Having grown up in South Florida this short, but very enlightening, video explaining how the City of Miami has implemented a 311 citizen service request system using Windows Azure, Silverlight and Bing Maps definitely caught my attention.
The Miami311 System is a Windows Azure/Silverlight-based solution which enables City of Miami citizens report and track issues reported to city management. The system uses Bing Maps to plot the location and relevant information about each issue reported. Citizens now have the ability to easily see the status of the issue without having to call the city office.
What I found interesting were a couple of benefits that a metropolitan area such as Miami can take advantage of in Windows Azure cloud-based solution. For the city of Miami, both benefits center around the weather. Of course the threat of a hurricane is a real issue in South Florida and what better way to make sure your site stays up during a hurricane then to have the site hosted far away from the eye of the storm. Using a Windows Azure cloud-based architecture the City of Miami is able to host the application within the Microsoft data centers safely away from any hurricane passing through South Florida.
The second benefit is the inherent scalability of a Windows Azure based solution. During a severe weather event like thunderstorms or even worse, a hurricane, downed trees and power lines are a commonly reported problem. Being able to quickly scale up the computing resources required to handle the spike in citizens reporting these types of problems on the site is a huge benefit. Once the weather event has passed and downed tree reports begin to subside they can quickly reverse the process and scale the system back down to pre-storm levels.
It’s kind of day-to-day kind of stuff but very cool stuff nonetheless.
Have a day. :-|