COVID-19: IBM sets up virtual agent on Andhra Pradesh govt website to answer citizens’ queries

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Published: June 4, 2020 6:13 PM

The virtual agent, called Watson Assistant for Citizens, can respond to citizens queries in English, Hindi as well as Telugu.

coronavirus in Andhra Pradesh, IBM and coronavirus, coronavirus case study, coronavirus chatbot Andhra Pradesh, IBM initiatives during coronavirus pandemicDeployed on a web browser, the agent safeguards the privacy of the users.

Coronavirus pandemic: The Andhra Pradesh government’s National Health Mission chapter has collaborated with tech giant IBM to launch a virtual agent for providing information about the COVID-19, and to inform citizens about the response and measures being taken by the state to tackle the pandemic. The virtual agent has been launched on the portal of the Andhra Pradesh National Health Mission [covid19 (dot) ap (dot) gov (dot) in].

The virtual agent, called Watson Assistant for Citizens, can respond to citizens queries in English, Hindi as well as Telugu.

In a statement, Andhra Pradesh Commissioner of Health, Medical and Family Welfare Bhaskar Kattamneni was quoted as saying that IBM has been a trusted partner of the state government since long and it aids in ensuring better delivery of citizen services. He further appreciated the collaborative efforts by IBM to ensure that important and authentic information reached the people of the state. further asserting that while the government is putting its resources in ensuring that the pandemic is tackled effectively, efforts like IBM’s are important to meet the needs of the people. He also thanked IBM for quickly incorporating Telugu, the state’s official language, in the virtual assistant.

Meanwhile, IBM India/South Asia General Manager Sandip Patel was quoted as saying that access to authentic information in such crucial times is highly important to allay fears, build trust and to counter myths.

Ever since the pandemic started, authorities, call centres and police helplines have been receiving frantic calls by citizens seeking information about the disease. It was against this backdrop that the Andhra Pradesh chapter of National Health Mission decided to work with IBM and set up a virtual agent which has been designed as well as trained in a manner which enables it to understand the natural language of the users and interact with them.

The virtual agent can answer citizens’ questions using the information provided by the Centre, state and other nodal health authorities. Deployed on a web browser, the agent safeguards the privacy of the users.

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