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Impact Accelerator with Amazon Web Services

The programme sees final year students attend Amazon Web Services (AWS) workshops and tutorials to gain essentials skills and knowledge needed to harness AWS technology for creating innovative digital solutions. They then apply these skills to tackle community challenges  on behalf of public bodies and organisations in London, including councils and charities.

The Impact Accelerator, a collaborative effort with AWS, is a pioneering initiative designed to enhance impact capacity and capabilities within our department. In partnership with an innovative organisation with a commitment to data-driven decision-making, and robust computing resources in data science and AI, the Accelerator aims to propel our department into the forefront of cutting-edge solutions.

King's students tackle community issues with AWS

As part of the scheme, students on the Integrated Computer Science Masters programme were able to apply their knowledge gained from their degree course and AWS programme. Collaborating with 'challenge sponsors' spanning the spectrum of the public sector in London and the South, student teams delved into diverse issues such as sexual health, social housing, and waste management.

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Examples of student projects

Challenge: Sexual health services portal

Challenge Sponsor: Lambeth Borough Council

Team members: Joseph McCracken, Ioana Bottez, Matteo Fortier, Daniela Stanciu, Edwin Youbirdmurali

Motivated in part by the need for a more comprehensive digital health strategy following the pandemic, Lambeth Council sought a solution to their disconnected health services, including sexual health clinics, GP surgeries, and pharmacies. As each operate their own websites sharing the information on the services they provide, opening hours, contact details, and booking service, finding the service which works best for individual citizens can be complicated.

The Red Team were challenged to develop a single information portal to helps citizens find the most convenient service and up to date information across Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham. The data was required to automatically updated based on services operated by the providers and should provide an appointment booking system with integration to a number of different platforms.

Using software to continually source links to sexual health facilities in real-time, while retaining robust data security through encryption of personally identifying information, the students provided a single platform for staff to keep vital information up to date. By also building in a reporting function to flag when information was out of date, the team could save the council many hours of fact checking, allowing them to focus on strategic priorities around public health.

Challenge: Occupational health assessment

Challenge Sponsor: Richmond and Wandsworth Councils

Team members: Joshua Harris, Rhys Williams, Zhenghao Li, Era Mullahasani Dula, Smaranda Parincu

Pushed by Occupational Therapy’s high demand, Richmond and Wandsworth Councils wanted to develop a solution that standardised processes for submitting requests to the council for this critical service.

The Blue Team were challenged to understand the different types of requests that citizens are required to make and develop a solution that allows them to submit all the relevant information themselves in a mobile optimised format. These submissions, when complete, would also need to be categorised and assigned to the correct council resource. Citizens would also need to be kept informed of the progress of their request, and any solution to individual problems presented in parallel with a cost benefit analysis, so the council could make informed investment decisions regarding therapy options.

Through the creation of a prototype web application, the Blue Team leveraged digitised patient records to create a self-assessment platform that connected citizens with occupational therapists in real-time. By employing an automated categorisation function, the group could provide a standardised platform for self-assessment which minimised the administration work that needed to be performed by occupational therapists, improving job satisfaction and patient outcomes.

Challenge: Citizen waste collection platform

Challenge Sponsor: Kingston and Sutton Borough Councils

Team members: Andrei Balcau, Iris Simionas, Zheshan Cao, Savraj Bassi, Dimitria-Adnana Cuptor

Kingston and Sutton provide additional services for waste collection in addition to household garbage collection, such as bulky white goods collection. To improve service, Kingston and Sutton Borough Councils wanted a streamlined solution that would speed up collection.

The Grey Team were tasked with matching citizen requests for waste collection with a pre-approved group of small businesses. The council had traditionally acted as an intermediary between citizens and its main waste collection contractor, causing bottlenecks and slow service. The new solution was required to have a self-service request form for citizens to use and chart their waste’s collection process, and allow small businesses to register as collection agents and allow them to bid or accept new jobs.

Through the creation of an online platform, the team created a market of competing contractors which provided quicker levels of service to citizens requesting waste removal. Furthermore, with digital tools facilitating the growth of a market to deal with service requests, the team could extract Sutton and Kingston Borough Councils from the process of acting as a bottleneck to services and free their time to work more efficiently.

Challenge: Employee rostering platform

Challenge Sponsor: London City Airport

Team members: Issa Kabir, Jason De Souza, Chloe Fraser, Shiwen Qin, Ioana-Alexandra Ghinea, Xichao Peng

London City Airport’s staffing levels are largely dictated by season, with the busiest periods being in summer with smaller peaks throughout the course of the year, like ski season. To provide the best passenger experience, the airport needs to ensure the right number of staff are on duty at the right time.

The Yellow Team were asked to build an employee rostering platform that gave managers real-time visibility of "on duty" staff and forecast the level of staff needed at any one point, based on predicted passenger levels. Staff would also need to be able to check their shift times, view their work history and accepted overtime on the platform.

By creating a single employee rostering platform powered by a bespoke scheduling algorithm for the airport, the team could centralise shift management from several overlapping excel sheets into a single easy to use platform which accounted for day-to-day changes in passenger footfall. The team also incorporated employee preference into shift availability to ensure that forecasts on necessary staff levels could be actioned while accounting for possible staff leave.

See last year's student projects here





Learn about research in the Department of Informatics at King's.