AWS Government, Education, & Nonprofits Blog

Reimagining Course Delivery with Amazon WorkSpaces

on | in Education |

Instructor Jeff Christen from Cornell University had his own assignment – develop a Masters-level course through Cornell’s Information Science Department on “Business Intelligence (BI) Systems,” in only three weeks.

The goal of the class was to give students a solid foundation and understanding of BI concepts including dimensional data modeling, ETL design, and data visualizations. With a short turnaround time, Jeff worked with Marty Sullivan, Cloud Engineer at Cornell, to come up with a plan to determine how to have a hands-on learning experience for this pilot course.

Preparation

“We did not have access to a computer lab, so we were facing having students install software on their own computer, which would not have been an easy set up,” said Marty. “Making sure the software was compatible on whatever the device the students use, whether it is a Mac, PC, or Linux machine, would have been a support nightmare.”

In an effort to avoid support issues, get students up and running on day one of the class, and provide the flexibility needed for the modern student, Jeff and Marty chose Amazon WorkSpaces for the pilot course. Each student had their own Amazon WorkSpaces with Oracle SQL Developer, the WhereScape RED ETL tool, and Tableau desktop installed.

Deployment

Once the software packages were installed and configured in the WorkSpaces image, new WorkSpaces could be deployed or rebuilt for students in around 20 minutes to over 40 WorkSpaces in the class. Prior to the start of the semester, each student received an email with instructions on how to log in and download the app. At the first lecture, Jeff asked the students to raise their hand if they were able to connect to their Workspace. “This was the moment I was dreading, but every student raised their hand!” Marty said.

Post-Deployment

By using AWS, Jeff was able to focus on creating a course that provided hands-on experience whether in the classroom, in the dorms, or in the dining hall – on whatever device. “Students can study and work together on their projects anywhere, on Macs, PCs, and tablets. The flexibility for them is the icing on the cake,” said Jeff.

Jeff was able to do live demos in the class and students could follow along in real-time, not having to take notes and do it after class, which provided a powerful teaching and learning experience. It also saved Jeff hours of time that would have been spent in office hours configuring computers and not working on the course material.

“Students get real hands-on experience, using real industry tools with Amazon WorkSpaces. They aren’t just taking notes in class, but following me in real time. It gets rid of traditional classroom barriers,” said Jeff.

In addition to several individual assignments focused on core skills, the students also participated in a team project. Project teams consisted of 4-5 students and each was one of three BI projects using real-world Cornell business challenges and associated datasets, such as transportation and dining on campus.

“We can rethink how we teach with Amazon WorkSpaces. We can offer more to students – more interesting class content and more interactivity – without adding complexity for instructors. The sky is the limit,” said Jeff.

Learn more about Amazon WorkSpaces for Education.

Learn the Five Imperatives for a Smart City at the Future Citizen Innovation Series

on | in government |

Future Cities Catapult (FCC) has simplified the “smart city” concept into five imperatives to help get you started on your digital journey to citizen innovation.  Following the AWS UK Region Launch, we have collaborated with Future Cities Catapult to bring you the Future Citizen Innovation Series.

In January in London, we hosted the first week of sessions featuring Transport for London (TfL), The Met Office, Zaizi, KainosEvolve, DVLA and Future Cities Catapult talking about the Future of Citizen Innovation, Open Data, NHS, and how our customers are using the AWS Cloud to innovate today. Watch some of the event highlights in this video.

For our second week of this event series, we will focus on Smart Cities highlighting lessons learned from key city leaders. From 6 – 10 March, 2017, you can learn what makes a smart city “smart.” We distilled the topic into five imperatives to bring your Smart City project from an idea to a reality.

