AWS London Summit heralds user opportunity during times of crisis

AWS Summit London keynote stage

London is calling for the AWS Summit – here’s what you need to know from this year’s conference.

AWS has announced Amazon Bedrock is to be made available for UK regional customers. This news marks the 7th region for the managed AI service, joining Frankfurt and Paris European availability, as well as Tokyo and several regions in the US. There’s surely promise of more to come too, with AWS hosting nine further global summits, continuing next month.

It follows a fresh set of updates to Amazon Bedrock, AWS’ GenAI foundational model and application build service. The releases include the general availability of Meta Llama 3 (featuring a training dataset seven times larger than used for the Llama 2 models). Additional guardrails are also in the release, in the form of safety filters and privacy controls, as well as model evaluation capabilities to help customer LM selection process. Moreover, AWS has shared Titan image generator and watermark detection capabilities, and introduced Agents for Amazon Bedrock, allowing users to build automation solutions for running tasks across multiple systems and data sources.

Lastly for Bedrock, a custom model update has been made available in preview, enabling the import of custom weights for supported model architectures.

Customer wins in times of crisis

Tanuja Randery, VP and MD EMEA at AWS opened the keynote talks, focusing on the topic of pace, and the “unique and unusual growth opportunities” that come in times of crisis. No doubt a timely topic given current global happenings from geopolitical conflict, climate crisis, cost of living and, well, ERP Today could go on.

With the UK Bedrock launch, customer stories came in thick and fast in the keynotes to back this claim.

Adobe has credited Bedrock and other AWS solutions with supporting the generation of more than five billion images in the last 11 months. Lonely Planet, the travel guide firm, has also announced an almost 80 percent cost reduction in itinerary generation thanks to the service.

From the payments network firm, Zilch CEO and co-founder Philip Belamant
spoke on its freshly deepened collaboration with AWS and shared the firm is now focusing on AI with Bedrock and Amazon SageMaker, the cloud-based machine-learning platform. It follows five years of previous AI deployment with AWS. The collab is currently targeting use cases across fraud credit, customer service and buyer intent protection, and has announced a saving of more than £0.5bn for customers’ fees and interest payments – and counting – with thanks to AWS technology. Zilch also unveiled it intends to use AWS GenAI tools to generate images and video within its services to improve its commerce experiences.

Moreover, following the launch of Amazon Q chatbot service back in November last year, AWS has now shared how one customer, BT Group, has reported over 100k lines of code generated in the first four months, automating 12 percent of its team’s workload.


Climate opportunities with the cloud?

Under the banner of “technology for good, customer experience and productivity”, AWS has also reaffirmed its climate promises, claiming its original target of operating on 100 percent renewable energy by 2030 is still set to come five years ahead of time, by 2025, and its “water positive” commitment remains on track for 2030.

Beyond the vendor’s own targets, the EMEA AWS leader showcased research by 451 Research that moving to AWS’ cloud data services has the potential to reduce carbon emissions from workloads by up to 96 percent come 2025.

It follows the Sage and AWS collaboration from back in February to help Sage’s two million SME customers create AI-powered reporting solutions for tracking carbon emissions – Sage Earth.

Randery voiced in the keynotes: “My customers tell me, how do we become more energy efficient? And I say it’s very simple – move to the cloud.”

The EMEA leader’s claim also comes with research stating that 85 percent of workloads are still on-premise, with a lack of digital skills cited as the main reason as only 13 percent of UK businesses can find applicants with the right technology skills, and 37 percent say this is increasing the cost of doing business.


AWS training promises

Elsewhere, AWS has also reaffirmed its promise to ensure 29 million globally are trained on its systems by 2025 through AWS Skill Builder, AWS Educate and AWS re/Start, with 1.1 million people already trained in the UK since 2017.

TUI Holidays is one such customer taking advantage here, announcing at the London Summit that 90 percent of its global staff are now trained on AWS skills and are currently training on AWS AI tools.

TUI’s CTO, Pieter Jordaan was clear in the travel company’s mission: “To achieve something big you need to leave comfort and break the norm.”

Since shutting down 50 percent of its AWS workloads during the pandemic, TUI chose to go “all in” with AWS, harnessing the downtime to rapidly deploy technology.

Migrating all of its call centers to AWS Connect, TUI shared it has cut call center complaint time in half and saved the equivalent of £8.5 million in costs. Leveraging cloud data and AI from AWS, TUI is now looking to generate SEO-optimized, personalized content at scale, roll out Amazon Q to 2000 of its engineers, and redefine a personalized travel experience for its customers.

 “Responsible” AI to place customer choice front and center

As with AWS’ marketplace offerings, the vendor’s approach to AI looks to be no different, with a whole lot of options being placed at the center of AI services.

“Customer choice is important […because] no one model will rule them all,” said Francessca Vasquez, VP professional services and GenAI innovation center, AWS. “These models will continue to evolve […] different models, at different times for different use cases.”

Alongside the new customizable requirements and responsible policies capabilities with Bedrock, AWS has again assured that the AI service will remain compliant with all HIPAA and GDPR security and protection requirements for the European market.

It comes also as Thomson Reuters announces a new AI solution for tax research in collaboration with AWS, Checkpoint Edge with CoCounsel, joining its flagship legal AI product, Westlaw Precision, launched last year.

Speaking on UK AI momentum, Vasquez affirmed, “London, there has never been a better time to be a builder”. But stressed that “good AI” comes from “good data”, and all that “starts with getting data in the cloud”.

“Every modern business is a data business,” Vasquez concluded, with big questions to inspire attendees: “What you are inventing today and tomorrow will have a profound impact on the globe and people’s lives. What magic with you go off and build?”

From focusing on the cost-of-living last year, to now urging its customers to seek out new technology opportunities, AWS is out to prove its fingers are on the pulse of user problems and concerns. Said to account for the largest slice of the IaaS customer base globally, will this realistic approach convince more users to invest in a permacrisis? Are you convinced?