Run by Amazon Web Services (AWS), the Naxos Smart Island project aims to offer a better quality of life to Naxos residents, opportunities for local businesses, and establish the island as an attractive destination for tourists and digital nomads.
Designed in collaboration with 20 Greek and international companies, the initiative will introduce smart solutions for mobility, primary healthcare, and the transport of goods, such as vessel monitoring and reporting from a coastline tower, and the delivery of blood samples and medical supplies via drone.
“The Naxos Smart Island program is a portrait of Greece in the future,” said Digital Governance Minister Kyriakos Pierrakakis. “Greece is emerging internationally as an innovation ecosystem.” The minister went on to add that Greece had gone form 9 million digital transactions in 2018, to one billion in 2022.
At the same time, existing infrastructure including the local marina, the road network, parking areas, the energy grid, and island waste and water management systems will be upgraded through internet of things (IoT) solutions and smart infrastructure management systems.
Amazon and Greek authorities hope the Naxos project paves the way for similar digital transformation initiatives across Greece and abroad adapted to location-specific needs.
“Smart solutions deliver sustainable local economic development through the optimal use of local resources. They help islanders acquire new skills, increase local participation, and improve their interactions with public authorities,” said AWS in its announcement.
“Amazon Web Services is one of the largest companies in the world. This partnership will promote Greece across the globe,” said Development & Investments Minister Adonis Georgiadis, adding that Greece was “breaking one record after another in investments, emerging as an investment hot-spot”.
The Naxos Smart Island project is expected to act as a test bed for innovative technology that may help other remote communities around the world overcome similar challenges.
According to AWS, Naxos was chosen for its size, location, internet connectivity, and potential to take advantage of the full range of benefits of the project.
The largest island in the Cyclades, Naxos welcomes approximately 130,000 tourists every summer and is home to 22,000 permanent residents.
Solutions and infrastructure for the Naxos project focus on sustainability, telehealth, leisure, and digital skills. Among others the project will also provide tailored digital training for public officials, civil servants, and residents of the South Aegean region, giving them the opportunity to improve their digital and cloud skills and take advantage of the new opportunities that technology offers.
“It all started in 2020 when we visited Greece and signed a memorandum of cooperation with the Greek government. We were impressed by the digital leap the country has made in recent years, but also by the thirst for investment,” Cameron Brooks, general manager Europe Amazon Web Services, told to the Athens News Agency (ANA-MPA). Naxos was “ideal for the creation of digital infrastructure and the introduction of smart technologies,” he added.