Five things to look for at AWS re:Invent 2023

This syndicated post originally appeared at Zeus Kerravala – SiliconANGLE.

Thanksgiving has passed in the U.S., so it’s on to the December holiday season — but before we can deck the halls and jingle some bells, an important event is coming up: AWS re:Invent 2023.

This upcoming week, an estimated 60,000-plus people will descend upon Las Vegas to check out the latest and greatest from the cloud computing leader. One of the things I like most about the show is that Amazon Web Services Inc. has done a nice job of evolving the event from being a vendor show to more of an industry show for all things cloud computing.

Most businesses seem to have shaken off the COVID cobwebs and have been full steam ahead with many emerging technologies. Because of this, I’ve been looking forward to this year’s show for some time. Here are the top five things I’ll look for at re:Invent:

Generative AI

This might be the most obvious thing to look for this year, as it’s hard to go to any event without being hit over the head with generative AI. Specifically, with AWS, one would assume that generative AI will be sprinkled throughout the keynotes as part of AWS’ vision for the industry.

However, I am expecting AWS to talk more than vision. The company always does a great job of parading customers out onstage during the keynotes to provide specific examples of how technology can transform a business. I’m hoping to see some in this area. Also, one of the core principles of AWS has always been to drive innovation to make things easier for its customers, and generative AI can do that an embedded technology.

Some people say that AWS is behind on generative AI, which contradicts what I’ve seen in my customer conversations. I do think it’s fair to say that AWS is behind on generative AI marketing, but the company has never been one to have its marketing outpace innovation.

Silicon investments

For decades, the industry relied primarily on off-the-shelf silicon to power infrastructure, but over the past several years, more companies have built their own. I’ve talked to AWS about why it’s investing heavily in silicon, and executives told me building custom chips allows it to operate faster, at a lower cost, while providing better performance.

There is also a power benefit, which is critical as sustainability has become such a big driver of modernization. AlthoughAWS has used re:Invent to launch the latest and greatest services, its most established and largest volume services are infrastructure and silicon, which help customers save money with better performance.


Most people think of AWS as a company that provides building blocks for applications, but it also offers several of its own software-as-a-service applications. A few years ago, AWS released Connect, a cloud-native, AI-based contact center solution. Last year, the company took the covers off AWS Supply Chain, which, as one would expect, also uses cloud-native and AI as its differentiator.

Although the applications are certainly newsworthy, what’s more interesting is how AWS rolls out applications. Both Supply Chain and Connect were built off internally facing services. As an example, Amazon has one of the biggest contact centers in the world, with, I believe, somewhere in the range of 70,000 agents, so once it became customer-facing, it was already fully baked.

The same can be said for Supply Chain. Amazon has so many homegrown applications – logistics, human resources, inventory management and so on — that the challenge is prioritizing which ones to roll out. We should expect to see more of applications at every re:Invent. This gives customers of all sizes access to applications that may have been out of their reach with a pay-per-use model.

Telecom and 5G

5G has been hyped for over five years, but it’s yet to have the societal impact many people predicted. I believe we are on the precipice of seeing 5G finally have the transformative effect we have all been waiting for, and AWS is playing a key role in the infrastructure and showcasing the use cases.

At the Mobile World Congress, AWS created its NextLevel Experience area earlier this year, demonstrating 5G-enabled services. The organization has a massive 5G ecosystem, and I’m looking forward to checking out the expo hall, where plenty of 5G should be on display.

Better together

The catalog of AWS services is massive, and many customers like to put the building blocks together. Developers use the services, assemble the components and build something. This works for many organizations but only for some, as it can create a lot of heavy lifting and skills to tie the services together.

Over the past few years, AWS has done a better job of pre-integrating the products to simplify deployment with predictable results. At re:Invent 2022, AWS announced the integration of its relational database, Aurora, and Redshift for cloud data warehousing. Customers rarely buy one without the other, so putting them together makes things easier for AWS customers. Over the next week, we should expect more solutions that create a “better together” story.

Given the massive hype around generative AI, I expect anything related to this to steal the show this year. However, there’s more to the show than that, and I would encourage anyone attending the show to investigate the areas I have outlined as a good starting point for AWS innovation.

Author: Zeus Kerravala

Zeus Kerravala is the founder and principal analyst with ZK Research. Kerravala provides a mix of tactical advice to help his clients in the current business climate and long term strategic advice.