Amazon Forecast

AWS re:Invent Insights—Amazon Forecast

I was excited to join a group of Toads attending AWS re:Invent. Five days of fascinating product announcements, keynote speeches, and networking with other cloud engineers was the perfect way to cap off the year. I left the conference both overwhelmed and enthusiastic about all the new tech innovations we can use to build ground-breaking cloud solutions for our clients.

AWS Forecast

The product that most fascinates me is Amazon Forecast, an AWS machine learning service that allows us to make incredibly accurate predictions about all kinds of business-critical operations. Our clients have lots of data—from their IoT and Bluetooth devices, their marketing and sales channels, and their digital environments. By feeding that data into Forecast, we can turn the raw information into a picture of the future. 

You can see the video from re:Invent here:

How Forecast Works

Amazon Forecast - How it works

What’s exciting to me about Forecast is that it makes this kind of machine-learning-driven prediction accessible to everyone with a cloud environment. There are some existing SaaS products that have similar capabilities, but they have very limited use cases.

Forecast allows us to use powerful machine learning for a nearly limitless array of applications. Just a few of the ways I can see it helping our clients immediately include:

  • predicting traffic with incredible accuracy, as well as alerting us quickly when traffic spikes due to unexpected circumstances

  • forecasting potential deviations (and, therefore, future problems) from usual performance—of a website, an IoT-equipped vehicle, or any cloud application

  • mapping expected customer engagement and sales activity based on past performance and planned activities

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. What’s really unique about Forecast is that it’s a building block you can apply wherever you want accurate predictions to help guide business decisions, prevent problems, and optimize performance and efficiency. 

To me, the coolest possibility of Forecast is using it to help our clients get insight into questions they haven’t even thought about asking yet. Everyone has lots of data, which we can use to answer important questions. But the real galaxy-brain application of Forecast is to approach it with a more open-ended question: feed in data and see what connections it discovers. Forecast can uncover the hidden patterns and insights buried in the data—opening our eyes to possibilities we didn’t know existed. And since Metal Toad is all about looking beyond the new to discover what’s next, that’s incredibly valuable and exciting.

Date posted: January 8, 2020

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About the Author

Nathan Wilkerson, VP of Engineering

Nathan started building computers, programming and networking with a home IPX network at age 13. Since then he has had a love of all things computer; working in programming, system administration, devops, and Cloud Computing. Over the years he's enriched his knowledge of computers with hands on experience and earning his AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional.

Recently, Nathan has transitioned to a Cloud Operations Manager role. He helps clients and internal teams interface with the Cloud Team using the best practices of Kanban to ensure a speedy response and resolution to tickets.

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