A screenshot of the City of Kelowna’s website and the new Citybot feature. (City of Kelowna)

A screenshot of the City of Kelowna’s website and the new Citybot feature. (City of Kelowna)

Kelowna’s ‘Citybot’ ready to handle COVID-19 questions

The chatbot program was designed to answer questions about the city’s COVID-19 response

The City of Kelowna’s newest employee has been uploaded and they’re ready to answer frequently asked questions about the city’s COVID-19 response.

Citybot, a chatbot program designed to simulate a human-like conversation, now resides on the homepage of the city’s website. Launched Dec. 7, the city says the bot responded to more than 200 COVID-19-related questions. Currently, the bot has not yet been programmed to discuss non-COVID topics.

“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, intelligent cities manager at the City of Kelowna. “We wanted to start small because we are still learning, as is the chatbot. Citybot doesn’t know it all, but it will do its best to provide good customer service anytime, day or night.”

In the future, the city plans to expand Citybot’s abilities to include more city business and potentially integrate the bot with online city services.

“Eventually, we’d love to see the Citybot not only provide accurate answers to users’ questions but also be able to do things on their behalf, like report an issue or register for a recreation program,” said Boehm. “But, if we are dreaming big, we’d love to see Citybot become a voice-activated option with enhanced accessibility for tapping into city information and services.”

To try out the bot, visit kelowna.ca and click on the chat icon on the bottom right side of the screen.

READ MORE: Kelowna Regional Transit to receive $7.3M in provincial, federal grant

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com


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