City of Markham Launches Online and Phone Virtual Agent for Real-Time COVID-19 Info

IBM Watson Assistant for Citizen x City of Markham Phone Screenshot Light

The City of Markham has announced today it has teamed up with IBM to launch an online and phone virtual agent to provide real-time answers to questions related to COVID-19.

Powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning, “IBM Watson Assistant for Citizens” will be available 24/7 to answer questions via online chat and phone calls.

“Serving our community has always been a priority for the City of Markham, and providing up to date information is even more critical during this public health emergency,” says Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti, in a statement to iPhone in Canada.

The virtual assistant has information derived from the City of Markham website, Public Health Agency of Canada, Ontario Ministry of Health and York Region Public Health. IBM says no personal info is collected when using Watson Assistant for Citizens.

IBM Watson Assistant for Citizen x City of Markham Website Screenshot

Some questions you can ask the Watson Assistant include:

  • “What are the symptoms of COVID-19?”
  • “How do I protect myself from COVID-19?”
  • “Where can I get tested for COVID-19 in Markham?”
  • “Are parks and trails closed?”
  • “What City services are available?”
  • “Will my garbage be picked up as usual?”

“We need to ensure that people can access information quickly and that it is accurate. At the City of Markham, we embrace technology and this initiative exemplifies the important partnership we share with IBM Canada, IBM Headquarters and the IBM Software Lab that are an integral part of our community,” added Scarpitti.

You can access the IBM Watson Assistant for Citizens by visiting the City of Markham website or by calling 1-833-926-0929.