AWS Public Sector Blog

Tag: Amazon Connect

On the night before Christmas, children around the world wonder when Santa is coming to town. For the 65th consecutive year, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) will put its world-class technology to work to keep an eye on Santa’s whereabouts. Beginning at 6:00 AM EST on December 24, families can check on Santa’s location by calling the toll-free number 1-877-Hi-NORAD (1-877-446-6723). In a typical year, nearly 1,500 volunteers gather at the NORAD Tracks Santa Operations Center at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado, where they receive over 150,000 calls from children around the world. However, to keep volunteers safe during the pandemic, NORAD won’t be able to host as many phone operators in-person this year. Amazon Web Services (AWS) is supporting NORAD by helping their volunteers answer as many calls as possible through Amazon Connect, an omnichannel cloud contact center service. By transferring calls through Amazon Connect, NORAD staff and representatives will be able to answer calls from their homes or offices, supporting those on site at the NORAD Tracks Santa Operations Center. All they need is an internet connection and a headset to take calls through Amazon Connect. Here’s how it will work: • When families call the NORAD Tracks Santa Operations Center, their call will be directed to volunteers at Peterson Air Force Base, who will answer as many calls as possible. • If a volunteer is not able to answer the call, it will be routed to a cell phone bank hosted by Verizon, where volunteers will also be able to answer calls. • If volunteers at Peterson Air Force Base and the Verizon phone bank aren’t able to answer a call, it will be routed through Amazon Connect to volunteers who are answering calls from their homes or offices. • If there are no volunteers available, families will receive a recorded message that is updated regularly with Santa’s current location. “The NORAD Tracks Santa Operations Center is an integral part of our program, and we are excited to expand our call center capabilities with this technology to keep our volunteers safe while still allowing them to answer calls,” said Preston Schlachter, public affairs officer for NORAD. “We appreciate everything AWS and our incredible team of corporate partners is doing to keep the magic alive this year.” “During the pandemic, many organizations have had to adjust how they operate call centers—Santa’s helpers at NORAD included,” said Dave Levy, AWS vice president for U.S. government, nonprofit, and healthcare businesses. “Amazon Connect allows customers like NORAD to limit the number of people answering calls in-person, offer operators more flexibility in where they work, and scale contact centers to answer more calls during times of peak demand. And no evening sees more demand for Santa’s whereabouts than Christmas Eve.” For more information, families can visit the NORAD Tracks Santa website at www.noradsanta.org. Additionally, Amazon is working with NORAD to make sure Alexa is up to date on Santa’s whereabouts through the NORAD Tracks Santa skill for Amazon Alexa. Enable this skill and request: “Ask NORAD Tracks Santa: where's Santa?” To all of the kids calling in—from one to 92—wishing a Merry Christmas from the AWS team to you.

NORAD keeps an eye on Santa with help from Amazon Connect

On the night before Christmas, children around the world wonder when Santa is coming to town. For the 65th consecutive year, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) will put its world-class technology to work to keep an eye on Santa’s whereabouts. Beginning at 6:00 AM EST on December 24, families can check on Santa’s location by calling the toll-free number 1-877-Hi-NORAD (1-877-446-6723). AWS is supporting NORAD by helping their volunteers answer as many calls as possible through Amazon Connect, an omnichannel cloud contact center service. By transferring calls through Amazon Connect, NORAD staff and representatives will be able to answer calls from their homes or offices, supporting those on site at the NORAD Tracks Santa Operations Center.

HHS pavilion

Now access the Health and Human Services Cloud Pavilion: An online, interactive learning environment

State and local governments and health and human services (HHS) agencies provide key services to the nation’s most vulnerable and at risk populations such as healthcare, nutrition, economic, and other social support programs. HHS organizations were among the first to feel the impact of COVID-19 and its effects continue to linger and test aging infrastructure and limited technology systems. State and local government agencies made mission critical decisions to address those immediate needs and are preparing for resiliency moving forward. For this, they turned to the cloud. To help organizations discover how the cloud can help, Amazon Web Services (AWS) created the Health and Human Services Cloud Pavilion, an online, interactive learning environment.

