SDS have created a project group to explore the viability of voice technology within local government. The first phase of the project focused on discovery research, outlining current market trends, demographics of users and uses of smart speakers in the private and public sectors.
Information based tasks
Research shows that the majority of users are using their smart speakers for basic, information-based tasks. These include:
- To play music
- Weather information
- Latest news updates
- Find my nearest…
- Alarms and reminders
- Traffic information
An alternative method of contact for residents
For local government, these basic tasks could be translated into an additional method of contact for residents. Customers can use their smart speaker as a direct information search. Extending the accessibility of council services for those who lack technical computer ability and residents with disabilities. A voice interaction requires a basic conversation, using the simplest interface. This can be used to make council services more available to residents.
For example, NHS Digital developed an API with Amazon Alexa for the smart speaker to directly read information on their website to people. This has enabled Alexa owners to access precise medical information from a trusted source. The API is also available for other smart speaker vendors, however it has not yet been developed.
Transactional and repetitive tasks
As part of our discovery research SDS found that for local authorities to create a return on investment, more repetitive and transactional tasks should be available on a smart speaker. These tasks include booking appointments, reporting a missed bin collection and payments. We know that residents need these tasks to be quick and easy to complete.
Research with residents
We are now carrying out further research with local residents to explore how they currently use their smart speakers and if they would consider using these to access local council services. If you are interested in this research please get in touch.