GovTech Business Watch is a weekly roundup of news in the government technology market.

Amazon Web Services launches partner network for companies that sell to government

One of the biggest names in cloud hosting, Amazon Web Services, has launched a network to help businesses that sell to government.

The company announced the Amazon Partner Network Public Sector Program Nov. 29 at its re:Invent conference in Las Vegas. The network, which already consists of 350 technology and consulting partners, is meant to link people in the industry with people who have the technical expertise needed to find solutions within the company’s cloud.

“The skills represented range from technical engineering skill competencies to ‘softer’ skills or qualifications that indicate a partner is adept at working with the specific mission needs or regulatory compliances required of government agencies,” said AWS Vice President of Worldwide Public Sector Teresa Carlson in an email to Government Technology.

The network works something like a director, Carlson said, and membership comes free for people who are standard-tier members of the overall Amazon Partner Network. There’s a fee to join the APN, which Carlson said is returned to members in the form of AWS credits.

The AWS cloud plays host to more than 2,300 government customers, 20,000 nonprofits and 7,000 education entities, according to Carlson.

“Public-sector applications of the AWS Cloud span nearly every use of cloud computing from running scalable websites designed to handle peak Web traffic spikes to high-performance computing enabling cutting edge genomic and physics research,” she wrote in the email. “Our public-sector customers also use cloud computing services ranging from open data missions for federal agencies such as [the U.S. Geological Survey] and [the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] to highly secure applications for the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community.”

California counties get permission to use digital signatures on marriage licenses

After a six-month pilot project using Tyler Technologies software, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is allowing all counties in the state to start using digital signatures on marriage licenses.

The pilot project, which took place in the San Francisco Bay Area’s Sonoma County, allowed the county to digitally add clerk’s signatures to marriage licenses, speeding up the process and avoiding hiccups.

“If a clerk signature gets missed or is left off of a license, it is an expensive, time-intensive process to correct,” said Deva Proto, the county’s chief deputy clerk-recorder, in a Tyler press release.

There are 58 counties in California, including the most populous in the U.S. — Los Angeles County.

According to a Sept. 23 memo from the CDPH, county clerks and recorders must sign a form declaring that their digital signature systems meet a series of requirements before they are allowed to accept such signatures.

Itron records net less in Q3, but notes booming smart meter sale pipeline

Itron, a company that sells smart meters and services to utilities and their customers, recorded a $9.8 million loss of net income in the third quarter despite an otherwise robust earnings report.

The business had $506.9 million in revenues in the third quarter, up 8 percent from $469.5 million during the third quarter in 2015. That puts it up to $1.5 billion in revenues on the year, up 9.4 percent from $1.4 billion up to this point in 2015.

More tellingly, Itron has seen a lot of growth in smart meter orders throughout the year, with electric and gas business much stronger than water.

“Our September year-to-date volume of advanced and smart meters increased more than 29 percent from last year, reflecting an acceleration we're seeing in smart grid infrastructure and smart city activity,” Itron’s President and Chief Executive Officer Philip Mezey said during an investor call Dec. 2.

Company leaders blamed the net income loss primarily on a corporate restructuring initiative it began this year, the details of which remain hazy. In its second quarter earnings report the company said the restructuring costs are related to “professional fees associated with the company's review of software-related revenue recognition and revision of previously issued financial statements.”

Among the deals that leaders spoke about during the call were an initiative to install 500,000 smart meters for Duke Energy in North Carolina and a 10-year agreement to provide cloud services for Texas-New Mexico Power.

Accela lands $3M contract with Aurora, Colo., for land and licensing platforms

As part of a $3 million civic tech initiative, the city of Aurora, Colo., has expanded its Accela product use to include land and licensing management.

Aurora, which is part of the Denver metropolitan area, already uses Accela’s citizen relations management software. Denver itself is an Accela customer and has used some of the company’s services to help it regulate legalized marijuana.

“With Accela Land Management and Licensing and Case Management, Aurora will be able to track and manage the regulatory processes associated with licensing, certifications and inspections, and it will provide a single location for uploading, reviewing and approving all planning and permitting tasks,” an Accela press release reads.