A court with a voice: Montgomery Court conversational services

Montgomery court, in Dayton city, Ohio has added a new technology to boost their services.

The innovation, an automated virtual assistant and chatbot, will answer many of the most frequently asked questions received by the Montgomery County Clerk of Courts Office by email and phone.

The bot is named after the Greek goddess of wisdom, law and justice Athena, is designed to answer questions directed to the Montgomery County Municipal Courts and Montgomery County Common Pleas Court, as well as the county’s auto title branches. Athena, accessed at www.mcclerkofcourts.org, can also look up basic ticket and case information.

The bot was designed in-house using Microsoft Cognitive Services. Part of the significance of the innovation is that it can answer questions from their five divisions, so you can ask about your car, or passport or how to pay your traffic ticket.

The virtual assistant is also connected to the county clerk’s online public records information system. Athena can use that connection to tell users the status of a case and link them to related documents.

We have talked before how voice and conversational can be life-changing for government and city services. It comes to mind the work of the city of Ozark, Missouri that VoiceXP did. Instead of browsing all the services websites to find the information you need, or wait in a call for the status of your application, you can just chat with a bot to ask a question: how is my case for this going? Or what are the requirements for DMV in California? It’s pretty life changing. We humans will always appreciate technology that saves time or provide convenience.

Microsoft keeps pushing its cognitive services as a strong developer option for use cases like this, at the same time pushing their partnership with Amazon and Alexa. It seems to me that they are trying to get enterprises to use their cognitive services way more than they are pushing Cortana. That’s definitely part to the new horizon of Microsoft as an enterprise services company and away from a consumer company.

Thank you for listening. My name is Mari, this is VoiceFirst Weekly flash briefing show. Before I wrap up this episode: a reminder of the coming Alexa Conference in Chattanooga, Tennessee January 15-17. You can sign up at the voicefirst dot fm website. I’ll be there, as well as my cofounder Nersa. I’ll be talking in the track of podcasting on the age of Alexa and we’ll also have a booth where you can check us out. Don’t miss it!

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