Healthcare innovation

Amazon Web Services is looking aggressively at…

Amazon Web Services is looking aggressively at…

Amazon Web Services (AWS) was the first global cloud services provider to be empanelled by the Ministry of Information Technology and Electronics (MeitY) in December 2017. Since, then the American multinational technology company has focused on helping the Indian government to experiment with cloud services, test solutions through proof-of-concepts and prototypes. Max Peterson, Vice President, Worldwide Public Sector, Amazon Web Services (AWS), spoke about adoption of cloud in India, the company’s involvement in Indian social sector. Edited excerpts from an interview. 
BT: What are AWS’s views on the public sector’s adoption of the cloud in India? Share some stories from India. 

MP: Within the public sector, we have seen a considerable shift in the way the government organisations are thinking about and using cloud over the last few years in India. AWS has deeply invested in helping India to unlock its digital potential and continues to make significant investments in the nation and our Public Sector business.  Over these years, we have worked very closely with customers to create significant positive impact in several areas like agriculture, healthcare, education, e-governance, public utilities, smart cities and urban infrastructure. In 2020, AWS collaborated with NITI Aayog to establish a Frontier Technologies Cloud Innovation Center (CIC). While the CIC is an established AWS program around the world, this was the first time that a national government think-tank partnered with us. In January 2021, MeitY collaborated with AWS to establish a Quantum Computing Applications Lab to accelerate quantum computing-led research, and enable new scientific discoveries. This was the world’s first quantum computing applications lab on AWS to support a national government’s mission to drive innovation. 

COVID-19 accelerated digital transformation across public sector institutions by three to five years, and led to unprecedented levels of digital engagement with citizens. Today, citizens and residents expect the same world class technology from public sector organizations that they expect when they log onto Netflix, or when they go online and do their shopping. This has prompted public sector organisations to transform how they deliver services to citizens. In India, the work that C-DAC did to build the eSanjeevani OPD telemedicine solution on AWS in a matter of days, and eventually deliver more than 30 million teleconsultations over the last two years, is very inspiring. 

BT: Are you also working with State governments in India? How has cloud helped these governments? 

MP: Government organisations today are increasingly using cloud services to drive transformation and modernization of IT. For example, the Telangana Department of Information Technology, Electronics, and Communications (ITE&C) hosts the state government’s file management system application, which all 33 government districts use for completing daily tasks, in an on-premises data center owned by the state. The department found that its compute needs had outgrown its existing on-premises infrastructure, and it turned to AWS to improve its availability, scalability, and information security. Eventually, the department migrated all 33 districts’ workloads on AWS, achieved zero downtime and reduced its compute costs by 30 per cent. 

The cloud has become the bedrock of digital innovation programs and mission mode projects of the Indian government, and that’s testimony to the leadership commitment and alignment from the government to accelerate change and achieve positive citizen outcomes in the country. 

In the public sector alone, tens of thousands of customers around the world ranging from national government agencies to universities to major healthcare providers count on AWS to support their mission-critical systems. AWS is also supporting citizens at a municipal level. Punjab Municipal Infrastructure Development Company (PMIDC), collaborated with AWS to drive e-governance. PMIDC aimed to improve citizen participation and enable urban and local bodies to become independent by improving revenue collections and streamlining visibility into expenditures; thus, creating a self-financing, citizen-centric urban governance model. By using AWS, PMIDC has been able to implement a scalable governance platform across its cities and towns to digitize processes and improve service delivery for citizens living in urban Punjab. The platform has received 65,000-plus registered grievances and achieved a redressal rate of more than 95 percent, with nearly Rs. 500 crore revenue collections in the form of taxes and fees, and over 18,000 licenses issued for trade. 

BT: Has AWS made any recent investments in healthcare customers? 

MP: While the pandemic highlighted how technology continues to meet healthcare on the frontlines to care for more people, it also amplified longstanding social and structural disparities for underserved populations. That’s why we launched a new global program last year committing $40 million over three years in AWS cloud credits and technical expertise to help organizations develop solutions to advance health equity globally.  

AWS is also working with our customers in healthcare to enable them to innovate to advance medical research and healthcare solutions to make sure individuals get the care they need when they need it. The rapid development of the COVID-19 vaccine is a powerful example here – Moderna was able to complete the sequence for its mRNA COVID-19 vaccine in just two days using machine learning built on AWS, and the first clinical batch was released just 25 days later.  

The World Health Organization (WHO) leveraged AWS to build large-scale data lakes and aggregate epidemiological country data to track the spread of the virus. AWS is supplying WHO with advanced cloud technologies and technical expertise to support this acceleration. This includes building vast data lakes (groups of data from multiple sources) to aggregate epidemiological country data as well as rapidly translating medical training videos into different languages. 

Also read: Amazon offers to share marketplace data with sellers, boost visibility of rival products: Report

Also read: Amazon picks California’s Lockeford as first town to receive drone deliveries