December 1, 2022

Help the City of Virginia Beach Choose a Name for Its New Chatbot

The City of Virginia Beach is expanding its digital government services by adding an automated chatbot to its website and service request mobile app. The bot uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to assist in responding to citizens' online questions.

The enhanced service will ask the user how we can be of assistance. Based on the response, the chatbot will automatically display knowledge articles and/or links to information and services provided by the City. As more citizens interact with the chatbot, it will "learn" based on keywords provided by the resident and will refine its search results over time to provide the closest possible match to the inquiry.

Residents will be able to make the final decision on what the chatbot should be named out of these five proposed names:

  • Beachbot
  • Ask Neptune
  • Ask VB
  • VBBot
  • Botsby

Voting is available online at Residents can select their favorite choice until Dec. 15. The chatbot's name will be announced when the service launches in January 2023.

This expanding service is monitored and managed by VB311, a division of the City's Emergency Communications & Citizen Services Department. VB311 receives and responds to citizen requests for general government information or service via multiple communication channels such as telephone, online assistance, email, print, radio dispatching, and emergency notifications.

VB311 currently receives more than 1,000 chat requests a month and the chatbot will assist by handling basic information requests in a fast and consistent manner. If the automated chatbot does not provide the desired information, the user can simply request within the bot to chat with a live agent. At that point, VB311 will take over to provide direct communication with the citizen.

The chatbot or live agent will also be able to direct the citizen to report an issue or request a service online or via the VBWorks Mobile App (download for iOS or Android). Since its inception in May 2021, more than 180,000 citizen requests have been processed through the online/mobile system. Users can submit requests or report problems for more than 30 types of services from bulky item trash pick-up requests to reporting potholes, street light outages, and much more.

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