New cooperation project with the district of Wesel

An innovative chatbot for the internet presence

A new co-operation project with the district of Wesel and students of Rhine Waal University in Kamp Lintfort has been launched. Within the framework of an interdisciplinary project in winter semester 2020/21, five E-Government and Media Communication and Computer Science students will design and develop a chatbot for the internet presence of the district of Wesel.

In principle, Chatbots represent an additional possibility for citizens to contact their district administration since they are able to answer FAQs and requests in an uncomplicated and fully automated way. Questions like "What documents do I need to register my car" or "What do I need to bring if I want to apply for BAFöG" can be answered without the assistance of an employee. "This enables citizens to receive quick answers and gives employees more freedom for administrative tasks. Still a chatbot cannot and should not replace the dialogue with citizens in terms of content," says Prof. Dr. Timo Kahl, head of the E-Government degree programme, who is in charge of the student project along with Mr. Marwin Wiegard (Scientific Assistant at Rhine-Waal University) and Mr. Andreas Ochs (Head of the Digitization Department of the district of Wesel).

The focus of the project is on the technical conception and prototypical implementation. Great importance is to be attached to a user-friendly design and a simple language.

At the online opening event, District Administrator Dr. Ansgar Müller welcomed the participants and underlined the major importance of the project. "A chatbot automates and facilitates the digital communication between customers enormously. When it comes to design and implementation, our administration benefits greatly from the expertise and creativity of the students at Rhine-Waal University.”

The first results of the cooperation are expected in February 2021.