3rd May 2024

AWS Summit London 2024: Review

We were thrilled to book our place at the AWS Summit London again this year. With a huge focus on GenAI, the event was bigger than ever in 2024 - but was it better?
Event review

AWS Summit London 2024

We were one again filled with excitement and anticipation as we secured our place for this year's AWS Summit London 2024. The opportunity to participate again in this premier gathering of AWS tech enthusiasts, industry leaders, and cloud innovators is always an event we look forward to - allowing us to explore the latest advancements in AWS services and immerse ourselves in insightful sessions and workshops. As I've said before, following our previous Summit trips, a live event cannot be beaten when it comes to generating a huge amount of ideas, energy and inspiration that we can put back into our business and the work we produce.

Overview of AWS Summit London 2024

As always, the event was held at the ExCel London, with the main four areas of the Auditorium, Expo hall, breakout theatres and workshop rooms distributed over an even larger square footage of the ExCel centre. While we missed 2023, this year's conference was noticeably larger than two years ago - in particular there were more, larger breakout theatres and so many more people!

The Summit looks to be becoming a victim of its own success, as the sheer numbers of attendees were problematic right from the start. While we were able to register early when there were few queues, a short time later the registration queue was simply epic - and many attendees would have missed the keynote and even the first breakout sessions while still waiting for their pass. Queues were certainly a common theme of the summit this year.

It was clear from the agenda published ahead of the event that the AWS Summit London 2024 was about GenAI. Almost entirely about GenAI. Clearly the hot topic of late 2023 and into 2024, the Keynote and many of the breakout sessions focused on the cloud technology and opportunities for GenAI in business.

We've been using Generative AI for a little while, for development tasks and content generation, and it's an area we expect to work more in over the coming years. Having the opportunity to explore the topic more deeply, and hear about some of the latest advancements and innovations within AWS ecosystem, was enjoyable and highly interesting.

At the AWS Summit London 2024, the GenAI agenda spotlighted the forefront of artificial intelligence (AI), presenting a series of sessions and workshops tailored to explore AI's transformative potential across industries. Delving into the latest advancements in machine learning algorithms, practical business applications of AI, and ethical considerations, attendees gained valuable insights for integrating AI technologies into their organizations. The agenda fostered collaboration and engagement with industry experts and AWS partners, empowering attendees with the knowledge and tools to leverage AI effectively in the digital age.

... said a large language model

Despite the crowds however we were able to explore the summit in its entirety, spending a good chunk of time in the Expo hall speaking with some of the DevOps vendors and with AWS personnel. The Expo hall had a good mix of third party vendors trading swag for emails and the AWS areas that we have more interest in, such as the AWS Village, Ask an Architect and the Startup Loft. With some more of our own serverless systems and SAAS products in the pipeline, we spent a while at the Startup Loft discussing our plans and getting advice from the AWS team.

We also explored the new Urban Nature Hub with its focus on sustainability. The Hub offered a refreshing departure from the bustling conference atmosphere, providing a (relatively) tranquil space to consider the environmental aspects of technology. It featured lush greenery, interactive exhibits, and immersive experiences designed to inspire sustainability and environmental stewardship. The hub offered the opportunity to engage in discussions and workshops focused on eco-friendly practices, renewable energy solutions, and the intersection of technology and conservation.

Photo of James and Martin at the AWS Summit London 2024

James and Martin at the AWS Summit London 2024

Our highlights

Several aspects of the Summit stood out for us, beginning early at the Generative AI exhibits in the Builders Fair. There were a number of practical, or rather physical uses for GenAI demonstrated in the A-F Theatre hall Builder's Fair, such as Robotic AI Chess, Connected Table Football and even the AWS Summit's own feedback system. We stopped by the Connected Table Football and played a game - while a camera and AI software watched the match. The system was able to follow the path of the ball and players, providing immediate stats, probabilities and commentary to a feed. We chatted with the developer and enjoyed hearing about the challenges of development, and various prototype stages that the system went through.

Photo taken at AWS Summit London 2024, Martin Hicks of Si Novi talking to the developer of the AWS Connected Table Football

Martin talking to the developer of the AWS Connected Table Football at AWS Summit London 2024

Of the Breakout sessions, we enjoyed one of the few non-GenAI sessions on Evolving Serverless Architectures. Serverless software development is one of our core services, and for a long time we've been huge proponents of serverless and the related AWS technologies like Lambda and DynamoDB. While serverless isn't the talk of the town any more, it's still a technology that's evolving with new and more efficient ways to leverage AWS services.

We also enjoyed the session on Generative AI developer Tools hosted by Bindhu Chinnadurai and Matt Laver. As we're already using GenAI developer tools from the likes of Github, it was interesting to learn more about what AWS is now offering by way of competition. While CodeWhisperer looks to be a genuine alternative to Github Copilot, we weren't so blown away as to jump ship immediately - rather that we might begin to experiment with Amazon CodeWhisperer for specific tasks where the subject-matter-expertise of AWS might be beneficial, for instance writing CloudFormation templates or CDK / SDK code (Side note: if someone comes up with a better experience for working with the v3 Node SDK, we'd be all ears! One such solution - https://aws-lite.org/).

Photo taken at AWS Summit London 2024, of one of the Breakout Theatres

Conclusion: would we go again?

Yeah! I mean we go as often as we can, it's a super event. It's a way for us to step away from the coal face of software development and be inspired, taking a wider view of the AWS landscape and new technologies.

However, we'd be glad if the event was better managed for the expected numbers and that the human traffic flows around the event made sense - this year the queues were just silly and the security checkpoint in the middle made it impossible to get from one side of the ExCel to the other!

But that aside it's such a good opportunity to enjoy fascinating technical talks, see novel uses of AWS services and check in with AWS people - everyone we spoke to had a passion for technology and the opportunities it can bring for business, people and the future.

Read more about AWS Summit London on the offical AWS page: https://aws.amazon.com/events/summits/london/

Do you have any thoughts on this article? Get in touch: hello@sinovi.uk

About the author

James Galley

An AWS-certified developer, James architects and produces cloud-based web applications using Amazon Web Services. Recent projects include high-throughput event driven applications using Kinesis and DynamoDB, fully serverless web applications powered by AWS Lambda and high-performance static sites deployed to S3.

Profile image of James Galley
contact us

We're here to help

We're a software development and cloud consultancy, operating as an outsourced technology partner for businesses - building, hosting and maintaining functional web based applications in the AWS cloud with trusted web technologies.

Discuss your next project