Amazon Web Services (AWS) has helped thousands of organizations become cloud-first organizations. From those experiences and learnings comes the seven essential elements typical of cloud standard organizations.
Find out how to:
• Establish a Center of Excellence to scale knowledge and best practices
• Create a hybrid architecture to streamline application migrations
• Reach a “Cloud-First” standard to answer the “why not” question
• Get executive buy-in to achieve all objectives
• Align IT Staff on goals and responsibilities
• Get some quick wins to gather momentum
• Engage partners to cover all the bases
At re:Invent 2018, the AWS Public Sector Breakfast focused on tech for good. Read below for the key takeaways:
Second GovCloud Region in the United States Is Live: The AWS GovCloud (US-East) Region, our second GovCloud infrastructure region in the United States is now live with the recent launch of the AWS GovCloud (US-East) Region. The AWS GovCloud Regions meet the stringent requirements of the public sector and highly regulated industries, including being operated on US soil by US citizens, and is accessible only to vetted US entities and root account holders who must confirm they are US persons. AWS customers can now enjoy the second AWS GovCloud Region in the eastern part of the United States for reduced latency, added redundancy, data durability, resiliency, greater disaster recovery capability, and the ability to scale across multiple regions. This year also brought in the most GovCloud launches since its inception.
Speed Time to ATO with ATO on AWS: We announced the Authority to Operate (ATO) on AWS program, which provides resources to Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) who aspire to achieve compliance. To speed time to authorization, we launched ATO on AWS. ATO on AWS includes training, tools, templates, and pre-built artifacts. Additionally, customers are able to access direct engagement and guidance from AWS compliance specialists and support from expert AWS consulting and technology partners who are a part of our Security Automation and Orchestration (SAO) initiative.
FBI Analyzes Data in the Cloud to Deliver on its Mission: The FBI is using AWS to gather and analyze intelligence for mission workloads for their project, Sandcastle. When dealing with massive amounts of data, speed is critical. Analysts need to be able to parse, package, and derive conclusions as quickly as possible. The AWS Cloud helps the FBI search across multiple databases simultaneously, analyze this data, and provide information in a useable format that allows agents to act and deliver on their missions at a pace previously not possible.
NASA Landed on Mars: NASA JPL landed a new rover (InSight) on Mars and the landing was live-streamed on Monday at re:Invent. InSight, short for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport, is a Mars lander designed to give the Red Planet its first thorough checkup since it formed 4.5 billion years ago. This exciting project will provide NASA with a whole new understanding of Earth’s nearest neighbor.
UK Home Office Achieves 40% Cost Saving Using the AWS Cloud: The UK Home Office uses the AWS Cloud to enable internal stakeholders to deliver services at a faster pace. Jackie Keane, Director of Immigration Technology, discussed how their use of cloud services has streamlined their operations and, ultimately, provided better services to those involved in immigration activities. From reduced cycle times to more frequent releases to saving taxpayer money, Home Office is delivering on a new level and reducing costs by 40%. The organization has experienced a culture shift and now the old and new are working in harmony, resulting in high-performing teams. Other business units throughout Home Office are beginning to adopt and re-use AWS best practices to optimize within their own departments.
Open Data is Key to Understanding Earth and the Galaxy Beyond: At AWS, we launched the AWS Registry of Open Data(RODA) to serve as a home base for datasets available through AWS resources. These datasets provide insights into a wide range of fields and topics from life sciences and machine learning to the environment and cyber security. In October, we announced the availability of 19 new datasets to the registry. Sharing datasets is just the first step in making data truly open to all. We’ve partnered with the Group on Earth Observations to make data both open and accessible to developing countries around the world. Over the next three years, AWS will issue up to $60,000 in AWS Promotional Credits to as many as 25 potential customers around the world.
Expanded AWS Educate Offerings: We are also deepening our efforts to foster a passion for cloud among students ages 14 and up. Listening to our users, we have updated the AWS Educate user interface for a more engaging experience. For students ages 14-17, we now offer three badges for students to pursue: Cloud Explorer, Cloud Inventor, and Cloud Builder. Both our Cloud Explorer and Cloud Inventor badges have been revamped with a more game-based experience. And the new Cloud Builder badge gives students hands-on experience building a website and chatbot. Additionally, there are supplemental teacher materials available mapped to the core computer science principles, so both student and teacher feel empowered to explore, invent, and build. We also launched a new Deep Lens badge to teach Educate students how to leverage this powerful deep learning tool. And perhaps most importantly – all AWS Educate pathways will soon be available in seven new languages, including Simplified and Traditional Chinese, French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese.
