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AWS opens up Amazon Lex AI platform to its customers

AWS' move could lead to a lot more enterprise applications powered by the same artificial intelligence technology used by Amazon's Alexa.
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Written by Larry Dignan, Contributing Editor on

AWS said it is opening up its Amazon Lex artificial intelligence service to all customers so they can build applications.

Amazon Lex uses the same machine learning technology as Amazon Alexa. Amazon Lex features algorithms that enable applications that can have conversations and process voice and text.

For AWS, opening up Lex to its broad customer base could give it scale. Google, Microsoft and Facebook are all touting their artificial intelligence platforms. Like most technologies, the AI platform that lands the most developers and real-world applications typically wins the day.

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Another key item to note about Amazon Lex is that AWS is offering the AI as a managed service. As a result, more enterprises are likely to be able to try Lex and build applications. Companies haven't been able to build and deploy apps with speech recognition and natural language understanding easily and at scale. Should AWS succeed with Lex it could be embedded under the hood of multiple AI apps.

With Amazon Lex, developers can build conversational apps that parse speech or text input. These conversational apps can then be deployed on mobile devices or as bots on services such as Facebook Messenger and Slack.

Among the key points:

  • AWS reference customers such as Capital One, Freshdesk, Hubspot, Liberty Mutual, Ohio Health, and Vonage building on top of Amazon Lex.
  • Lex is integrated with AWS Lambda, the cloud provider's serverless managed services.
  • Connectors from Amazon Lex to SaaS applications from Salesforce, Marketo and QuickBooks are available.

Here are some pricing illustrations for Amazon Lex:

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The Amazon Lex news lands along with a bevy of other items from the AWS Summit in San Francisco. Here's a recap:

  • AWS outlined Amazon Redshift Spectrum, a feature that allows Redshift customers to run SQL queries against their Amazon S3 data. Redshift Spectrum gives customers the ability to query unstructured data in an Amazon S3 storage data lake.
  • The company launched the Amazon DynamoDB Accelerator, a managed in-memory cache that can boost DynamoDB response times.
  • An open preview of Amazon Aurora with PostgreSQL compatibility was launched.

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