AWS Government, Education, & Nonprofits Blog

Announcing the 2018 City on a Cloud Finalists

This year’s City on a Cloud Innovation Challenge saw a variety of applications from countries around the globe. Nominations included cities, counties, universities, and, for the first time, organizations serving underserved populations (the “We Power Tech” category) that are using the cloud to help make the world a better place. Learn more about the finalists and their projects, including emergency response and disaster preparedness, collaborative learning, securing elections, and more.

Congratulations to all of the finalists! We will be announcing the winners at the AWS Public Sector Summit keynote on June 20th in Washington, DC!

Best Practices

The Best Practices Award will be granted to a local or regional government leader, or public or private school or district that has deployed an innovative solution to solve a government challenge.

  • City of Centennial, Colorado: In the event of an emergency that incapacitates operations, the City of Centennial maintains an open data resource center that aggregates data across city functions to deliver all documents. This includes a centralized location for sensitive resources during emergencies, such as natural disasters, that can impact the resources required to perform daily operations at the city.
  • City of Johns Creek, Georgia: The City of Johns Creek has developed a municipal Amazon Alexa skill, which leverages open data from the city’s open data portal (DataHub). Key data about the city’s operations is made more accessible to citizens through the skill and Alexa’s natural language question-answer workflow.
  • City of Las Vegas, Nevada: In order to keep visitors and residents informed, the city has created and posted eight Amazon Alexa skills that answer frequently asked questions and provide flash information about news and events. The skills are designed to measure streetlight energy usage datasets to relay information on over 50,000 streetlights and identify malfunctions immediately.
  • City of Tallahassee, Florida: The City of Tallahassee has partnered with Esri to build and host the Electric Outage Map as a AWS EC2 application. The Outage Map provides citizens accurate electric outage information using data from our Electric Outage Management System and integrated data provided from crews in the field using Cityworks.
  • District of Columbia Health Benefit Exchange Authority (HBX): By leveraging the AWS Cloud and open source software, HBX delivers a true public-private partnership with sister states to provide cost-effective health insurance options to their residents.
  • Douglas-Omaha Technology Commission: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the City of Omaha, Nebraska started transitioning lead clean-up activities in 2015. The city now supervises and oversees soil sampling and soil clean-up in contaminated yards. By using serverless architecture and leveraging AWS application services, their solution has reduced costs and helped educate and send data to the EPA.
  • Louisville Metro Government, Jefferson County: The Open Government Coalition (OGC) is a framework to collaboratively build open source solutions that pool technical talent across governments (city, county, state, federal). Using AWS, OGC can reduce operational costs by building a well-documented solution that is easily reproduced from the AWS Marketplace. This cloud framework allows for collaboration, reproducibility, and reduced cost, disrupting the RFP and procurement process.
  • Marmion Academy: Marmion has developed a Computational Prototyping and Research Center (CPARC) as a prototype for business and education STEM collaboration. Marmion’s CPARC Engineering Center offers students, outside businesses, and educational partners a collaborative learning and research atmosphere.
  • Moulton Niguel Water District: By using AWS to store, manage, and analyze data with R and Python programs, the District’s AMI analytics solution provides a common platform for exploration and visualization of hourly water consumption patterns for more efficient water management.
  • North Carolina State Board of Elections: Using AWS, the North Carolina State Board of Elections is able to run elections in a highly scalable and secure manner. Rather than spending tens of thousands of dollars to modernize and scale their infrastructure, they run for about $120 each day without worrying about public perception of a failing or crashing elections site.
  • NHS Business Services Authority: Using Amazon Lex, NHS has built a cloud-based call center powered by machine learning. Simple queries are processed by chatbot technology that provides intelligent customer-centric information, advice, and guidance.

Dream Big

The Dream Big Award will be granted to a city or school that has a great idea they would like to implement.

  • California State University: Using data provided by employees and students, California State University aims to create a data lake to unify information and analytics across all campuses. In doing so, thousands of faculty, staff, and administrators will have access to intuitive, relevant, and interactive data that will improve operational effectiveness and student success at statewide and local levels.
  • City of Asheville, North Carolina: The City of Asheville wants to provide a resource hub including loans, education, legal advice, and more for all small business owners. This hub will use interactive questions and a live chat to guide business owners to the right resources and save them time.
  • City of Gold Coast, Australia: By implementing a private Blockchain, the City of Gold Coast will store verified information on businesses in a decentralized but secure manner to accelerate the city’s procurement process. Smart Contracts will automate existing manual processes and paperwork, eliminating human error and delays in processing.
  • City of Las Vegas, Nevada – Gov Transparency: With the public’s embrace of mobile and streaming video, GoVegas will keep up with the trend by offering information through digital media streaming devices. As part of the GoVegas ecosystem, TV streaming applications are combined with mobile apps and Amazon Alexa skills to enable the public to engage with the city wherever they are and whenever they want.
  • City of Los Angeles, California – Information Technology Agency: California is subject to thousands of earthquakes every year, ranging from below 3.0 to above 5.0. With the city’s warning system, users can be warned upwards of one minute before the earthquake hits. This could increase earthquake readiness and resiliency, saving lives and improving response.
  • City of Los Angeles, California – Information Technology Agency / University of Southern California – I3 IoT Platform: The I3 Intelligent IoT Integrator platform facilitates sensors owned and supported from any vendor to join I3 and contribute to the creation of “smart” applications and data analytics. This “smart city community” provides IoT capacity to enhance provisioning of services to the public and vendors and build a smarter, more economically stable, and better-run city.
  • City of Omaha, Nebraska: The City of Omaha would like to help local law enforcement monitor vehicles using the garages and improve the recovery and conviction of car thieves. Leveraging AWS and Amazon tools, like Amazon Rekognition and Kinesis Streams, the city can cross-reference the FBI’s stolen vehicle and stolen plates files, and identify stolen vehicles entering the garages.
  • City of Salinas, California: The City of Salinas has implemented a crowd-sourcing app for residents to report damage during emergency events like extreme weather, earthquakes, and other natural disasters. Data from crowd sourcing is used to predict and identify damaged regions and optimize response and repair actions from city staff.
  • Douglas County, Nebraska: To adhere with guidelines and provide the best experience for hard-of-hearing and deaf users, and to enable their full participation when viewing multimedia productions, Douglas County is developing near-real-time transcription of video. Using Amazon Transcribe, the county will be able to automate this process with better accuracy without worrying about the difficulties of manual processing.
  • Ft. Myers Police Department, Florida: Using Amazon Transcribe and Translate, Ft. Myers PD expects to significantly reduce or eliminate use of outside contractors and overtime expenses for transcription, while providing detectives and investigators faster access to the transcriptions to victim, witness, and suspect interviews.

Partners in Innovation

The Partners in Innovation Award will be granted to a technology partner who has deployed an innovative solution to solve a government or teaching and learning challenge.

  • Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy: ResistanceMap Surveillance Network (RSN) is an effort to track antibiotic resistance levels both in the United States and around the world. Leveraging the cloud capacity of AWS, RSN collects antimicrobial-susceptibility data from hospital microbiology laboratories around the world.
  • iCrimeFighter: iCrimeFighter is a mobile evidence gathering platform that allows public safety officers to gather digital evidence (pictures, videos, audio) using their smart phones, upload and store that evidence securely in the AWS Cloud, and share evidence within an agency using an online portal.
  • Mark43: Mark43 makes reliable and actionable information a reality with the first fully cloud-based Computer Aided Dispatch System for first responders. Mark43’s cloud-based applications translate to countless efficiency gains and cost-savings for police agencies.
  • Open-storm.org: Open-Storm builds smart water systems that will transform how Southeast Michigan’s watersheds are managed. AWS plays a central role in this as the backbone to all of their analytics, storage, and real-time control needs.
  • Slingshot: Slingshot, in partnership with Louisville Metro Government, is creating a framework that instead allows cities across the globe to share resources, both financial and technical, to develop open source solutions.
  • South Central Planning and Development Commission: The asset system features flexible reports including moving time, speed, stopped time, stop locations, and more. It also features flexible reporting and unified interfacing that allows users to see the real-time location of fleets and assigned job site locations.
  • Stroud Water Research Center, Inc.: Model My Watershed is an easy-to-use, professional-grade watershed modeling web application that enables citizens, conservation practitioners, municipal decision-makers, educators, and students to learn about the impact of storm water runoff in their neighborhoods and watersheds.
  • University of Münster: The University of Münster has developed senseBox, a do-it-yourself kit for stationary and mobile sensor stations – a Citizen Science Toolkit. Citizens with senseBox:home can use the technology for their own local research, to collect environmental data, or to contribute to the openSenseMap sensor network, a platform of open sensor data running on AWS.
  • Urbanova: By harnessing citizen data, insights are derived to measure the success of programs leading to healthier citizens, safer neighborhoods, smarter infrastructure, a more sustainable environment, and a stronger economy. Urbanova’s unique, connected open digital ecosystem allows cities and citizens to arrive at decisions collectively and with data-driven evidence before resources are deployed at scale.
  • Utility Associates: Utility’s BodyWorn and In-Car Video systems integrate audio, video, and tactile AI to automate video recording policy rules. Gunshot audio recognition automatically triggers recording and smart saves pre-event audio and video whenever a gunshot happens close to an officer. Smart Holsters automatically start recording when a weapon has been pulled.

We Power Tech

The We Power Tech Award will be granted to a technology partner who primarily serves underrepresented and has deployed an innovative solution to help a business, nonprofit organization, government or educational institution address a challenge that involves diversity or inclusion of an underrepresented group.

  • American Prison Data Systems: Using AWS, American Prison Data Systems (APDS) delivers high-quality education and re-entry resources to incarcerated individuals all over America. Services are available to people directly incarcerated, those affected by the parole system, and individuals incarcerated pre-trial.
  • City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Philadelphia will develop a multilingual, voice-powered engagement platform. Leveraging a suite of AWS services that revolutionize how the government analyzes sentiments, ideas, and experiences from its diverse communities to improve services and communication strategies.
  • International Patient Learning Empowerment and Advocacy Inc.: International Patient Learning Empowerment and Advocacy Inc. has developed a web platform that provides more affordable and integrated healthcare services. It will aggregate health records to give patients better access and give providers a more comprehensive view of patient history.
  • Kiron Open Higher Education: Kiron supports refugees to fulfil their potential by providing them with flexible, digital educational resources. Through an innovative model of blended eLearning, Kiron offers free-of-charge, tailor-made curricula by clustering Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) from renowned educational platforms so that refugees can start studying regardless of their asylum status.
  • Unite Us: Unite Us is a veteran-led technology company that builds coordinated care networks that connect health and social service providers. The company helps systems and communities efficiently deliver care by inter-connecting providers around every patient, integrating the social determinants of health into patient care. Unite Us provides a seamless experience for patients requesting care from a coordinated network of providers all working together, so patients don’t fall through the cracks.

Learn more about the City on a Cloud Innovation Challenge here.


Join us for the AWS Public Sector Summit – Washington, DC on June 20-21, 2018. Thank you to our Global Sponsor, Intel!