AWS Summit highlights

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Amazon Web Services recently hosted their annual AWS Summit, and after two years of no events, conferences, trade show, it was great to kick off the event season with a bang alongside thousands more in the cloud computing community.

As an AWS Partner and Gold Sponsor of this event, our GlobalLogic colleagues were on stand to answer any and all questions about what it means to work with GlobalLogic – showcasing our Product and Platform engineering capabilities.

Saying this Summit was jam-packed would be an understatement! It was filled to the brim with keynotes, breakout sessions, technical demos, expert insights, swag, stickers and even a racetrack.

Here’s a run-down of what GlobalLogic got up to at this year’s AWS Summit.

AWS Summit 2022

 

What is the AWS Summit?

This event is an opportunity to meet with AWS leaders and peers. They are designed to bring the cloud computing community together to connect, collaborate, and learn about AWS.

Summits are held all around the world and attract technologists from all industries and skill levels who want to discover how AWS can help them innovate quickly and deliver flexible, reliable solutions at scale.

 

Keynote

This years’ keynote was kicked off by Darren Hardman – Vice President and General Manager, AWS UK&I.

Darren began by describing how AWS has allowed various brands to become more agile and grow. Big name brands, such as Cazoo and Ocado, took to the stage to share their inspirational stories, and announce plans to grow their usage of AWS products and services.

Also presenting during the keynote was Dr Matt Wood – VP, analytics. BI and ML at AWS.

Reminiscing about his journey at AWS, Wood described how this incredible worldwide ML brand started as just a tiny team in a rented office.

Wood then went onto talk about legacy tech and hardware – suggesting that by the time servers are fully wired and installed, a client’s ideas and dreams are in danger of dissipating or changing due to frustrations.

He went onto describe how moving to cloud-based services could potentially eliminate this frustration. This approach removes the need for heavy, time-consuming hardware and that such technologies are “an engine for driving ideas and satisfying curiosity”.

ML helps pets worldwide

AWS Summit - tech4pets

Not one to blow our own trumpets, we too had some exciting speakers at this year’s summit!

Lead Data Scientist, Dr Sami Alsindi and Principal Consultant & Co-Founder of tech4pets, Keith Hinde, had a speaker slot at the Athena Partner Theatre to discuss a recent project.

Our Data Science team has been working with tech4pets to track the movement of animals throughout the UK – helping to crack down on mistreatment, fraud and much more!

Sami and Keith discussed how, by using an ML model, the team were able to take a view of pet selling adverts online and determine the different types and breeds of these animals – giving an estimate of pets up for sale at any given time. This can be particularly difficult for an ML model, as pet sellers might not use the same words to describe an animal, might use abbreviations or even emojis.

The team is also helping tech4pets crack down on mistreatment. For example, clipping dogs’ ears is a nationwide issue. To try highlight problem sellers and vets that are illegally cropping ears, our Data Science team are helping to identify images online that show dogs with clipped ears.

Sellers even try to disguise clipped ears on an image by placing emojis over the ears. The team are using ML to pick up this behavior and identify problem sellers.

Find out more about this project with our tech4pets case study.

 

Sustainability

One talk in particular, with a title that really reeled us in was ‘Creating a sustainable energy future by turning off wind farms’.

Thomas Attree, Solutions Architect at AWS, started off with a thought provoking and chilling quote:

“The greatest threat to humanity is the belief that someone else with save it”, Rover Swan OBE.

Amazon itself has turned their focus onto sustainability and in 2019, announced they would aim to meet the Climate Change Pledge – Paris Agreement, a whole ten years early.

In trying to meet these climate change goals, countries are developing new and innovative ways to generate renewable energy – which brings us onto the focus of this breakout session.

Attree spoke about the UK’s energy grid, revealing that the new green system is a lot more complex than the old system. Instead of being comprised of a few large power plants, the new system is made up of many smaller power producers like wind turbines, solar panels and hydroelectric dams. So, this new system relies on huge amounts of real time data to be able to balance the many different parts of the grid.

Whilst this renewable energy is a step in the right direction, there are several technical challenges to these solutions. The wind doesn’t always blow, the sun doesn’t always shine (well at least in the UK it doesn’t!), and all of this energy needs to be balanced.

If you think back to 2010, the UK experienced an 800-megawatt power surge after the whole nation put the kettle on at a Coronation Street advert break. To avoid situations like this, real time data is needed.

