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A voice familiar to users of the two most popular virtual assistants, Amazon Alexa and Google Home, will now provide detailed information on Sachse events, activities and services.
Similar to the way these devices answer questions on general topics like the weather, local, national and international news, trivia, or reference lookups in Wikipedia and other databases, the two devices will add a specific capability on Sachse-specific items.
The idea is to create yet another way for Sachse residents and other interested individuals to find out about what’s happening within the City as well as obtain information on how to interact with and make use of municipal services, says City Manager Gina Nash.
“We’re excited about this additional capability that residents can use to pull information,” she said. “While we do our best to push information, the ability to request specific information and do so as effortlessly as possible is a benefit to residents. More importantly, it’s information that comes directly from the City, so it’s reliable and unfiltered.”
To make use of the program, users of Alexa can search Amazon for the My Sachse skill and Google users can search for the My Sachse skill in their app stores. Once the skill is downloaded, users can synchronize their devices to retrieve information using the new capability.
Among the many responses that have been uploaded to the two services are phone numbers for the library and City Hall; how to submit code complaints or pay a water bill; road closures; emergency alerts; and current or upcoming events in Sachse. The database of responses was compiled after surveying front-line staff to get a sense of the most frequently asked questions from the public.
“The service is, of course, operational 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, accessible simply by asking the virtual assistant for information,” said Nash. “This allows residents to get the latest and most accurate information on topics of wide interest.”
The service requires the user to open the question with a standard phrase such as “Alexa (Hey Google), ask my Sachse…” and then add their question. If the answer is in the Sachse database, the device will respond with the appropriate answer.
The service will be available on other Alexa-powered devices, such as Echo, Echo Dot and Echo Show, as well as Google Home and Google Home Minis.
Sachse is among the first cities in the state to utilize this new service.
Click here to view a list of questions to ask My Sachse.