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Time to empower children and the elderly: A closer look at the City of Helsingborg

The City of Helsingborg empowers children and the elderly with independence and inclusiveness by using Virtual Assistants.

Gustaf Björn

Business Developer & Sales Customer Experience

The challenge

The City of Helsingborg is in charge of creating environments, where even the most vulnerable citizens thrive, such as preschools and care-homes for the elderly. Quite often, the staff find themselves answering questions repeatedly as opposed to having meaningful dialogues, and on top of that, there are occasional language barriers between those they care for and the staff.

The solution

Firstly, the City of Helsingborg wanted to increase the feeling of independence for preschoolers and the elderly. Secondly, they wanted to respond to the need expressed by the staff by freeing up time, so they can spend quality time with the people they care for. We helped them achieve this by introducing Virtual Assistants: LAIban resides with the preschoolers, and the elderly can turn to Britt-Marie.

Business and technology consulting Artificial Intelligence and Data Accelerators

About the customer

Helsingborg is a mid-sized city with about 150 000 citizens in the south of Sweden. Just like many other municipalities, they face great challenges. The number of children and elderly is increasing compared to the working population, which means the city’s expenses are rising faster than its income. Citizens expect better, simpler, faster and more flexible service.

Helsingborg is profiled as one of Europe's most innovative cities and one of the reasons is that they are transparent and collaborate to find new solutions how to offer better and at the same time cost-efficient public services.

Innovation in Helsingborg
By giving preschoolers and the elderly a way to find answers for themselves, without the need to ask, they’re empowered and experience a new feeling of independence.

Increased independence

By giving preschoolers and the elderly a way to find answers for themselves, without the need to ask, they’re empowered and experience a new feeling of independence.

Not everyone speaks the same language, which is why LAIban and Britt-Marie operate in 11 different languages so everyone can be heard.

Creating inclusiveness

Not everyone speaks the same language, which is why LAIban and Britt-Marie operate in 11 different languages so everyone can be heard.

With LAIban and Britt-Marie in place, the staff has more time to have meaningful interactions with the people they care for.

More time to care

With LAIban and Britt-Marie in place, the staff has more time to have meaningful interactions with the people they care for.

Watch how Lisa Olsson, Head of Innovation at Helsingborg Stad describe their experiences with Virtual Assistants.

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Responding to a need

The public sector is under exceptional strain during the pandemic, and the preschools and elderly care homes are no exception. The City of Helsingborg wanted to increase the children’s and elderly’s well-being by increasing the independence they experience. They had listened to the staff who repeatedly said that they wanted to spend more time with the people in their charge. By increasing the independence and empower preschoolers and the elderly to be able to find answers for themselves, some of the strain experienced by the staff could be reduced. Contrary to what it sounds like, this use of AI creates greater opportunities for the staff to spend quality time with the people in their care.

Innovation is scary. How can you start measuring before you even try?

Emmy Hall

Service Designer at TietoEVRY

A typical job for LAIban includes hanging out in the hallway (where LAIban is displayed on an iPad) and being available at all times to answer the preschooler’s questions about today’s lunch, or giving them suggestions about what clothes to wear when they go outside. The AI-bot Britt-Marie receives similar questions, but is also available to give the elderly the latest news in a way they’ll understand.

We combine different methods to measure success; we combine data, in-depth interviews and observations. And we also count all the smiles.

Lisa Olsson

Head of Innovation at the City of Helsingborg

LAIban_virtual_assistant_Helsingborg.png

LAIban and Britt-Marie operate in 11 different languages, meaning that preschoolers who have just arrived to Sweden and elderly people that lose their second language (Swedish) can take charge and find answers for themselves much more easily, whilst being able to communicate with others more efficiently. At the end of the day, it’s about giving a voice to those who aren’t the typical user group for technologies such as AI.

It’s important to note that LAIban’s and Britt-Marie’s interface is what the end-user sees, but they’re a part of a much bigger idea. The same base code that’s used for Britt-Marie and LAIban is being used as a platform to create other services and functions for the citizens of Helsingborg. This is an excellent example of having an innovative mindset; daring to try something new, and testing the functionality and learnings in other areas.

Read also the related blog: The joy of being told what to wear in your native language

 

You might also be interested in watching the full panel discussion:

Emerging technologies invite us all to rethink our ways of working. Volvo Trucks and the City of Helsingborg are brave forerunners seeking digital advantages.

Watch now: Time to take full advantage of all things virtual

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