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Amazon Unveils City on a Cloud Innovation Challenge Winners

Four jurisdictions received and four developers won a total of $300,000 in company credit in AWS's inaugural challenge.

by / June 26, 2014
The 2013 Amazon Web Services Summit. Wikipedia

On Wednesday, June 25, Amazon Web Services (AWS) revealed its four winning jurisdictions to receive $50,000 in company credit as part of its inaugural City on a Cloud Innovation Challenge.

AWS, which provides cloud computing services, launched the contest this year to support governments investing in innovative cloud technology projects and simultaneously promote AWS in government cloud initiatives — a market estimated in 2014 to be worth more than $1.7 billion in federal spending alone, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC).

Winners of the $50,000 credits included the New York City Department of Transportation; the city of Asheville, N.C.; the United Kingdom's London City Airport; and the  San Francisco Planning Department.

Judges, which were taken from both the private and public sectors, reviewed jurisdictions that integrated AWS technology into community services. They chose the four grand prize winners using criteria that rewarded projects for their creativity and impact on citizen services. The projects are hoped to be an AWS model for other governments to follow.

The New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) was recognized for its mobile and Web applications that make real-time transportation information more accessible to citizens. City projects included an interactive map of parking regulations, a pedestrian travel app and online maps for city construction projects.

“We use the cloud to increase the availability and resiliency of our applications and systems,” said Cordell Schachter, the CIO for the DOT, in a press release. “It helps us provide important transportation information directly to the public and to our staff every day and during critical times.”

Ashville received honors for a cloud-based disaster recovery system that keeps essential city operations up and running during power outages, earthquakes and major weather events.

In San Francisco, the planning department for the city and county was selected for its website, which offers citizens and businesses detailed property information for zoning, real estate and permitting transactions.

Finally, across the Atlantic, the London City Airport was touted for its traveler app that draws real-time data from sensors, airline systems and airport services to aid  travelers as they navigate the airport.

Along with winning jurisdictions, private civic developers were also rewarded. Each received $25,000 in credit for beneficial government projects. The winners named were Azavea, for a predictive policing app; Neptune Technology Group, for open source data management; NuCivic, for its water data tracking app; and Str LLC., for its mapped property inventory management system.

Steve Halliwell, the AWS senior global director of state and local government and education, said previously that AWS expects to host the contest next year and likely in years ahead. Based on the IDC’s analysis, Future iterations of the contest may be increasingly competitive as forecasts indicate cloud use is on the rise. Within the federal government, the IDC estimates spending on cloud technology will rise as high as $7.7 billion by 2017.

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