(c) wien.gv.at

This smart companion provides direct answers to services of the city on the go. Viennese charm included.

Around 1.2 million hits and hundreds of thousands of searches are recorded every month by the official website of the City of Vienna. There, citizens carry out official business, search for various information or use the online services of the city. This happens more and more often from mobile devices.

The City of Vienna responds to this development with content that adapts to the particular device. The interaction via social media and the early experimentation with new communication channels should further simplify the dialogue with the municipality for the Viennese people. This is exactly where WienBot comes in: It answers questions about the city’s most popular services and provides relevant information quickly and directly. Tailored to the situation in which they are needed.

Why a chatbot for the City of Vienna?

Information and services of the City of Vienna should be easy and understandable for the citizens, regardless of the channel. The website of the City of Vienna provides comprehensive and detailed content for users. The focus of WienBot is on the direct use of information. Users who want to find certain information on the go need other information than those looking for details from home. The WienBot is aimed at an audience that wants to consume information quickly, smart and on-the-go, but that does not want to forego the personal component.

Chatbots, such as the WienBot, are one of the big trends in the current tech scene. Particularly request service processes can be enormously simplified and accelerated through this technology. A chatbot is a text-based computer program that simulates the communication between two people. The special feature: The chatbot is not a human, but an application based on artificial intelligence. More and more companies rely on chatbots as support in customer service. Currently, the WienBot provides answers to about 350 topics and services of the city.

If, for example, an item has been lost, the WienBot offers so-called quick links to thematically relevant pages.

Direct answers including speech recognition

“How long does the short-term parking zone in the 16th district apply?”, “I lost my key, what now?” or “Do I need an umbrella tomorrow?” If you are looking for specific information, most people will usually ask a search engine. Within a few seconds, you are provided with a list of links, which in the best case gives you the desired answer after some scrolling and searching. With the WienBot you save yourself the clicking, scrolling and searching – the right answer is ejected directly – in a nutshell and to the point. Tailored to the situation where you need them.

Who does not know this: Searching for a parking space, you are in a hurry and of course you do not know by heart whether the short-term parking area in the 6th district lasts until 9 pm or 10 pm? How convenient that in such cases you just need to ask the WienBot, he answers promptly in a charming tone. And you can do this without having to type a word.

Chatting with charm

Citizens can not only use a voice output for the information they are looking for, but they also receive it in Viennese dialect. With this very special feature, the City of Vienna focuses on authenticity, which makes chatting with the virtual official even more charming.

Even if the WienBot reacts to key words that it identifies from the questions of the citizens, the communication usually comes in form of a dialogue in complete sentences. Although users are aware that they are chatting with a bot, i.e. an artificial intelligence, the personal component plays an essential role. Questions about the personal well-being of the WienBot are as common as expressions of love or even marriage proposals.

For editorial content creation, this means that in addition to the informational content, the tonality of responses also makes a significant difference. For this reason, the answers of the WienBot do not consist merely of factual information or lists of facts. Rather, the citizens are addressed at eye level in a humorous way and with a wink. If you think about your own chats with friends or family, you will see that none of these dialogues goes without emojis. The WienBot does not only integrate emojis into his answers, he can even respond to them in an intelligent way.

The WienBot does not only react to questions, but also knows a quick reply to many emojis.

The project shows very well that the approach that the city of Vienna pursues with the WienBot works and is accepted by the citizens: contents are prepared as precisely as possible for the needs and situations of the citizens on the channel they choose.

Would you like to try the WienBot yourself? Nothing easier than that: Just download the app for iOS or Android and off you go: www.wien.gv.at/bot (the WienBot only works in German)

Contact

E-Mail: redaktion@wien.gv.at

Website: www.wien.gv.at/bot

This post is also available in: German