Connecting Students with Jobs: AWS Educate is releasing significant enhancements to its job board and career-management tools for members to create a pipeline of cloud-ready students for companies that use AWS. The program, available at no cost to students and educators around the world, is also launching the AWS Educate Interview Accelerator in the U.S., putting qualified students in the fast lane to job opportunities. Watch for its launch in additional countries in the future.
Expanding Cloud Associates Degrees: This summer, Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) and AWS launched the world’s first Cloud Associate Degree supported by AWS curriculum. NOVA will be an anchor for a state-wide program that will expand to include four-year degrees at other Virginia schools. Today, we are taking the first step to replicating this model in Florida and Ohio. Next year, Miami Dade College (Florida) and Columbus State Community College (OH) will launch their own Cloud Associate Degree. We’ll continue to work to expand this model worldwide.
Voice Technology on Campus: The student experience at universities continues to be transformed through voice technologies. There are now almost 50 schools that have leveraged Alexa for Education, including Saint Louis University, which provided an Alexa to every incoming freshman this fall. We continue to roll out new skills (nearly 50 so far) for Alexa for Education. To make adoption even easier, we are now thrilled to provide a bundle containing an Alexa Device, Alexa for Business, and services.
Quickly and Easily Build Intelligent Robotics Applications: We announced the availability of AWS RoboMaker, a new service that makes it easy for developers to develop, test, and deploy robotics applications, as well as build intelligent robotics functions using cloud services. AWS RoboMaker extends the most widely used open source robotics software framework, Robot Operating System (ROS), with connectivity to AWS services including machine learning, monitoring, and analytics services to enable a robot to stream data, navigate, communicate, comprehend, and learn. AWS RoboMaker provides an AWS Cloud9-based robotics integrated development environment for application development, robotics simulation to accelerate application testing, and fleet management for remote application deployment, update, and management. This is exciting for universities, where a lot of robotics research is happening. We are already piloting AWS RoboMaker with 12 universities.
Introducing the Smart City Cloud Innovation Center at ASU: Arizona State University (ASU) announced the ASU Smart City Cloud Innovation Center (CIC) powered by AWS, an initiative that focuses on building smarter communities in the Phoenix metropolitan area by using the AWS Cloud to solve pressing community and regional challenges. The ASU campus-based center will address regional challenges using the AWS Cloud, with a specific focus on artificial intelligence and machine learning. The new center is designed as part of a long-term collaboration between ASU and AWS to improve digital experiences for smart city designers, expand technology alternatives while minimizing costs, spur economic and workforce development, and facilitate sharing public sector solutions within the region. The introduction of the CIC is yet another indication of ASU’s commitment to bringing cutting-edge technology and innovation to those on campus and in the greater Phoenix community. In August 2017, ASU placed 1,600 Amazon Echo Dots in its Tooker House engineering residential facility, giving students access to a custom ASU-developed skill for Amazon Alexa. For the Fall 2018 semester, ASU collaborated with AWS Educate to launch its Innovation Scholar Challenge, which included a series of cloud skill-building workshops and on-campus hackathons.
Building a Stronger Industry with We Power Tech: Underlying all of our efforts is a commitment to building a diverse and inclusive tech workforce. The centerpiece of our diversity efforts, We Power Tech, continues to engage underrepresented communities around the world. On November 7, we held the We Power Tech “Day in the Cloud” training for women in Bahrain. Forty-seven women from across the country attended a full day of AWS Tech Essentials taught by the AWS training team. And today we welcomed 30 young women from around the world to re:Invent. Trend Micro has sponsored these women to attend re:Invent as part of the company’s “Close the Gap” program. This is just one of the many important efforts happening among AWS partners.
Tech Does Good on Giving Tuesday: Giving Tuesday is a worldwide celebration dedicated to supporting nonprofits around the world. In 2017, people like you donated more than $247 million to your favorite organizations. We’re humbled that many of the donor platforms that make Giving Tuesday possible run on AWS, both to achieve their missions and to scale for fundraising events like this. More than that, we’re excited to participate!
