Amazon today announced a new program that will make it free for tens of thousands of Alexa developers to build and host most Alexa skills using Amazon Web Services (AWS). Many Alexa skill developers currently take advantage of the AWS Free Tier, which offers one million AWS Lambda requests and up to 750 hours of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) compute time per month at no charge. However, if developers exceed the AWS Free Tier limits, they may incur AWS usage fees each month.

Now, developers with a live Alexa skill can apply to receive a $100 AWS promotional credit and can earn an additional $100 per month in AWS promotional credits if they incur AWS usage charges for their skill – making it free for developers to build and host most Alexa skills. Our goal is to free up developers to create more robust and unique skills that can take advantage of AWS services. We can't wait to see what you create.

How It Works

If you have one or more live Alexa skills, you are eligible to receive a $100 AWS promotional credit to be used toward AWS fees incurred in connection with your skills. Additionally, if you continue to incur skill-related AWS charges that exceed the initial $100 promotional credit, you will also be eligible to receive monthly AWS promotional credits of $100. All you need to do is apply once. Apply Now >

Build and Host Alexa Skills with AWS

With the new program, if you exceed the AWS Free Tier due to growth of your skill, or are looking to scale your skill using AWS services, you will be eligible to receive AWS promotional credits to be applied to AWS services such as Amazon EC2, Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), Amazon DynamoDB, and Amazon CloudFront.

For example, you can use DynamoDB to create more engaging skills that have context and memory. In a game with memory, you could pause for a few hours and then keep going (like the Wayne Investigation, or Sub War). Or, to give your customers a more immersive experience, consider incorporating audio files via Amazon S3 to stream short audio bursts, games, podcasts, or news stories in your skill. Many of our most engaging skills, like Ambient Noise and RuneScape Quests – One Piercing Note, add audio sounds to soothe and voiceovers and sound effects to make the in-game experience more immersive.

Build a Skill Today - Special Offers

Our skill templates and step-by-step guides are a valuable way to quickly learn the end-to-end process for building and publishing an Alexa skill. You can get started quickly with the city guide template or fact skill template, or use the Alexa SDK for Node.js on GitHub to create a custom skill. Plus, if you publish a skill, you'll receive an Alexa dev t-shirt. Quantities are limited. See Terms and Conditions.

Additional Resources

For more information on getting started with developing for Alexa, check out the following resources:

How companies can become magnets for digital talent

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This article titled "Wie Unternehmen digitale Talente anziehen" appeared in German last week in the "Tipps für Arbeitgeber" section of Wirtschaftwoche.

The rise in digital business models is a huge challenge for recruiting and talent selection. The sort of skills businesses need today are in short supply. How companies can prepare themselves to attract the best talents for shaping their digital business.

Digitalization offers almost endless possibilities to communicate faster, work more efficiently, and be more creative – in real-time. But groundbreaking digital business models need pioneers: creators, forward-looking thinkers and inventors who don't hesitate to leave the beaten path, embody ownership, and who understand how to translate customers' wishes into superb new products, services and solutions that evolve with speed. It is a no-brainer, that getting the right talent on board can decisively accelerate a company's digital transformation. At the same time, if your daily corporate practice doesn't fulfill their expectations regarding a vibrant and flexible working culture and a social media-minded environment, digital natives will simply turn their back on you and go elsewhere.

Finding those kind of people is not easy. There are probably only a few companies that can say, they already have a sufficient number of such employees among their staff. Job openings for machine learning scientists, data analytics experts, IT security experts or developers are already difficult to fill, and the demand for this knowledge will increase significantly in the next few years as customers show their demand for digital engagements. The market for digital skills is "hot", in the U.S. as well as in Germany. And these talents are by no means coveted only by companies that always had a digital business model to begin with; suppliers to the automotive industry, financial services companies, and retailers also, urgently need product managers, and technical staff who can quickly make their organizations digitally attractive to their customers. Recruiting and selection in the digital age therefore needs to be tackled in a more strategic way than in the past. So how do you position your company as an attractive employer for digital talent?

Preparing the organization for a new beginning

One way is to eliminate rigid structures, previously the enemy to digital thinking. Digitalization involves, among others, suddenly converging areas that used to be siloed. Take industrial companies. In the past, their sales departments defined specifications according to the customer's wishes, which were then transferred step by step into the manufacturing process. These days, it's expected that everything should happen almost simultaneously. Previously, the top priorities for IT departments were equipping data centers with hardware, purchasing software, and further developing proprietary software. Today, companies take their server capacity and software from the cloud. These changes have to be taken into account when scanning the market for talent. At Düsseldorf-based fashion retailer Peek&Cloppenburg, for example, the business, development and IT functions are increasingly cooperating with each other because they realize that isolated departments and rigid hierarchies can slow down the organization's innovative strength and speed. That is also why employees have more and more room to make decisions themselves. P&C's digital transformation is supported by an in-house consulting team that helps the specialized departments analyze and digitize those processes that strengthen the customer touchpoints.

