By Jon Southby, Senior Cloud Consultant, HeleCloud
Automation is a key pillar of digital transformation, helping businesses to make better decisions based on data-driven insights with speed. Powered by technologies including Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI), integrating automation can provide businesses with the edge they need to compete in today’s digital world – helping with cost-saving through process optimisation or driving new revenues through improved customer service. While these technological advances are now widely accessible to all businesses – big and small – via public Cloud platforms such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), many are yet to take full advantage of them.
Last month, the HeleCloud team presented at an AWS-focused AI and ML event in Oxford, England. The event was largely attended by IT professionals with little, to no experience in implementing AI or ML into the business. Through sharing our learned experiences with those in attendance, we hoped to demystify both the technology and the services available to IT professionals today.
In this blog, I will share some of the insights presented during the AWS AI and ML event last month. I will also explain how IT professionals can seize technology for better business through the AWS Cloud Platform.
What are AI and ML anyway?
Broadly speaking, AI is when a computer can complete a task that was previously performed by humans alone. ML is a subset of AI, which uses past data to build a model capable of making predictions based on future data. Most commonly ML is used when software logic is too complex or for routine tasks, such as manual processing, to add a layer of accuracy and efficiency to the process.
Deep Learning (DL) is a branch of ML that attempts to simulate the way our brains learn and process information, by creating multi-layered “neural networks”. Both ML and DL require data as well as processing power to perform at their best. Thus, as more data becomes available, compute capacity increases and Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) become more powerful, we will begin to witness an abundance of new ML and DL use cases appear.
What can IT professionals do today?
AI and ML capabilities are empowering businesses with new ways to grow revenue, attract and retain customers, and become more efficient operationally. For example, they can help automate tasks and accelerate untapped insight in previously unexplored areas. Hence, businesses are seeking more technological advances such as AI and ML to understand their customers and business processes better.
AWS is making AI and ML technologies more accessible with managed services that let businesses embed intelligence into their applications. With AWS services, businesses can match their needs from pre-trained AI services to fully managed solutions.
Below are three AWS AI and ML services that can support business needs.
Amazon SageMaker is one of the core ML offerings from AWS – it is a fully managed service that helps businesses to build, train, and deploy machine learning models without the need to manage any infrastructure. SageMaker features pre-built Jupyter notebooks for experimentation, built-in optimized algorithms and frameworks, and with one line of code, you can train on any number of instances and then deploy for batch or real-time prediction. Amazon Rekognition enables businesses to add video and image analysis to their applications with a single API call, to detect objects, scenes, text, faces or even recognise celebrities and identify inappropriate content in images. For example, Amazon Rekognition was used during the broadcast of the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. The image analysis service was used for the real-time identification of celebrities, which was provided on Sky’s Who’s Who Live App. Amazon Lex is a service for building conversational interfaces into any application using voice and text, businesses can build applications with highly engaging user experiences and lifelike conversational interactions. For example, businesses can build an automated customer support agent or a bot that answers questions.
The adoption of AI and ML is crucial to business success in today’s digital world. Businesses must ensure they have the knowledge and experience in implementing these technologies in a way that’s best for the business. The AWS platform, and specialist partners like HeleCloud, can help businesses and their IT teams achieve this goal.