AWS Government, Education, & Nonprofits Blog

SXSW Recap: Input Local, Output Global

SXSW brought in technology companies, startups, elected officials, and more to Austin to talk about innovation. Mayors are focused on using technology to engage with the citizen and the Civic I/O Mayors Summit at SXSW gave mayors the opportunity to learn from other mayors about how to fuel startup innovation in their cities and how to leverage technology to overcome challenges. At the event, we interviewed many of the mayors in attendance. Watch these videos here.

As we heard about the mayors’ focus on improving the lives of citizens throughout the country, APN partners showcased civic applications during the Civic I/O Mayor’s Garage to help leaders face challenges with air quality, crime, drugs, and health.

HC1 presented its solution that leverages clinical, prescription, and claims data to trend and act on opioid, mental health, and other health issues facing communities. Acivilate demonstrated the Pokket mobile accountability tool, which links justice and Health and Human Service (HHS) agencies with returning citizens to build coordinated rehabilitation plans that reduce recidivism. Shotspotter also exhibited its gunshot detection solution, Shotspotter Flex, a gunfire alert system that provides critical information to give law enforcement agencies the detailed real-time data needed to investigate, analyze and prosecute gun-related crimes.

With innovation and collaboration at the heart of the conversations, Intel and Simularity presented an AWS powered solution that monitored the City of Austin’s air quality, identifying patterns that could be correlated to public health.

Opening up the conversation to civic-minded startups, the City of Austin hosted the Civic I/O Tech Pitch Competition. Mayors were excited to talk to these startups and learn more about how they can leverage civic technologies ranging from public safety to transportation improvements to communicating with their citizens. AWS sponsored and participated on the judging panel. The winners were:

  1. RIDEALONG – a CJIS compliant first responder software that provides patrol officers key information about people with mental illness at the scene—everything from tailored de-escalation techniques to personalized service referral options.
  2. RoadBotics – an application that collects and analyzes hazardous road conditions and notifies the presiding municipalities of roadway problems and anomalies.
  3. SMARTER SORTING – contributing to a “zero waste economy,” smarter sorting uses technology to sort hazardous household waste, increasing waste diversion and reducing cost.

Between the startup pitched and the mayor’s garage, the conversations carried a common theme – what benefit does this bring my citizens?

Mayors are key to driving innovation in government. They want to be known for enacting change and driving improvements through technology. Government services are breaching the technology wave and driving citizen-engaged programs that improve the lives of the end user.

If you are looking for ideas on how to implement AWS cloud technology in your city, check out the City on a Cloud Innovation Map.  Also, remember to apply for a chance to win up to $50,000 in AWS credits.  The winners will be announced at our AWS Public Sector Summit in DC this June 12-14.