“Rather than slowing us down, 2020 accelerated our shift to a digital world. From my vantage point, 2021 will be a launchpad for all kinds of change.”Dr Werner Vogels, VP & CTO, Amazon.
Amazon has seen a tremendous growth with its cloud operations fueled by innovation in the machine learning and the chip department. One thing that Amazon does well is forecasting the customer’s needs and adjusting to changing markets. The top brass of the company, Dr Werner Vogels, CTO, Amazon has picked eight trends that are going to rule 2021. Here we take a look at a few of those.
Death Of The Keyboard & All Things Virtual
On an average day, 80% of messages on Twitter contain some kind of image or video or are just an image or video. This highlights that people are exploring new ways of interacting with each other. Videos, images and audio are slowly replacing the traditional form of communication. This shift to “natural form of communication”, as Dr Vogels puts it, will also enable greater equity when it comes to accessing services and information. This, in turn, will generate more data and will eventually lead to a rise in demand for exceptional cloud services.
Zoom calls, virtual conferences, remote classrooms and what not — virtual ecosystems have gone mainstream in 2020. Dr Vogels believes that this trend will continue next year as well, and with the help from advanced data analytics, organisations can enhance their virtual setups.
In 2021, believes Dr Vogels, remote work will become more common and might even turn out to be a better option for some. While he agrees that it is important to send kids back to classrooms, he asserts that remote classrooms give school systems the flexibility to respond to unforeseen events — whether it be pandemics, natural disasters, or man-made calamities — to continue student education.
“We don’t need a global health crisis for online classes to make sense. Having remote work options widely available at any time means that kids can stay home when they’re sick without falling behind. Or what if there’s no school to go to at all? If there’s an internet connection, there’s the possibility for some type of education,” explained Dr Vogels.
Machine Learning On Edge
“As machine learning continues to expand, we will also see an explosion in machine-to-machine connections.”
Whether in healthcare or other applications, wrote Dr Vogels, the only realistic way to handle all the information is to use ingestion and aggregation tools, married to ML models. Machine learning applications, historically have faced roadblocks due their compute intense nature. The modern integrated hardware-software solutions, however, open up new avenues for ML to be leveraged. The advent of edge computing, especially, has made this possible. Dr Vogels believes that more institutions will move towards the edge in 2021.
“We will see ML embedded on production lines, able to spot production anomalies in real-time. In agriculture, machine learning models will help farmers manage precious resources, such as soil and water, more intelligently,” he added. ML models on edge devices can also help predict natural hazards like wildfires and other disasters with time series calculations on the ground — rather than back in a central data centre.
AWS offers its customers a wide range of ML features that can cater to all the growing demands of the coming year. For example, AWS Sagemaker — its flagship service — has added a total of 250 features this year alone.
And, Obviously – Cloud
“Driverless cars become real, and you can have more natural conversations with services like Alexa.”
2020 accelerated the shift to a digital world, and the “cloud everywhere” trend has enabled this. Dr Vogels is optimistic that this trend will soon expand to countries such as Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa —to lead the way. On the other hand, in the US, only 47% of small and medium businesses have their own website, and Dr Vogels expects this number to grow in 2021.
Today, cloud-based applications are leveraged on parts on earth. Be it the shipping industry or the aircraft management or even for driverless cars, the cloud is everywhere. Now, the next frontier, according to the CTO, would be to tap into “space-real estate.”
AWS has a presence in regions that enabled cloud technologies to be closer than ever to customers across the world. For instance, AWS Snowball is helping customers to gather petabytes of data from the slopes of volcanoes in Hawaii and research centres in Antarctica. While AWS Outposts extends cloud infrastructure and tools into offices, AWS Local Zones takes infrastructure close to customers and helps those in urban areas to rapidly shrink their cumbersome datacenters.
AWS By the numbers:
- 24 regions with 77 availability zones.
- Six announced regions.
- 18 announced availability zones.
- More than 220 edge network locations (eight new countries in 2020).
- 108 AWS direct connect locations
- “Cloud is everywhere” trend will have a wider reach across the globe in 2021.
- Space will be the area where we see some of the greatest advancements when it comes to cloud technologies.
- By moving towards the edge, we will see in the coming year acceleration of the adoption of ML models across industries and government.
- New online payment platforms are built in the cloud, and whose underlying encryption and ledger systems — like blockchain — are cloud-based as well.
- Small and micro businesses in South East Asia, which account for 99% of all businesses, will see an increased online penetration. AWS has a great presence in these regions.
- 2021 will be the year the quantum computer starts to bloom.
Check the full list here.