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AWS Community Day 2021 – highlights and top takeaways

Rene Michal Cehlar reflects on the trends and technologies discussed at AWS’s recent event, where T-Systems played a part.   

November 19 2021René Micha Cehlár

What is AWS Community Day for the DACH?

AWS's Community Days bring together expert AWS users and industry leaders to deliver peer-to-peer learning experiences every year. In many ways, they are events 'by the community, for the community.'  This year too, the DACH event was packed with inspiring discussions and innovations.  

What’s trending in the world of AWS?

A woman siting on a rooftop with a phone in her hand

From serverless computing to AI-enabled technology, the DACH Community Day explored many trending topics in the world of AWS. Highlighted below are some insights and technical learnings from the event. 

Writing less code with serverless on AWS

Software development has three cognitive loads - intrinsic, extraneous, and germane - presenting many challenges. Managers want to increase their business units' productivity, but how do we mitigate these loads?

Technical debt is a term that describes the implied cost of additional rework caused by choosing the easy path for a solution. Technical debt is an inhibitor; frameworks become outdated, and even solutions can turn into debt. The more code we write, the more indebted we become.  We need to build with an evolutionary architecture, to overcome change and avoid getting stuck with legacy systems.
By heavily relying on serverless services, we can do more with the same amount of people. Less code means lower technical debt. By writing fewer Lambda functions, we minimize the points of failures. With less code, we have fewer CI/CD pipelines to maintain.

How can AWS help you to write less code?

Fundamentally, we want to reach a point where all the code we write is purely business logic. In the serverless ecosystem, we can reduce the cognitive loads and the amount of code written. So, how do we write less code? AWS offers various ways, such as:

  • NoSQL Workbench for DynamoDB
  • Exporting DynamoDB table data to S3
  • Serverless data querying with Athena

Another tool you can use is AWS Amplify. It lets you configure serverless backends allowing front-end developers to build full-stack applications with ease. AWS Amplify supports popular web languages and frameworks, including the big three: React.js, Vue.js, and Angular. It also offers a fully managed CI/CD and hosting service.

Who am I? Voice authentication

A woman holding a phone in her hand and using the voice authentication

Let's say you visit a grocery store and you've forgotten your payment card. What if you could use your voice to prove your identity and allow the store to take your payment? We can use other authentication options, like fingerprints, and visual ways, such as facial recognition and retinal scans, but some of these methods are not impervious to theft

Multifactor authentication exists to prevent impostors. Using voice as one authentication method brings something fresh to the mix. Voiceprint recognition is a robust and powerful means of identification. It involves anatomy and learned behavioral patterns, is multidimensional and more complex than a fingerprint. The technology includes machine learning pattern recognition that looks for features.

How does voice authentication work?

When someone speaks, many elements are at play - lips, tongue, palate, teeth, throat, mouth, vocal cords, and chest cavity. How we sound depends on the characteristics of our environment too. Different surroundings absorb and echo sound differently. And background noise can distort the voice as it travels through the air. The speech patterns of an individual also change over time.

But every security measure has its threats. In the case of voice authentication, it is mainly spoofing. Skilled voice impersonators can already replicate someone else's voice and accent to a certain degree. A replay attack consists of recording someone's voice and playing it back when challenged. It is crucial to overcome the spoofing methods, check for the liveness of the spoken word, the stress in a person's voice when under threat, or to use a one-time password with each check. The real challenge is: Can we create unobtrusive touchless authentication using only voice without sacrificing a good user experience?

Wrapping up

I hope my reflections on AWS's recent event inspire you to explore the potential of new and emerging technologies for your organization. Many current trends and best practices are shared at AWS Community Day events, creating a culture of learning from each other and experts in the field. The events showcase new technologies and offer great networking opportunities. If you would like to learn more about the topics here or what others the event covered, you can watch the replay of the AWS Community Day 2021 in the video below or visit the official AWS website.

About the author

René Micha Cehlár

Cloud Administrator, Deutsche Telekom IT Solutions Slovakia

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