Valore Partners Wins City of Phoenix Hackathon

Digital Assistant showcases Smart City possibilities.

Valore Partners won the Voice Assistants for Cities hackathon hosted by Arizona Institute for Digital Progress and the City of Phoenix. Digital Assistants, commonly called Bots, are computer programs that mimic human conversation using artificial intelligence and natural language processing to transform computer interactions into more effective conversations.

Valore looked for use cases where citizens have a hard time finding or deciphering information due to its inherent complexity. Additionally, Valore looked for information sets that were accessed over and over. Using Bot technology to address these types of problems would demonstrate a digital assistant’s utility in helping citizens get the answers they seek. Valore also demonstrated how a single Bot can function across a wide array of topics and departments within the city.

Valore created a digital assistant that can interact with citizens via voice or text and can be used on a website, Amazon Echo or Google Assistant, or a mobile phone through text messages. Valore’s Bot demonstrated integration with the city’s environmental services department and was expanded to include recreational activities, municipal resources, and other public services.

Valore Partners’ Ricky Jimenez, developer in this hackathon, said “The hackathon gave us the opportunity to present what we can do in this area of technology, especially the functionality across different channels like Amazon Echo and phone messaging.” Vice President of consulting Bert Solano, Valore Partners Vice President of consulting, added “It was a very interesting approach the city has taken to advance technology. Hackathons are more frequently occurring and presenting creative, innovative solutions to basic problems.” Bert also reinforced that enabling bots like Valore demonstrated will make Phoenix more accessible and easier to navigate–the intended purpose behind the hackathon’s mission.

City of Phoenix Deputy CIO Ajay Joshi, reflecting upon what set Valore apart was what he calls “ubiquitous solutions,” i.e. the fact that Valore’s bot was compatible across multiple channels, eliminating the inconvenience of developing or re-platforming code for several devices. Ajay Joshi notes Valore was further distinguished by “thoroughness of preparation,” exhibited by employment among different devices and channels. Lastly, Ajay notes “Hackathons help us journey towards a ‘smart city,’ and are intended to improve our quality of residence. Valore’s contribution helps us move forward to a smart city, and we value your work and our partnership with you.”