Utah Was an Early Adopter of Voice Assistants
In addition to Utah’s chat feature, another early foray for the state into online services was a driver’s license quiz accessible in every home online through a voice assistant.
“We had a lot of success with that,” says Utah CTO Dave Fletcher. “People liked it, especially kids. Interacting with the device was a good way to practice for the exam.”
Today, Utah’s many online services are saving the state millions of dollars, according to a study by the University of Utah’s Center for Public Policy and Administration. In a five-year period, researchers estimate, Utah saved nearly $46 million in administrative costs.
However, cost savings are not the state’s No. 1 goal.
“We want to provide the best and most seamless experience to people, no matter what platform they’re using,” Fletcher says.
Mississippi Launches MISSI Chatbot to Answer Queries
Launched in 2017, MISSI is an AI-based chatbot for Mississippi residents. Built with the Microsoft Bot Framework, MISSI works 24 hours a day, seven days a week to answer more than 50,000 inquiries a year, according to the Mississippi Department of Information Technology.
“We noticed early in the 2000s that people were asking many of the same questions. Now, a decade later, we have the innovative technologies to answer those questions,” says Renée Murray, e-government program lead for Mississippi.
In addition to MISSI, residents can choose from a range of applications and services on the state’s website, receive customized texts from the state, and connect through a number of devices, including Apple’s Siri and Google Home.
Indiana Aims for Centralized Efficiency with Chatbots
Graig Lubsen, director of communication and marketing for the Indiana Office of Technology, is the creative lead for the in.gov program.
“Our system answers chatbot questions with replies from a list of FAQs,” Lubsen says. “Responses from our FAQs were viewed about 2.1 million times in 2019, which was 10 percent more than in 2018. It’s gone up every year.”