New virtual assistant introduced to help Fingal residents

by Gazette Reporter

Fingal County Council has successfully introduced a virtual agent – ‘Covid-19 Assistant’ – which is trained to answer questions from members of the public.

The virtual agent dispenses information about the council’s Community Call Response initiative and the availability of Fingal Services during the pandemic.

The virtual agent has been developed in partnership with IBM and SureSkills Consulting. Responding to thousands of requests it supports at-risk members of the public in accessing non-emergency and non-medical supports and advice 24/7.

Based on IBM Watson Assistant on the IBM cloud, the virtual agent replies to common queries on Covid-19 in English. Questions it can answer include, “Can a Volunteer collect my shopping?” or “I want to look at planning applications for my area?”

If the agent does not have the answer it redirects the user to the specific information on the Council’s website, or to other websites related to the query.

Council chief executive AnnMarie Farrelly said: “By using this type of advanced technology we are making it easier and quicker for citizens to access the information they are looking for.”

To view the virtual ‘Covid-19 Assistant’ in operation please visit www.fingal.ie.

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