The freedom to create

Another way to make your company attractive for digital talent is to give them as much creative freedom as possible AutoScout24, a Munich-based online marketplace for car, motorcycle and utility vehicle sales is a digital native company. Recognizing that it needed faster decision making, AutoScout24 started to empower employees who are close to their customers. The company created small and agile cross-functional teams with profit and loss responsibility for their market segments. These measures eliminated dependencies amongst business units, increased self-responsibility, eased communication processes and improved overall organizational alignment.

Showcase your best talent – and give them what they need

It's important to encourage the employees you already have, provide them with resources and let them decide things themselves. They should be able to follow their ideas and feel accountable for them. Offering regular development opportunities can also help you make the most of your talent. In most cases, you won't select a learning offer from a general training catalog, as in the pre-digital era. Development will have to be customized for each individual. That might be a course, the opportunity to lead a project, or gaining new insights by working in another part of the company.

Some companies have created cross-business-unit roles such as the Chief Digital Officer (CDO) in order to connect everything that needs to be thought of in a unified way in the digital world. Their responsibilities include defining future growth areas, spearheading change processes and allocating resources in a new way so that the company is ready to face the digital era and address the ever-changing customer expectation. They need to find allies who possess enough digital know-how to ensure the company can take advantage of the opportunities that stem from new technologies.

Wanted: Employees with a mixed skill set

Another way to attract the best digital talent is to keep an eye out for applicants who bring a diverse mix of skills. We hear again and again, and not only in Germany, how scarce IT experts and engineers are. At the same time, you need to discuss what role a person who designs cars for example, will play in the value chain in a future world in which the car manufacturer will probably earn most of its money with data and mobility services. How this affects the required skills mix needs to be defined and assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Two things are crucial here. First, you need talented individuals who want to be customer-centric and who are able to cross the traditional (internal) customer and IT organizational boundaries in order to truly feel what customers want. In some cases, it could be helpful to even 'embed' your employees at the customerfor a period of time. Secondly, it's clear, that digital business models require experts who view data as an essential element of future value creation — regardless of the specific expertise they bring to the company.

Create room for adventure

Finally, be aware of the impact of your culture. Today's digital talent seeks adventure and a job that gives them meaning. The more comfortable they feel in the workplace, the more willing they will be to work harder for your company's success. And they want to be surrounded by similarly minded colleagues. Companies must ensure their culture can meet these expectations. A company can differentiate itself on culture also by taking a strong stand on issues that are of concern to their employees, and by having a leadership principles that are not just on paper, but reflected within the employees every day. At Amazon, we stand for a culture where failure is explicitly allowed — and even desired — because in our experience the path to transformational innovations can never be straight and failure is a sign of progressive thinking. That's why we need candidates who love to experiment, who are prepared to take other paths, and who are energetic enough to quickly find a way out of a dead-end. Our leadership principles also play a critical role; they describe in detail what is important to us. Everyone can find these values on our website, and they apply to everyone. We expect our employees to focus constantly on the customers' needs and to continuously improve themselves. That can be inconvenient. But to thrive, innovations need a certain tension.

Digitalization is happening fast. That shouldn't be an excuse for taking shortcuts in recruiting. Jeff Bezos once said: " I'd rather interview 50 people and not hire anyone than hire the wrong person ." In the end, only a carefully planned and executed HR strategy will allow a company to achieve the digital transformation and develop it in such a way that it fulfills the company's long-term goals .

Back-to-Basics Weekend Reading: The Foundations of Blockchain

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More and more we see stories appearing, like this one in HBR by MIT Media Lab's Joi Ito and crew. It praises the power of blockchain as a disruptive technology, on par with how "the internet" changed everything.

I am always surprised to see that these far-reaching predictions are made, without diving into the technology itself. This weekend I would like to read about some of the technologies that predate blockchain, as they are its fundamental building blocks.

Blockchain technology first came on the scene in 2008, as a core component of the bitcoin cryptocurrency. Blockchain provides transactional, distributed ledger functionality that can operate without a centralized, trusted authority. Updates recorded in the ledger are immutable, with cryptographic time-stamping to achieve serializability. Blockchain's robust, decentralized functionality is very attractive for global financial systems, but can easily be applied to contracts, or operations such as global supply chain tracking.

When we look at the foundation of blockchain, there are three papers from the nineties that describe different components whose principles found its way into blockchain. The 91 paper by Haber and Stornetta describes how to use crypto signatures to time-stamp documents. The 98 paper by Schneier and Kelsey describes how to use crypto to protect sensitive information in log files on untrusted machines. Finally, the 96 paper by Ross Anderson describes a decentralized storage system, from which recorded updates cannot be deleted.

I hope these will enlighten your fundamental understanding of blockchain technology.

"How to Time-Stamp a Digital Document", Stuart Haber, and W. Scott Stornetta, In Advances in Cryptology – Crypto ’90, pp. 437–455. Lecture Notes in Computer Science v. 537, Springer-Verlag, Berlin 1991.