  1. Integrated City Services – March 6th, featuring the London Borough of Kingston Transformation Programme
  2. Dynamic Urban Planning – March 7th, featuring Urban Growth Planner by Future Cities Catapult
  3. Citizen Led Innovation – March 8th, featuring City of Bournemouth – the UK’s fastest growing digital economy
  4. Consistent Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Engagement – March 9th, featuring Belfast
  5. Resilience & Sustainability – March 10th, featuring David Wilde – Executive Director, Exeter County Council

Learn more and register now for the Future Citizen Innovation Series. We will also work to get you equipped with technology and practical steps to implementation. There are ten “ASK AWS Architect” sessions available on a first-come, first-served basis throughout the week. Please indicate your interest on the registration form to book your one-on-one time with AWS experts.

  • Check out the full agenda here
  • Share it with your colleagues in Urban Planning, IT, Customer Service, and other departments to get multiple stakeholders onboard
  • Secure your place, as there are only 10 places left!

Check out some of the photos from the first week below.

The Future of the Family History Industry

on | in Nonprofit |

RootsTech, hosted by FamilySearch.org, is the largest family history conference in the world. “As the name implies, technology is key to achieving our mission and is core to the tools that make the family history industry more effective,” said Bruce Band, VP of Community Outreach in the Records and Partners Division at FamilySearch.org.

Technology, such as cloud computing, has made collecting meaningful family stories for future generations simple. The AWS Cloud has powered many helpful genealogical tools, bridging the gap between generations and distance.

“If you think about major disruptors in the family history industry, they include technologies such as microfilm, the Internet, and now cloud computing, “ said Bruce. “Developers can now create a product and extend it to a world audience with ease using AWS. It is a game changer for the family history industry and it is taking things to the next level in terms of connecting people around the world.”

Innovator Showdown

Last week at RootsTech, we sponsored the Innovator Showdown. Innovators from around the world competed for $190,000 in prizes and pitched their innovative ideas. Watch the recording of the Innovator Showdown here.

During this year’s Showdown, competitors pitched diverse apps and sites, ranging from photo and video documentation to browsing and data tools.

The 2017 winners included:

  • 1st Place: OldNews USA – Making Family History Mobile
  • 2nd Place: QromaTag – Add your story to any photo using your iPhone and your voice.
  • 3rd Place: Double Match Triangulator – Forging New Frontiers in DNA Analysis
  • People’s Choice: Kindex – Search Every Word

Congratulations to the winners! Check out the innovative ideas submitted by the winners and finalists and how they use new technologies here.

The winners received AWS promotional cloud credits to expand the global reach of their products, using AWS services. Other customers are leveraging AWS for genomics analysis, search functionality, mobile development, facial recognition, and much more.

Learn how other nonprofits and NGOs use the AWS Cloud to save costs, improve scale, and generate outcomes.

Lessons Learned from Migrating Mission-Critical Academic and Administrative Systems to the Cloud

on | in Education |

On-demand compute, storage, and database services help higher education IT teams build secure environments for mission-critical applications, freeing them to focus on student success.

It’s more important than ever to provide students with resources where they are, so students have access to everything from their Learning Management System (LMS) to payment systems with just one log on.

Idaho State University (ISU) reached a decision point where they needed to refresh their hardware locally or look to the cloud as an alternative solution to host their LMS. They had been hosting Moodle, an open-source learning platform, on premises for ten years. After exploring the available options, they made the decision to migrate Moodle to the AWS Cloud.

By bringing their campus onto the cloud, ISU was able to reduce IT support costs and free staff from technical work, while still providing the services their students need to be successful.

“We explored what we could do, and we made the decision that the cloud brought increased cost savings, better redundancy, and allowed us to offload the maintenance required to manage our existing hardware. The cloud was well worth the initial effort,” said Blake Beck, Director of Educational Technologies and eISU at ISU.

The eISU department is responsible for the management of the school’s LMS (Moodle) and other technology associated with teaching and learning for 13,000 unique student users at ISU. Ninety-six percent of the University’s courses utilize Moodle for assignments, testing, and course materials.

