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Coming soon: Phone alerts on neighbours’ renovation works, chatbot that sends feedback and complaints to relevant govt agency

SINGAPORE — Residents will soon be able to get phone alerts on potential inconveniences such as upcoming renovation works by neighbours in their block so that, if necessary, they can find alternative spots to work or rest.

By the end of June, residents in most estates will be able to receive alerts on the OneService app about happenings in their block, such as renovation works, so they can make alternative arrangements for work or rest if necessary.

By the end of June, residents in most estates will be able to receive alerts on the OneService app about happenings in their block, such as renovation works, so they can make alternative arrangements for work or rest if necessary.

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  • By end-June, residents of most public housing estates will be able to receive phone alerts of their same-block neighbours’ upcoming renovation works
  • There will also be a chatbot that can automatically route residents’ feedback to the relevant agency, cutting the hassle of finding out who’s in charge
  • Another feature will allow residents to alert authorities to potential neighbours in need

 

SINGAPORE — Residents will soon be able to get phone alerts on potential inconveniences such as upcoming renovation works by neighbours in their block so that, if necessary, they can find alternative spots to work or rest.

This was among a slew of initiatives of the Municipal Services Office (MSO) announced by Senior Minister of State for National Development Sim Ann during the debate on the Ministry of National Development’s budget in Parliament on Thursday (March 4).

Other innovations include a chatbot that can automatically route residents’ feedback to the relevant government agency, and a feature that lets neighbours discreetly alert the authorities to potential persons in need.

BLOCK HAPPENINGS

As working from home arrangements became the norm amid the Covid-19 pandemic, complaints about neighbourhood noise spiked last year.

In January, Parliament heard that the Housing and Development Board received about 11,400 cases of feedback relating to noise from residents’ daily activities from January to September last year, about three times more than the 3,600 or so cases for the same period in 2019.

MSO said the new alert feature, along with some other enhancements such as notifying residents when their block’s lift breaks down or gets fixed, will be progressively rolled out at most estates in Singapore by the end of June this year.

Residents will have to download the OneService mobile application to access the alerts, which would be parked under its “Happenings” tab.

Some of these enhancements are already being tested at three estates — Ghim Moh Edge, Ghim Moh Valley and Yuhua Village.

AI-POWERED CHATBOT

The chatbot, which will be in use from the second half of this year, means residents can cut out the hassle of identifying which agency might be responsible for particular municipal issues, such as high-rise littering or abandoned supermarket trolleys.

Residents will only need to chat with the bot via social messaging apps scuh as WhatsApp and Telegram to relay their issues.

The bot, powered by artificial intelligence and devised with the Government Technology Agency of Singapore, will guide residents in identifying issues and ask them for required information. Residents can also send the bot geo-locations and photographic evidence.

All the information provided by the complainant will be then consolidated and routed to the relevant government agency for follow up.

After reporting a case, residents can chat with the bot to check on its status.

A trial of the chatbot, called the OneService Chatbot, is set to be completed on March 28.

Ms Sim said the chatbot currently predicts with 80 per cent accuracy the case type and agency-in-charge based on residents’ submitted feedback, and is expected to improve as the trials continue.

“This conversational reporting format complements the OneService app’s more structured reporting format,” she added.

‘HELP NEIGHBOUR’ FEATURE

The feature to call upon assistance for a neighbour who might be needing help will be piloted from the second half of the year.

To be integrated into the OneService app under a function called “Help Neighbour”, it aims to connect seniors in need, rough sleepers, cardboard collectors and tissue sellers to social service agencies expediently.

MSO said the four groups were chosen as they were “commonly highlighted by residents as requiring some assistance”.

After a resident submits a request about a person in need through “Help Neighbour”, the feedback will be channelled to the relevant social service agencies to reach out to and provide assistance as needed.

The feature was devised in collaboration with the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) and the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC).

MSO said it is meant to provide an additional feedback channel to connect persons in need of assistance to social service agencies, and allow AIC, MSF and their partners to reach out and locate these persons in need more quickly through geotagged data.

Ms Sim added that the feature is especially important amid the Covid-19 pandemic, where residents may find themselves having fewer interactions with their usual social networks.

Related topics

renovation noise HDB Municipal Services Office

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