AWS Public Sector Blog

Improving public safety and innovating through voice and video technology: The latest from AWS CICs

Our global network of Cloud Innovation Centers (CICs) powered by Amazon Web Services (AWS) and in collaboration with our CIC sponsors, who host and run the centers, aim to empower public sector organizations to quickly create and test new ideas using Amazon’s innovation methodology and cloud technology. We work shoulder-to-shoulder with other leading public sector institutions who have a shared vision to solve problems through digital innovation. Check out some stories of digital prototypes the CICs have published over the last few months that focus on improving public safety, adapting to the pandemic, and innovating through voice and video technology.

Improving public safety and adapting to the pandemic

two employees confer at the EComm center

The Cal Poly Digital Transformation Hub (DxHub) created a community-facing dashboard showing near real-time COVID-19 testing results of the campus population by building a cloud-based data lake and analytics solution. Using Amazon DynamoDB and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), the team built a series of graphs including daily tests, positive cases, and 7-day average positivity rate. The dashboard went live early during spring quarter, and continues to serve as the campus’ main external facing dashboard. This solution met the needs of Cal Poly leadership to communicate testing results of students who tested through Cal Poly Campus Health and Wellbeing and the university’s ongoing testing program. Learn more about the project and download the source code

The University of British Columbia Community (UBC) Health and Wellbeing CIC developed a prototype called E-Comm Connect, a virtual assistant tool that enables call takers to be more efficient and engaged when taking non-emergency calls from the public. When a call is received, 911 call takers actively listen to gather key information from the caller about the event that has occurred. This information allows the call taker to select and execute one of more than 1,000 unique agency policies, which can be a challenging task for a new call taker. E-Comm Connect provides real-time recommendations to call takers. Applying automation to the process of selecting and deploying the correct SOP reduces the cognitive load on the call taker, helping them be confident in their decision so they can continue to focus their attention on obtaining accurate information from the caller. Learn more about the technical prototype here.

In Arizona, the City of Glendale aims to provide a safe and timely response time to calls for police assistance. Currently, allocation and scheduling of police officers to patrol an area is done manually. It can be time consuming if an officer takes a sudden leave of absence and the scheduler must find a replacement. This process can evolve with SmartBeats, an artificial intelligence (AI) technology that can assist in scheduling patrol areas. The Arizona State University (ASU) Smart City CIC is working with the Glendale Police and IT Departments to build the SmartBeats prototype. Once the prototype is built, it will be used by the Glendale Police Department to inform the way they schedule their patrols

At UBC, social distancing guidelines and reduced capacity in the residence dining hall meant that during peak hours, students are faced with long, unpredictable wait times to pick up their meals. The UBC CIC developed a prototype that gathers live information using Raspberry Pi cameras and to count the number of people in each food station line-up. This information is then updated to a public webpage, so students can see from their device that the dining hall is busy at a certain time and plan their visit for later. Additionally, students can view historical information to check when peak times are likely to occur.

Innovating experiences with image detection, voice, and video technology

shuttlecock on black background

The Badminton World Federation (BWF) teamed up with Bahrain Polytechnic CIC to develop and launch a real-time dashboard for coaches to monitor players during a match. While a match is in progress, coaches have to coach multiple players, playing simultaneously in adjacent courts. It is challenging to note their observations and rely on memory to catch up with the players and provide feedback. The solution was developed using AWS DeepLens and Amazon Rekognition to stream data, concurrently capturing the match in progress. This setup helps the coach receive and analyze relevant data and advise the players on their performance in real-time to change tactics during the match. The data can also be retrieved after the match via a report, which represents a summary of the main events in the match.

As one of the fastest growing cities in the United States, Phoenix has a constant need to update its sidewalk inventory to include new buildings. The city has the opportunity to leverage the sidewalk inventory to analyze location and condition of sidewalks and curb ramps. Working together, the City of Phoenix and the ASU CIC created CurbPHX. CurbPHX utilizes Amazon Rekognition to analyze images of roads and builds a comprehensive digital inventory of all sidewalks in the city. With the ability to collect, analyze, and store data on Phoenix’s sidewalk network, the City of Phoenix will be able to effectively identify areas that need repair and improve pedestrian safety and mobility.

female doctor smiles and holds hand of elderly patient

In nursing school, there is a steep learning curve which frustrates the journey of many students. One of the most significant hurdles in this journey is the rift between theoretical education and practical application of their learning. This has been a cause for anxiety in many prospective nurses who attend classes solely online due to COVID-19 lockdowns. The Swinburne Data for Social Good CIC in Melbourne, Australia developed Know Before You Go (KBYG), a learning tool that provides students with a preliminary understanding of their working environment by displaying a 360-degree view of the Swinburne Simulation Lab. This solutions helps to reduce anxiety in online nursing students before embarking on their on-site practical learning. KBYG will be accessible to students over a web browser, which makes it is available to every student and does not require the utilization of equipment such as virtual reality headsets.

The German Alzheimer Society approached the HM Hochschule München University of Applied Sciences Digital Transformation Lab CIC with a challenge: how can voice assistants help Alzheimer’s patients live a self-determined life? Student teams took on this challenge and developed a new Alexa Skill called “Brainzheimer.” It is designed to help Alzheimer’s patients improve cognitive skills through brain stimulation and provides individuality through a dynamically customized ability system. This system starts with ten introductory questions from a wide variety of subject areas, such as mathematics or history, and then slowly—depending on learning progress—begins to increase or adapt the difficulty of the questions. The goal is to help Alzheimer’s patients to train their brain and strengthen their memory in the best possible way. This prototype is currently in beta testing phase.

Any public sector organization, including nonprofits, government agencies, healthcare organizations, and education institutions that are facing a challenge can apply to work with a Cloud Innovation Center to help identify new approaches to problems, leverage leading-edge technology, and explore opportunities to better deliver on their mission. Send the CIC team a message if you are interested in working on a challenge to support your digital innovation initiatives and advance your organization’s mission.

Ben Butler

Ben Butler

Ben Butler is the global lead for Amazon Web Services (AWS) worldwide public sector cloud innovation programs, focusing on driving digital innovation for societal good in the worldwide public sector. Ben is an U.S. Air Force veteran and holds a B.S. in systems engineering from the University of Virginia, a M.S. in management information systems from Bowie State University, and a M.B.A. at the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University. Ben is based in Herndon, Virginia.