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It’s day two of Smart Cities NY and our team is thrilled to be here sharing how cities are better meeting the needs of those they serve and furthering their initiatives through digital transformation. One of the hottest topics of conversation in the past couple of days has been how the public sector is innovating with solutions that take advantage of artificial intelligence (AI) and advanced services. Cities are engaging citizens, empowering their teams, optimizing operations, and transforming services in ways never before possible with emerging technologies.

Last year at Smart Cities NY, our CityNext team showcased Los Angeles’ City Hall Internet Personality—better known as CHIP the chatbot. Since then, we’ve seen many more cities and governments using innovative AI-powered solutions. Many of those solutions came out of our HackFests—where teams often develop a proof of concept in just a couple of days.

Here are a few examples from the groundswell of customer innovation we’ve seen in the past year:

Empowering first responders and saving dispatchers’ time

San Diego County Sheriff’s Department AI-enabled conversation mobile app, Coptivity, won our San Diego HackFest in February. The department will use Coptivity to provide first responders with intelligent voice assist and automate first-level queries—such as running license plate and driver’s license checks.

For example, instead of calling dispatch and having to sometimes wait in a queue for up to 5 or sometimes even 30 minutes to get the results for a license plate check, officers will be able to ask Coptivity. They can say the license plate number to Coptivity’s chatbot–with the same codes and phonetic alphabet they already use–upload a photo of the license plate, or type the number into a text field. They’ll then get a quick response back with the vehicle’s registration status and information about the owner such as criminal and mental health background.

Coptivity will help officers in the field get the information they need faster and improve their situational awareness. And it will save dispatchers time spent on routine calls so they can answer more complex calls.

Answering business registration questions 24/7

The Secretary of State’s Office of the State of California is launching a business filing chatbot called Eureka, which will answer commonly asked questions about business registration and compliance 24/7.

Eureka was designed to answer questions related to business entities and trademarks. In 2017, the State of California served more than 400,000 customers via phone calls in those two areas. With Eureka now being able to handle many routine requests for information, the State of California’s customer service team will be freed up to focus on more complex inquiries. And the public can get the information they need faster. People can also provide feedback about their experience with the chatbot and the quality of its responses—which the chatbot will use to continually improve.

Protecting the environment and cutting costs

Kansas City is improving water quality and reducing costs with an data-powered solution from our CityNext partner Opti. Last April, Kansas City installed OptiNimbus to automatically control the timing and rate of storm water flowing through its 1.1 million-gallon Gardner Avenue Detention Facility’s combined sewer system. The combined sewer system channels both waste water and storm water through a single pipe—affecting water quality in local streams, rivers, and lakes. Reducing the wet-weather flow going into the combined sewer when it’s raining means the receiving waters are cleaner, Marcus Quigley, Opti founder and CEO, says in this blog.

The Opti solution is helping Kansas City meet the requirements of a 2010 federal consent decree requiring a reduction in the volume and frequency of sewer overflows. The city also hopes to reduce costs by a billion dollars over 25 years. This is just one example of what is possible with Opti technology, which has been deployed across 21 states in the U.S. to improve environmental outcomes.

Innovate what’s next for your city or government

The above are just a few examples of what’s possible with emerging technologies. If you’re at Smart Cities NY, please find someone on our team and bring us your specific goal or challenge. Together with our deep ecosystem of partners, we’d love to help you with it. You might be surprised at how quickly and easily you can take advantage of AI and advanced services to meet your needs. A customized chatbot proof of concept can be up in a matter of days. And in even less time, developers can infuse intelligent services into your apps with our pre-built and customizable AI services.

Learn about our powerful, productive, and customizable advanced services such as Microsoft Bot Framework, Cognitive Services, and Azure Machine Learning.

Find out if a Microsoft Azure Government HackFest is coming to your area.

And send your technologists to these resources to get started right away on infusing intelligence into your systems and solutions: