The NITI Aayog Frontier Technologies Cloud Innovation Center is the first AWS CIC in India, and the first such centre that has been set up at a national level.
AWS steps in and provides various sorts of ways to think about digital innovation. (Photo: Amazon Web Services/Twitter)
Amazon Web Services (AWS) and the NITI Aayog on Monday said they have set up a Frontier Technologies Cloud Innovation Center (CIC) that will work on addressing societal challenges around areas like agriculture and healthcare through digital innovation.
The NITI Aayog Frontier Technologies Cloud Innovation Center is the first AWS CIC in India, and the first such centre that has been set up at a national level. It has such centres across countries like Australia, Bahrain, Canada, France, Germany, South Korea, and the US, including one in partnership with the University of British Columbia. “We use these CICs to be able to collaborate broadly with communities of interests. It helps them to minimise technology costs, so that they can explore a lot of different alternatives. It lets them expand the number of solutions they can experiment with from the public sector,” Max Peterson, vice-president (international sales- worldwide public sector) at Amazon Web Services, told reporters in a virtual briefing.
He added that these centres encourage experimentation and continuous innovation, drive workforce and skills development, along with economic benefit. “And, it helps to accelerate these repeatable public sector solutions because you could try one mission and then replicate quickly to improve the experience for all citizens,” he said. He also said the partner provides the location, identifies the challenges, provides subject matter expertise and programme management, and finally works to deliver open source solutions. AWS steps in and provides various sorts of ways to think about digital innovation, the digital innovation team and credits that help underpin all the experimentation, and provides training and mentoring for collaborators in the CIC, he added.
The AWS CIC Global Program provides an opportunity for government agencies, non-profit entities, and educational institutions, to collaborate on pressing challenges, apply design thinking methodology, test new ideas, and access technology expertise from AWS.
The NITI Aayog Frontier Technologies CIC, which will be based in its office in New Delhi, will work to identify and prioritise projects as well as collaborate with local leaders, including subject matter experts at the state and district level, to solve critical societal challenges. Local enterprises, start-ups, researchers and universities in India will experiment and build prototypes on AWS Cloud, and contribute along with the global CIC community dedicated to accelerating societal innovation.
NITI Aayog Mission Director (Atal Innovation Mission) Ramanan Ramanathan said the CIC in India has the mandate of the important role that emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning and blockchain would play in driving research implementation and partnerships to improve the technology ecosystem in the country. “We have already started working on the health sector along with AWS in conceptualising and developing machine learning-based data intelligent systems…this is an integrated medical device that is currently being used for screening lifestyle diseases… we are also in discussion for developing cancer biobank with the Tata Memorial Centre,” he said. The other sectors of focus include agriculture, education, infrastructure and governance.
“Our collaboration with AWS is strategic and long term in nature…it will be building prototypes and solutions for the NITI Aayog and partnering organisations using advanced technologies… The solutions will be developed using design thinking methodology,” he said. He added that the objective is to leverage frontier technologies in developing solutions at scale because India has scale and combined with the rich talent pool, it can help address the challenges being faced effectively.