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In 2017, the Government of India launched a mobile app, UMANG, or Unified Mobile Application for New-Age Governance, to bring central, state and local government services under a single platform. Developed in collaboration with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and the National e-Governance Division (NeGD), the app was intended to drive mobile governance by offering a one-stop for services related to education, COVID-19 vaccinations, public transport, employment advice, passport applications and other utilities.
However, building a platform for the general Indian population was more complex than initially assumed. To reach people on the grassroots level and across a country as diverse as India, the app would have to cross several language and technological barriers. The problem was two-fold: the app would have to have an interface simple enough for the general public to use while being accessible to a multilingual populace.
The Government of India partnered with Senseforth.ai, a Bengaluru-based deeptech AI startup, to build a voice-first experience platform that would include an app, website and phone channels. The directions to Senseforth.ai were simple—the citizen experience on the platform had to be as easy as chatting with a friend online about everyday issues.
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Senseforth.ai built an Intelligent Virtual Assistant which achieved both these objectives. People could interact with the assistant in multiple languages making the platform invaluable in its utility. (Currently, it supports Hindi and English)
While there are already several other apps available that offer various government services, with UMANG, citizens can interact with the platform using natural language processing for personalised, intuitive, and instant responses, just like they would receive with a human customer service representative. Because of this and its comprehensive nature, UMANG has become an unparalleled resource for Indian citizens.
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Since the pandemic lockdown, the necessity to access critical information among people has also grown exponentially. In the thick of COVID-19, not having the right data at the right time can potentially lead to the loss of life. UMANG can direct people to the closest blood banks without having people scramble around in search of help during emergencies.
On a macro level, having government services close at hand via UMANG’s voice assistant will result in the large-scale adoption of key government programs and initiatives. In addition, the uniformity will ease processes by a mile. For instance, people can book an appointment to get the COVID vaccine.
How Conversational AI solved the problem
Conversational AI served as a perfect fit to achieve this goal, and Senseforth.ai had the tech capabilities needed to drive this home. The tech team at the company leveraged their deep tech capabilities to build an intuitive and contextual chat interface giving instant chat responses, just like texting on an instant messaging app like WhatsApp.
Senseforth.ai has tamed the vital challenge of quickly offering relevant information to a wide range of organisations, from banks to insurers to governmental administrations. The company’s patented Natural Language Processing (NLP) made the platform more conversational, intuitive and contextual. Consequently, regardless of how comfortable people are with technology, by incorporating AI-enabled conversation interface capabilities, they were able to ensure that citizens across India could easily access all the information they needed at their fingertips.
Easy and high-tech
The advanced technology used has paid off. One glance at the platform shows the compounded growth that government applications have made in terms of their easy interface, making it comparable to global standards. While it is difficult to make a direct comparison between UMANG and other global super apps without performing a formal benchmarking study, UMANG is expected to reach millions of Indian citizens without taking into consideration their technical knowledge or preferred language. Therefore, it is strongly believed that UMANG will touch more people than any other platform.
UMANG is also a definitive step forward for Indian governmental service platforms in moving towards next-generation technology. Moreover, it wouldn’t be a stretch to call the platform a stand-out even in the global market because of its conversational AI tech.
Securing citizen data
Besides integrating state-of-the-art tech, Senseforth.ai had other important issues like data security. The team explains the measures taken to protect user information. The team at the company took data security very seriously. Data masking techniques were used to protect sensitive information to ensure that even the project developers didn’t see the data.
Information security is a key imperative for Senseforth.ai’s vision. The company has several layers to its data security. First, it comprises the assurance of the security of information belonging to the company internally and the information entrusted to the company by its employees, clients and partners.
In the journey of continual benchmarking and improvement of information security practices, it was also important that Senseforth.ai aligned with global best practices and standards. For this, they developed and implemented a strong and continually improving Information Security Management System (ISMS) to demonstrate their ability to safeguard the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information and its associated assets.
Senseforth.ai has established the ISMS in accordance with the global Information Security Standard ISO/IEC 27001:2013. (The ISO/IEC 27001 is an international standard that provides the specification for an information security management system (ISMS).) The company abides by all the 114+ controls specified by this standard.
The firm also strictly complies with the applicable privacy acts and regulations of the countries and regions where they conduct business and offer their solutions, including the European Union (EU) regulation and GDPR.