The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) has started incorporating artificial intelligence-powered chatbot ChatGPT in different areas, a top official has revealed. In an exclusive interview, Marwan Bin Haidar, EVP - Innovation and The Future at Dewa, told Khaleej Times that these include customer service and experience, operational efficiency enhancements, boosting productivity and decision-making.
Dewa is the first utility globally and the first UAE government entity to use ChatGPT. The tool, which mimics human writing to provide a detailed response to queries, has taken the world by storm, with applications ranging from code writing to generating ideas and data processing.
For Dewa, ChatGPT helps provide 24/7 customer support via chatbots and assists customers quickly find answers to common questions such as billing inquiries, outage updates, and service requests. It also uses personalised recommendations for customers based on their usage patterns and preferences, said Bin Haider.
“It will also optimise its operations by analysing data from various sources, such as sensors, smart meters, and weather forecasts.
“In addition to customer service, we are introducing ChatGPT internally for employees in various areas such as administrative tasks, preparing memos and reports, drafting contracts and training. Furthermore, it provides insights and data-driven recommendations to enhance decision-making related to internal operations and customer service, ultimately leading to improved outcomes for internal and external stakeholders,” the Dewa official added.
‘Upskilling’ Dewa’s virtual AI employee
Dewa became the first government entity to introduce a virtual AI employee called ‘Rammas’ back in 2017. Integrating ChatGPT with Rammas will allow users to feel as if they are communicating with a customer service agent. The capacity of Rammas will exponentially increase; it can provide users with intuitive answers, customised answers, and recommendations based on the user’s profile and question, said Bin Haider.
“ChatGPT, which uses AI and smart algorithms, is distinguished by its superior ability to interact with users through dialogue, in addition to its advanced ability to learn and understand their needs and enquiries.”
Rammas provides information on 200 services and features, including managing supply, bill payment channels and general advice on sustainability. It also provides 11 procedural services, such as EasyPay and Dewa Store offers. It helps customers track their activation/deactivation requests for electricity and enquiries about jobs and general information.
“Rammas is available on eight channels for customer service. These include Dewa’s smart app (iOS and Android), website and social media platforms on Instagram (Dewa is the first government entity in the UAE to use a chatbot on this platform) and Facebook, Amazon’s Alexa, and Google Assistant … and WhatsApp Business. Rammas is available 24/7, provides multiple services and answers enquiries in English and Arabic,” said Bin Haider.
When asked if he foresees any challenges in incorporating ChatGPT, Bin Haider admitted that like any technology, there might be some challenges when introducing it. However, with a clear strategy and supportive leadership, “these challenges can be converted into opportunities”, he added.
“Customer acceptance is an example of such challenges. With ChatGPT, there will be a learning curve for customers to adapt to conversing with an AI-powered system. On the other hand, we at Dewa are working on educating customers and increasing their awareness about this new technology through marketing campaigns to help them overcome any potential challenges that might arise with ChatGPT.”
Other AI-powered tools
The official highlighted how Dewa is the first government entity to launch the Cyber Defence Centre that uses AI to protect its assets proactively. The centre limits potential cyber risks through proactive surveillance of Dewa’s services and technical assets.
The authority’s customer care centre is managed by Moro Hub (Data Hub Integrated Solutions), a subsidiary of Digital Dewa supported by AI. It provides a “consistent, integrated, and seamless experience for customers, enabling them to complete their transactions anytime and anywhere”.
“The integrated interactive digital centre includes a unified and advanced information base that allows employees to respond to customer enquiries faster and more accurately. It also includes a dynamic list supported by AI so that employees can identify the caller’s account and communication records between the two sides.”
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