Amazon is working overtime to whip up developer support and get start-ups to use the company’s technology. So this year Amazon Chief Technology Officer Werner Vogels is a scheduled speaker in the Enterprise Track at Web Summit in Dublin, which will gather an estimated 20,000 attendees, including entrepreneurs and developers.
Amazon has launched a program somewhat similar to Microsoft’s BizSpark that allows start-ups to build on AWS technology. Tell us more about it and how it fits with the company’s global strategy?
AWS Activate is a package of free resources for start-ups, including AWS credits, training, support, commu- nity forums and special partner offerings. We have been providing start-ups with all of these offerings but it was not part of a formal program. We decided to package all of our offers for start-ups together, which led us to launch AWS Activate in October 2013.
AWS Activate is organized into two tiers — a Self-Starter tier, open to any start-up, and an Accelerator tier open to start-ups in select accelerator, incubator, venture capital seed funds or entrepreneur organizations. Each tier offers customized packages with varied levels of re- sources. Start-ups like Hailo, Flipboard, Dropbox, WeTransfer and AirBnB are just a few examples of com- panies that are using AWS to grow their business.
Amazon has made a big push into Europe. What does this entail?
European customers were among the first to adopt AWS cloud technologies when we launched in 2006. In response to the growth in Europe we launched an AWS Region in November 2007, our first region outside of the U.S. This meant customers can now store their content and run their technology infrastructure in the EU with the assurance that AWS will not move it outside of the EU unless customers ask us to.
Since then we have been investing heavily in Europe, opening offices in cities such as London, Paris, Berlin, Stockholm, Tel Aviv, Madrid — just to name a few. As a result of AWS’s growth in the region we have seen cloud computing adopted by Europe’s fastest-growing start-ups, like Spotify, Soundcloud, Supercell, YPlan and Shazam, through to some of the region’s largest enter- prises, like Royal Dutch Shell, Schneider Electric, SAP, BP and Unilever, through to governments, education and research institutes, who are all using the AWS cloud.
Amazon has rolled out many developer tools to attract the developer community. How successful has the strategy been to date?
We have grown rapidly and now have hundreds of thousands of developers in over 190 countries using the services. Despite all of this we still think there is a lot of room left for AWS to grow. We believe that AWS has the potential to be the biggest business at Amazon.
How do you see cloud computing evolving?
We will begin to see data processing move to real time. Up until this point Big Data has very much focused on looking historically — ‘people who bought product X also bought product Y, the market moved in this direction last week so is likely to move in that direction now.’ But, as AWS is adding real-time processing capabilities, we see a rise in data analytics that is able to produce results for our customers in real time, radically changing the products they can build.
We will also start to see cloud-based analytics enhance the off-line world. The cloud is already the place where researchers collaborate on data that flows in real time from devices such as the Mars Rover or the Ilumina DNA sequencer into cloud storage. In the next 12 months expect an explosion in data generation by real-world devices and where that data is stored, analyzed and shared in the cloud. We will see a rise in the industrial cloud where industrial environments are equipped with sensors producing data to improve efficiency and reliability. An example is the project AWS runs with GE on instrumenting their gas turbines or with Shell where they are going to drop sensors in their oil wells; that will generate petabytes of data.
Cloud has changed how we interact with mobile devices. In the past content would be moved to the device; now devices are just a window to content and services in the cloud. In the next 12 months expect to see this approach migrating to non-mobile devices such as Samsung Smart TVs, treadmills and others.