Amazon and Carrier partnership will enable vertical industry expertise
Amazon and Carrier partnership will enable vertical industry expertise

Rumble in the Cloud: Amazon Battling Google, SAP, Microsoft in Sizzling New Market

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The fascinating new partnership between Amazon’s AWS cloud unit and a global customer specializing in keeping things cold is a clear signal that AWS is jumping with both feet into the red-hot new market for industry-specific cloud solutions.

(On my weekly Cloud Wars Top 10 rankings, Amazon/AWS is #2.)

While Amazon’s press release about its multiyear agreement with Carrier Global Corp. to create a transformative digital platform makes no mention of industry-specific solutions, the deal provides an elegant model for AWS to transcend transactional relationships and help customers unleash vertical-industry expertise.

Wickedly competitive marketplace

Whether official or unspoken, this Amazon deal marks the entry of yet another world-class cloud vendor into the fast-emerging competition to deliver a new generation of AI-powered business solutions purpose-built to manage and optimize unique vertical processes. Amazon joins Microsoft (#1 on my Cloud Wars Top 10), #4 Google Cloud, and #5 SAP in surging into this new category.

Amazon says the multiyear deal will “transform how food, medicine, vaccines, and other perishable goods are moved and monitored globally” on the strength of a handful of powerful new technologies including ML, IoT and analytics. From the press release: 

The Lynx platform will combine AWS’s IoT, analytics, and machine learning services with Carrier’s refrigeration and monitoring solutions, extending Carrier’s current digital offerings for managing the temperature-controlled transport and storage of perishables. Customers using the Lynx platform will benefit from end-to-end tracking, real-time alerts, automated processes, and predictive analytics to help them deliver temperature-controlled cargo more efficiently, in turn decreasing the cost of cold chain operations by optimizing resource utilization and reducing cargo loss and spoilage.

So the deal leapfrogs traditional transactional terms by fusing the IT and digital expertise of AWS with the deep-domain operational expertise that Carrier has established over the decades.

Why this deal matters so much

In that respect, it mirrors closely: 

  • what Google Cloud is doing with retailers to help them completely overhaul inventory management as omnichannel becomes ubiquitous;
  • what Microsoft is doing with Novartis to completely reimagine the development of pharmaceuticals; and
  • what SAP and Honeywell are doing with smart buildings.

Each of those vendor-customer partnerships cover multiple years and involve a foundation-level fusion of modern cloud IT with the customers’ sophisticated OT, or operational technology. By embedding ML and IoT and analytics deeply into a sweeping range of Carrier’s ongoing operations, AWS can help Carrier become a digital-industrial company that still relies heavily on trucks and forklifts and refrigeration units, but that does so with vastly greater intelligence, foresight and precision.

That’s the benefit to Carrier, and it is not only enormous but essential in our wildly disruptive times.

Huge roles for ML, AI, IoT, Analytics

And for AWS, the Carrier deal showcases its expertise far beyond IaaS and deep into the realms of advanced software: AI, ML, analytics and IoT. Amazon lands not only a lucrative multiyear deal with one of the world leaders in what Carrier calls “cold-chain solutions,” but also a new type of lighthouse engagement that will make other businesses recognize that Amazon offers much more than IaaS.

As I see it, that’s the true promise of these industry-specific solutions: the customer doesn’t just buy some IT services that automate what it’s already doing. Rather, the customer fuses its operational processes and systems with world-class purpose-built digital technology that boosts the intelligence level of everything the customer does while also positioning it for high relevance and growth in the digital economy.

And that’s why I’ve been aggressively highlighting and analyzing this booming new market throughout 2020 and particularly in the past few months:

Final Thought

It’s great to see this new or emerging type of engagement from Amazon because the company has the technology chops to not just be a wildly successful supplier of traditional cloud services but also of new and transformative ideas and capabilities.

I hope we’ll see more of these partnerships from Amazon because it’s just one more sign that the most-triumphant victors in the Cloud Wars are the business customers who are benefitting from the fabulous technology and expertise that this wickedly competitive industry is unleashing.

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