Investing for Good with ICMEC: By moving to the AWS Cloud, the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children(ICMEC) reduced the costs of maintenance and pushed its IT teams to be more creative to further their mission. ICMEC’s mission is to eradicate child abduction, sexual abuse, and exploitation. ICMEC created the GMCNgine, a centralized platform that uses artificial intelligence, machine learning, and Amazon Rekognition to scour the internet for photos of children to compare against images from ongoing cases of missing children from across the globe. The results provide law enforcement and NGOs with leads on the possible whereabouts of missing children.
Fostering Nonprofit Expertise with AWS Imagine Grants: We also continue to work closely with nonprofits to build their technical capabilities. This August, we launched the Imagine Grant program –our first-ever monetary grant program for nonprofits. Applicants wrote an Amazon six-pager to explain how an Imagine Grant could help their organizations leverage technology to better achieve their mission. Congrats to the winners – Re-plate, Path, CommunityConnect Labs, Ushahidi, tarjimly, and Urban Institute.
Helping to End Future Famines with Machine Learning: The United Nations, World Bank, and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), with support from Amazon Web Services and other technology companies, recently launched the Famine Action Mechanism (FAM). The FAM is the first global mechanism dedicated to preventing future famines. In the past, responses to these devastating events have often come too late, once many lives have already been lost. To create a model that takes into account the multidimensional causes of famine, AWS is using a diverse dataset processed by the World Bank team together with UN partners that includes features from satellite imagery, conflict data, weather forecasts, local food prices, and agricultural production and is able to train multiple machine learning models. The models have so far been able to identify significant and distinctive patterns across geographical regions and countries.
Expansion of the AWS Public Sector Partner Program: We continue to expand the AWS Public Sector Partner Program. The APN grew nearly 40% in 2018 and more than 800 APN Partners are now part of the program serving government, education, or nonprofit customers around the world.
Wanneer u gebruik maakt van commerciële, gelicentieerde software in de AWS Cloud met behulp van een BYOL-strategie (Bring your Own License), moet u ervoor zorgen dat u binnen de bepalingen van de licentie blijft en tegelijkertijd dure overprovisioning vermijdt. Dit kan een uitdaging zijn wanneer het zo eenvoudig is om instanties op afroep te lanceren wanneer u ze nodig hebt!
AWS License Manager maakt het eenvoudiger om licenties te beheren op AWS en on-premises servers van softwareleveranciers zoals Microsoft, SAP, Oracle en IBM. Met AWS License Manager kunnen beheerders aangepaste licentieregels maken die de voorwaarden van hun licentieovereenkomsten nabootsen en vervolgens deze regels afdwingen wanneer een exemplaar van EC2 wordt gestart. Beheerders kunnen deze regels gebruiken om schendingen van licenties te beperken, krijgen controle over en zichtbaarheid van al hun licenties met het AWS License Manager-dashboard en verkleinen het risico van niet-naleving, onjuiste rapportage en extra kosten als gevolg van licentieverlengingen.
ZuidZorg is a Dutch healthcare company that provides home-centered healthcare services for seniors across the Netherlands.
For more than five years, Oblivion Cloud Control has helped enterprises across Europe move critical business applications to the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud. Because of its success working with AWS, Oblivion Cloud Control has become a Premier Consulting Partner and a Public Sector Partner in the AWS Partner Network (APN). “We chose to partner with AWS because of its mature ecosystem and speed of innovation as well as the reliability of its services,” says Jeroen Jacobs, project manager and cloud consultant for Oblivion Cloud Control. “By partnering with AWS, we can confidently help our customers adopt cloud technology and do business more cost-effectively.”
Increasingly, the company’s public sector customers, including healthcare organizations, are seeking more flexibility to meet employee demands. For example, ZuidZorg needed to give nurses and other workers more flexible and better-performing tools. “Our application infrastructure was based in two data centers that had aging hardware,” says Dionysis Linardatos, IT manager at ZuidZorg. “As a result, we had performance problems with both software and hardware. Applications weren’t reliable and that created problems for nurses. For instance, when nurses took online video training, the video was very slow to load. Nurses also had challenges quickly opening the healthcare applications they depend on every day, which meant they could not spend as much time with patients.”
