For anyone with an interest in Amazon Web Services, AWS re:Invent is the place to be this week. It’s difficult to convey the actual scale unless you are there but there are literally hundreds of sessions on every area of AWS from storage to Artificial Intelligence. The sessions are run in various venues along the Las Vegas Strip with thousands of attendees at each of the sessions. We sent our own John McGuire along this year to find out what’s new with AWS, what’s in the pipeline and to experience re:Invent first hand. This week, we will keep you up to date on his travels and experience of re:Invent 2019.

The Day 1 highlights were:

Building Natural Voice Conversations

This session covered a preview technology, Alexa Conversations, which uses deep learning to make voice interactions more natural for complex interactions. The scenario used in the demo was Pet Match. Which basically matches the best suited dog to your lifestyle through a series of questions on whether you are looking for big / small, high energy / low energy, etc. During the demo, the user was asked for various attributes and then recommends the best match of breed.

At Pulsion we’ve written conversational chat-bots so understand the work involved in handling he various different states and scenarios an interaction can take and how these generally have to be coded around. With Alexa Conversations, less code has to be written and you present some sample conversations so the deep learning AI can learn how to interact with the user.

Overall a very interesting technology and you can see voice interaction and full blown conversations becoming more natural. For applications such as delivering advice, recommendations or customer service to users this technology will allow more human to human voice interactions to be moved to a human to AI model.

Innovation at Speed

This management level session covered how Amazon and AWS focus on continuous innovation and was delivered by Adrian Cockroft, VP of Cloud Architecture Strategy at AWS.

Adrian presented a number of themes to improve corporate performance and highlighted one of the major blockers. Ironically, the major blocker is that whilst many company boards want to innovate, they want to do this whilst taking no risk. Real innovation and zero risk are mutually exclusive. The lack of tech-savvy executives was also highlighted for companies missing opportunities to innovate.

Company culture, staff training and the speed of delivery were all presented as areas to address if an organisation wants to innovate with “time to value” being a measure of success used by Amazon.

Overall a very interesting presentation from someone who is not only senior at AWS but has also worked at Netflix.

We’ll add more updates from John throughout the week from re:Invent

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