At ISU, they learned a few tips during their migration to help other colleges and universities looking to migrate systems to the cloud.

  1. Let go of the way you think it should be. “Our biggest hurdle was getting over how we thought things should be based on how we did it in the past. Once we let go of the way we thought it had to be and embraced the AWS strategy, things finally moved in the right direction and everything fell into place,” said Blake.
  2. Get others on board early. One of the challenges the department had as pioneers was working with their own staff. By getting others comfortable with the cloud, they began a cultural shift inside the university. Other departments, like security, networking, and backup, recognized that more services were heading this way in the future.
  3. Enjoy the simple things. “Initially, when we sized our front-end web servers, we thought three web servers would be more than adequate, but we needed more to have the ability to process all requests. So we spun up a fourth and then a fifth web server in a matter of minutes. That was the beauty— it was as simple as can be,” commented Blake. Being able to spin up and load balance quickly was key for the department. They did not have to buy another front end web server, instead they had high compute capacity and enough storage for whatever their needs were in minutes.
  4. Focus on student experience. ISU already provided a positive experience for its students, so they wanted to maintain that for students and staff without a noticeable shift in the system. They pulled together a steering committee of faculty to have an open forum for comments. They wanted a seamless transition, keeping the stellar uptime their students expected.

ISU migrated Moodle from their on-premises server to Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2). Additionally, they use Amazon Aurora, AWS Lambda, Amazon CloudWatch, and Amazon Simple Notification Service (Amazon SNS). For networking, they are using Amazon Route 53 to host their subdomain and have set up a VPN for secure connections to do maintenance on the EC2 instances. They are also using AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) and AWS CloudTrail to help implement security access and monitoring.

ISU saw huge gains from their migration to the cloud behind the scenes, including cost savings, redundancy, reliability, and a better disaster recovery posture. “We took a big leap forward for us in redundancy and disaster recovery. We are a much better position than we ever were hosting on premises,” said Blake. “A water leak in the data center could have brought us to our knees. We were taking a gamble. We have made a quantum leap forward.”

With two successful semesters completed, the university is looking for other ways to leverage the cloud on campus. Take a tour of how other higher education institutions use AWS campus-wide, from classrooms to dorm rooms and beyond.

Smart City Solutions Built on AWS

on | in government |

Smart cities around the world are collecting and using data to make decisions in real or near real-time to better serve citizens, protect our environment, and lower costs. For example, smart technology is helping to lower congestion in streets, reduce pollution by optimizing transportation infrastructure, lower energy consumption by employing real-time analysis sensors to optimize just-in-time or incident-based illumination, and providing faster response to public safety incidents via real-time capture and analysis of sensor and surveillance data. These cities are transforming operations and services through their smart use of Internet of Things (IoT) solutions.

Most smart city solutions rely on a combination of core technologies (compute, storage, databases, and data warehouses) and advanced technologies (big data analytics, machine learning, IoT, and ingesting streaming data). The cloud allows cities to create new services with the goal of making citizen’s lives better while optimizing resources.

Important examples of smart city solutions built on AWS include:

