Using Artificial Intelligence to respond to Covid-19 queries – Cheshire West & Chester Council working with ICS.AI

Posted on 26th February, 2021

Context

As the pandemic hit in March 2020, councils found themselves as first port of call for many coronavirus queries. As the virus developed the public had more and more questions and the demand for answers increased. Cheshire West and Chester Council began their AI journey in 2019 and were offering a chatbot service to support the public.  

Implementation

The artificial intelligence AIDA Assistant has been live on the Cheshire West and Chester Council website for around a year providing a good level of contact and service.  Website visitors are invited to open the digital assistant chat and either ask a question or state their issue, with AIDA responding and guiding them to the information they need.  The website is maintained by Qwest – a Council-owned company – who originally chose the ICS.AI assistant because of its Ethical Reflex capability and trusted Microsoft Platform.

On the 24th March 2020 queries grew by nearly 600%, reflecting the coronavirus lockdown and increasing numbers of local people contacting the Council online. Because AIDA was covering simple queries the Qwest contact team were able to be reassigned to make outbound calls to 5000 vulnerable people. 

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