Cloud

Amazon's roadmap for the future: 4 signposts for the tech industry

At the 2017 AWS re:Invent conference, Amazon CTO Werner Vogels spoke on the next-generation of 21st century architecture and how tech will change business.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) wants to build tools today that can be used to power the systems its customers want to deliver in 2020, Amazon CTO Werner Vogels said in a keynote address at the 2017 re:Invent conference in Las Vegas.

The talk Vogels gave focused on what he called 21st century architectures. The cloud, he said, has created an "egalitarian platform" and allowed more democratized access to next-generation technologies. And while much of what Vogels spoke on focused on Amazon products, there are some predictions that can impact the tech industry as a whole.

Here are four signposts from the keynote that business leaders should pay attention to.

SEE: Job description: Cloud engineer (Tech Pro Research)

1. Digital access will be human-centric

Interfaces like GUIs and typing have long dominated computing, but they just aren't natural, Vogels said. The future of computing, he said, will be driven by human-centric interactions—inputs that are more similar to how we communicate and interact with one another in everyday life.

The king of these interactions is voice, and Amazon bet big on this with its Alexa tools. However, Vogels said, voice will eventually be even more intuitive and useful, allowing a surgeon to ask questions of a device without taking her hands off of a patient, for example.

Voice will be the first step toward the next generation of computing, and will unlock even more access to digital initiatives, Vogels said.

2. Security is everyone's job

Vogels has long been a strong proponent of encryption, and his keynote address was no exception. During his talk, he went as far as to say that security is now "everyone's job" and one of the key tools in performing that job will be encryption.

"Encryption is the only tool you have to make sure you are the only one who has access to your data," Vogels said.

AWS offers options for protecting data with both server-side and client-side encryption. In the past, Vogels has spoken on customers he knows that have moved to 100% encryption, and language in his keynote seemed to suggest he felt this level of encryption may be necessary in the future of IT.

3. Data is the differentiator

What's really going to set organizations apart from their peers is the data they have, Vogels said. Vogels used the example of GE, which is a firm he said went to bed one night as a manufacturing company and work up as a digital company, based on its efforts in data use.

As hardware and software both become commoditized, data will be used to provide more contextual products and services to customers. Advanced efforts in machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), which AWS focused on during the first day of re:Invent, will further accelerate this trend.

4. Serverless is here

Being that AWS has made such a strong investment in serverless computing with its Lambda service, it's no surprise that Vogels touched on this during his talk. With the growth of microservices, though, serverless initiatives will likely take a more central role in development in the coming years.

Many future-focused efforts in infrastructure actually focus on removing or limiting the management of infrastructure itself. And serverless allows companies to build applications without provisioning, scaling, or managing servers. Serverless also allows for flexible scaling, high availability, and eliminating the need for idle capacity, which could help save money.

Also see

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Image: iStockphoto/spainter_vfx

About Conner Forrest

Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.

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