The National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog), a policy think tank of the government of India, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced the launch of a Frontier Technologies Cloud Innovation Center (CIC). A CIC is a public-private partnership that focus on addressing societal challenges through digital innovation. The CIC program, created by AWS, provides an opportunity for nonprofits, education institutions, and government agencies to collaborate with other public sector organizations on their most pressing challenges, innovate and test new ideas, and access the technology expertise of AWS.
The NITI Aayog Frontier Technologies CIC is the first AWS CIC in India, and first around the world for AWS that is set up in collaboration with a government agency at a national level. The CIC addresses a core mission: to drive continuous innovation in delivering citizen services by deploying leading-edge technologies.
NITI Aayog established the CIC to accelerate innovation with the necessary resources, knowledge, and skills. The NITI Aayog Frontier Technologies CIC will support this mission in areas such as agriculture, health, skill development, and employment. The NITI Aayog Frontier Technologies CIC will identify and prioritize projects as well as collaborate with government departments, including subject matter experts, to solve critical societal challenges.
Manav Sehgal, India lead for AWS CICs at AWS said, “The NITI Aayog Frontier Technologies CIC will enable pace of innovation with rapid prototyping of applications, while lowering cost of experimentation with technology, and scaling quickly to deliver outcomes good for the public sector in India.”
Through this collaboration, the Frontier Technologies CIC can access any AWS service, including fully featured services for compute, storage, databases, networking, analytics, robotics, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), mobile, security, hybrid, virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR), media, and application development, deployment, and management.
Working with NITI Aayog, and backed by AWS technology and a culture of innovation methodology, the NITI Aayog Frontier Technologies CIC will connect government stakeholders, startups, and local organizations in India to create new approaches to solving problems in the public sector.
Supporting the program, Anna Roy, senior adviser, NITI Aayog said, “The objective of the CIC program is to provide cloud Infrastructure, developers and support of global subject matter experts to develop high quality affordable technology solutions for improving the lives of citizens of India in high impact sectors.”
The CIC serves as an innovation centre to help solve challenges and address critical problems or opportunities facing the local community. Ben Butler, global lead for AWS CICs at AWS said, “We invite public sector organizations in India to submit real-world challenges to the NITI Aayog Frontier Technologies CIC. We will combine public sector knowledge of the community and use AWS technologies to address selected challenges. We will also share the prototypes and documentation that we create as open source with other communities facing similar challenges.”
The NITI Aayog Frontier Technologies CIC in India joins a global network of AWS CICs around the world, including Australia, Bahrain, Canada, France, Germany, South Korea, and United States. These CICs are delivering successful outcomes that contribute to positive impact to the local community. For example, in February 2020, the University Of British Columbia CIC created their Open Science project for ultra-rapid discovery of known and unknown coronaviruses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic by screening all public RNA-sequencing data. AWS mirrored the NCBI Short Read Archive (SRA) onto their Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) servers as an open dataset which allows for an unprecedented rate of access to the petabytes of raw data. Other CICs are doing things like building smart citizen services and improving life for Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers.