“Launched on Dec. 7, the Kelowna ‘citybot’ can answer some common questions about the city’s response to COVID-19 and services during the pandemic,” wrote city staff, in a release.
Chatbots are computer programs designed to simulate a human-like conversation over text.
They can be programmed to answer frequently asked questions, search for web content, and to connect people with services.
In its first week, the chatbot responded to more than 200 messages from people looking for answers to COVID-19 questions, according to the city.
“Right now, the Kelowna ‘citybot’ is programmed to answer questions about COVID-19 and is being monitored and trained by staff to become better over time,” said Andreas Boehm, City of Kelowna’s intelligent cities manager.
“We wanted to start small because we are still learning. ‘Citybot’ doesn’t know it all, but it will do its best to provide good customer service anytime, day or night.”
The new website feature is part of the city’s intelligent city strategy, a plan where city staff are exploring options that will help residents connect with important information quickly.
To give the COVID-19 chatbot a try — visit kelowna.ca and click on the chat icon in the lower right corner and ask a question.