Insights from NRF 2019
The National Retail Federation’s Big Retail Show, the world’s largest retail conference, took place, January 13-15, in New York City. Many major cloud providers such as Microsoft and AWS were in attendance to share their latest plans and services. Liftr Cloud Insights got the inside scoop about the event.
Microsoft Azure talked more about its experimental work in the retail industry. A little over a week ago, Microsoft announced that the company would be partnering with the grocery store chain, Kroger. Microsoft will be providing the company with retail-as-a-service, allowing Kroger to use Azure’s artificial intelligence and cloud infrastructure. Microsoft’s booth at NRF 2019 was equipped with a Kroger demo “store” completely stocked with groceries and Microsoft’s products.
Microsoft is showing that their dip into the retail industry doesn’t end with Kroger. Last week, the company also announced their 7-year agreement with Walgreen Boots Alliance, the parent company of Walgreens with the goal “to develop new healthcare delivery models, technology and retail innovations to advance and improve the future of healthcare.” These partnerships are akin to one Amazon has been working on for quite some time with Whole Foods. Microsoft is clearly exhibiting its willingness to compete with the online retail giant.
AWS spent the conference outlining how its cloud services and AI are combining to transform retail for AWS Cloud customers, highlighting that AWS will be delivering more relevant, real-time recommendations, 50% greater forecast accuracy, and store productivity transformed by IoT and next-generation serverless microservices driven by machine learning. A day after the conference ended the company publicized new service offerings such as AWS Backup, which is designed to help automate and centrally manage backups. Customers, using a single central console, can use the service to create policy-driven backup plans, monitor the status of on-going backups, verify compliance, and find/restore backups.
The company has also recently unveiled Amazon Kinesis Video Streams, to make it easier to securely stream video from connected devices into AWS for analytics and machine learning. Kinesis Video Streams has only three-’9’s availability because it is intended as a cost-effective back-end ingress service for analytics, and not as a real-time video delivery service.
Alibaba was also present at the convention. President J. Michael Evans delivered a keynote speech predominantly focused on the company’s expansion in the Asia Pacific, China and beyond. The company recently launched its second data center in Indonesia just 10 months after launching its first. The addition of the second data center gives Alibaba Cloud an edge in the Indonesian market over AWS, Microsoft, and Google who have also begun making headway in the Asia Pacific region.
Google Cloud Goes Solar
Google Cloud’s latest bright idea has led them in search of renewable energy. The company, along with the Tennessee Valley Authority, reported last Wednesday two new solar arms located in Tennessee and Alabama will provide carbon-free renewable power to Google’s data centers located in those same states.
NextEra Energy Resources based in Florida is building one solar farm in Hollywood, Alabama and will own and operate that completed facility through a subsidiary; commercial operation will begin in late 2021. The farm is expected to generate 150 megawatts and create around 250 construction jobs and a few long-term jobs. The Tennessee farm will be built by Chicago-based Invenergy in Yum Yum, Tennessee; but the company is not currently releasing project details according to Mary Ryan, senior manager of communications for Invenergy.
According to Google’s corporate blog, about 72 percent of the Alabama and Tennessee data centers’ power will be matched hourly with carbon-free generation, in contrast to the general 48 percent carbon-free mix for TVA’s power grid. It will be interesting to see how the company’s energy source change affects their reliability. Will solar power reduce or heighten the chances of outages? We have a couple of years to wait and see.
IBM Cloud and Vodafone Partner
IBM and Vodafone are beginning a new venture together, announcing that IBM will be managing the telecommunications company’s cloud and hosting systems in an 8-year deal valued at $550 million. While this isn’t the first collaboration between the two companies, this new venture will be focused on creating new digital solutions.
Vodafone said the deal will help it speed up the adoption of cloud and new business applications. Chief Executive Nick Read commented on the venture saying, “This strategic venture with IBM allows us to focus on our strengths in fixed and mobile technologies, whilst leveraging IBM’s expertise in multicloud, artificial intelligence and services. Through this new venture we’ll accelerate our growth and deepen engagement with our customers while driving radical simplification and efficiency in our business.”
The first cloud earnings calls of the new year are expected to be reported next week, starting with IBM who typically leads the pack and Intel. Amazon will report its earnings the following week, including AWS. Check back in to future editions Liftr Cloud Look Ahead to see what Liftr Cloud Insights predicts these earnings to mean for the cloud industry as the new year gets underway.
As a reminder, IBM will be holding their cloud conference, IBM Think February 12-15 in San Francisco. Paul Teich will be there for Liftr Cloud Insights.
That’s a wrap for this week’s Liftr Cloud Look Ahead. Has your business made major strides using cloud? We want to hear from you! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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