AWS Public Sector Blog

Announcing the 2018 City on a Cloud Winners – Congratulations!

Today, AWS announced the winners of the 2018 AWS City on a Cloud Innovation Challenge at the AWS Public Sector Summit in Washington, DC.

The City on a Cloud Innovation Challenge encourages cities, counties, universities, and organizations serving underserved populations to look to the cloud as they work to make the world a better place. From STEM-based collaboration to disaster recovery, this year’s winners have big plans for the cloud.

We’re excited to announce the winners (drum roll please):

Best Practices Award


  • DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority: DC Health Benefit Exchange (HBX) is committed to using the best of the government and the private sector to always deliver better-than-expected results. The solution employs HBX’s shared services model for health enrollment systems to modernize old, expensive, difficult-to-maintain IT systems. By leveraging the AWS Cloud, open source software, and an independent procurement authority within the District of Columbia, HBX delivers a true public-private partnership with sister states to provide cost-effective health insurance options to their residents.
  • Marmion Academy: Marmion has developed a Computational Prototyping and Research Center (CPARC) as a prototype for business/education STEM collaboration. Supercomputing power is readily available for CPARC students through AWS to perform CAE (Computer Assisted Engineering) analyses. CAE software is becoming easier for students to access through their Amazon Workspaces, but the STEM concepts surrounding this virtual learning environment still require the knowledge of educators and expertise of experienced company engineers. Embracing simulation prototyping using the CPARC model of business/education collaboration is a win-win. Marmion’s CPARC Engineering Center offers students, outside businesses, and educational partners a collaborative learning and research atmosphere. CPARC is a place where students begin addressing real-world problems and see their hard work translate into college/career success.
  • NHS Business Services Authority: Using Amazon Lex, the UK National Health Service (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.


  • City of Johns Creek, Georgia: The City of Johns Creek has developed a municipal Amazon Alexa skill that 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. By simply asking the “City of Johns Creek” skill, users can find out where police and fire activity has occurred, what current traffic conditions are, and even what the zoning is of any property in Johns Creek.

Honorable Mentions: NC State Board of Elections, City of Tallahassee

Dream Big Award


  • City of Los Angeles – Information Technology Agency: California is subject to thousands of earthquakes every year, ranging from below 3.0 to above 5.0. It is essential for people to use valuable seconds to reach safety before shaking starts. 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. The mobile application will allow the city to test assumptions about how informed people behave when receiving the notification. The application is used to identify and characterize an earthquake, calculate the likely intensity of ground shaking that will result, and deliver warnings to people and infrastructure in harm’s way.


  • City of Asheville, North Carolina: The City of Asheville has started taking steps towards becoming a more equitable city. After identifying that contracts with minority business owners were disproportionate to the population, the city decided to increase the number of minority-owned businesses with the competitive capacity to submit successful bids. Inspired by Open NC, an open data initiative that serves as a model for successful community connection and collaboration, 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.

Honorable Mentions: City of Gold Coast, City of Las Vegas, California State University

Partners in Innovation

  • 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.
  • Stroud Water Research Center: 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 (Institute for Geoinformatics): 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.

Honorable Mentions: Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy, iCrimeFighter, Mark43

We Power Tech

  • 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.
  • City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Philadelphia will develop a multilingual, voice-powered engagement platform. It will leverage 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.

Honorable Mentions: American Prison Data Systems, International Patient Learning Empowerment & Advocacy Inc.

For more information on the winner’s projects, click here. Thank you to all of this year’s participants and keep dreaming big!