ZuidZorg developed a plan to move its collocated servers to AWS, implement a universal cloud identity management tool, replace laptops, eliminate its desktop virtualization software, and migrate to a cloud application suite. To implement its plan, ZuidZorg turned to Oblivion Cloud Control. “ZuidZorg had the vision to become completely cloud-based,” says Jacobs. “We knew we could help.”
After consulting closely with ZuidZorg on a cloud migration plan, Oblivion Cloud Control began to implement an AWS foundation and, following this implementation, the process of moving the customer’s key applications to AWS. Using AWS Server Migration Service(AWS SMS), Oblivion Cloud Control moved dozens of ZuidZorg applications—including healthcare business applications, employee databases, and a business intelligence system—to Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances and Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS).
Oblivion Cloud Control also used its own Cloud Foundation service, which quickly enables the setup of secure, scalable, multi-account AWS environments. “Relying on our Cloud Foundation, including AWS Well-Architected Framework best practices, we quickly created a structure with separate logging, backup, audit, and production accounts for different ZuidZorg business units,” says Jacobs. Additionally, Oblivion Cloud Control took advantage of its AWS APN partnership status to integrate solutions from AWS APN partners Okta and Trend Micro. Specifically, Oblivion Cloud Control used Okta for Cloud Identity Management to give ZuidZorg secure access to applications and to arrange access to AWS. The company also took advantage of Trend Micro Deep Security for its antivirus capabilities. Oblivion Cloud Control relies on AWS Lambda to automatically integrate the ZuidZorg HR application with Okta for Cloud Identity Management. The overall migration from the ZuidZorg data centers to AWS took less than three months, which was faster than ZuidZorg expected.
In the migration’s final phase, Oblivion Cloud Control helped ZuidZorg become fully web-enabled by implementing the Amazon AppStream 2.0 managed application streaming service and Amazon WorkSpaces, a secure cloud desktop service. Through these two solutions, ZuidZorg can easily provision Windows client-based applications to mobile employees. As a result, nurses and other workers can quickly access training videos and critical healthcare applications.
With its new cloud solution, ZuidZorg is empowering its employees to spend more time with patients. “Our entire application environment is much more robust and performs better now that it is based in the AWS Cloud instead of in a data center,” Linardatos states. “Everything is more reliable, which means nurses are not frustrated by application performance problems. Because they can access healthcare applications faster on AWS, our nurses will spend more of their time at a patient’s bedside delivering better care.”
ZuidZorg simplified its overall environment by migrating to AWS, changing laptops, eliminating virtualization software, and moving to a new collaboration suite. With these changes, ZuidZorg is saving money. “We are saving more than 50 percent on operational costs because we have eliminated complexity,” says Linardatos. “The aim of this project was to become a fully web-based healthcare organization, and we have achieved that with the help of Oblivion Cloud Control and AWS.”
As it continues to assist customers in their cloud migration journeys, Oblivion Cloud Control plans to take advantage of new AWS services as they become available. “Knowledge is one of the biggest benefits we get from our AWS APN partnership,” says Jacobs. “We are constantly learning more about new technologies and new AWS services, and this will help us accelerate our business.”
VDAB, a public employment service (PES), helps residents of Flanders (a region in Belgium) find jobs or take vocational training.
The Radix.ai team connected with VDAB through their Innovation Lab, an internal team focused on innovative technologies and ideas. The team uses proof-of-concept (POC) projects to validate which innovations support the overall strategy of VDAB.
“The Innovation Lab team approached us with two questions,” explains Davio Larnout, cofounder and business lead at Radix.ai. “First, they asked how they could use machine learning to create value from their data. Then they wondered how to translate that in a way that would impact the strategic goals of the PES. We realized the data contained in their CVs and job postings would make a great starting point to help them achieve their mission of connecting people with jobs.”
“A core function of VDAB is matching job seekers to vacancies. We’re always looking for better ways to make matches for our users,” says Michael De Blauwe, project manager at the VDAB Innovation Lab.
