AWS Connect 2019 Ship Great Things 

AWS Connect Cape Town is quickly becoming an event to look forward to on the Cape Town technology conference calendar. Previous iterations offered a broad range of insights and opinions from Amazon’s evangelists and selected clients.  


This year’s edition was no different. 


It delivered on all fronts with its on-point client case studies and diverse streams offering both deep and broad dives across Amazon’s technology service offering. 


AWS has been steadily increasing their technology offering and the addition of talks covering service offerings linked to blockchain technology, machine learning and artificial intelligence were heavily featured. Any future-focused technologist would be wise to pay attention to the emergence of these technologies, their continued development and future ubiquity. 


A wide range of organizations was included as part of the client case studies this year and it was interesting to see how technology challenges are big solved on the AWS platform. There was something to inspire everyone, with a wide spectrum of organizations present from start-ups, that haven’t launched, to century-old, intercontinental financial services companies. 


Bumblebee had several technology professionals present at the conference with a wide range of different interests. I opted to stick to the stream which focused on a wide set of topics linked to improving the overall quality of the software delivered.  


What was made clear during the talks was the ability for AWS to support the development and delivery of world-class technology solutions. I particularly enjoyed the talk around improving the delivery, resilience and maintainability of your applications by using the Twelve-factor app methodology on AWS. The Twelve-factor app is a methodology for building modern, scalable, maintainable applications that were created by Heroku co-founder, Adam Wiggins, in 2011. 


Without going into all twelve factors, the need to explicitly declare dependencies, in your tool of choice, down to the patch level instead of at a minor level, to ensure the highest level of stability resonated with me. This improves the consistency in your team’s development environment and is an absolute necessity if you intend to containerise your solution. The default specificity in Node.js’s NPM, for example, is too permissive and can lead to significant inconsistencies between the packages that are retrieved. 


Aerobotics, who featured at last year’s event, also made a return this year to demonstrate the work they are doing in advancing the agritech space. Agriculture materially contributes both to South Africa’s GDP and employment capacity. The ability to improve the agricultural yield can only have a positive impact on both measures. Aerobotics have been using machine learning to improve the crop yield by developing sophisticated models for the early detection of crops that may be at risk. These models are rapidly trained and executed on AWS infrastructure in price-optimised environments.  


Overall, AWS is making emerging technologies accessible to organizations at all ends of the spectrum. In my view,  Amazon’s offering remains the incumbent in the cloud computing space and anyone looking to implement comprehensive DevOps would be remiss if they did not evaluate what AWS has to offer. 


Author: Baadier Sydow – Digital Lead Bumblebee Consulting