The channel is constantly on the lookout for the next big opportunity to differentiate and add value, and voice recognition might just be the next big thing.
AWS has used its re:Invent conference 2016 to launch a raft of new technology offerings and one of the poster children for this year’s event was its Alexa service delivery program for partners which included investment, certifications, and incentive for partners looking to specialise in voice recognition and artificial intelligence.
AWS head of channels and alliances, Terry Wise, told ARN that this was an area he saw as having enormous growth potential for the partner community, as it would allow them to fundamentally change the way their customers interacted with consumers and employees.
Wise used the example of US-based AWS partner, Mobiquity working with Intercontinental Hotel Group (IHG) to create chatbot applications which were integrated into Facebook Messenger to improve customer experience during the hotel booking process.
“When you start to extend that [concept] into Alexa and some of the machine learning behind it, you can begin to realise that IHG will be able to predict the experience a consumer may have prior to getting to one of their properties and develop automated personalisation of an experience,” he said.
“From a partner’s point of view, it is not just the technology creation, there is a lot of work to be done there. But if you think about all the different scenarios of how they can integrate all these capabilities to enrich the customer experience, it is a unique time and opportunity.”
“What we are seeing now amongst our consulting partners who are beginning to figure this out [is that they] are starting their own internal hackathons among their own certified developers to see what they come up with.”
Datacom is one such partner that has been running similar events for staff and outside participants. Datacom CEO, Jonathan Ladd, told ARN the company had been running these type of events for the last five years and had customers present a specific problem to participants so the events have a focus grounded in a customer need.
AWS A/NZ head of channels and alliances, Stefan Jansen, said the cloud provider had also been running its own series of hackathons in conjunction with Melbourne IT subsidiary, Outware Mobile.
“It’s the partners that bring creativity and innovative thinking, those are the ones which are really going to be the strategic partners to our customers as it relates to cloud,” continued Wise. “I think that you are also starting to see these cloud platforms evolve into something more than what you would traditionally think of as cloud infrastructure-as-a-service, compute, storage, and network.”
Terry Wise - AWS head of channels and alliances
“We are really trying to stress to partners the importance of specialisation in horizontal areas like machine learning and voice recognition applied to vertical or horizontal areas because I do think you are going to see solutions like that which Mobiquity has built being applied to other areas.
“You are going to start to see a specialised set of those skills in predictive algorithms and the like that are going to be developed for those industries and those use cases within the industry. It’s those partners that can pull all of that together, they are going to be in the driver’s seat.”
“No question [that] the foundational stuff - training, certification and managed services - that is how these partners are going to reach scale, but the differentiation is going to come through specialisation.”
Chris Player travelled to re:invent as a guest of AWS