“VDAB’s original job-matching tool is rules-based, which requires one-to-one matches for a successful search,” says Larnout. That means if a posting states a requirement, such as a driver’s license or specific software experience, then a match occurs only if the job seeker’s CV contains the words and phrases used in the job description. Rules-based models find it difficult to process natural language, whereas a deep learning solution captures nuance and accounts for relationships between certain phrases or user preferences. "The hosting service for the BNA website was becoming increasingly problematic," says Huda Ahmed Mohsen, chief of IT for MIA. Problems with the site's availability, performance, and security were becoming more frequent even as BNA was working to implement a much-needed redesign of both the website and its back-end publishing workflows.
Radix.ai applied machine learning to VDAB data to provide better-targeted matches for its users. Deep learning, a subset of machine learning, enables machines to mimic human behavior. “Deep learning requires a lot of computing power,” says Larnout. “We use Amazon Web Services to provide that power in the most flexible way.” Radix.ai, an AWS Partner Network (APN) Standard Consulting Partner, relies on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) to generate compute capacity in the cloud whenever its clients need it. The company uses Amazon CloudWatch to gain a unified view of its AWS resources and services.
There was a sense of urgency with the VDAB project, which was internally named JobNet. Radix.ai and the Innovation Lab team shared a prototype of the service with VDAB’s director. She was impressed with the results and asked that the technology be put in production within six months.
“Deploying our technology required access to on-demand computing power and flexibility to spin up different machines and services. These abilities allow regular experimentation and learning by the algorithm. The most convenient way to ensure that was through the AWS Cloud,” says Larnout.
To train Radix.ai’s deep learning model, VDAB regularly uploads new vacancies and CVs to the engine via Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), which acts as a bridge with clients, where they can drop data. VDAB automatically loads content in an Amazon S3 bucket and Radix.ai picks it up to process it further using Amazon Simple Queue Service (Amazon SQS). With each new data set, the engine learns how the job market evolves, noting changes in job demand and how trends shift over time.
The solution also learns how jobs are spoken of and what the changing interplay of words means. For example, the job of a data scientist is relatively new. Related to that role are the jobs of machine learning engineer, data analyst, and even AI architect. “The system we created learns the meaning of those words, those new titles, from the data alone. No one has to manually feed in that information,” says Larnout.
Radix.ai’s deep learning model continues to improve matching quality that surpasses the rules-based model. Rather than relying on one-to-one matching, search results are now more targeted. Based on word relationships and the interests and behavior of the users, job matches align more closely to the aptitudes, talents, and preferences of the job seekers.
“The data from our systems reveals these relationships, creating a matching solution that is completely data-driven, which is one of the goals of the Innovation Lab,” says Eric Klewais, analytics manager for VDAB Innovation Lab.
Another benefit of Radix.ai’s deep learning model is its ability to operate in multiple languages. Inhabitants of Flanders primarily speak Dutch, but Belgium is a multilingual country that counts Dutch, French, and German as official languages. In addition, many residents and their employers speak English. This makes the technology appealing to other European public employment services that serve multilingual job seekers and employers.
The success of the JobNet launch has prompted more use cases that VDAB and Radix.ai want to explore. For example, an employer may receive notice from an employee that she plans to leave her job. This employee performed well in her job and the employer would like to replace her with someone with similar skills and abilities. The deep learning model could send similar matches to the employer, revealing job seekers that would make a good match for the open position.
“This model learns how people view jobs and better defines who matches specific job listings. We have open vacancies that have been difficult to fill for a variety of reasons. This deep learning tool helps us bridge that gap,” says De Blauwe.
VDAB has hosted PES leaders from multiple countries to share its success and allowed Radix.ai to demonstrate the project. Understanding the value of partnership, Radix.ai joined the AWS Public Sector Partner Program and is exploring the use of Amazon SageMaker as a tool to build, train, and deploy machine learning models at scale. Supported by the computing power of the AWS Cloud, the reach of the APN, and the success of JobNet, Radix.ai believes other European public employment services can benefit from this tool, just as VDAB has.
Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon Web Services, delivers his AWS re:Invent 2018 keynote, featuring the latest AWS news and announcements.
Welcome to AWS Innovate – re:Invent Recap Edition 2018. This online conference is designed for executives, IT professionals, and anyone looking to leverage the AWS Cloud to build and transform their businesses.
Whether you are new to the cloud or an experienced user, you will learn something new at AWS Innovate. This free online conference is designed to inspire and educate you about AWS services and help you develop the skills to design, deploy, and operate infrastructure and applications.
