Partner’s Logo
HANDS
HELPING
ANSWERS
DECISION
SERVICE
Experiencing the eTEN HANDS Project
Julie Warren
Telecities Conference, Bologna June 29th 2007
EU Framework
6th Framework Programme
Research and development
Thematic Priority
IST
Information Society Technologies
eTEN Programme
To
•enable people to participate fully in the Information Society
•stimulate & support roll-out of innovative trans-European e-services
•Encourage organisations to extend their services to marginalised groups of users
Theme 1 – eGovernment
On-line services provided by or for public administrations
and services aimed at broadening participation in the
democratic process
Action 2
Market Validation
Bologna Telecities Conference, June 29th 2007
HANDS
History
2003-05
2005
Mid-2006




End-2006

5 NLP (Natural Language Processing)
applications developed and tested under
EDEN (“Electronic Democracy European
Network”) scheme
2 selected for market validation under eTen
scheme (‘Deploying Trans-European eServices for all’)
Bologna and Napier of original consortium
sought new partners for HANDS proposal
Napier & CEC joined forces again
Hands consortium proposal successful in
funding bid
Bologna Telecities Conference, June 29th 2007
The Consortium

Coordination: Bologna Municipality (Italy)

Technical and business development:
–
–

Pilot testing - Local Authorities:
–
–
–

Enìa S.p.A. (Italy)
Research & Evaluation:
–

Bologna Municipality (Italy)
City of Saarbruecken (Germany)
City of Edinburgh (Scotland, UK)
Pilot testing - Public Utility:
–

Regulus by Stylo s.r.l. (Italy);
EUNICS S.p.A. (Italy)
International Teledemocracy Centre, Napier University, (Scotland, UK)
Dissemination:
–
EUROCITIES – www.eurocities.org
Bologna Telecities Conference, June 29th 2007
Project objectives
To “market validate” the HANDS ‘self-service’
communication system by:

Investigating its administrative &
economic viability

Refining the HANDS offer to meet target
customers’ expectations and marketstandard quality.

identifying the conditions for its future
deployment on a European scale.
Bologna Telecities Conference, June 29th 2007
Overview of HANDS
application
1.
User accesses the HANDS
Browse for
answer
service on the PB website
2.
Types a question in everyday
speech.
3.
Answer
Tree
Enter question
Screen displays
question/answer pairs matching
Review answers
Need satisfied
the user’s query (Answer Tree)
4.
User wants more or different
information
5.
6.
Question routed
to office
Uses automatic email routing
service
Receive answer
Receives email answer
– (Address Guesser)
Human interaction
Bologna Telecities Conference, June 29th 2007
Address
Guesser
Project plan & process
WHAT
WHEN
Set-up
Pilot site
preps
Project Plan
Quality Plan
Comms Plan
Evaluation
tools design
Months
1-3
Months
4-6
Pilot 1
Application
refinements
Evaluation
Pilot 2
Deployment
Plan
Evaluation
Business
Plan
Months
7-9
Months
10-12
Review
Bologna Telecities Conference, June 29th 2007
Close
Months
13-15
Months
16-18
Work Packages
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
Project Management
User Requirements and adaptation
Business Model
Pilots and Validation
Evaluation
Dissemination
Bologna Telecities Conference, June 29th 2007
Workflow
Bologna Telecities Conference, June 29th 2007
Pilot constituents
4 PBs - 3 languages – 10 information domains
Work, school, cultural and leisure events in the city for young people
 Development projects, traffic, parking, and cycling paths
 Energy saving, water use awareness and waste management
 Utility company Student internship opportunities and other educational
activities
Italian

Scottish
English

German

Pest control
 Bereavement services
 School Placement and Educational Maintenance Awards services
IT Customer Service and Support
 Statistics on population, building, enterprises, employment, labour market
and business, taxes, traffic etc.
 Elections: results, laws and rules, polling stations, absentee voting etc
Bologna Telecities Conference, June 29th 2007
Intended end-user benefits

Easy access to information – (any internet connection
anywhere)

Directly related to query – (system ‘understands’ query
then looks for answer or routes to right person)

Sophisticated query techniques not required –
(everyday language not keywords)

An additional channel for communication with PB –
(more transparency betwee PB & citizens)
Bologna Telecities Conference, June 29th 2007
Intended organisational benefits

