AWS re:Invent 2017 Highlights

Amazon’s annual AWS re:Invent conference, held last week in Las Vegas, did not disappoint. With over 40,000 global attendees and 500+ breakout sessions and workshops, the week was packed with a host of new product and service announcements from Amazon.

InspiringApps is committed to staying on the forefront of new cloud services and products that can benefit our clients, so we too were eager to tune in. While we can’t do justice in one blog post to the breadth of information we gathered, here’s our wrap-up of three new AWS products that our tech-savvy readers can start using now.

Elemental Media Services

For video producers, the Elemental suite of media services is an exciting product that allows content producers the ability to scale video workflows and simplify what used to be a labor-intensive process. At AWS re:Invent, Amazon announced the suite of five video processing tools that together help customers build, service, and monetize video streams within the cloud.

The suite aims to streamline the video production process which, up until now, has meant integrating with third party providers and building out expensive equipment to handle extra capacity. Elemental’s goal is to let producers offload this extra workload to the cloud and vastly reduce the price for using such tools.

The launch puts Elemental in direct competition with Google’s YouTube, which recently expanded its efforts to work with media companies and other content creators to build and host live streams and ad-based videos.

Amazon Sumerian

There was also considerable chatter at AWS re:Invent about the announcement of Amazon Sumerian. Sumerian is a new platform that allows developers to build and host VR, AR, and 3D apps quickly and with very little coding. The apps are designed to work seamlessly with smartphones, tablets, head-based displays, digital signage and web browsers.

AWS re:Invent
Amazon Sumerian Hosts

According to Marco Argenti, Vice President, Technology, AWS, “Customers across industries see the potential of VR and AR technologies for a wide range of uses, from educating and training employees to creating new customer experiences. But, customers are daunted and overwhelmed by the up-front investment in specialized skills and tools required to even get started building a VR or AR application. With Amazon Sumerian, it is now possible for any developer to create a realistic, interactive VR or AR application in a few hours.”

Alexa for Business

Updates to Alexa were also announced at AWS re:Invent, including a plan to bring Alexa into the corporate world with the Alexa for Business platform. The vision is that the platform will enable employees to work more efficiently and productively using voice technology. As with the Amazon Echo, developers can build their own “skills” for internal use within their own company, or develop skills for others.
AWS re:Invent - Alexa for Biz
Numerous potential uses have been envisioned. Some are tasks similar to those found in the home, like controlling temperature in a particular meeting room, adjusting the lights, or changing music. More business centric applications are also anticipated, such as accessing a company directory, managing work calendars, find open meeting rooms, or ordering supplies.

One of the first companies to hop on the Alexa for Business platform is WeWork. The co-working giant has used the platform for about a month for such tasks as reserving a conference room for meetings, asking when the next meeting is due to start, as well as allowing users to report a problem with a conference room using an integration with Zendesk.

The introduction of Alexa for Business includes the Alexa phone app, which enables users to access business information on their phones, outside of the building.

According to Amazon’s Chief Technology Officer Werner Vogels, “Once you are used to a more natural way of interacting with your environment, you will not go back. If voice is a natural way to interact with your home, why don’t we build something you can interact with at work as well?”

If you think these announcements from AWS re:Invent could impact an app you’d interested in creating, please contact us. We’d be happy to help.