The Singaporean public may soon be able to chat directly with various government bodies through a Facebook Messenger chatbot.
In a Quotation Invitation document obtained from the Singapore government’s one-stop e-procurement portal, GeBIZ, the government outlined its design specifications for its Facebook Messenger chat bot.
This bot will be complementary to the official one-stop portal for government information, www.gov.sg (Gov.sg). It is designed to push out regular news alerts and government announcements from Gov.sg to subscribers.
The news notifications will appear with titles and blurbs and come with the option to read the full article. Links to visual content such as videos and infographics will also be pushed out.
Additionally, users will be able to send queries to the bot in conversational format to retrieve information. Using machine learning, the bot will, over time, become more accurate in its search results.
The bot will be integrated with all of Gov.sg’s social media channels including Twitter.
Spencer Yang, co-founder and CEO of AI company KeyReply confirmed with e27 that his team will be working on this project.
The San Francisco- and Singapore-based firm provides AI chatbots as a service solution for enterprises and Natural Language Processing (NLP) products. Some of its live deployments in Asia include the news bot for Tech in Asia, content bot for SGAG and Ninja Van.
The company was first started with the support of QuestVC in Singapore. It then expanded in the US with the help of three US-based accelerators, AngelPad, Plug and Play and Blue Startups, and angel investor network, Hawaii Angels Network.
The rise of chatbots has been spurred by the rollout of Facebook’s Messenger Platform, which allows developers to build bots on messenger. Consumers in Asia are also looking to consolidate their app usage to just a few platforms, and chatbots provide that opportunity for businesses to connect with customers without building additional apps.
A few startups have found ways to leverage on chatbots to simplify business processes. Early this year, Singapore-based fintech startup Pealo rolled out a chatbot to allow SMEs to apply for grants.
Other corporations have also developed chatbots for their own apps. Major real estate developer CapitaLand rolled out its chatbot, Sparkle, this year allowing shoppers who use the CapitaStar app to enquire about directions to MRTs and make restaurant bookings easily.
Expect to see a wave of chatbots rolling out in the future.
Image Credit: Facebook