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Developer of QC’s transport chatbot eyes expansion

WHIZ PHILIPPINES, Inc., the developer of Quezon City’s conversational artificial intelligence solution for commuters, Sak.AI QC, is looking to expand its services to other locations in the National Capital Region, its top official said.

“As we are currently in the alpha phase of our project implementation, we are studying for a feasible expansion to cover the Central Metro Manila (Manila, Caloocan, Makati, etc.), and we’re sort of expanding slowly towards Greater Metro Manila (some parts of Cavite, Laguna, etc.),” Whiz Philippines Chieftain Jay Angelo A. Pineda told BusinessWorld in an e-mail interview on Sunday.

Sak.AI QC, a conversational artificial intelligence (AI) technology that is incorporated into messaging applications like Facebook Messenger and Viber, assists commuters, especially medical frontliners in Quezon City, by providing them with commuting directions and multi-modal routes.

The technology firm wants to make commuting in Quezon City easier, especially during the pandemic crisis, according to Mr. Pineda.

It works by sending a message to Sak.AI Facebook page or Viber bot. Commuters will automatically be given access to live traffic and transit information.

The chatbot solution was launched in October 2019. Its users rose to over a thousand when community quarantine restrictions were implemented.

“During our initial launch, a wide range of Quezon City commuters, particularly youth, young professionals, and adults, were the primary beneficiaries of this project,” Mr. Pineda said.

“We maximized the use of smartphones because a significant percentage of commuters are users of various messaging applications,” he added.

Whiz Philippines saw nearly 20,000 remote AI conversations on its platform as of December 2020.

The tech firm is currently gathering more commuting information from Sak.AI users, as part of its expansion plans.

Mr. Pineda said his team is hoping to work with government agencies, local government units, and private firms for the expansion of the project. — Arjay L. Balinbin

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