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Werner Vogels, CTO Amazon, speaking at the AWS Summit in Dubai (April 2019)
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Key highlights from AWS Summit in Dubai

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has been the backbone for many global companies – everything from listening to music to seeing all your friend’s content. Instagram leveraged AWS since 2010, then it migrated to Facebook’s data centers in 2014 after the acquisition.

Amazon recently held their AWS Summit in Dubai featuring a keynote by Werner Vogels, CTO of Amazon. There have been some takeaways from the event, including details that you never even knew.

AWS in the Middle East

The success of any business will always require technology backing them to easily scale and grow. In the Middle East alone, Careem and Anghami leverage AWS for their technology needs. The trend won’t stop there.

Careem has been using AWS for many years (case study by Amazon), allowing them to easily grow across the Middle East. That growth definitely grabbed the attention of Uber, leading up to their recent acquisition.

Anghami’s story may be quite recent given that they’ve been jointly promoting Game of Thrones. They’ve been using it for years to help add 10,000+ tracks a day to their growing catalog. You can hear it straight from Anghami’s sysadmin with this Medium post, explaining the technical details on the implementation.

Amazon Polly adds Arabic

Arabic is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world and consists of 30 dialects. Amazon Polly, a cloud service on AWS that converts written content into human-like speech, has officially added Arabic to its portfolio. The service turns Arabic text into lifelike speech using a female voice named Zeina.

Using the power of deep learning, Zeina will follow the MSA (Modern Standard Arabic) pronunciation, which is the common broadcasting standard across the region.

Amazon Polly supports companies in developing digital products that use speech synthesis for a variety of use cases, including publishing and telephony, automated contact centres, language learning platforms, translation apps, and reading of articles.

AWS Middle East Region

The Middle East is the next place for the cloud, given the major push towards digitization. Amazon previously announced that they will be opening an Amazon Web Services infrastructure region in the Middle East.

It would be located in Bahrain and consisting of three Availability Zones at launch; this would make it flexible, affordable, reliable, and secure for users in the Middle East region. Customers of Amazon Web Services will be able to run cloud computing workloads and serve end-users across the region with even lower latency.

AWS Summit events in 2019, including one in Bahrain
AWS Summit events in 2019, including one in Bahrain circa September 2019

When will the Bahrain data center open? The hint might be hidden in the list of upcoming AWS Summit events later in 2019 (see the above photo). A quick filter on the AWS site shows that Bahrain will host one event in September; a very convenient time to announce the launch.

One more thing… Fortnite Middle East servers

For gamers across the Middle East playing Fortnite, Epic Games does use Amazon Web Services to support the game (source: Amazon case study). Handling a large number of players worldwide requires scalability, and AWS provides that to Epic Games.

Months ago, it became a trending topic of discussion as there are no dedicated servers in the Middle East. High pings would definitely make for a poor gameplay experience for Fortnite players. Could Epic Games rethink that proposition with the upcoming AWS Middle East Region?


Photo credit: AWS Summit

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