise uses for Amazon Sumerian explained in the article are:

  • Training / advertising – although marketing and HR in particular are mentioned, any sector aiming to create interactive, user-friendly demos will find a benefit in the Sumerian.
  • Integration with other Amazon offerings – the service integrates with Amazon Lex and Polly, enabling voice interactions between Sumerian Hosts and end users. Developers can also integrate real-time data from other Amazon services into Sumerian scenes.
  • Convenience and speed – enterprises requiring rapid VR development will find Sumerian useful as it is quick, cheap, and easy. It is a good introduction to VR for enterprises, as they don’t have to worry about processing requirements for larger VR tools or the major server.

Despite the Sumerian having been built with developers inexperienced with VR in mind, the article does recommend a certain level of confidence with technology before building apps, such as understanding the basic premise of running a public cloud service (security and cost monitoring).

The Sumerian service includes a 12 month free trial, which offers users the ability to create a published scene up to 50MB that can receive a maximum of 100 views per month. After the free trial, the service costs $0.06 per GB a month for scene storage and $0.38 per GB a month for scene traffic. On average, a Sumerian project for enterprises costs between $5 and $25, which is relatively inexpensive compared to high-powered servers and displays, often exceeding $10,000 and not including support, power, or software.


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