city on a cloud

Small town's Alexa skill wins AWS award

Amazon Web Services announced the winners of its City on a Cloud Innovation Challenge on June 20 at the AWS Public Sector Summit in Washington, D.C. The winners were recognized for their use of cloud technology to benefit “underserved populations” and to “make the world a better place,” as explained by an AWS spokesperson. Several awardees used the challenge as an opportunity to confront pressing social issues, and others created systems to provide educational and healthcare resources for their users.

The City of Johns Creek, Ga., was awarded the Best Practices Award alongside the DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority, Marmion Academy and the U.K.’s NHS Business Services Authority. Johns Creek was recognized for its Amazon Alexa skill that uses open data to provide local event, government and emergency information to its users. The platform enhances data use and accessibility, and, though it is a small project for a small town, the “City of Johns Creek” skill can be used as a model for larger scale products.

The Dream Big Award was given to The City of Los Angeles Information Technology Agency and the City of Asheville, N.C. Los Angeles was recognized for its earthquake readiness app that can warn and provide safety instructions up to one minute before a quake. Stroud Research Center won the Partners in Innovation Award for a similar product that educates its users on the effects of storm watershed in a given area. Utility Associates and the University of Münster also received the Partners in Innovation Award.

The We Power Tech Award was presented to the City of Philadelphia, as well as Kiron Open Higher Education and Unite Us. As described on an AWS blog post, Philadelphia developed a “multilingual, voice-powered engagement platform” to allow the city’s government to analyze and react to citizens’ expectations and attitudes around new policy.

The AWS Innovation Challenge engages smaller cities and organizations in the large-scale discussion around cloud technology. These projects can act as use case studies for future initiatives involving government cloud usage.

About the Author

Caroline Mohan is an editorial intern for FCW and GCN. She can be reached at cmohan@1105media.com.

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