"Cryptographic Support for Secure Logs on Untrusted Machines", Bruce Schneier, and John Kelsey, in The Seventh USENIX Security Symposium Proceedings, pp. 53–62. USENIX Press, Januar 1998.

"The Eternity Service", Ross J. Anderson. Pragocrypt 1996.

"Everything fails, all the time." A humble computer scientist once said. With all the resources we have today, it is easier for us to achieve fault-tolerance than it was many decades ago when computers began playing a role in critical systems such as health care, air traffic control and financial market systems. In the early days, the thinking was to use a hardware approach to achieve fault-tolerance. It was not until the mid-nineties that software fault-tolerance became more acceptable.

Tandem Computer was one of the pioneers in building these fault-tolerant, mission-critical systems. They used a shared-nothing multi-cpu approach. This is where each CPU had its own memory- and io-bus, and all were connected through a replicated shared bus, over which the independent OS instances could communication and run in lock step. In the late seventies and early eighties, this was considered state of the art in fault-tolerance.

Jim Gray, the father of concepts like transactions, worked for Tandem on software fault-tolerance. To be able to build better systems, he went deep in deconstructing the kind of failures Tandem customers were experiencing. He wrote up his findings in his "Why do Computers Stop" report. For a very longtime, this would be the only study available on reliability in production computer systems.

As important as the study is, the paper additionally covers "What can be done about it." Jim, for the first time, introduces concepts like process-pairs and transactions as the basis for software fault-tolerance. This is one of the fundamental papers of fault-tolerance in distributed systems, and I am going to enjoy reading it this weekend. I hope you will also.

"Why Do Computers Stop and What Can Be Done About It?", Jim Gray, June 1985, Tandem Technical report 85.7

Back-to-Basics Weekend Reading: Byzantine Generals

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In Reliable Distribution Systems, we need to handle different failure scenarios. Many of those deal with message loss and process failure. However, there is a class of scenarios that deal with malfunctioning processes, which send out conflicting information. The challenge is developing algorithms that can reach an agreement in the presence of these failures.

Lamport described that he was frustrated with the attention that Dijkstra had gotten for describing a computer science problem as the story of dining philosophers. He decided the best way to attract attention to a particular distributed systems problem was to present it in terms of a story; hence, the Byzantine Generals.

Abstractly, the problem can be described in terms of a group of generals of the Byzantine army, who camped with their troops around an enemy city. Communicating only by messenger, the generals were required to agree upon a common battle plan. However, one or more of them may be traitors who would try to confuse the others. The problem is: to find an algorithm that ensures the loyal generals will reach an agreement.

It is shown, using only oral messages, this problem is solvable if and only if more than two-thirds of the generals are loyal. So, a single traitor can confound two loyal generals. With unforgeable written messages, the problem is solvable for any number of generals and possible traitors. This weekend, I will be going back in time and reading three fundamental papers that laid-out the problems, and its first solutions. In the SIFT paper, the problem is first described, the "reaching agreement" paper describes the fundamental 3n+1 processor solution, and the last paper reviews and generalizes the previous results.

Maybe you will enjoy them as well. "SIFT: Design and Analysis of a Fault-Tolerant Computer for Aircraft Control" John H. Wensley, Leslie Lamport, Jack Goldberg, Milton W. Green, Karl N. Levitt, P. M. Melliar-Smith, Robert E. Shostak, Charles B. Weinstock, in Proceedings of the IEEE 66, October 5, 1978

"Reaching Agreement in the Presence of Faults" M. Pease, R. Shostak, and L. Lamport, 1980, J. ACM 27, 2 (April 1980), 228-234.

"The Byzantine Generals Problem", Lamport, L.; Shostak, R.; Pease, M. (1982), ACM Transactions on Programming Languages and Systems. 4 (3): 382–401. doi:10.1145/357172.357176.

Back-to-Basic Weekend Reading: Monte-Carlo Methods

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I always enjoy looking for solutions to difficult challenges in non-obvious places. That is probably why I like using probabilistic techniques for problems that appear to be hard, or impossible to solve deterministically. The probabilistic approach may not result in the perfect result, but it may get you very close, and much faster than deterministic techniques (which may even be computationally impossible).

Some of the earliest approaches using probabilities in physics experiments resulted in the Monte Carlo methods. Their essential idea is using randomness to solve problems that might be deterministic in principle. These are a broad class of computational algorithms that rely on repeated random sampling to obtain numerical results.

The Monte Carlo methods can be traced back to Stanislaw Ulam, John van Neuman, and Nick Metropolis at the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory in the late 40s. The Monte Carlo methods were crucial in the simulations of the Manhattan Project, given the limited computational power available in those days

The paper I will be reading this weekend is the original paper from 1949, by Metropolis and Ulam. For fun, I’ve also decided to add a second paper by Herbert Anderson, who was a member of the Manhattan project. Anderson’s paper describes the use of Monte Carlo methods, and the computers in the Manhattan project.

The Monte Carlo Method”, Nicholas Metropolis, S. Ulam, Journal of the American Statistical Association, Vol. 44, No. 247. (Sep., 1949), pp. 335-341.

