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AWS brings disaster recovery programme to Australia

Project Resilience will offer up to $5,000 worth of credits to public sector and community organisations to offset the cost of storing data on Amazon Web Services

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is offering up to $5,000 worth of credits to Australian local government, education and small and medium community organisations in a new disaster recovery programme.

The credits can be used by eligible organisations to offset the cost of storing their data on AWS, which can be accessed even if their computing equipment is damaged in a disaster.

Through Project Resilience, as the programme is called, AWS said it would help organisations avoid data loss due to damaged equipment, support spikes in their website traffic and calls to their contact centres leading up to and during events, and analyse data to improve early warning systems and damage assessments.

Project Resilience is part of AWS’s ongoing efforts to help Australian organisations on the front lines – including police, fire and emergency responders – develop and manage the technology-based aspects of disaster preparedness.

“One of the most critical tasks during a disaster is to ensure that data regarding people, assets and services remains safe and accessible, even when it is under threat,” said Iain Rouse, country director for AWS public sector in Australia and New Zealand.

“Data can play a vital role in coordinating relief efforts, especially when it relates to the locations of people in danger, or to assets that might be used in disaster response. For example, data can be used to model the progress of fire fronts and predict the location of hotspots, or to model the impact of a flooding river,” he said.

To help organisations find businesses that provide services tailored to the needs of responding to and managing emergencies and disasters, AWS has started a partner competency programme which identifies consulting partners that implement cloud solutions for public safety and disaster response.

For example, Australian startup Whispir developed a cloud-based communications platform, built on AWS technology, that brings together all communications – such as email, text messaging and web chat – in one easily accessible place.

“Whispir’s platform is being used by the Western Australian Department of Fire and Emergency Services for its Emergency WA website, where it has increased the efficiency of incident and warning notifications to the media and residents in Western Australia,” said Rouse.

In New South Wales (NSW), AWS partner Arq Group worked with the NSW Rural Bushfire Service to create the Fires Near Me app which allows people to set watch zones and receive alerts about fires in those areas.

The app has been downloaded more than three million times and has pushed 12 million notifications to Australians, warning of fire conditions and total fire ban areas.

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