  • The New York City Department of Transportation’s mission is to improve the safety of New Yorkers by enhancing the city’s transportation infrastructure. To support the city’s Vision Zero traffic and pedestrian safety initiative, the NYDOT built web applications Vision Zero View and iRide NYC on the cloud. Vision Zero View uses crowdsourcing to collect traffic safety data, which can be used to redesign streets and traffic patterns with the goal of reducing traffic fatalities to zero in New York City.
  • The Land Transport Authority (LTA) of Singapore is a government agency responsible for all land transport development, policies, and enforcement, and is key to the economic development of Singapore. Transporting over 2.2 million users a day, the LTA has touchpoints generating public feedback that required quick response time, which led LTA to consider the cloud. AWS provided a more cost-effective solution with a faster roll out time and a disaster recovery solution. LTA began using AWS for web hosting instead of building their own datacenter and experienced a 60% cost savings when compared to an on-premises infrastructure with the security posture required for a government agency.
  • Peterborough City Council (PCC) is a council charged with governing the City of Peterborough, a leading UK Digital City. Integrating data from weather stations, smart energy meters, IoT devices installed in people’s homes, and automated libraries with the council’s core applications and datasets, PCC aims to run the city in a revolutionary new way. Arcus Global recommended AWS to be the sole provider of the infrastructure for the project due to its innovation, elasticity, and breadth of services. The AWS deployment acts as a hub for all legacy applications, integration to smart city IoT devices, analytics, and SaaS applications.
  • The ‘Smart Airport Experience’ project was funded by the government-run Technology Strategy Board in the UK and implemented at London City Airport, working with a technology team led by Living PlanIT. The goal of the project was to demonstrate how IoT technologies could be used to both enhance customer experiences and improve operational efficiency at a popular business airport, which already offers fast check-in. The project used the Living PlanIT Urban Operating System (UOS™) hosted in an AWS environment as the backbone for real-time data collection, processing, analytics, marshalling, and event management to help travelers navigate checkpoints, purchase meals, and get to their gates as efficiently as possible.
  • Transport for London (TfL) is London’s integrated transport authority responsible for all forms of transport, including Tube, buses, roads, trams, river, DLR, above ground, cycling, walking, coaches, freight, taxis and more. TfL is responsible for approximately 24 million journeys a day on their network. Through open data and cloud technology, TfL was able to deliver new services to an increasing population, which led to improvements in reliability, customer experience, and significant cost savings. To learn more, click here.
  • Leveraging AWS infrastructure, the City of Chicago was able to launch OpenGrid, a real-time, open source situational awareness program intended to improve the quality of life for citizens and improve efficiency of city operations. OpenGrid allows the public to interact with the data in order to see the information about the city related to business license filings, traffic and weather concerns, and emergency response calls via 311. With AWS, the City of Chicago has the flexibility and agility to deliver better citizen services in Chicago. In addition, Chicago placed the open source code for the platform on AWS allowing other cities to create similar programs.
  • PetaJakarta is an applied research project originally supported by the University of Wollongong’s Global Challenges Program and a Twitter data grant. It brings together mobile mapping and local flood information for the city of Jakarta, Indonesia. The platform lets the 28 million citizens of Jakarta share real-time flood information in a part of the world increasingly affected by flooding. In addition to the collection and dissemination of information by community members through location-enabled mobile devices, researchers can complement existing manual water gauges with water-level-sensing devices to inexpensively increase monitoring across the waterway network in Jakarta. The PetaJakarta team is now based at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is preparing for the launch of PetaBencana.id, which will serve more cities, have a wider social media reach, pull from additional data sources, and utilize a new architecture.

 

Learn how you can make your city a smart city with AWS here.

Check back on the blog as we will be sharing a follow-up post with a deep dive into the AWS services for smart cities.

Save the Date: AWS Public Sector Summit is Coming Soon to Washington, D.C

on | in Education, government, Nonprofit |

We are already looking forward to our eighth annual AWS Public Sector Summit in Washington, DC. This year’s event will take place June 12-14, 2017 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Registration will be open soon, so stay tuned for more information on how to save your spot.

As we begin the countdown to the Summit, we wanted to give you a glimpse into what you can expect this June.

What to Expect in 2017

  • Over 100+ breakout sessions on topics, such as DevOps, Big Data, Internet of Things, security and compliance, adoption models, scientific computing, open data, and more.
  • Two keynotes with a star line up of CIOs. View some of the keynote videos from the 2016 event.
  • Direct access to AWS technologists
  • Pre-Day with bootcamps and deep dive workshops
  • Networking opportunities with partners and peers

Mark your Calendar

Mark your calendar for one of the largest gatherings of public sector technology leaders in 2017. More details below!