"Metropolis, Monte Carlo and the MANIAC", Anderson, Herbert L., Los Alamos Science, (1986) 14: 96–108.

Back-to-Basics Weekend Reading - Bloom Filters

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Listening to the "Algorithms to Live By" audio on my commute this morning, once again I was struck by the beauty of Bloom Filters. So, I decided it is time to resurrect the 'Back-to-Basics Weekend Reading' series, as I will be re-reading some fundamental CS papers this weekend.

In the past, I have done some weekend reading about Counting Bloom Filters, but now I am going even more fundamental, and I invite you to join me.

Bloom Filters, conceived by Burton Bloom in 1970, are probabilistic data structures to test whether an item is in a set. False positives are possible, but false negatives are not. Meaning, if a bit in the filter is not set, you can be sure the item is not in the set. If it is in the set, the mapped item may be in the set.

This is a hugely important technique if you need to process and track massive amounts of unique data units, as it is very space-efficient. From Dynamo and Postgresql, to HBase and Bitcoin, Bloom Filters are used in almost all modern distributed systems. This weekend I will be reading the original paper by Bloom from 1970, and another more recent survey paper that describes several variants and applications that have been developed over the years.

"Space/Time Trade-offs in Hash Coding with Allowable Errors", Bloom, Burton H., in Communications of the ACM, 13 (7): 422–426

"Cache-, Hash- and Space-Efficient Bloom Filters", Putze, F.; Sanders, P.; Singler, J., in Demetrescu, Camil, Experimental Algorithms, 6th International Workshop, WEA 200

A survival strategy for the digital transformation

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This article titled "Überlebensstrategie für die digitale Transformation" appeared in German last week in the "Die Zukunft beginnt heute (the future starts today)" section of Wirtschaftwoche.

Smaller companies have a lot to gain in the digital era – provided they adopt the right mindset. The winners will be those that view their business from the eyes of their customers and understand that fast-paced innovation is the key to long-term growth. With this mindset they can take on even the largest enterprises who are slow to adapt to the fast moving digital reality.

The digital era is here. Companies that haven't realized that by now will fall behind. In many industry segments and markets, for example, platform services, we've already witnessed how start-ups and niche providers have unleashed a revolution. Companies that used to be dominant but stare at all the changes around them for too long in a state of paralysis can quickly end up in a struggle to survive – look no further than the entertainment and music industry where streaming services have eaten a significant piece of the cake of the hard-copy providers. The better you understand why and how small and medium-sized players can conquer global markets, you'll be better positioned to come out as a winner.

Digitalization allows even the smallest companies to think big because it puts technology into their hands that was previously hard to access and too costly to acquire. But adopting modern technologies alone is not enough to win the market battle. However, when new technologies are combined with a passion for putting the interests of the customer at the heart of everything you do, they can give agile companies that decisive push to the front of the pack. And Mittelstand companies have fantastic opportunities, provided they digitize more of their existing business models. Especially in manufacturing-based industries, introducing more software that complements hardware can eliminate fixed costs and allow you to quickly scale up to a global level. Companies that embrace this can rise to become leading players, taking the place previously reserved for the 'big shots' in their industries.

Digitalization starts with having the right mindset: namely one aimed at creating innovative digital experiences. Continuous customer-centric experimentation has been the leading principle at Amazon from the start, in both our e-commerce activities as well as in Amazon Web Services. We found out that by organizing our innovation efforts around customers' needs, we could innovate very fast. Since 2006, Amazon Web Services has introduced far more than 2,500 new services and features, and around 90% of them were the result of wishes articulated directly by customers.

The first requirement for developing an innovation mindset is to adapt your offerings fast to changing customer behavior. There are great examples of German companies that already do this. One is Vorwerk and its all-in-one cooking machine, called Thermomix. This premium product has been on the market for more than 50 years. But the way people cook today is different than in the 1960s. Today, cooking must be convenient, fast, and healthy. People want to prepare meals without too much effort, yet some appreciate a bit of guidance during the entire cooking process, from picking a new recipe from Vorwerk's cloud-based database to putting the finished meal on the table.

Companies that want to adopt a digital innovation mindset should start leaving their comfort zone – even if they don't (yet) feel any pressure to change. Or put another way: they have to develop an inner drive to not just deliver on their customers' changing needs, but rather anticipate them.

A company that does this very well is SKF, the global market leader in ball bearings and a supplier to many industries. SKF keeps the strategy of its clients in mind at all times and tries to think along with them. For example, wind turbine operators. SKF will ask itself: What are the critical, vulnerable issues in their business model? Doing maintenance on wind turbines is a complicated affair because they are located so far apart from each other. At the same time, the wind turbines have to work reliably whenever the wind conditions are ideal. So SKF takes the initiative to develop services outside its own core business. In this case, it offers ways for wind farm operators to operate and maintain their sites from any location using cloud solutions.

