AWS Public Sector Blog

Category: Amazon Connect

four students walking along a tree-lined path on a college campus

5 lessons for university leaders preparing for a return to campus and how the cloud can help

Higher education leaders agree the coronavirus pandemic forced many institutions to adapt and innovate. Which strategies worked? Which tactics didn’t? What role did cloud technology play? The AWS education team recently convened a small group of university leaders for a roundtable discussion to learn about how higher education institutions innovated to support learning, teaching, health and administrative processes, campus culture, and physical infrastructure.

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UT Austin connects students with answers faster using Amazon Connect

The College of Liberal Arts at University of Texas at Austin wanted to make it simple for students, faculty, and staff to contact support agents. This is how they built and scaled a contact center solution on AWS with Amazon Connect that reduced call wait time, cut costs, and more easily resolved technical issues — all while call volume more than quadrupled.

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three overlapping conversation bubbles

BrainGuide uses cloud technology to empower people with knowledge and resources for brain health

Alzheimer’s, a progressive brain disease that gradually deteriorates memories and thinking skills, is one of the leading causes of death in the United States, according to nonprofit UsAgainstAlzheimer’s (UsA2). To help address the immense need for brain health information and insights, UsA2 recently launched BrainGuide working with AWS and Biogen. BrainGuide is a first-of-its-kind platform that empowers people with knowledge and resources to take the best next steps in managing their own or a loved one’s brain health.

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female student with mask holding books outside university building

University of Keele begins digital transformation using AWS

With AWS Cloud-based solutions, Keele University in England is now able to meet students’ and prospective students’ admissions needs virtually. Prospective students from around the globe can now tour campus remotely, and students going through the confirmation and Clearing process (a period where UK universities accept students and fill remaining seats in their incoming class if a student has not matched with their preferred institution) have a more streamlined, efficient experience. To kick-start the university-wide digital transformation, the team decided to start with an immediate need: the admissions process.

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On the night before Christmas, children around the world wonder when Santa is coming to town. For the 65th consecutive year, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) will put its world-class technology to work to keep an eye on Santa’s whereabouts. Beginning at 6:00 AM EST on December 24, families can check on Santa’s location by calling the toll-free number 1-877-Hi-NORAD (1-877-446-6723). In a typical year, nearly 1,500 volunteers gather at the NORAD Tracks Santa Operations Center at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado, where they receive over 150,000 calls from children around the world. However, to keep volunteers safe during the pandemic, NORAD won’t be able to host as many phone operators in-person this year. Amazon Web Services (AWS) is supporting NORAD by helping their volunteers answer as many calls as possible through Amazon Connect, an omnichannel cloud contact center service. By transferring calls through Amazon Connect, NORAD staff and representatives will be able to answer calls from their homes or offices, supporting those on site at the NORAD Tracks Santa Operations Center. All they need is an internet connection and a headset to take calls through Amazon Connect. Here’s how it will work: • When families call the NORAD Tracks Santa Operations Center, their call will be directed to volunteers at Peterson Air Force Base, who will answer as many calls as possible. • If a volunteer is not able to answer the call, it will be routed to a cell phone bank hosted by Verizon, where volunteers will also be able to answer calls. • If volunteers at Peterson Air Force Base and the Verizon phone bank aren’t able to answer a call, it will be routed through Amazon Connect to volunteers who are answering calls from their homes or offices. • If there are no volunteers available, families will receive a recorded message that is updated regularly with Santa’s current location. “The NORAD Tracks Santa Operations Center is an integral part of our program, and we are excited to expand our call center capabilities with this technology to keep our volunteers safe while still allowing them to answer calls,” said Preston Schlachter, public affairs officer for NORAD. “We appreciate everything AWS and our incredible team of corporate partners is doing to keep the magic alive this year.” “During the pandemic, many organizations have had to adjust how they operate call centers—Santa’s helpers at NORAD included,” said Dave Levy, AWS vice president for U.S. government, nonprofit, and healthcare businesses. “Amazon Connect allows customers like NORAD to limit the number of people answering calls in-person, offer operators more flexibility in where they work, and scale contact centers to answer more calls during times of peak demand. And no evening sees more demand for Santa’s whereabouts than Christmas Eve.” For more information, families can visit the NORAD Tracks Santa website at www.noradsanta.org. Additionally, Amazon is working with NORAD to make sure Alexa is up to date on Santa’s whereabouts through the NORAD Tracks Santa skill for Amazon Alexa. Enable this skill and request: “Ask NORAD Tracks Santa: where's Santa?” To all of the kids calling in—from one to 92—wishing a Merry Christmas from the AWS team to you.

NORAD keeps an eye on Santa with help from Amazon Connect

On the night before Christmas, children around the world wonder when Santa is coming to town. For the 65th consecutive year, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) will put its world-class technology to work to keep an eye on Santa’s whereabouts. Beginning at 6:00 AM EST on December 24, families can check on Santa’s location by calling the toll-free number 1-877-Hi-NORAD (1-877-446-6723). AWS is supporting NORAD by helping their volunteers answer as many calls as possible through Amazon Connect, an omnichannel cloud contact center service. By transferring calls through Amazon Connect, NORAD staff and representatives will be able to answer calls from their homes or offices, supporting those on site at the NORAD Tracks Santa Operations Center.

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woman working on her laptop at home next to phone and notebook

Mission: Providing business continuity for the future of work

Over the past few months, one of the biggest challenges for organizations and employees alike has been the sudden transition to remote work. But we have learned that remote work works when the right technology and leadership come together. Check out some impactful stories that demonstrate how governments have gone above and beyond using the cloud to quickly adapt to this new environment and shift away from the status quo.

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AWS Cloud Champion Video

Learn how to set up remote working, learning, and call centers with AWS Cloud Champion

For community organizations, government agencies, and educational institutions seeking to support a distributed workforce, citizenry, or student body with cloud capabilities, Amazon Web Services (AWS) has developed an online virtual booth to highlight remote work, learning, and call center use cases for the public sector. Learn how to connect your remote employees, constituents, or students on AWS by playing the AWS Cloud Champion: Virtual Workplace Interactive Challenge.

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Fix This episode 15: State & local government

Mission critical cloud: State and local government, on the Fix This podcast

The third episode of the Mission Critical Cloud Fix This podcast mini-series by Teresa Carlson, vice president of the worldwide public sector at Amazon Web Services (AWS), is now live. We dove into how the cloud helps state and local government customers deliver critical services to citizens. Interviews featured in the podcast include the state of West Virginia (WV), Smartronix, and Los Angeles County Internal Services Department (LA County ISD). You can stream all episodes on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, TuneIn, Overcast, iHeartRadio, and via RSS.

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West Virginia Workforce

Accelerating the response to West Virginia workforce needs through the cloud

In the United States, unemployment insurance claims are rising, with the current insured unemployment rate at 15.7%—the highest since the end of World War II. Many states are struggling with the volume of applications, causing legacy back-office systems to crash. Workforce West Va. identified three actions they could take to improve constituent services; many of these actions were enabled by the cloud.

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Creating an outbound calling solution during a pandemic using Amazon Connect

City and state government leaders are on the front line fighting COVID-19. Government agencies need to reach their constituents at a moment’s notice to communicate everything from the location of disease hot spots, calls for volunteers, providing life-saving guidelines, and keeping the public informed about the current state of affairs. They need to be able to reach citizens virtually or through electronic methods, since meeting in person isn’t an option. In this blog, you learn how to create an Amazon Connect instance, set it up in over a dozen languages, and send messages to millions of people in a short period of time.

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