Attree brought to the stage Andy Molineux from KrakenFlex – the ‘market leading Distributed Energy Resource Management System’.

KrakenFlex described how they are using AWS solutions to combat the challenges of renewable energy, providing real-time data to the likes of EDF energy. This information includes vital insights on how certain renewable energy resources are performing.

This data allows companies like EDF, to see how much energy is being generated from their wind turbines to their solar panels – which is becoming even more important as consumers are encouraged to change to electric boilers, electric coolers, electric cars etc.

With this data, KrakenFlex can even communicate with certain electric cars… yes communicate! The idea is that energy companies can instruct these cars when to start charging, avoiding the peak charging times like before and after work.

The consumer may have plugged their car in, but by telling the car the optimal time to start and finish charging means energy companies can avoid the energy grid being overwhelmed.

What Molineux did point out is that it’s really important that the next range of electric devices have the capability to provide this and more data, so we can make more conscious and sustainable decisions.

Take a look at Hitachi’s sustainable first mindset.

 

Culture of innovation

Being that innovation is one of our core principles here at GlobalLogic, we couldn’t miss Olga Shoraka – EMEA Startups Sales Strategy and Operations Lead discussing the culture of innovation.

This talk focused a lot on Amazon’s own culture of innovation, and its unique ways of developing new and innovative products and services.

Shoraka started off with a quote from Jeff Bezos, highlighting Amazon’s customer centric approach.

“There are many advantages to a customer-centric approach, but here’s the big one: customers are always beautifully, wonderfully dissatisfied, even when they report being happy and business is great. Even when they don’t yet know it, customers want something better, and your desire to delight customers will drive you to invent on their behalf”. 

Shoraka described how, at Amazon, innovation begins with understanding customer needs and working backwards. But this is not just reserved for big thinkers and leadership teams – it’s everyone’s responsibility to work innovatively throughout the organisation.

Amazon focuses on four key principles to organise for innovation:

  • Culture
  • Mechanisms
  • Architecture
  • Organisation

AWS Summit - innovation

Using these principles, Shoraka gave an insight into how a new product/service at AWS is released.

They work in three stages. Before even one line of code is written, a press release is created as if the product service has already been launched. This includes what the organisation will say about the service, how they will release, and quotes based on what they think the customer might say.

The team then creates FAQs and visuals, looking at the customer journey and experience. These three pieces of content are then reviewed by other members of the team, who begin by poking holes in the idea in an effort to make it stronger for customers.

Shoraka describes this method, perhaps seen as reversed, as being a low cost of failure – as if the idea is binned, no code has been written and no cost incurred.

 

Leveraging data

We all know data is vital in the ‘new world’ – it helped it us track covid cases during the pandemic, helps monitor our renewable energy sources and even predicts extreme and dangerous weather, like hurricanes. So, we caught a session run by Jez Martin – Technical Trainer at AWS, ‘Leverage data to make faster, more informed decisions’.

“By making 10% more data accessible, a typical Fortune 1000 company will see a $65 million increase in net income” – Forrester.

But there are such vast amounts of data, how is anyone to filter through it and make it accessible?

Martin described harnessing data as having three core business outcomes:

  • Improving operational efficiency
  • Making more informed decisions
  • Accelerating innovation

Extracting value from data means organisations could optimise supply chains, personalise customer experiences, develop applications, improve customer targeting… you name it!

The benefits of data are many, but there are also a number of challenges Martin prompted us to consider:

  • Explosion of data – more than ever being generated
  • Data is often stored in silos
  • Lack of ML skills
  • Adopting AI and ML in an organisation is difficult
  • Data security, privacy, and compliance – with data laws changing country by country

One solution that Martin touched on was the need to modernise databases. The databases of the future need to be scalable, not just vertically but horizontally – allowing more elasticity, database availability and the ability to scale at the same pace as businesses.

 

Closing remarks

This years’ AWS Summit was jam-packed full of information – with a real focus on sustainability and the power of data. As more and more energy efficient and sustainable products are developed, it will be data that we rely on to provide real-time insights.

Thanks again to Amazon Web Services for hosting this Summit – it was a great environment for learning and networking with others in the cloud computing community.

See you next year!

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AWS Summit 2022

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Louise Fenn

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