Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos elaborated Thursday on the many ways his company’s public cloud is assisting health care professionals and educators on the front lines of the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
“Amazon Web Services is also playing an important role in this crisis,” the Amazon founder wrote in his annual letter to shareholders before providing several examples of how the industry-leading cloud is helping hospitals, first-responders, drug developers and research labs around the world make inroads against Covid-19.
“The ability for organizations to access scalable, dependable, and highly secure computing power—whether for vital healthcare work, to help students continue learning, or to keep unprecedented numbers of employees online and productive from home—is critical in this situation,” Bezos said.
AWS is powering services the CDC deploys to enable doctors around the United States to quickly access data related to the disease and help them determine best responses. Many other governments around the world are also building out services on AWS infrastructure to fight the pandemic, Bezos said.
As part of the global effort, Amazon is collaborating with the World Health Organization—supplying that agency with “advanced cloud technologies and technical expertise to track the virus, understand the outbreak, and better contain its spread,” he said.
WHO is building large-scale data lakes and aggregating epidemiological country data, and even using AWS services to translate medical training videos into different languages to help health care workers better treat patients around the world.
AWS has also deployed a centralized Covid-19 data lake containing up-to-date, curated information on the spread and characteristics of the disease for experts to have access to a repository of the latest relevant data.
And the provider launched the AWS Diagnostic Development Initiative, which Bezos described as “a program to support customers working to bring more accurate diagnostic solutions to market for COVID-19.”
“Better diagnostics help accelerate treatment and containment of this pandemic,” Bezos said.
Amazon has pledged US$20 million to accelerate the work of organizations harnessing its cloud to fight the disease. That program was established in response to Covid-19, but it will be repurposed in the future to fund diagnostic research projects that can stop other outbreaks.
Beyond health care, academic institutions are benefitting from applications running in AWS environments that enable them to transition to virtual classrooms.
In his shareholder letter, Bezos shared many examples of how health professionals and educators are leveraging the public cloud.
In New York City, Amazon joined a Covid-19 Rapid Response Coalition to develop a conversational agent that allows at-risk and elderly populations to receive timely medical information.
Across the country, in Los Angeles, at the request of the city’s school district, AWS helped set up a call center supporting educators trying to transition 700,000 students to remote learning.
AWS provided cloud infrastructure supporting a UK project analyzing hospital occupancy levels, ER capacity, and patient wait times to help the National Health Service best allocate resources. And in Canada, one of the world’s largest virtual care networks has scaled an AWS video service to meet a 4,000 percent spike in demand.
AWS is also providing the São Paulo state government in Brazil cloud resources enabling 1 million public school students to attend online classes.
“For now, my own time and thinking continues to be focused on COVID-19 and how Amazon can help while we’re in the middle of it,” Bezos said in closing. “You can count on all of us to look beyond the immediate crisis for insights and lessons and how to apply them going forward.”