Amazon Web Services (AWS) organized its first-ever Public Sector Summit in New Delhi on September 6, to showcase its emphasis on India as a market for its cloud services and in particular, its focus on transforming the public sector. Multiple speakers from the government institutions shared insights about cloud adoption in the Indian public sector, in sectors such as education and skill development, agriculture, smart cities, and e-governance.
AWS (AISPL) PS India team has a stated mission “To make a positive impact to the life of every citizen of India through an AWS engagement by 2021”.
AWS is currently focused on delivering the following goals along with its partners in India including,
- Citizen impact at scale & Empower Society – Example: Projects with CSC (Common Service Center part of e-Governance Services India Limited) and Quantela
- Reinvent the technology experience – Example: Projects with MoHUA (Ministry of housing and urban affairs)
- Create India’s future workforce – Example: Projects with NSDC (National Skill Development Corporation and emerging Edtech start-ups like Kingslearning and Eckovation
- Positive Social outcomes & transforming lives – Example: Projects with promising Agri-tech companies like CropIn & non-profit entities like Wadhwani AI
Below are some of the major points discussed at the summit:
- Cloud adoption will be a key enabler in solving complex problems for the general public and upgrade the standard of living. The most important aspect for this adoption to happen is the generation of new and innovative use-cases, which can impact people’s lives.
- There was a lot of focus on upcoming and innovative startups. Some of the featured startups present in the event were CropIn, Quantela, Minfy Technologies, OrientDB, Intecc (part of the L&T group).
- Government’s focus on digitizing governance under the “Digital India” campaign has positively impacted the cloud adoption. The accessibility of high-speed internet due to the recent 4G boom has also played a part in the government’s outlook to accelerate cloud adoption across its governance methods.
- AWS has been a key partner with different government organizations, supporting in their cloud migration. The key partners featured in the summit were CSC e-governance services India (Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology), Smart Cities Mission (Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs) and National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC).
- AWS is focused on developing next-gen cloud workforce with its AWS Educate, a “free of cost” cloud education platform, providing cloud content, training, collaboration tools, and a job board. India is now the second-largest user base for AWS Educate after the US.
- Another point of discussion was data security and confidentiality, which is a major barrier in cloud adoption by government’s institutions. To address this issue, a solution was proposed to classify the data, into separate categories, based on the level of confidentiality. The cloud providers will then be required to provide the level of security corresponding to the confidentiality level of the data.
Let’s take a closer look at some of AWS’ customers/startups/Partners present at the summit:
Quantela is the US and Hyderabad-based startup providing an integration platform for smart cities based infrastructure and utilities, by acquiring and processing data from sensors and IoT devices to generate insights. These insights are used to manage city operations, efficiently and effectively. It operates through developing partnerships with system integrators. Major use-cases include traffic management, waste management, parking, smart lighting, etc. Quantela has raised US$10 million till date. Quantela’s mission is to revolutionize the way cities are operated and managed, by making autonomous cities a reality. Quantela has been using AWS and its services since inception. Its platform has been designed to scale with a multi-tenanted architecture using AWS services. Key drivers for Quantela’s decision to leverage AWS include a breadth of services, ease of use, ability to scale globally and flexible pay-as-you-use commercial structure. Quantela intends to use AWS as the core Cloud platform as they integrate multiple IT/OT/IoT systems across cities and do AI-based cross-domain analytics.
CropIn is an India-based agri-tech startup using AI, machine learning, and data analytics to generate real-time actionable insights on standing crop. Major use-cases include agriculture insurance, crop selection, seed traceability, weather advisory and digitization to provide seamless data from farmers to government. CropIn has raised more than US$11 million till date. With the vision to ‘maximize per acre value’ and the mission to ‘make every farm traceable’, CropIn adds value to agri-businesses by increasing efficiency, scaling productivity, and strengthening sustainability across the board. Thus far, CropIn has digitized over 5.5 million acres of farmland and enriched the lives of nearly 2.1 million farmers, while gathering data on 384 crops and 3,662 crop varieties in 46+ countries. The SaaS solutions offered by CropIn are crop and location-agnostic and are available on web and mobile devices. CropIn started out as a monolith application deployed on EC2 using AWS autoscaling. Since then, its customer and use-cases have grown. CropIn has moved into microservices architecture and runs huge ML workloads (SageMaker), ETL and analytics pipeline on AWS. The company is building a data lake on AWS. It is also deploying its ML trained models on serverless frameworks in AWS (AWS Lambda). The company uses solutions like AWS Athena, EMR (Elastic Map Reduce), Kinesis, Lambda and ECS amongst other offerings from AWS. Notable projects by CropIN in the India Public sector includes World bank & government of Bihar, Government of Karnataka, Government of Punjab amongst others.
Larsen & Toubro
L&T is a Mumbai-based multinational conglomerate with presence in multiple sectors such as construction, manufacturing, infrastructure, engineering, and technology. It’s business segment Smart World and Communication aims at providing smart city solutions and has partnered with multiple government institutions. Major use-cases include traffic management, city security through video analytics, smart grid, waste management, water management, smart buildings, and disaster management. L&T’s AI-based video analytics solution runs on AWS and offers the following use cases,
L&T has deployed ~25K cameras in multiple cities (Nagpur, Allahabad, etc.) and see’s Video AI as a big business opportunity as the scale of cameras being deployed would be no less than China which runs into Millions in each city.
Minfy Technologies is a Hyderabad-based company providing cloud solutions and full-scale cloud migrations. It is an advanced consulting partner in the AWS Partner Network (APN). One of its notable contributions in the public sector is cloud migration of Department of Information Technology, Government of Manipur. This cloud migration made Manipur the first state government in India to transition its IT services to the cloud. With a team of over 120 certified Cloud Orchestrators, Minfy Technologies has helped provide Cloud solutions to over 525 companies over the past 5 years. One of Minfy’s notable clients is the Department of Information Technology (DIT), Government of Manipur. Realizing that its hardware was becoming obsolete and that compatibility issues severely affected the deployability of its apps and website, Minfy Tech successfully secured the contract to migrate DIT’s applications and website to the cloud against 11 other bidders. The alternative would be to bear the burden of expensive data center upgrades.
AWS Public Sector Summit presented a great opportunity for AWS, its partners, customers as well as government representatives to discuss and deliberate on the need for driving cloud adoption in the public sector. AWS sees India as a big opportunity to drive its public sector work. India also needs a transformation in its public sector and governance methods in issues related to agriculture, education, healthcare, security, infrastructure, and energy. AWS showcased multiple use-cases which helped in transforming lives at mass scale. Migrating to the cloud will certainly help in increasing efficiency, transparency, and effectiveness. The onus lies on the public institutions and the government to accelerate this cloud adoption.