By 2017, chatbots had already entered our lives, as Christopher Larraz, Digital Technology & Innovation Advisor, and Gilles Barthelet, Cross-Disciplinary Solutions & e-Services Programme Manager, know only too well.
So, they looked into the issue, with assistance from Olivier Leclère, the State of Geneva’s Information Organisation Advisor, and began experimenting with a Chatbot developed specially to give the results of the elections held on 15 April and 6 May 2018.
Let’s take a close look at this experiment, conducted in partnership with SQLI, Oracle and Telon, and which proved quite conclusive.
“The experiment encouraged us to continue the project”
The platform was released the day before the Council of State elections held on 15 April 2018. Though the experiment only reached a limited audience, Landmanbot achieved its objectives on the big day: answering questions that users asked on Facebook Messenger.
"We’re delighted to have collaborated with companies willing to invest in this experiment. We all learned and got to know the methods and concepts, and our project proved conclusive", underlines Christopher Larraz.
“We’d like to experiment further on bots, but in-house this time round. We’ve got several ideas for OCSIN, but we need to develop the project more and talk to the State’s different departments”, adds Gilles Barthelet.
“Working on projects like this has been very rewarding for our teams. We also know how to spend time prototyping and experimenting, which is rare in our field of business”, notes Sébastien Vaury.
Back in summer 2017, Olivier Leclère didn’t yet know that the chatbot he had developed on his own in his free time would form the basis for Landmanbot, the robot that gives election results on Facebook Messenger.
“They’re two parallel initiatives that came together”, explains Christopher Larraz. “At OCSIN (the Canton of Geneva’s information systems and digital technologies office), Gilles Barthelet and I took an interest in Chatbots as part of our monitoring work. We reached the conclusion that the authorities in Geneva should get ready to enter this era”, he adds.
“Focused on our aim of providing effective new services to citizens, very quickly, we heard about Olivier Leclère’s personal initiative. He was motivated, like us, so we agreed we had to do something along these lines”, he remembers.
To make this chatbot experiment a success, OCSIN required external skills in terms of both technology & innovation, but also the interface and user experience aspects.