Digitization opens up new opportunities for companies to create value. So adopting a digital innovation mindset will automatically lead you to start thinking what kind of value you would like to add to a market in the future. Beckhoff, a leading supplier of automation technology devices, is a great example in this context. The firm developed a solution that sends data about mission-critical systems from the shop floor of their customers into the cloud. The cloud connection opens a two-way street, a bi-directional connection: All of a sudden Beckhoff's customers can receive and analyze data from their machines via the cloud, which enables them to operate their manufacturing or fulfill maintenance tasks from anywhere in the world. By offering a solution like this, Beckhoff is not only transforming itself from a hardware producer to a software provider, but also serving as the catalyst for the business transformation of its customers. This shift will allow Beckhoff to claim a new position in the value chain.

Entrenching a digital innovation mindset in your company won't happen overnight. However, as the growing number of firms that have been successful in the digital era by adopting this mindset proves, it's worth the effort. In the end it means you won't just merely survive all the changes happening around you. Instead you will lay the foundation for a bright future.

Expanding the AWS Cloud Introducing the AWS Europe (London) Region

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In November 2015, Amazon Web Services announced that it would launch a new AWS infrastructure region in the United Kingdom. Today, I'm happy to announce that the AWS Europe (London) Region, our 16th technology infrastructure region globally, is now generally available for use by customers worldwide.

UK companies are using AWS to innovate across diverse industries, such as energy, manufacturing, medicaments, retail, media, and financial services and the UK is home to some of the world's most forward-thinking businesses. These include startups like Fanduel, JustEat, and Monzo to enterprises such as British Gas, Trainline, Travis Perkins, News UK, the Financial Times.

The British Government is also helping to drive innovation and has embraced a cloud-first policy for technology adoption. Take Peterborough City Council as an example. The council has deployed IoT Weather Stations in Schools across the City and is using the sensor information collated in a Data Lake to gain insights on whether the weather or pollution plays a part in learning outcomes.

London has also established itself as a critical center for the financial services sector and a significant hub for venture capital activity across all Europe. The City's thriving venture capital and start-up accelerator communities are fueling growth and innovation, making it one of the most important locations in the world to do business. AWS is working with incubators and accelerators such as SeedCamp and Techstars, in London; Ignite100 in Newcastle; and DotForge in Sheffield and Manchester to help startups make the most of the cloud.

We believe in our customers and are investing for the long term. With the AWS Europe (London) Region, we look to better serve end users in the UK. With the launch of the AWS Europe (London) Region, AWS can enable many more UK enterprise, public sector and startup customers to reduce IT costs, address data locality needs, and embark on rapid transformations in critical new areas, such as big data analysis and Internet of Things.

All around us we see that the AWS capabilities foster a culture of experimentation with businesses of all sizes. AWS is not only affordable but it is secure and scales reliably to drive efficiencies into business transformations. I have been humbled by just how much our UK customers have been able to achieve using AWS technology so far. In just this past month we've had HSBC, ARM, Missguided, and most recently at re:Invent 2016, Trainline, talking with us about how they are using AWS to transform and scale their businesses.

Following are just a few of the reasons that customers have given us for building their business on the AWS Cloud:

  • Blend seamlessly into the digital world: With the rising importance of technology-driven business transformation, an emphasis on certain enterprise and consumer-based opportunities emerges.

    To take advantage of the game-changing opportunities, businesses are looking to blend into the digital world. Take GoSquared, a UK startup that runs all its development and production processes on AWS, as an example. GoSquared provides various analytics services that web and mobile companies can use to understand their customers' behaviors. With AWS, GoSquared can process tens of billions of data points every day from four continents to provide customers with a single view.

  • Use catalysts for real-time business models: The Internet of Things (IoT) is undoubtedly driving a philosophy of interconnecting people, process, and machines to create massive volumes of data that has potential for disruptive change.

    The BMW Group is using AWS for its new connected-car application that collects sensor data from BMW 7 Series cars to give drivers dynamically updated map information. BMW built its new car-as-a-sensor (CARASSO) service in only six months leveraging several AWS services. By running on AWS, CARASSO can adapt to rapidly changing load requirements that can scale up and down by two orders of magnitude within 24 hours. By 2018, CARASSO is expected to process data collected by a fleet of 100,000 vehicles traveling more than eight billion kilometers.

  • Mobilize business operations by computing everywhere: Computing and data processing within the confines of a data center or office is easy. There is much interesting and potentially valuable data out in the field, if only it could be collected, processed, and turned into actionable intelligence.

    This data could be located miles below the surface of the Earth in a mine or an oil well, in a sensitive and safety-critical location like a hospital or a factory, or even on another planet. At re:Invent 2016, AWS announced Greengrass (in limited preview), a new service designed to extend the AWS programming model to small, simple, field-based devices.

  • Parse real time information to generate visibility : Big data tools have enabled organizations to manage resources, anticipate activity relevant to their business, and make informed decisions faster. Real-time monitoring and evaluation of events have led to a positive impact on performance or operations.

    Channel 4 (in the UK) chose AWS to help monetize volumes of platform data. By running on AWS and using Amazon EMR, the broadcast company can collect and analyze vast amounts of data in real time to deliver highly targeted ads to viewers during a 60-minute program.

