Starter for 10: Meet Jonna Iljin, Nordcloud’s Head of Design
When people start working with Nordcloud, they generally comment on 2 things. First, how friendly and knowledgeable everyone is. Second,...
Last Friday, the AWS Pop-Up Loft Munich 2017 came to an end, with a nice little closing party exactly where we spent the last month learning, exchanging and building. In Nordcloud’s German team, we see a lot of value in the loft to AWS partners and customers alike and it was a logical step for us to sponsor and support this initiative. This is a privilege only few companies have, and we wanted to share our experiences, allowing our team members speak for themselves.
The interest in AI and ML with Big Data at the AWS Loft was mind-blowing. As a Cloud Architect at the Ask an Architect desk, I realised that the majority of users from small, medium and large-scale enterprises are trying to push beyond the generic AI and ML models to more specialised production-ready ones that can adapt seamlessly to their special needs and conditions. For me, having a strong background in this field, it was music to my ears.
The people around the loft I met were very interested in how they can build software that uses ML and AI to learn and adapt to the needs and conditions within their specific businesses, rather than leveraging ready-made or buying pre-baked ML and AI solutions that do image recognition or text to speech. Most of the times, they have problems building a model/software that is able to really learn from its’ surroundings. Further work should be done on developing or advancing the currently available generic AI and ML models to enable them to learn by doing different actions instead of building or training algorithms that just uses static data (e.g. images, text). In my opinion, more reinforcement learning algorithms for different domains should be built into AWS AI & ML stack to serve as starting point for customers. All in all: great event!
As I was part of the Ask an Architect booth team as well and spent probably most days on the ground at the Loft, (thanks for the trusting customers I work with) I would like to share especially the post re:invent experience. The weeks before the Vegas madness happened, we had comparably quiet days in the Loft and most of the questions we received were quite easy to answer. However, as the re:invent week commenced, the new service announcements made the traffic at our booth explode. We started to get a large variety of unprecedented questions, from basic “how to start” with AWS to questions about newest services like Fargate, EKS (managed Kubernetes service) and GuardDuty, to more advanced stuff like IoT, Machine Learning and Rekognition.
Based on these questions, we at Nordcloud can really see first hand what “moves” people, why they start to use AWS and what is it that drives the most interest. My experience with the Loft and the people there was really great. A lot of answered questions, a lot of new connections and maybe new customers.
Not everyone at the AWS Loft was interested in Amazon Web Services, but some actually wanted to know something about Amazon retail (Amazon.com). From time to time you could see people entering the Loft – and then leaving it after a few minutes because the saw that they couldn’t buy anything there! Luckily, those were the edge cases and most of the conversations were purely technology and AWS focused. The chats I had ranged from “first-time users” to very complex topics around all services of AWS. It was also great to talk with people who are working at AWS and to learn more about the current and coming service updates.
For me personally, holding a presentation about Serverless was another great aspect of the event as it gave me a platform to speak to a wider audience about my daily work. We showed people one of our favourite jobs at Nordcloud: developing cloud-native applications in an effective, secure and customer orientated way.
AWS Pop-up Loft was in many ways the unique and fulfilling event for everyone. My favourite aspect was the Ask an Architect area. As we are a Premier Consulting Partner with AWS and were a main sponsor of the event, we had a dedicated Nordcloud presence on one out of the three booths. Our volunteers spent entire days there, interacting with visitors to address their challenges with using all kinds of AWS elements. What was great about was that there was almost always a two-way knowledge exchange. We were helping customers to solve their problems and at the same time learning about current industry trend and the needs of emerging markets from them.
AWS pop-up loft days and AWS training sessions gave us valuable opportunity to get in touch with knowledgeable people to sense the current interest among the tech community and present market needs. Looking at the AWS session responses and attendees, one thing was very clear. Germany is a rising market and companies interested in cloud adaptation and AWS tech community is growing rapidly in Germany.
Another really good thing was the great concept of having many technical experts working for their respective companies/customers from a common work location. It was a great experience, as we worked normal office hours and yet we explored new things and shared experience and knowledge on the fly.
Like 2016, this year’s AWS Loft was again a great get-together for the Bavarian and surrounding cloud community. Partners, customers, AWSlers, Nordcloudians and many more gather to work, experience or learn in one building. Everyone has his or her own opportunities and challenges and sees the core topic, AWS Cloud, from a different angle. But without much limitations, people are open to new ideas and connections. The long duration – a whole week longer than last year – of the Loft enables stress-free planning of how to maximise the desirable value. Especially in the Nordcloud Ask an Architect our tech team members were able to learn from practical cases and share their experiences. It is hard to imagine a more interesting and casual interface for Cloud Architects and cloud-implementing companies to solve problems together.
Nordcloud – as a Munich-based advisory – were more than happy to again extensively participate and sponsor the Loft and are already looking forward to 2018 summits and lofts all around Germany!
All in all, we would love to thank our friends in AWS Germany and AWS Global who made this event possible, it was indeed a seemingly impossible improvement from the year before and the re:invent experience happening in parallel made it especially amazing for us as a partner. Thanks also to the many many new friends we made there, both from other AWS Partners and from AWS customers alike. Let ’s keep building amazing things!
See you all next year and have a great holiday season y’all!
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