AWS Public Sector Blog

City on a Cloud Innovation Challenge: Best Practices Award Winners

We announced the winners of the third City on a Cloud Innovation Challenge, a global program to recognize local and regional governments as well as technology companies that are innovating for the benefit of citizens using the AWS Cloud, at our AWS Public Sector Summit in Washington, DC. Winners of the four categories, Best Practices, Dream Big, Partners in Innovation, and new special recognition, the Cloud Innovation Leadership, are awarded a total of $550,000 in AWS credits for AWS services.

Five winners were selected for the Best Practices Award, recognizing innovative and impactful local government projects running on the AWS Cloud. To learn more and hear directly from the Best Practices Winners read below.

City of Los Angeles, California – Managing the world’s sixth busiest airport, the largest seaport in the western hemisphere, and infrastructure supporting four million residents, the City of Los Angeles implemented a security information and event management (SIEM) solution for its cyber command center on AWS GovCloud (US) to help consolidate, maintain, and analyze security data across the city’s departments.

“The City of Los Angeles (LA) is the largest target of cyber threats on the West Coast. We have over 100 Million unauthorized attempts against our network every month,” said Ted Ross, CIO, City of LA. “Our ability to gather and synthesize large amounts of cyber threat data is critical to protecting LA and its digital assets. Every day, our security team is loading and analyzing about 240 million records. By leveraging AWS GovCloud (US), we avoid the hardware investment to host and maintain large security logs and gain anytime-anywhere access to the security dashboard for situation awareness and actionable threat information.”

District of Columbia Health Benefit Exchange Authority – DC Health Link is Washington, DC’s health insurance marketplace, which helps residents obtain quality, affordable health coverage. By moving to the AWS Cloud, DC Health Link adopted an agile delivery model, and re-architected the website using open source technology; resulting in a 23 percent increase in enrollment over the prior year, increased website performance, and a cost savings of 30 percent annually.

“The AWS Cloud helps DC Health Link accelerate innovation across our health insurance marketplace, continuously improve our customers’ experience, and scale for growth on demand,” said Suzanne Peck, CIO and General Manager, Health Benefit Services, DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority. “Moving mission-critical IT to the AWS Cloud, combined with adopting open source technology and an agile delivery model significantly helped increase enrollment, dramatically decreased costs, put us on the path to reach our goal of sustainability, and to becoming the first state in the nation where every resident has quality, affordable health coverage.”

Peterborough City Council, United Kingdom – Peterborough City Council uses the AWS Cloud as the central hub for integrating data from weather stations, smart energy meters, connected devices installed in people’s homes, and automated libraries with council’s core applications.

“For Peterborough, we put our citizens and their challenges at the heart of our mission, and to deliver on that mission, we’ve embarked on a journey to be one of the world’s top ‘smart cities,’” said John Harrison, Corporate Director of Resources, Peterborough City Council. “We focus on innovation, skills for the future, open data, and smart businesses, and cloud technology is a key enabler of each of these. We’ve partnered with Arcus Global to design and implement an enterprise-wide platform that is delivering digital transformation across the entire council by breaking down traditional silos, replacing back-end systems and improving visibility across all city services.”

New York Public Library – The New York Public Library’s Digital Collections platform, on the AWS Cloud, makes thousands of its rare and unique research collection items (which cut across applied sciences, fine and decorative arts, history, performing arts, and social sciences) accessible for free to public.

“The AWS Cloud allowed the New York Public Library to build a flexible, scalable, and repeatable computing infrastructure to make over 670,000 digitized items available to the public through our Digital Collections platform,” said Jay Haque, Director of DevOps and Enterprise Computing, New York Public Library. “Our world-class development, product, and DevOps teams were able to engineer robust solutions with full confidence that the technical stack would scale seamlessly on demand. We easily grew our infrastructure to meet a 1500% increase in demand with the highly anticipated release of over 180,000 hi-res public domain images.”

State of Utah – The State of Utah driver license practice exam uses the Amazon Echo and Alexa voice technology to help drivers practice for the exam by reviewing questions, while talking directly with Alexa, the Amazon cloud-based virtual assistant. Hosted on AWS, the voice activated practice exam is a new way for drivers in training to learn the rules of the road.

“Digital assistants present an incredible opportunity for simplifying business operations,” said Mike Hussey, CIO, State of Utah. “Watching how voice technology is spreading rapidly throughout the private sector, we saw a great opportunity to use this innovative technology to help citizens study for their driver’s license. We are always looking for new ways to integrate innovative digital solutions and move beyond how we currently help citizens interact with government.”

To learn more about the City on a Cloud Innovation Challenge, visit