Each November, AWS hosts re:Invent, our global cloud computing conference featuring Keynotes, Product and Service Announcements, a Partner Expo Hall, Breakout Sessions, Chalk Talks, Workshops, Builders Sessions, Training and Certification, and Hackathons that cover AWS core topics and embrace the emerging technologies we are developing.
This special Innovate edition brings you a recap of the event, breakout sessions, launches, AWS insights, live Q&A access to AWS experts, and more.
Transportation and traffic management are hot topics when city planners and administrations think about ways to make a city smarter and more livable. Recent statistics tell us that drivers in the U.S. spend an average of 42 hours per year in traffic in cities and lose $1,400 on gas, while idling. In Europe, cities like London and Paris show an average of 74 and 69 hours spent idling per year respectively. Researchers in England found adding an additional 20 minutes of commuting per day has the same negative effect on job satisfaction as receiving a 19% pay cut. These statistics and an increasing desire to be more environment friendly are reasons why city leaders are looking to tackle this problem.
The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), in partnership with Partners for Advanced Transportation Technology (PATH) at the University of California, Berkeley, developed a project called Connected Corridors that seeks to reduce congestion and improve mobility, travel-time reliability, safety, and system efficiency in California’s most congested corridors. The project includes a Data Hub to consolidate real-time Internet of Things (IoT) sensor datasets; scalable, real-time traffic modeling and forecasting; an incident response Decision Support System informed by data and models; and coordinated, real-time control of signals, ramp meters, and detour signs.
A similar concept is being built by Louisville, Kentucky. By using machine learning, real-time traffic data, IoT infrastructure, and interconnected systems, a next-generation adaptive traffic-flow management system can sense detrimental systemic changes to the circulatory nature of traffic and automatically adjust city infrastructure to mitigate the impact. With such a large amount of data collected and analyzed, they needed a scalable and reliable platform for testing their applications and model. They went all-in on AWS to support data storage, analytics, and scaling for all of their testing environments.
Testing and developing new models and applications are key enablers for developing a smart city. Technology is evolving rapidly. If planners focus on pre-packaged solutions that fail to adapt to changes in user requirements, it may hinder or slow down city administrators in meeting the objective of transforming their community into a smart city. The concept of ‘smart’ itself is relative in this context – a city needs to be smarter than it was before.One way administrators can overcome this challenge is by adopting solutions and technologies that can support evolving demands.
Going back to the traffic management example, a common solution is to deploy traffic sensors on the ground to sense the traffic flow. After you collect enough data and understand traffic flow patterns, you may want to deploy additional functionality or machine learning models directly onto the sensor and extend its capabilities to meet real-time response needs.
AWS Greengrass lets you run local compute, messaging, data caching, sync, and machine learning (ML) inference capabilities for connected devices in a secure way. With AWS Greengrass, connected devices can run AWS Lambdafunctions, keep device data in sync, and communicate with other devices securely – even when not connected to the Internet. If the connected IoT device/sensor you deployed to monitor traffic is AWS Greengrass compatible, then you can easily extend its capability over time with new Lambda functions or with new ML inference models.
With fast emerging concepts such as connected cars, cities have exciting new opportunities to address traffic challenges. A recent study suggests that a single connected car will send around 25GB of data per hour from its sensors. While most of this data may be sent to private users or vehicle manufacturers, in some contexts and scenarios, cities can derive benefits by leveraging this data, especially when the city owns and/or is responsible for a vehicle fleet.
For example, connected police cars or ambulances may send or receive data as they patrol the city and this data can be used to understand vehicle performance, maintenance needs, and operational readiness. Central Command Center and operational teams may get real-time insights and situational awareness based on data transmitted directly from the vehicle. This data can, in turn, be used to adjust operation of traffic lights in real-time, to reduce the time it takes for an ambulance or police car to reach their destination.
Storage services like Amazon S3 give customers the ability to store virtually an unlimited amount of data cost-effectively, while services like Amazon SageMaker make it easy to build, train, and deploy machine learning models at scale.
Using cloud services, administrators have the opportunity to deliver on the promise of making our cities smarter and more responsive, fulfilling the smart city promise: making lives of citizens more enjoyable and safer. To learn more about how other cities around the world are becoming smarter, increasingly connected, and more sustainable, visit the AWS Smart Cities site.
