AWS Public Sector Blog

How three AWS IMAGINE Grant winners are transforming the future of games, music, and health with AWS

The AWS IMAGINE Grant is a yearly program designed for nonprofits in the US to pursue technology-driven projects to advance their mission.

Dive into conversations on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Fix This podcast to learn how three AWS IMAGINE Grant winners are using cloud technology to make impactful contributions to the planet through building community connections, preserving artistic history, and saving lives.

2022 Special Olympics USA Games reimagines the athlete and fan experience

As an AWS IMAGINE Grant winner, the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games is on a mission to use the cloud to redefine and enhance the participant experience, and make each athlete feel like the star they are. To deliver on its mission, the Special Olympics team built a serverless fan engagement app powered by AWS ahead of the 2022 games.

At previous events, fans only had access to a basic app. Lonnie Snyder, chief information officer (CIO) for the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games, says in Episode 63 of the Fix This podcast, “Scores and data weren’t available in real time. People would wait up to 24 hours to see a PDF posted on a website. Realistically, coaches would be sending text messages back home to let folks know how athletes were doing. The really unfortunate thing was athletes didn’t know how they were doing right away.” The new app grants athletes and fans access to near real-time data on scores, overall placement, and where to go for a medal ceremony. Fans can also follow athlete profiles and send virtual cheers to express support.

The app will improve the athlete and fan experience of Special Olympics events worldwide. Snyder explains, “The key opportunity here is: we’re getting to change the future of the Special Olympics globally with what we’re doing here. AWS was integral to that.” The app will be open source so that other delegations beyond the USA Games can continue to build and iterate on the app’s progress.

Learn more about how the app is connecting athletes around the world in Episode 63 of the Fix This podcast.

The New York Philharmonic preserves culture and history using AWS

The New York Philharmonic is the oldest symphony orchestra in the United States. It has over a century’s worth of archives documenting musical history, including artifacts from performance history to images. To keep pace with online demand and to better serve the public, the New York Philharmonic turned to AWS to modernize its digital archives.

On Episode 61 of the Fix This podcast, Gabryel Smith, director of archives and exhibitions, and Bill Levay, digital archivist at the New York Philharmonic, share how the organization uses the cloud to preserve history, further engage with visitors, and more. Smith details the extent of the digital archives: “We save everything. We’re the repository for the institution—from the music that you see on people’s stands on the stage to the music that’s recorded—whether it’s commercial recordings, which we have going back to 1917, or whether it’s archival recordings taken during every concert that happens in the hall, to new clippings, to contracts with artists, to the programs themselves, to a whole photograph library.”

Migrating the content to the cloud opens new possibilities for the organization and the public, such as using artificial intelligence (AI) for facial recognition in archived photos—a task that would be a challenge if done manually since most photos are of groups of musicians.

Smith ultimately says of using the cloud, “The New York Philharmonic has been around for 180 years, and we think in ways of: ‘How will this come across in 20 years from now?’ And of course, with technology, it moves so fast that it’s hard to know those questions. But if you’re given the time to be able to think about this, and to really plan, and to set up, and scale in the right way, it could set you up to be in a good place in 10 or 20 or even 50 years.”

Listen to Episode 61, “Preserving History with the New York Philharmonic,” to learn more about how technology supports the mission of the arts.

CIBMTR NMDP speeds the time to critical donor matches for bone marrow transplants

To treat a blood cancer such as leukemia, a patient needs a bone marrow transplant. A 2021 AWS IMAGINE Grant winner, the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research (CIBMTR), National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP)/Be The Match finds donor matches and reduces human error, which ultimately results in improved patient outcomes by making near real-time suggestions using advanced analytics on AWS. The nonprofit, based in Minneapolis, MN, is building the Data Transformation Initiative (DTI) on AWS—a collaborative data-sharing platform that will accelerate data-to-knowledge to improve patient outcomes, promote health equity, and increase survival rate for transplant patients.

Timely data is at the core of improving decision making and saving lives. By connecting transplant centers and data coordinators to patient data in the cloud, the organization can scale to meet user needs. Dr. Jeffery Auletta, senior vice president of patient outcomes and experience at NMDP, and chief scientific director of CIBMTR, Be the Match, joined Episode 62 of the Fix This podcast to explain how the medical system is catching up with the tech world.

“The one thing that drives me absolutely insane about the medical system here in America is we are almost light-years behind the business world in terms of how to use data. And this project allows us to actually use data in near real-time to ultimately drive clinical decision making that’s going to help the patient.”

Listen to the episode to learn more about how data can transform the way we treat leukemia and more.

Tune in to the AWS Fix This podcast to learn how customers are using technology to solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges. And sign-up to stay up-to-date with the AWS IMAGINE Grant program.

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