Date: June 12-14, 2017

Location: Walter E. Washington Convention Center – 801 Mt Vernon Pl NW, Washington, DC 20001

MD5 Hackathon: Using Technology & Data to Help Save Lives

on | in government |

Prepare for everything. That is the guidance that MD5, a public-private partnership between the National Defense University, New York University, and a network of national research universities, is giving its participants for the MD5 Hackathon on February 24 – 26 in Austin, Texas. The three day hackathon brings together over 100 innovators from the Department of Defense (DoD), UT Austin, and the Austin community to tackle some of the toughest Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) challenges. We are looking forward to being the technology provider, working with MD5 to provide access to AWS technologies and mentorship throughout the hackathon. Join us by registering today!

Established in 2015 and based at Fort McNair in Washington, DC, MD5 seeks to reinvigorate civil-military technology collaboration and value creation through the development of a National Security Innovation Corps – entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs solving high tech problems in the interest of national security.

MD5 works to enable communities of innovators, following a model of innovation marked by “a compulsive interest in technically elegant problems, an almost childlike fascination for new things, and, of course, a patriotic commitment to national defense,” outlined by Merritt Roe Smith, MIT professor and technology historian.

MD5’s hackathon is an example of commercializing technology relevant to the nation’s security and prosperity. They are seeking hardware and software concepts that addresses humanitarian assistance and disaster relief challenges in the following areas:

  • Logistics and Planning
  • Communications
  • Water and Power

AWS is committed to enabling innovators and providing solutions to the Department of Defense (DoD) and commercial collaborators for these disaster situations, whether a man-made, natural, or cyber.

For example, what do you do if you cannot get online? What do you do if you have no power? AWS Snowball Edge and AWS Internet of Things (IoT) integrations are able to seamlessly support edge workloads or communicate with other devices securely – even when not connected to the Internet.

We will be on hand at the Hackathon to answer technical questions over the three days and help find ways AWS services can assist in using data to help save lives. Learn more about AWS for Defense.

Register today!

AWS Signs CJIS Addendum with the City of Plano, Texas

on | in government |

AWS has signed a Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) agreement with the City of Plano, Texas. This is the eighth CJIS security addendum signed by AWS with jurisdictions across the United States.

This signed addendum allows the City of Plano to leverage the benefits of AWS GovCloud (US), which includes the highest levels of information security for state and local law enforcement agencies like encryption and access control features.

“We are excited to announce that the City of Plano and the Plano Police Department have signed a CJIS Security Addendum with Amazon Web Services. This will allow us to leverage the security and scalability of the cloud so our police department and other city agencies can utilize the most innovative technologies. We look forward to being able to share our outcomes as best practices for other cities to follow,” said Bruce Glasscock, City Manager, City of Plano.

Law enforcement agencies around the country are using AWS to meet security and compliance requirements, and to leverage our broad partner ecosystem including body camera providers, digital evidence management systems, computer aided dispatch systems, video redaction software providers, and records management systems.

AWS continues to engage with the law enforcement community through venues like the Major Cities Chiefs Association Conference in Washington, DC this week, where we are a Four Star Sponsor. We look forward to working with the organization to identify and help solve public safety challenges and emerging issues using cloud technology.

To learn more about the AWS’s capabilities and resources to address this community’s unique IT needs, read about Justice and Public Safety with AWS and the growing list of jurisdictions across the United States that are working with AWS to leverage the benefits of the cloud.

AWS Snowball Edge for the DoD: Bringing Storage and Compute to Tactical Situations

on | in government |

A growing number of military customers are adopting AWS’s cloud services to process, store, and transmit Department of Defense (DoD) data. Within the DoD, storage offers an opportunity to reduce costs and drive efficiencies, wherever the mission may take you.

From the battlefield to a military installation to a remote airfield, AWS Snowball Edge can help tactical DoD missions as they collect data and analyze that data in remote locations.