Max Peterson keynote address at AWS Public Sector Summit Online

An IT infrastructure to meet our new reality: What you missed at the AWS Public Sector Summit Online 2020

At the AWS Public Sector Summit Online, Max Peterson, vice president of international sales for the public sector, spoke about our new reality responding to a global pandemic—and how customers who have taken steps to transform digitally are already benefiting from their progress. Through the lens of customers’ and partners’ experience, Max shared lessons learned and how to apply these lessons to your cloud journey. Those four key lessons? Move fast, have an agile platform, keep innovating, and think big. Read on for more.

woman working on her laptop at home next to phone and notebook

Mission: Providing business continuity for the future of work

Over the past few months, one of the biggest challenges for organizations and employees alike has been the sudden transition to remote work. But we have learned that remote work works when the right technology and leadership come together. Check out some impactful stories that demonstrate how governments have gone above and beyond using the cloud to quickly adapt to this new environment and shift away from the status quo.

AWS Cloud Champion Video

Learn how to set up remote working, learning, and call centers with AWS Cloud Champion

For community organizations, government agencies, and educational institutions seeking to support a distributed workforce, citizenry, or student body with cloud capabilities, Amazon Web Services (AWS) has developed an online virtual booth to highlight remote work, learning, and call center use cases for the public sector. Learn how to connect your remote employees, constituents, or students on AWS by playing the AWS Cloud Champion: Virtual Workplace Interactive Challenge.

blurry photo of people passing through Fulton Street subway station in NYC

Powering scalable, fast, and secure solutions to support contact tracing

AWS is committed to helping our customers address the challenges brought about by COVID-19. In the months since the pandemic started, we have helped governments and organizations around the world accelerate efforts to track the virus, understand its outbreak, and better contain its spread. These are principles that have been reinforced by the World Health Organization (WHO). With the number of worldwide cases continuing to rise at an alarming rate, there is a global imperative to discover, test, and isolate patients in order to slow the viral spread, save lives, and fully reopen economies. To meet this public health imperative, governments are expanding their use of a well-established technique called ‘contact tracing’.

Westbound tunnel Elizabeth River Crossings

Next generation transportation tolling, enabled by the cloud

Toll operators are recognizing that facility and data resiliency are the key to navigating the current environment while preparing for any future disaster scenario or challenge. For departments of transportation and toll operators, this means operating traffic networks and tollways safely and efficiently and supporting essential services and workers—no matter the traffic volume.

Fix This episode 15: State & local government

Mission critical cloud: State and local government, on the Fix This podcast

The third episode of the Mission Critical Cloud Fix This podcast mini-series by Teresa Carlson, vice president of the worldwide public sector at Amazon Web Services (AWS), is now live. We dove into how the cloud helps state and local government customers deliver critical services to citizens. Interviews featured in the podcast include the state of West Virginia (WV), Smartronix, and Los Angeles County Internal Services Department (LA County ISD). You can stream all episodes on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, TuneIn, Overcast, iHeartRadio, and via RSS.

Voting booth

Supporting elections through voter education and information access, security and scalability, and absentee voting

Even in uncertain times, election officials and political stakeholders are committed to serving a dynamic electorate in a secure, scalable, and cost-effective way. Cloud-based technologies from Amazon Web Services (AWS) and the AWS Partner Network (APN) can help elections administrators, campaigns, and civic engagement organizations with access to information, security and scalability, and absentee voting workflow solutions.

West Virginia Workforce

Accelerating the response to West Virginia workforce needs through the cloud

In the United States, unemployment insurance claims are rising, with the current insured unemployment rate at 15.7%—the highest since the end of World War II. Many states are struggling with the volume of applications, causing legacy back-office systems to crash. Workforce West Va. identified three actions they could take to improve constituent services; many of these actions were enabled by the cloud.