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Inside Google Cloud

How Google Cloud is helping U.S public sector agencies during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond

April 3, 2020
Mike Daniels

Vice President, Global Public Sector, Google Cloud

In light of the current situation with COVID-19, public sector agencies are turning to the cloud more than ever, particularly as people increasingly need access to information and government services. Today, we’re happy to share more on our efforts to help governments with their COVID-19 needs and also highlight a few recent agreements with state and local agencies. 

Supporting government agencies through COVID-19

As COVID-19 continues to evolve, we are working with governments at all levels to help them connect with people and identify ways that data-driven research can help counter this global pandemic. 

Around the world, we are working with governments on projects such as developing AI-based chat technology to help overtasked agencies respond more quickly to citizen requests; bolstering government websites that get critical information to the public with free content delivery network (known as “Cloud CDN”) and load-balancing services; providing services and tools to track the spread of the virus; and assisting schools with distance-learning programs. 

In the U.S., we’re working with state agencies like the Oklahoma State Department of Health on solutions for medical staff to engage remotely with at-risk people who may have been exposed to the coronavirus. Within 48 hours, the department deployed an app that allowed medical staff to follow up directly with people who reported symptoms and direct affected people to testing sites. We worked with our partner MTX Group to create the app and are now deploying it with governments in Florida, New York, and many other states so they can use our tools for insights into how the virus’s spread is affecting people and state healthcare systems.

In Colorado, Eagle County began using Google Maps Platform and G Suite to redesign its emergency operations center and improve the delivery of vital crisis information to Colorado residents. In addition, Georgia Department of Human Services Eligibility and Child Support workers are leveraging our technology to remotely access critical apps and data, and Georgia Department of Community Supervision is using Google Meet for teleconferencing. 

Finally, around the country, we’re also supporting remote learning for public schools and universities. For example, we rolled out the largest go-live event in G Suite history—1.3 million accounts for students in New York City—so they can continue their school year virtually at home. You can learn more about our work here.

Momentum with government agencies

New Chicago DOT website helps inform citizens and alleviate traffic
The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) partnered with Google Cloud to develop a unique application that uses Google Maps and other technologies to ingest multiple data sources and display them on CDOT’s ChiStreetWork website. This site informs Chicagoans on everything from when and where special events are taking place, to how road repairs and construction projects are impacting traffic patterns for their daily commutes.

Using a Google Maps interface, residents and visitors can subscribe to a targeted area, like their neighborhoods or workplaces, and define what public works and event information they’d like to receive (and at what frequency). As a result, the CDOT has been able to cut down on calls made to its office, freeing up resources and providing greater transparency to its citizens.

“I would listen to the calls coming into the office, and citizens just weren’t aware of what was going on. Someone would have a block party and then water management would arrive to dig up the street,” said CDOT Deputy Commissioner Michael Simon. “ChiStreetWork is more user-friendly and coordinates all events and work projects. The new subscription feature makes it easy for residents to get the information they need, and it provides an unprecedented level of visibility.”

District of Columbia's Air National Guard transforms cybersecurity training in the cloud 
The District of Columbia's Air National Guard (DCANG) recently began using Google Cloud’s Compute Engine to keep its Airmen's cybersecurity skills razor sharp. For one weekend a month when Airmen meet for drills on-site, as well as during their personal time, the DCANG’s Communications Flight (CF) rents virtual machines on Google Cloud to run a simulation of the Cyberspace Vulnerability Assessment/Hunter Weapon (CVA/H) system. This system (CVA/H) is used to detect and prevent attacks on technology that powers the Guard's F-16 Falcon fighter jets and C-40 VIP airlift systems.

Google Cloud technology enables Guardsmen to train on systems even when they're away from Joint Base Andrews, the Air National Guard's D.C.-area military facility. Instead of having to acquire more CVA/H systems at a cost of $300,000 a piece, the DCANG (and now other states following its lead) are able to rent CPUs and memory affordably and seamlessly, said Capt. Jason Yee, cyberspace operations officer for the 113th Wing of the Air National Guard. "At any point in time, half of my flight is offsite," he said. "Renting Google Compute Engine is the most affordable and convenient way to ensure my team's cyber skills remain as sharp as possible. This opportunity was possible thanks to CF commander Maj Jeramy Thigpen's innovative leadership as well as the knowledge and insight that the Google Cloud Federal team in the local area provided." 

A commitment to public sector

We’re continuing to ramp up our capabilities to better serve the public sector through new, dedicated sales and engineering teams in the United States and around the world. We’re also advancing our capabilities in security certifications, such as our FedRAMP High announcement. In addition, we’re pursuing a facility security clearance that will allow us to further assist government agencies in their digital transformation efforts. Read more about our work in the public sector here.

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