AWS Snowball Edge is our newest 100TB data transfer device, offering highly secure, on-board storage and in-flight compute capabilities with AWS Greengrass. DoD mission owners can use AWS Snowball Edge to move massive amounts of data into and out of the AWS Cloud, use the device as a temporary storage tier for large local datasets, or seamlessly support edge workloads in remote or offline locations.

AWS Snowball Edge connects to your organization’s existing applications and infrastructure using standard storage interfaces, streamlining the data transfer process, minimizing setup and integration, and helping ensure that the applications continue to run, even when they are not able to access the cloud.

Snowball Edge

Benefits for the DoD

  1. Cost Savings: In the past, collecting and analyzing data by shipping containers of compute and storage infrastructure to remote airfields could cost up to a half a million dollars. AWS Snowball Edge offers all customers a fast and inexpensive way to transfer large amounts of data both into and out of AWS.
  2. Durability: Transporting containers of compute infrastructure also came with the risk of the equipment getting damaged in transit and technical problems plaguing the mission. Snowball Edge is ruggedized to be able to withstand a drop from a five-story building.
  3. Scalability and elasticity: You no longer need long-standing clusters. With AWS Snowball Edge, you simply bring up a new storage cluster when you have new missions. Snowball Edge devices can transport multiple terabytes of data and multiple devices can be used in parallel to transfer petabytes of data into or out of AWS.
  4. Security: AWS Snowball Edge devices use tamper-resistant enclosures, 256-bit encryption, and industry-standard Trusted Platform Modules (TPM) designed to ensure both security and full chain-of-custody for your data.

Bringing Storage and Compute to Tactical Situations

Often DoD Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) platforms are collecting high volumes of data using highly specialized sensors. Once the data is collected, the platform, like a drone, lands on an air strip. The mission owner immediately wants to start filtering and processing the data at the air field or a nearby operations center, but they want to get the rest of the data back to the cloud for long-term storage and future use. For situations like this, they need to stand up a storage cluster quickly to process and analyze the data locally. With Snowball Edge, storage and compute are brought to these edge locations and mission owners are able to deliver a finished product to be used by military decision makers quickly and efficiently. In parallel, the data stored on the Snowball Edge can be shipped back to an AWS region to be processed by large-scale compute clusters that can quickly spin up and spin down to save costs. The data can also be securely shared with the rest of DoD or other government agencies for correlation and analysis with their own datasets.

How does it work?  

You can order AWS Snowball Edge with just a few clicks in the AWS Management Console. It arrives with your Amazon S3 buckets, AWS Lambda code, and clustering configuration pre-installed. Once the appliance arrives, connect it to your local network and set the IP address either manually or with DHCP. Finally, you verify the integrity of the Snowball Edge device and unlock it for use. You can encrypt your data prior to storing it on the Snowball Edge. Unencrypted data is never stored on the appliance. After the Snowball Edge data import job is complete, AWS performs an erasure of the Snowball appliance that follows the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) guidelines for media sanitization.

Learn more about AWS Snowball Edge and other storage services for the DoD at AFCEA Cyberspace Symposium and AFCEA West in February. We will have AWS technologists on site to answer any of your questions and help to get your mission started in the cloud.

Bridging the Gap between Health and Justice

on | in government |

The Data-Driven Justice Initiative (DDJ), originally launched by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and now run by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, estimates that 11 million people move through America’s 3,100 local jails, many on low-level, non-violent misdemeanors, costing local governments approximately $22 billion a year. Of these non-violent offenders, 64% suffer a mental illness, 68% have a substance abuse disorder, and 44% suffer chronic health issues.

With data acquired from the Data-Driven Justice Initiative, first responders are equipped with the knowledge to most effectively resolve these non-violent situations. Once a situation is contained, officials can recommend services without arrest and treat incarceration as a last resort. For example, over the past five years, Miami Dade, Florida, has used data to create mental health de-escalation training for its police officers, resulting in more than 10,000 people being diverted from incarceration to proper medical treatment and a savings of nearly $12 million per year.

