AWS Public Sector Blog

Category: Customer Solutions

iCivics

Using digital games to teach civics

iCivics is the education nonprofit that US Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor founded in 2009 to transform civic education and rebuild civic strength through digital games and lesson plans. It is the country’s largest provider of civic education content and is currently used by more than 120,500 educators and 7.6 million students annually. All of its games are free, nonpartisan, and available at www.icivics.org. Through their use of Amazon Aurora, Amazon ElastiCache, Amazon CloudFront, and AWS CodeDeploy—and AWS security automation tools including AWS Security Hub, Amazon Inspector, and Amazon GuardDuty—iCivics has been able to scale and increase student engagement.

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Alayacare

AlayaCare reimagines in-home and virtual care with AWS

AlayaCare, a Canada-based health technology organization founded in 2014, offers a platform for home and community care organizations. The cloud-based platform provides an end-to-end solution for care providers, including back office functionality, client and family portals, remote patient monitoring, and mobile care worker functionality. AlayaCare aims to help care providers by arming them with the technology and data insights they need to deliver personalized care. Using AWS, AlayaCare is building their vision of the future of in-home and virtual care.

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close up of man holding cell phone

Keeping Canadians safe while protecting their privacy: COVID Alert app

The Government of Canada (GC) set ambitious goals at the onset of COVID-19. One goal: to offer a mobile app to notify its users of possible exposures before symptoms appear in a way that wouldn’t jeopardize their privacy. In July, the GC released the COVID Alert app, an exposure notification application. COVID Alert doesn’t require users to enter—nor does it obtain from the mobile device—any personally identifiable information (PII) and doesn’t use location tracking. Let’s take a look at COVID Alert app’s cloud-based architecture and how the app is helping slow the spread of COVID-19, and helping keep Canadians safe while protecting privacy.

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AWS EdStart_Global Founders_Blog Graphic_Genially_Studos

Increasing student engagement through new visual presentation development and test taking tools

AWS EdStart Members—Chema Roldan, co- founder and CTO of Genial.ly in Spain and Leonardo Prates, co-founder and CEO of Studos in Brazil—are enhancing the classroom experience for students and teachers. Genial.ly is focused on enabling students and teachers to create and deliver digital presentations. Studos is focused on helping students enhance their test performance through automatic feedback using AI. Read on to learn how these founders are developing the next generation of education solutions in the AWS Cloud.

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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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KhalifaSat Image Cali Wildfires 2020

Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre uses AWS Ground Station to support UAE and global industry development

When wildfires broke out across northern and central California in August, a remote-sensing Earth observation satellite watched 381 miles (613 kilometers) above the planet’s surface. Built entirely in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), KhalifaSat captured imagery that could help governmental agencies and first responders monitor and assess the impact of the destructive blazes. To help KhalifaSat maintain continual coverage, MBRSC uses cloud services from AWS including AWS Ground Station.

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woman taking test on computer

Using the cloud to support remote proctoring and assessment

Around the world, exams are administered to help students and adults further their education and advance their careers. In the US, approximately eight million high school students took a single standardized college entrance exam in 2019. As the pandemic shifted life to virtual work and learning, it also interrupted high stakes exams typically administered in person. For years, EdTechs like ExamSoft, Sumadi (part of Laureate Education), and ProctorFree have been developing remote proctoring and digital assessment solutions using the cloud.

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space galaxy stars

Mysteries of the universe: Training neural networks to estimate parameters of synthetic black hole images

Before the Event Horizon Telescope project released the first-ever picture of a black hole in 2019, nobody had ever seen one. Black holes are a region of space with a gravitational pull so strong that nothing—not even light—can escape them. The cloud is helping accelerate research into black holes.

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New Jersey school district turns to a VMware Cloud on AWS hybrid cloud solution to deliver learning continuity

As schools and other educational institutions turn to remote learning solutions, organizations are reconsidering traditional IT infrastructure, aligning digital solutions to current learning and teaching models, and gearing towards the industry’s new measure of success: student engagement. A hybrid approach allows schools and districts to deploy both on-site and in the cloud, allowing staff and students to take advantage of productivity and collaboration services, to provide business and learning continuity. For more than a decade, To support critical learning applications and infrastructure during natural disasters and other disruptions, West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District chose to use VMware Cloud on AWS (VMC on AWS) to extend its on-premises VMware vSphere environment.

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