AWS Public Sector Blog

Highlights from the re:Invent 2023 public sector Innovation Talk

photo of Dave Levy on stage and speaking during his Innovation Talk

Dave Levy, vice president of worldwide public sector at AWS, delivers his Innovation Talk.

The 12th annual Amazon Web Services (AWS) re:Invent conference debuted Innovation Talks—deep dives hosted by AWS thought leaders. Dave Levy, vice president of AWS worldwide public sector, delivered his talk, “Empowering citizens through digital innovation,” on Monday, November 27. Levy discussed how government, education, nonprofit, healthcare, and aerospace and satellite organizations use the AWS Cloud to improve people’s lives and the world we share. The Innovation Talk featured three customer speakers and highlighted several more examples from around the world that demonstrate the transformational impact of cloud technology.

These are some of the takeaways from the worldwide public sector Innovation Talk:

Big data, infinite possibilities: Organizations around the world are leveraging the power of data to improve the lives of the people they serve. The World Bank is using data analytics from Alteia, an AWS Partner, to more efficiently assess and enhance road infrastructure in underserved communities around the world. The Allen Institute for Brain Science is using AWS to create the largest open source brain cell database in the world. Their work can help advance progress for treating diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Accelerating nonprofits with cloud technology: The AWS IMAGINE Grant program annually awards nonprofit organizations that use cloud technology to drive mission-critical impact for their beneficiaries. Among the many remarkable missions, this year’s cohort of 23 grant winners includes nonprofits using cutting-edge technology to help during humanitarian crises, protect the health of our planet, and accelerate cures for cancer and infectious diseases.

photo of Karen Johnson on stage during the Innovation Talk

Karen Johnson, chief deputy executive officer of Covered California, the state’s health insurance marketplace.

Affordable healthcare in the state of California: Featured customer speaker Karen Johnson, chief deputy executive officer of Covered California, said, “No one should have to choose between paying rent or paying their medical bills.” A decade ago, more than 17 percent of Californians didn’t have health insurance. Through the work of Covered California, the state’s health insurance marketplace, today’s uninsured rate is a record-low 6.5 percent. Powered by AWS, Covered California is able to handle more than 100 million transactions in a single day without any serious or critical issues. What began as a cloud migration has transformed into a cloud modernization that is increasing access to healthcare and the well-being of the state’s residents.

A sovereign cloud for Europe: Last month, we launched the AWS European Sovereign Cloud, a new independent cloud for Europe that provides public sector customers with more choice to meet requirements. The AWS European Sovereign Cloud will be separate and independent from our existing Regions and its entire infrastructure and operations will be located within the European Union. It will have the same security, availability, and performance that existing Regions provide our customers.

Using advanced technologies to fight deforestation: The preservation of forests is crucial for climate protection. Forests remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere, are the natural habitat for 80 percent of the world’s land-living animals, and form the basis of life for 1.6 billion people. Using geospatial big data, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML), the government of Pará, Brazil built the platform SeloVerde (Green Seal). A cutting-edge tool that monitors and traces deforestation, SeloVerde is tracking land cover change over an estimated 20 million hectares of forest area.

photo of Cheow Hoe Chan speaking during the Innovation Talk

Cheow Hoe Chan, chief digital technology officer for Singapore’s Smart Nation and Digital Government Group (SNDGG), gestures during his presentation.

Building a Smart Nation: Cheow Hoe Chan is the chief digital technology officer for Singapore’s Smart Nation and Digital Government Group (SNDGG) and the second featured customer speaker to take the Innovation Talk stage. SNDGG oversees Singapore’s digital government transformation and development of the country’s engineering capabilities toward building a smart nation. “It’s [cloud] really a journey and never a destination,” said Cheow Hoe, adding that a smart nation is one that improves lives, makes businesses more productive, and builds communities that leave no one behind. Cheow Hoe and his team overcame challenges by working with AWS to define and build an AWS Dedicated Local Zone to meet stringent data isolation and security requirements. Singapore became the first customer to deploy an AWS Dedicated Local Zone.

New center to expand effective use of AI in public sector: Arizona State University (ASU) announced the launch of its ASU Artificial Intelligence Cloud Innovation Center (CIC), powered by AWS. The AWS CIC program launched in 2018 and ASU was one of the first universities to establish a CIC. The new AI CIC will harness the capabilities of AI to help global government agencies, education institutions, and nonprofits address their mission-related challenges and uncover new opportunities.

Early public sector examples of generative AI’s potential: AWS makes it simple to build and scale generative AI applications that are customized for your data, use cases, and customers. EdTech BriBooks, a creative writing platform for children, launched BriBoo, a generative AI writing assistant built on AWS. BriBoo provides contextual sentence suggestions to overcome writer’s block. In government, the Swindon Borough Council in the UK is using Amazon Bedrock to make vital public information more inclusive and accessible. In public safety, Bedfordshire’s police force is using generative AI to redact documents for public release 92 percent faster than before. AWS chief technologist Leo Zhadanovsky concluded the segment by sharing a demo using generative AI to create a chatbot, customized with your own data.

Commercial spaceflight leader goes all-in with AWS: Axiom Space announced that it is migrating its enterprise IT infrastructure to AWS. Axiom will use AWS to continue developing cloud-based technology that supports orbit, research, scientific discovery, and space exploration. The migration will provide Axiom with the cloud infrastructure necessary to enable development of Axiom Station, the company’s next-generation commercial space station.

photo of Dan Anthony speaking during the Innovation Talk

Dan Anthony, executive vice president and chief information officer of FedNow®, talks about the new system for instant payments.

Instant payments go federal: Attendees also heard from Dan Anthony, chief information officer of the FedNow® service at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. Anthony discussed how Federal Reserve Financial Services (FRFS) provides payment services for financial institutions across the US and how cloud was pivotal in the recently launched instant payment service, FedNow®. Launched in July 2023, FedNow® enables financial institutions of every size and in every community to provide safe and efficient instant payment services to their customers, around the clock, every day of the year. FedNow® launched with 27 participating financial institutions, the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Bureau of the Fiscal Service, and 16 service providers. The service now has 247 institutions, with an aggressive goal for ubiquitous adoption across the thousands of US institutions. For FedNow®, FRFS needed a highly scalable, resilient, secure, and flexible infrastructure solution that could handle the anticipated volume of transactions. The cloud provides the capabilities, security, and agility FedNow® requires to meet customer demand as adoption increases.

Cloud technology is helping reduce healthcare disparities, build smart nations, create more equitable financial systems, and much more. Watch the re:Invent 2023 public sector Innovation Talk.