DJ Patil at re:Invent

During a keynote address at AWS re:Invent 2016, DJ Patil, former Chief Data Scientist of the United States Office of Science and Technology, said, “This year alone 11.4 million people will go through our 3,100 jails, but 95% will not go to prison. They will stay there an average of 23 days— we are cycling them.” Understanding of the data and social determinants that often lead to recidivism allows officials to employ measures to intervene and prevent citizens from returning to jail.

Patil concluded his address with three major themes:

  1. People will always be greater than data. When we look at the edge cases that drive the need for this innovation, we must remember that these are people. Each case has a name, a life that needs saving. Whether it’s connecting cancer research data to find a cure or mental health data to get someone the help they need to live productively in our society, these are people we all know and issues that hit close to home.
  2. Data is a force multiplier in every facet of society. The availability of data is a repeatable solution that we can apply to a public issue. The more data that we can connect, the faster we will come to solutions that will improve and save the lives of citizens.
  3. The time to act is now. Patel said, “The answer isn’t in a database. The sad reality is that it’s in thousands of databases.” For many of the issues facing the healthcare community, the solution lies in connecting data that already exists in fragmented datasets.

Speaking to the technology community, Patel urged, “We have a duty to responsibly unleash the power of data for the benefit of all Americans…a technology is neither radical nor revolutionary unless it benefits every single person.”

2017 Winter Innovation Summit

As part of our continued commitment to the Data Driven Justice Initiative, AWS sponsored the 2017 Winter Innovation Summit in Salt Lake City, UT, last week. We joined over forty organizations, including city and county government officials, universities, associations, foundations, and technology companies, to continue the important work the DDJ began in 2016. This was also an opportunity for communities to share which data-driven initiatives are working in their jurisdictions.

DDJ members Middlesex County, Massachusetts and the City of Long Beach, California were among those who shared their approaches to data driven justice and related health outcomes in their communities.

“At the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office, we are on the front lines of the mental health and substance use crises plaguing our communities,” said Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian. “By harnessing the power of data available across systems and jurisdictions, we can not only break the cycle of incarceration, but improve the lives of those afflicted with these disorders and their families. While I am proud of the programs we offer those placed with us by the courts, you shouldn’t have to go to jail to access treatment.”

According to Mayor Robert Garcia, the City of Long Beach’s effort “will bring together data from across criminal justice and health systems to identify the individuals with the highest number of contacts with police, ambulance, emergency departments, and other services, and link them to health, behavioral health, and social services in the community, with a goal of reducing overreliance on emergency healthcare and encounters with the criminal justice system.”

Tracy Colunga, the City’s Innovation Team Director, adds, “We are incredibly excited to bring the human-centered approach to public safety in Long Beach. We are proud to support the amazing men and women of our law enforcement community and work with community members to deploy multiple strategies that improve outcomes, reduce crime and further enhance community-police relations.”

Securely collect, integrate, and share sensitive information

Technology companies play an important role in helping the Data Driven Justice Initiative. At the event, companies had the opportunity to share their solutions built for the DDJ and powered by AWS.

Loom launched and demonstrated a new secure data sharing platform. Loom’s platform allows governments to securely collect, integrate, and share sensitive information, including health and public safety data. APN partner Appriss also showed how health and criminal justice data streams could be integrated to identify “super utilizers” across health and public safety programs in order to quantify costs and proactively allocate preventative resources.

Learn about Health and Human Services solutions on AWS: https://aws.amazon.com/stateandlocal/health-and-human-services/

Michael Jackson, AWS Healthcare Strategy Lead (center) reviews Public Health solutions with US mayors: Stephanie Miner (Syracuse, NY), Bryan Barnett (Rochester Hills, MI), Stephanie Rawlings-Blake (Baltimore, MD – former), and Eileen Weir (Independence, MO) at Winter Innovation Summit 2017