AWS Government, Education, & Nonprofits Blog

SXSW: US Conference of Mayors Track Recap

Last weekend, we sponsored the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) Track hosted by the City of Austin, presented in conjunction with the South by Southwest (SXSW) conference.

The City of Austin invited mayors from across the US to attend for an opportunity to learn from their peers are doing, share best practices, and experience the latest technology positively impacting citizens. Throughout the sessions, the mayors in attendance focused on top-of-mind themes, including economic development, supporting startups and entrepreneurs, affordable housing, procurement challenges, and the new role of cities as hubs of innovation.

Cloud technology helps cities become these hubs of innovation by serving as the platform to help create new citizen services within cities. From mobility to the Internet of Things (IoT), we heard from local governments about what matters most to them to continue to innovate for the benefit of their citizens:

  • Mobility— Mayors can take advantage of mobility to make smart changes in their cities including traffic, parking, energy, utilities, public safety, citizen connection, predictive maintenance, emergency management, budget, air quality, and waste management. Mayors can also serve as an agent of change in the rapid push toward smart cities.
  • Internet of Things (IoT)— IoT can help cities leverage resources more effectively. For example, IoT can save water and money for cities by leveraging devices and sensors to collect data, including weather forecast, traffic, air quality, and water information.
  • Partnerships— Agile legislation at the city level and engagement with startups to transform into a smart city is important in the quest for innovation. Cities can bring startups as change agents to lead innovation in partnership with their city leaders.

In addition to the great conversations and our launch of our third annual City on a Cloud Innovation Challenge (read the announcement post here), the US Department of Transportation (DOT) announced seven finalists for their Smart Cities Challenge. AWS will be providing $1M in credits to the winning city in June to help build their solutions on AWS. In addition, we will work with the finalist cities on their applications and identify how AWS can help make their vision a reality. The competition will award a total of $40M to one winner in June to implement smart transportation solutions within their city. The finalists are: Austin, Columbus, Denver, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Portland and San Francisco. Congratulations!

Thank you to all of the mayors who attended the conference and participated in this track. Smart minds can do amazing things for our cities and we look forward to continuing to innovate with the cloud to help transform our cities.