Comu de Canillo is a local government for the town of Canillo in Andorra. Every four years the voters of Canillo elect 10 advisors, along with the mayor and mayor’s council, who will hold the highest political representation in the Commonwealth of the Parish of Canillo.
The current council, elected in December 2015, is running a digital transformation strategy to improve the experience of its citizens. As part of its co-innovation with Oracle Consulting, information is now more accessible than ever to tourists and locals alike.
Canillo is home to around 4,000 citizens who rely on the local council for guidance on processes, such as how to pay taxes. During peak tourist seasons, in both summer and winter, Comu de Canillo needs to provide services to meet the demands of a local population that swells to more than 30,000.
Tourists regularly contact the council to request weather updates, or to ask about restaurant recommendations or information about activities like snowboarding. However, availability to obtain such information has been limited to Comu de Canillo’s normal working hours, meaning that anyone needing urgent assistance during non-office hours has had to wait until the following day. Accommodating such demands with limited means puts a strain on council services.
The council wanted to introduce a system that would allow quick interaction with anyone needing information at any time and through multiple platforms — e.g. a desktop, mobile or tablet.
Oracle Consulting’s Digital Experience (DX) team proposed the solution of a Digital Assistant, initially available via the council’s website and Facebook page, that would be easy to maintain and accessible 24/7.
To begin the project, DX ran a Chatbot Experience Design (CDX) workshop to determine the personality of the Digital Assistant. The team were then able to build a mock within 3-4 days to demonstrate how the end product would look.
The council’s vision for the Digital Assistant included drawing on local historical and cultural references, with a name that would allow it to be instantly associated with the town of Canillo. The council eventually decided on ‘Meri’, a Catalonian female name and also a shortened version of ‘Our Lady of Meritxell’, the patron saint of Andorra, giving the chatbot name a strong cultural resonance.
DX quickly turned Comu de Canillo’s vision into a reality, with the first version of MERI rolled out in October 2018. The solution was built based on Oracle Mobile Cloud Service and Intelligent Chatbot Service products.
The council believes that being digital is beneficial to everyone within the community. Several successes have been identified since MERI was launched, and the resulting business outcomes achieved are beneficial to both the council and citizens.
Benefits of MERI:
For DX, providing an excellent product is just the start of our service. We are currently working with Comu de Canillo to create an improved second version of MERI, which will be rolled out later this year.
In addition to Catalonian, the new Digital Assistant will be available in three other languages (English, French and Spanish) to reach as many end-users as possible.
MERI 2.0 will also offer voice control and an ability to provide personalized responses. Citizens of Canillo will be able to authenticate themselves in the settings using a digital certificate, so that MERI can address individuals personally — to let you know which of your activities are still pending for example. This is possible through integration with Andorra’s back-end system.
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