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AWS Summit | Sydney 2019

Here is what I thought of the event and some cool takeaways

Key themes

  • How does the technology we have today, help us create tomorrow?
  • Imagine it, then build it using AWS bricks

The amazing

The work Dr Jordan Nguyen is doing around AI, Robotics and reshaping our world to improve the life of people with disabilities. You would know him from his TV show Becoming Superhuman, or his presentation at Telstra Vantage. A truly inspirational individual who is making a real difference – and a positive one – to the lives of many.

The Australian government has certified some 42 AWS services to run PROTECTED government workloads out of its Sydney region. So, what do you need to do to get access to this level of certified service? Nothing (if you run your workloads out of the Sydney region)! There is no difference between PROTECTED certified services for the Government or the same services consumed by anyone else. It is the same service!

The good

The event was disposable cup free. You could grab a free AWS water bottle and refill it at any of the many refill stations. All bins were clearly marked and there were event staff revisiting bins to ensure correct placement of rubbish.

Diversity numbers were up, and I mean that across age, race, and gender. I estimate around 20 percent of attendees were women, up to 30 percent were in their 20s or early 30s, but middle-aged men (myself included) still were the majority. However, if you are trying to hire a smart 20 something year old, come to this event next year.

Atlassian’s Futurist’s message around hiring for what he called Cognitive Diversity was spot on. He highlighted that great minds do not think alike. The fact that he focused on cognitive diversity versus age, race or gender (typical message) was in my opinion a message well received.

The AWS Student Track program had some 500 high school kids join the 22,000 regular attendees. I believe they all left the event feeling inspired which is great given that they are the future.

Attention and focus being put back on Skills, “Skills are the force multiplier”

This comment by SquarePeg’s co-founder in relation to Australia and Start-ups; “Our issue is not competence, it is confidence”

And finally, this comment by Glenn Gore; “Any Technology decisions that hold you back from innovating is Tech debt”

The bad

After having done such an amazing job reducing waste at the summit, I was stunned to find out there is no recycling program for the 22,000 plastic badges, plastic placards and lanyards created for the event!

The ugly

NONE! Well done AWS!

The cool

AWS created over 6,000 new major services and features in the last year. That is an unbelievable pace of change and innovation

Tye Brady Chief Technologist of Amazon Robotics talked about the present and future of robotics. He believes the future is in augmented or collaborative robotics where humans and robots each perform tasks best suited to their capabilities.

F1; so apparently there are over 60 people per team who look at the data generated by the cars. Every decision is made according to AI and data.

Tom Soderstrom, NASA’s CTO and his live chat from Florida. He is helping scientists to answer some basic (!) questions like; Are we alone? How do we divert an asteroid? Can we find Earth 2.0 and how did the Universe come to be and where is it going? These basic topics aside, and far more importantly, you can now build your own Mars Rover thanks to NASA

EA Sports, what great intro video. I guess the best way to get IT audience excited about anything, is a super cool action-packed video game.

AWS’s Deep Racer league and how it is not only advancing ML/AI but also robotics. In Australia, a large enterprise’s cloud guild has taken number 4 on the leaders’ board while a dude, at home, taught himself ML in a week and was number 2 on the table.

And to finish off…

Some random facts about QANTAS noted by their CTO and CEO;

Qantas are the oldest continuously operating airline in the world. Well done Qantas! They also have the biggest carbon offset program in the world! Double well done!!

They (their passengers) are also the biggest consumer of wine in Australia.

Project Sunrise – direct flights from Sydney to London – has sparked a race between Airbus and Boeing to see who can deliver this next generation aircraft to Qantas. The challenge however, is not just technical. Regulations, contracts, OH&S also need to be taken into account. It is estimated that this ambitious vision, has generated over $100m worth of free publicity for Qantas. Apparently, they were number two news article on Iranian state TV!

The Constellation system is saving Qantas millions of dollars in fuel costs.