  • Extract valuable insights with machine learning: The world is witnessing the emergence of a broad and powerful range of new systems—computer programs that can teach themselves to grow and change when exposed to new data.

    Fraud.net is a good example of this. Fraud.net use AWS to support highly scalable, big data applications that run machine learning processes for real-time analytics. Fraud.net uses AWS to build and train machine learning models in detecting online payment fraud. Fraud.net uses Amazon Machine Learning to provide more than 20 machine learning models and relies on Amazon DynamoDB and AWS Lambda to run code without provisioning or managing servers.

  • Develop the next-generation software application that is capable of action: Chances are that you may already be using artificial intelligence as you interact with applications that not only sense and comprehend but are capable of action, especially when one views solutions through the lens of automation.

    The Airbnb application, for instance, uses Aerosolve to deliver its dynamic pricing feature. Unbabel uses a combination of artificial intelligence and human translation to deliver fast, cost-effective, high-quality translation services globally. VizSense is yet another paragon that develops advanced visual search and image recognition solutions to serve companies in e-commerce, mobile commerce, and online advertising.

These short sketches illustrate the power of the cloud for customers, but it is still early days. With the launch of the AWS Europe (London) Region, I look forward to seeing many more innovative use cases enabled by AWS.

Our AWS Europe (London) Region is open for business now and we are excited to offer a complete portfolio of services—from our foundational service stack for compute, storage, and networking to our more advanced solutions and applications. We look forward to broadening this portfolio to include more services over the next several quarters.

For more information about the services we offer in our London region, see the Europe/Middle East/Af rica tab of our Region Table.

For more information about how customers are innovating using AWS, see All AWS Customer Stories.

You can learn more about how we help connect the world to the cloud at AWS Global Infrastructure.

Earlier this year, Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced it would launch a new AWS infrastructure region in Montreal, Quebec. Today, I'm happy to share that the Canada (Central) Region is available for use by customers worldwide. The AWS Cloud now operates in 40 Availability Zones within 15 geographic regions around the world, with seven more Availability Zones and three more regions coming online in China, France, and the U.K. in the coming year.

The Canadian opportunity

Canada has set forth a bold innovation agenda grounded in entrepreneurship, scientific research, growing small and medium-sized businesses with a focus on environmentally friendly technologies, and the transition to a digital economy. This agenda leverages the transformative aspects of technology and encourages Canadian companies, universities, governments, not-for-profits, and entrepreneurs to contribute to building a durable innovation economy.

Given this, enterprises, public sector bodies, startups, and small businesses are looking to adopt agile, scalable, and secure public cloud solutions. The new Canada (Central) Region offers a robust suite of infrastructure, management, and developer services that can enable innovators to deploy market-leading applications. Access to secure, scalable, low-cost AWS infrastructure in Canada allows customers to innovate and provide tools to meet privacy, sovereignty, and compliance requirements.

The new AWS Canada (Central) Region also continues the company's focus on delivering cloud technologies to customers in an environmentally friendly way. AWS data centers in Canada will draw from a regional electricity grid that is 99 percent powered by hydropower. For more information about AWS efforts, see AWS & Sustainability.

Some examples of how current customers use AWS are:

Cost-effective solutions

Kik Interactive is a Canadian chat platform with hundreds of millions of users around the globe. It adopted Amazon Redshift, Amazon EMR and AWS Lambda to power its data warehouse, big data, and data science applications, supporting the development of product features at a fraction of the cost of competing solutions.

Rapid time to market

The Globe and Mail (Globe) is one of Canada's most read newspapers, with a national weekly circulation of 4.7 million. To increase online readership, it worked with AWS Partner Network (APN) Partner ClearScale to develop a personal recommendation capability. The solution, which leverages Amazon Kinesis, Amazon DynamoDB, and Amazon EMR to collect, store, and process the data, as well as AWS CloudFormation and AWS OpsWorks to support the Globe's DevOps environment, was deployed in three months—less than half the time it would have taken had the newspaper built it on-premises.

Enterprise-class services available from Canada

Box is an enterprise content management and collaboration platform used by more than 41 million users and 59,000 businesses—including 59% of the Fortune 500. It relies on the scale and power of Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) to deliver in-region storage options to businesses and organizations across the world in Canada, Japan, Singapore, Australia, Ireland, Germany, and the U.S., as part of its Box Zones ecosystem. Having the ability to provide these services locally enables Box to better serve Canadian enterprises looking for cloud solutions while ensuring their data is stored inside Canada.

Increasing agility

Lululemon Athletica is a Canadian athletic apparel company that is using AWS Lambda, AWS CodePipeline, and AWS CodeDeploy to rapidly build and deploy their digital marketing and e-commerce solutions for the upcoming 2016 holiday season. By using AWS to manage the continuous deployment and delivery of their applications, Lululemon personnel can focus on market differentiation instead of maintaining custom infrastructure solutions.

