2022-02-23 15:32:26

“BOTI” The WhatsApp Chatbot of Buenos Aires City

Buenos Aires is the capital of Argentina, with a population of 2.9 million. Since 2013, the city has been developing a variety of digital products to extend the channels of communication with its residents and push for greater degrees of e-governance. One such product is chatbots. In 2018, the city integrated different chatbots into one, and Boti was born. It has been introduced to a number of platforms, including WhatsApp, the messaging app which is found on more than 95% of the country’s smartphones.

Boti is a virtual assistant that works 24/7 and can answer questions in many aspects of the government services instantly. For instance, the user can ask Boti for procedures of making a certain application; events organised by the city; streets in which cars can be parked; and even weather information. Boti relies on a connected artificial intelligence platform to which the city keeps feeding processed information. The machine learning feature also enables Boti to learn from miscomprehensions and mistakes.

In just one and a half years after its launch, Boti has already served almost two million unique users. For the user, Boti is easy to use with no extra learning. Save the number and this readily reachable, immensely knowledgeable, and immediately responsive chatbot will appear in your everyday messaging app. For the developer – the municipal government, it is low-cost, around 30,000 US dollars of maintenance expense a month. It is also highly configurable, enabling continuous development as well as fast and easy deployment of new applications.

In 2020, Boti was updated to help with the city’s COVID-19 response. The residents can use Boti to check if they have symptoms that coincide with the disease after a series of questions. If it is a suspected case, they will be immediately referred to a medical professional in the same chat. The response rate is five times faster than by phone emergency response. Boti is also an efficient way for the city to disseminate information about the virus and its prevention.

Boti’s demonstrated potentials will help the city achieve SDGs 3 (good health and well-being), 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure), and 11 (sustainable cities and communities).