More effective query handling – (accurate information
always to hand)

Better quality of response - (informed by real user
questions)

Increase in citizen/customer engagement with PB (because engagement is easy)

Reduced cost of query handling -(because highly
automated)
Bologna Telecities Conference, June 29th 2007
Evaluation Process
Overall planning
Installation &
Training
1.
Evaluation criteria
Planning for testing
Involving Pilot Sites
2.
Observation
Testing
by departments
3.
Guidelines
4.
Data analysis
5.
Interview analysis
Usefulness
measurement
Usability
User feedback
Management
acceptability
Utility
Information Retrieval
Bologna Telecities Conference, June 29th 2007
General test findings
• The PB operators generally satisfied by the service.
• Found easy to operate & did not need help (v. IT literate)
• Most end users also seemed to be satisfied by the service. Only novice
IT users needed help to use it
• Most users said they thought HANDS was a useful service and would
use it for enquiries.
• Generally HANDS not seen as a substitute for traditional communication
channels (e.g. searching in the Council’s website, phone calling or directly
going to the relevant office).
• Rather seen as a complementary tool to integrate with other channels
for choice and completeness
Bologna Telecities Conference, June 29th 2007
General test findings cont …

Some languages (eg. German) present particular problems for
NLP engine in HANDS

Improving screen design, navigations, and user manuals would
make HANDS more user friendly and more marketable
Bologna Telecities Conference, June 29th 2007
Findings re. Usefulness/Utility
System liked & its potential appreciated...but
 only as good as quality of data available to HANDS for responses to
queries
 Routes taken to information are diverse (email, web search, phoning up,
walk-in queries) – HANDS needs to fit in with other communication
channels
 Organisational structure significant -(eg. central or dispersed query traffic;
in-house v outsourced ICT, commercial v PA) - affects potential utility of
HANDS
So, to get the best from HANDS
 Ensure processes in place to create FAQs and online content
 Set up baseline measures to assess impact of HANDS (eg. Counts of
mail, phone calls, etc)
 Ensure sufficient answers in AT database to reduce pressure through
emails
 UNDERSTAND YOUR PARTICULAR CUSTOMERS/CITIZENS
Bologna Telecities Conference, June 29th 2007
Findings re. organisational
acceptability

Talking to managers - critical to buy-in to HANDS

Buy-in critical to HANDS potential

Stakeholders generally positive on the concept

Priorities for management
–
Assurance over software support

–
HANDS Group


OSS not an issue, and perceived positively in Italy
Recognise PA’s commercial constraints
Varying viewpoints
–
–
–
Performance summaries
Website integration
Bundles concept
Bologna Telecities Conference, June 29th 2007
Other project outcomes






Best eTen project, January 2007
Very effective international partnership
Excellent project management &
communications
Valuable learning about NLP processing, query
handling, information provision, user need
Valuable contribution to EU policy on
development of OS solutions in international
context
Novel Business Model
Bologna Telecities Conference, June 29th 2007
Any questions?
Bologna Telecities Conference, June 29th 2007
Partner’s Logo
HANDS
Thank you!
Pilot 2 in The City of Edinburgh Council
Julie Warren
Why we participated in HANDS
Strategic Fit with CEC
 Customer First Strategy: a national vision of
Customer Service
 Efficiency and Modernisation Agendas: Smart
City Strategy
 Web strategy: new Council internet and intranet
to deliver on-line services.
 Engage with Citizens: always searching for new
and better ways
Bologna Telecities Conference, June 29th 2007
Strategic aims of Pilot Partners
–
–
–
The aim of the pilot is to improve the quality of information Enìa
provides to customers. Enìa would like also to improve Call
Centre quality of activities and – at the same time - not to
reduce the number of calls received by the Call Centre.
IT Customer Service and Support In this domain the target end
users are the users of the IT services of IKS, the IT company of
the City of Saarbruecken, who can find help and information to
any problems they have with software, hardware and
infrastructure in connection with the used IT components.
The aim of the pilot is to improve the quality of information IKS
can give to their customers and to reduce the telephone calls to
the IKS-Hotline call center. Another aim is to get more statistical
data about problems the users have, in order to be able to
avoid them in the future if possible.
Bologna Telecities Conference, June 29th 2007
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