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The City of Johns Creek was honored as a winner in Amazon’s 2019 “City on a Cloud Innovation Challenge” for the Constituent Services award for its development of the city’s after-hours call center, which utilizes open data.

The city of Johns Creek is a finalist in Amazon’s 2019 “City on a Cloud Innovation Challenge” for the second straight year.

This year Johns Creek is a finalist for the Constituent Services award for its development of the city’s after-hours call center, which utilizes open data, the city announced in a release. If a resident calls City Hall (678-512-3200) after regular business hours, the open data-powered call center helps answer residents’ questions and provides details on city services – all powered by the same information behind the city’s Amazon Alexa skill.

According to city officials, Johns Creek was the first city in the world to use open data with Amazon Alexa, which pulls information from the Johns Creek website and DataHub to answer users’ questions.

By simply asking the “City of Johns Creek” skill on an Alexa device, users can find out information such as where police and fire activity has occurred, what the current traffic conditions are, and even learn more about the zoning conditions of any property in Johns Creek. The city won the 2018 City on a Cloud award for its work with the Alexa skill.

The after-hours call center expands on the technology used to develop the Alexa skill and also takes advantage of new technologies offered by Amazon Web Services (AWS), the city said.

With this new capability, residents calling 678-512-3200 after regular business hours get more than just a voice mailbox. Callers can report emergency issues while also getting answers to more than 200 commonly-asked questions that range from simple things like “when is city hall open” to “what is the zoning of 11360 Lakefield Drive.”

“It’s a tremendous honor to be finalists in the ‘2019 City on a Cloud Innovation Challenge’ and we hope because of this, more people are motivated to use these channels of communication to become engaged and informed,” said Nick O’Day, the City of Johns Creek’s Chief Data Officer. “We build these tools with our residents in mind – addressing what our residents need, and how we make access to information easy and transparent. Hopefully these kinds of tools will help the city run more efficiently and raise the bar for how responsive governments operate.”

Winners of the “City on a Cloud Innovation Challenge” will be announced Dec. 4 at the AWS re:Invent conference.

To read the Amazon web services blog announcement, click HERE.