With a flood of information requests from citizens, waiting time in many areas to receive answers can exceed two hours, according to the company.
IBM Watson Assistant for Citizens on the IBM public cloud brings together Watson Assistant, Natural Language Processing capabilities from IBM Research, and enterprise AI search capabilities with Watson Discovery, to understand and respond to common questions about COVID-19, it said.
IBM said it developed the Watson Assistant for Citizens to provide an AI-powered virtual agent that helps governments deliver accurate information to their citizens without overwhelming contact centres where human agents are needed to help those who truly need them.
To introduce this offering in India, IBM Research has trained Watson Assistant to answer queries in English and Hindi to enable various government agencies and Departments to offer this service to its constituents, Gargi Dasgupta, Director - IBM Research India and CTO IBM India /South Asia, was quoted as saying in anIBM statement.
Watson Assistant for Citizens leverages currently available data from external sources which include the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and other government sources for prevention and treatment related guidance, citizen welfare schemes in India, as well as global resources such as World Health Organisation (WHO) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), it was stated.
IBM said it is already delivering this service across the United States, as well as engaging with organisations globally in Czech Republic, Finland, Greece, Italy, Poland and Spain, among others.
Using information provided by clients, Watson Assistant for Citizens automates responses to frequently asked questions about COVID-19 that come in via text, such as What are its symptoms?, How do I clean my home properly? and How do I protect myself?, the statement said.
State and local government agencies, hospitals or other healthcare organisations can choose to customise the solution to address citizen questions specific to their area or region, including How many cases till date in Mumbai?, Which essential services are open during lockdown?, and Where can I get tested in Bengaluru?, IBM said.
IBM is offering Watson Assistant for Citizens for no charge for at least 90 days and would assist with initial set up, which can typically be done in a few days, it said, adding, the initial solution is available in English and is being tailored to include Indian languages as well such as Hindi.