Performance

The Municipal Property Assessment Corporation, a public sector organization responsible for providing valuations for more than 5 million properties in Ontario, runs its core property valuation engine 5,000 percent faster at one-tenth the cost by using AWS versus legacy IT architecture.

Security

SmartSimple, an AWS Canadian APN Partner, provides cloud-based grants and case and research management solutions to Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, universities, and research organizations around the world. With AWS' security, business continuity, scaling and agile capabilities, SmartSimple can architect solutions on AWS so that their customers can comply with their privacy requirements.

Market expansion

ScribbleLive provides a cloud platform that media companies use to cover breaking news on their websites and engage with their audiences. Using AWS, ScribbleLive can scale to support news websites and blogs in 14 languages worldwide and maintain high availability at peak capacity, all the while decreasing operational costs by 35 percent.

Scalability

Vidyard is a revolutionary platform that provides business users with the ability to personalize and strategically target messages through online video. The fast-growing, Canadian startup uses Amazon EC2, Amazon S3, Amazon Elasticsearch Service, Amazon RDS, and AWS OpsWorks to scale quickly while securely delivering seamless video upload and playback services for its customers.

AWS as your strategic cloud provider

As these customer stories show, we believe that the AWS Cloud can and will serve as the foundation for Canada's innovation agenda. For more customer case studies, see All AWS Customer Stories.

We are excited to offer a robust portfolio of services from our foundational service stack for compute, storage, and networking to our more advanced solutions and applications. We look forward to broadening this portfolio to include additional services over the next several quarters. For more information about the services we offer in our Canada (Central) Region, see the Region Table.

With the launch of the Canada (Central) Region, AWS will enable enterprise customers and startups, as well as government, education, and nonprofit organizations in Canada to deploy innovative and cost-effective IT solutions in areas such as big data, machine learning, serverless computing, mobile, and more. Millions of AWS customers have recognized the value of the cloud. The new Canada (Central) Region provides a high-performance, enterprise-grade, scalable, and secure way for Canadian organizations to do the same. You can learn more about our growing footprint at AWS Global Infrastructure.

AWS lance sa nouvelle Région du Canada (Centre) à Montréal, Québec

Par Werner Vogels, le 8 décembre 2016

Plus tôt cette année, Amazon Web Services (AWS) a annoncé avoir pour projet de lancer une nouvelle infrastructure régionale AWS à Montréal, Québec. Aujourd'hui, j'ai le plaisir de vous annoncer que la Région du Canada (Centre) est maintenant opérationnelle pour ses clients du monde entier. Le Cloud AWS est maintenant disponible sur 40 zones de disponibilité réparties dans 15 régions du monde. Sept autres zones de disponibilité et trois autres régions seront mises en ligne en Chine, en France et au Royaume-Uni au cours de la prochaine année.

Une occasion en or au Canada

Le Canada a lancé un programme audacieux d'innovation qui vise les écotechnologies et la transition à une économie numérique et repose sur l'entreprenariat, la recherche scientifique et la croissance des PME. Ce programme vise l'exploitation de la puissance transformatrice des technologies et encourage les entreprises, les universités, les gouvernements, les organismes sans but lucratif et les entrepreneurs du Canada à contribuer au développement d'une économie durable fondée sur l'innovation.

C'est pour cette raison que les entreprises, les entités du secteur public, les startups et les PME cherchent à adopter des solutions de nuage public qui sont flexibles, évolutives et sûres. La nouvelle Région du Canada (Centre) offre une gamme solide de services d'infrastructure, de gestion et de développement qui permet aux innovateurs de déployer des applications de premier plan sur le marché. Les clients, ayant accès à une infrastructure AWS sécuritaire et évolutive à faible coût au Canada, peuvent innover et utiliser des outils leur permettant de respecter les exigences en matière de protection de la vie privée, de souveraineté et de conformité.

La nouvelle Région AWS du Canada (Centre) soutient aussi l'objectif de la compagnie de fournir aux clients les technologies infonuagiques d'une façon qui respecte l'environnement. Les centres de données d'AWS au Canada seront alimentés par un réseau électrique régional à 99 pour cent hydroélectrique. Pour en savoir plus sur les moyens déployés par AWS, voir AWS & Sustainability.

Voici quelques exemples d'utilisation des services d'AWS par les clients actuels :

Solutions rentables

Kik Interactive est une plateforme de clavardage canadienne qui a des centaines de millions d'utilisateurs partout dans le monde. Elle a adopté Amazon Redshift, Amazon EMR et AWS Lambda pour faire fonctionner ses applications d'entrepôt de données, de mégadonnées et de science des données, ce qui lui permet de mettre au point des fonctionnalités de produit à la fraction du coût des solutions de la concurrence.