Cloud technology will be the backbone infrastructure for more sustainable cities of the future, but you can start transforming your city today. AWS and our partner ecosystem can help you implement smart city solutions to support your goals around energy efficiency, air quality, intelligent transportation, public safety, public health, and other programs focused on improving quality of life for your citizens.
What makes a city smart? Your data and your vision! By leveraging the multiple data sources that you have today and integrating additional datasets, you can design modern programs and services that make a city smart. Through sensors, connectivity, and analytics, AWS can help you begin your transformation.
AWS offers a broad set of global cloud-based products including compute, storage, databases, analytics, networking, mobile, developer tools, management tools, IoT, security and enterprise applications. Customers can use these services to build agile, secure, and cost-effective solutions quickly. Customers also have the option to deploy solutions provided by our partners on top of AWS.
Cities worldwide are improving citizen services and economic and environmental outcomes through technology, while also seeking to create a vision of what a smart, connected, and sustainable city of the future will look like. While you can start building and experimenting today, it’s important to have a long-term vision and a set of principles to guide you in building cost-effective, adaptable, secure, and low-risk solutions during a time of rapid technological change.
Some starting points to consider include:
A smart city platform is made up of inputs, processes, and outputs. This approach highlights the centrality and importance of data, which can help you build the right solutions for the long and short term.
City data is collected from a wide and growing array of sources. These can be legacy data sources, IoT sensors that transmit data securely and at scale to the cloud, or video and audio sources that can be analyzed at the edge using a trained machine learning model deployed with AWS Greengrass. People can also be sources of data via mobile apps and wearable devices. And open data portals, such as the Registry of Open Data on AWS, can also enrich your data.
Customers and partners can develop data ingestion capabilities using AWS services, like Amazon FreeRTOS, AWS IoT Core, AWS Greengrass, Amazon Kinesis, and Amazon Kinesis Video Streams. Starting with a small volume of data, they can then scale to cater to millions of devices and messages, only ever paying for what they use.
One customer example is the City of Newport in Wales, UK, who partnered with system integrator Pinacl Solutions and IoT solution provider Davra Networks to build an ingestion network for air quality, water, and waste Management IoT sensors. Another example is PetaBencana.id, which provides the citizens of Jakarta, Indonesia with real-time flood information collected using IoT water-level sensors and crowd-sourced data. And Miovision brings connected sensors to existing infrastructure and uses data to enable analytics that improve transport planning.
Once you’ve ingested data in the cloud, you need to act on and store the data for later use. Amazon S3 is a highly reliable, secure, and scalable object store ideal for smart city solutions. Once data has moved to S3, customers can use services like AWS Glue, AWS IAM, and AWS Lambda to build a data lake that can transform and enrich their raw data, making it available for analytics and other solutions.
Customers can build their own data lake and data management platform or engage with our smart cities partners like C3 IoT, Xaqt, and ThingLogix. For example, Kansas City, Missouri, turned to Xaqt to take all of the data being generated by disparate devices day and night, plus more than 4,200 existing datasets, and turn it into tangible outcomes.
Whichever path you choose, the acquisition, storage, and management of your city data will help support evidence-based decision-making and help you build data assets for public use and future innovation.
A city’s data can support many use cases. With AWS, you can:
Find out more about building a scalable, secure, adaptable and future-proof smart city platform on AWS at AWS for Smart, Connected and Sustainable Cities and AWS Marketplace – Smart City Solutions. And get ideas from the AWS City on a Cloud Innovation Challenge winners.
And listen to the “Using IoT for Smart Cities” podcast here.
I’ve talked to many public sector customers over the past few months as I traveled around Europe to meet them. One of the hottest security and compliance related topics that customers want to discuss is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). On May 25, 2018, GDPR came into force. This new regulation raises the minimum bar where personal data protection is concerned.
One of the biggest potential misunderstandings I’ve encountered when discussing GDPR with customers is that it doesn’t apply to public sector organizations. In reality, many public sector organizations need to comply with GDPR. The reason for the confusion among some organizations is simple – GDPR is complicated. If there’s any doubt whether your organization needs to comply with GDPR, please consult a legal professional.
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