City leaders in Arlington, Texas are always working to be on the cutting edge of technology. As they were researching how to integrate voice recognition and artificial intelligence with a new city website, they decided to branch out into smart speaker functionality.
Amazon’s Alexa allows users to develop custom skills for home use, so it was, according to Arlington CIO Dennis John, “pretty easy,” to create a way for residents to access the city’s most-requested information using the smart speaker. Now anyone who enables the speaker’s “City of Arlington, Texas” skill is able to ask questions like, “Alexa, ask City of Arlington, who is my Council Member?” and quickly receive the information they are looking for.
Last week, Arlington’s Office of Communications released a promotional video for the new service:
Though the questions Alexa is able to answer are limited for now, the city plans to expand the skill when they launch a new website this spring. The new service is a part of Arlington City Council’s “Put Technology to Work” push, which aims to use technology to make the city a better place for residents to live, learn, work and play.
A number of other cities have already reached out to Arlington with questions about creating an Alexa skill of their own. While there are many resources available online, feel free to contact Next Century Cities for more information about the process.