Mise en marché rapide

The Globe and Mail (Globe) est l'un des quotidiens les plus lus au Canada, tiré à 4,7 millions d'exemplaires chaque semaine au pays. Pour augmenter son lectorat en ligne, il a utilisé les services de Clearscale, un partenaire du AWS Partner Network (APN), pour développer sa capacité à recevoir des recommandations personnelles. La solution, qui fait usage de Amazon Kinesis, Amazon DynamoDB et Amazon EMR pour recueillir, stocker et traiter les données et AWS CloudFormation et AWS OpsWorks pour soutenir l'environnement DevOps du Globe, a été déployée en trois mois seulement—la moitié du temps que cela aurait pris pour installer une telle solution locale pour le quotidien.

Des services de classe entreprise offerts à partir du Canada

Box est une plateforme de gestion de contenu et de collaboration pour les entreprises utilisée par plus de 41 millions d'utilisateurs et 59 000 entreprises, y compris 59 % de celles figurant sur la liste de Fortune 500. Elle dépend de l'évolutivité et de la puissance d'Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) pour offrir des options de stockage régionales aux entreprises et aux organisations du monde entier au Canada, au Japon, à Singapour, en Australie, en Irlande, en Allemagne et aux États-Unis, dans le cadre de son écosystème Box Zones. Avoir la capacité de fournir ces services localement permet à Box de mieux servir les entreprises canadiennes qui cherchent non seulement des solutions infonuagiques, mais à ce que leurs données soient stockées au Canada.

Agilité accrue

Lululemon Athletica est une compagnie de vêtements de sport canadienne qui utilise AWS Lambda, AWS CodePipeline et AWS CodeDeploy pour rapidement élaborer et déployer des solutions de cybermarketing et de commerce électronique pour le temps des Fêtes 2016. En utilisant AWS pour gérer le déploiement continu et la livraison de leurs applications, les membres du personnel de Lululemon peuvent se concentrer à se distinguer sur le marché plutôt que d'être préoccupés par la gestion de solutions d'infrastructure ponctuelles.

Performance

La Société d'évaluation foncière des municipalités (MPAC), un organisme du secteur public responsable de l'évaluation de plus de cinq millions de propriétés en Ontario, exploite son principal moteur d'évaluation foncière 5 000 pour cent plus vite et à un dixième du coût avec AWS par rapport à leur architecture informatique préexistante.

Sécurité

SmartSimple, un partenaire canadien du réseau APN d'AWS, offre des bourses infonuagiques et des solutions de gestion de dossiers et de recherche à des compagnies figurant sur la liste de Fortune 500, des organismes gouvernementaux, des universités et des organismes de recherche du monde entier. Grâce aux capacités offertes par AWS en matière de sécurité, de continuité des affaires, d'évolutivité et d'agilité, SmartSimple peut mettre au point des solutions AWS qui permettent à ses clients de se conformer à leurs exigences de protection de la vie privée.

Expansion du marché

ScribbleLive offre une plateforme infonuagique utilisée par les sociétés de médias pour couvrir les nouvelles de dernière heure sur leurs sites Web et pour communiquer avec leurs publics. À l'aide d'AWS, ScribbleLive peut faire accroître ses capacités pour soutenir les sites Web et les blogues de nouvelles dans 14 langues à travers le monde, ainsi que conserver une haute disponibilité à pleine capacité tout en diminuant les coûts opérationnels de 35 pour cent.

Évolutivité

Vidyard est une plateforme révolutionnaire qui donne aux entreprises la capacité de personnaliser et de cibler de manière stratégique ses messages en utilisant la vidéo en ligne. Cette startup canadienne en plein croissance utilise Amazon EC2, Amazon S3, Amazon Elasticsearch Service, Amazon RDS et AWS OpsWorks pour faire accroître ses capacités rapidement tout en offrant des services sécuritaires de téléversement vidéo en continu et de lecture vidéo pour ses clients.

AWS est votre fournisseur de services infonuagiques stratégique

Comme le démontrent ces témoignages clients, nous croyons que le nuage AWS peut et va servir de fondement au programme d'innovation du Canada. Pour lire d'autres études de cas de clients, allez à Tous les témoignages de clients AWS.

Nous sommes emballés de vous offrir un solide portefeuille de services, allant de notre gamme essentielle pour le calcul, le stockage et la mise en réseau à nos solutions et nos applications plus avancées. Nous avons hâte d'élargir ce portefeuille et d'y ajouter d'autres services au fil des prochains trimestres. Pour en savoir plus sur les services que nous offrons dans notre Région du Canada (Centre), voir le Tableau des régions.

Grâce à la création de la Région du Canada (Centre), AWS permettra aux entreprises, aux startups ainsi qu'aux organismes gouvernementaux, aux organismes du milieu de l'éducation et aux organismes sans but lucratif du Canada de déployer des solutions informatiques innovantes et rentables dans des domaines comme les mégadonnées, l'apprentissage machine, l'informatique sans serveur, la téléphonie mobile, et bien plus encore. Des millions de clients d'AWS ont reconnu la valeur du cloud. La nouvelle Région du Canada (Centre) offre un moyen hautement performant, professionnel, évolutif et sûr qui permettra aux organisations canadiennes de faire de même. Vous pouvez en apprendre plus sur notre empreinte croissante à Infrastructure mondiale AWS.