AWS Makes Amazon Lex And Redshift Spectrum Available For Developers

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Feel the power of conversational deep learning algorithms and unstructured data analysis

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has made two tools available for all customers, bringing Amazon Lex and Redshift Spectrum into the hands of developers.

Amazon Lex, an artificial intelligence (AI) service for building applications that can have voice and text conversations, is the technology behind Amazon’s voice-powered personal assistant Alexa and is now available to all AWS developers as a fully managed service.

It provides sophisticated deep learning algorithms that developers can make use of to build apps with automatic speech recognition (ASR) and natural language understanding (NLU) capabilities.

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Lex go!

Apps that perform tasks such as checking the weather, booking travel, ordering food or collecting the latest marketing data from business software can now be built without developers having to worry about the massive amounts of data and infrastructure required.

To build an conversational app, developers simply provide Amazon Lex with sample phrases that described a user’s intent, such as “book a flight”, along with the corresponding information required to fulfill the intent and any questions Lex might need to ask to elicit additional data.

It then builds a machine learning model that analyses and breaks down user inputs to understand the intent behind the request and manage the conversation.

Apps can be pushed to mobile and IoT devices, web applications and chat services such as Slack or Facebook Messenger.

“Thousands of machine learning and deep learning experts across Amazon have been developing AI technologies for years, and Amazon Alexa includes some of the most sophisticated and powerful deep learning technologies in existence,” said Raju Gulabani, Vice President of databases, analytics, and AI at AWS.

“We thought customers might be excited to use the same technology that powers Alexa to build conversational apps, but we’ve been blown away by the customer response to our preview – as organisations in virtually every industry have mobilised quickly to build on top of Amazon Lex.”


Redshift Spectrum

Amazon Redshift Spectrum is a new feature that allows Redshift customers to run SQL queries against large amounts of data in Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), without having to load or transform any of the data.

It uses sophisticated query optimisation technology to scale across thousands of nodes, enabling customers to analyse the ever-increasing amounts of information in Amazon S3 ‘data lakes’, much of which is unstructured.

Redshift Spectrum uses the open data formats that many customers already use, including CSV, TSV, Parquet, Sequence, and RCFile, as well as supporting existing Business Intelligence (BI) tools.

“Customers such as Amgen, Boingo Wireless, Electronic Arts, Hearst, Lyft, Nasdaq, Scholastic, TripAdvisor, and Yahoo! are migrating to Amazon Redshift in droves because it leverages the scale of AWS to analyse petabytes of data with ten times the performance at one-tenth the cost of old guard data warehouses,” said Gulabani.

“Many of these customers have asked us to extend the speed and flexibility of Amazon Redshift beyond the data warehouse to analyse all of the data they have in Amazon S3. Redshift Spectrum does just this, offering the best of both worlds by making it incredibly easy to query exabytes of data in Amazon S3 directly from Amazon Redshift.

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