Innovation for the future

10 Mar 2017

Cllr Janet Blake discusses AVDC's latest innovation and how the council is changing to stay up to date with modern technologies to best serve our residents.

Innovation for the future

Change is top of the agenda for AVDC. Not change for the sake of it but new and innovative thinking coupled with a commercial approach so we can do more for our residents for less.

AVDC has taken another step in this direction with the approval of our new five-year IT plan called ‘Connected Knowledge’. This is going to build on our digital evolution which has seen the creation of our new website, our self-serve customer account Aylesbury Vale My Account, and our increasingly popular webchat service.

The most exciting part of the new plan is the introduction of AI (artificial intelligence) through the Amazon Echo, which will see AVDC become the first council in the UK to use AI-powered voice control to answer residents’ questions. For the uninitiated the Amazon Echo, affectionately called Alexa, is a device which recognises your spoken question and searches the internet for the answer. When synced with our systems you’ll be able to ask Alexa things such as to check your bin day or find out who your local councillor is.

Avoiding all the techno jargon what this means for residents is that we’re continuing to re-think the way we operate to provide you a great service, keeping up to date with the latest technology helping make your contact with us quick and easy.

This is far removed from the stuffy, change-averse council stereotype. AVDC’s leading the way in council innovation in the face of government funding cuts. We’ve recently held a number of conferences where councils from around the country have come to learn from our expertise and experiences; Vale Lottery and our commercial ventures came in for particular praise.

As you may be aware, we’re currently awaiting central government’s decision on the future direction of local councils in Bucks. We don’t know the outcome yet but what’s clear is that innovation is going to be key and that is a quality possessed by AVDC and demonstrated in abundance".

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