Early 2020, Covid-19 started spreading across the world, this situation was unexpected and most countries were unable to handle the flow of questions and inform their population.
Many countries realised that chatbots were an excellent way to keep the population informed in real time. In France, one of the very first initiatives was open source chatbot Covidbot.fr, published by clevy.io, which was used by over 500.000 people during the first lockdown.
The latest chatbot fighting Covid-19 has been build by a Czech company and has already exchanged over 1 million messages with the population. Below is an interview of the man behind this Covid Chatbot: Petr Bartoš, CTO at Cogvio.
Hello Petr, can you introduce your company?
Hello! We are COGVIO, a technological company from Czechia. We are developing software for pharma and healthcare. In March, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit Europe, we established a new team dedicated to building software for healthcare workers to help them meet increased demands of their patients. Currently, we are building an eHealth platform called MEDEVIO.
Can you tell us more about the chatbot you developed and why you decided to build it?
In late August, we came across a french chatbot (covidbot.fr) that helps to find current information and also to self-diagnose COVID-19 symptoms. When the second wave hit our country, we took the opportunity to port the chatbot to Czechia. We decided to contact Clevy.io and use their awesome platform csml.dev. They were very helpful and let us use it for free for the purposes of helping in the pandemic.
Did you have any previous experience building chatbots
Before we started this chatbot project, we have already had experience with implementing instant messaging into our platform. Creating our own instant message platform might be very time consuming, so we make use of existing solutions to be able to focus on the needs of our customers - healthcare professionals. Furthermore, creating an engine that could support thousands of chatbot users concurrently would be a big challenge for a company of our size. In that regard, the CSML Studio has provided us with everything we need.
How long did it take to develop this chatbot and how many people were part of the dev team?
Thanks to CSML, we managed to have the chatbot up and running in a matter of days with a single programmer. However, there were other people helping with the non-technical tasks, such as translation from French to Czech, testing the chat flow, and reviewing the final product.
Which channel did you deploy the chatbot on?
We use mainly the Web channel and it works perfectly for us. We have also successfully tested the Slackbot channel internally within our company.
How many messages have been exchanged so far?
So far, there have been almost 1 million messages exchanged!
Do you feel that your chatbot is helping fighting covid19 in Czech ?
We are really happy the project got a lot of traction and we hope we are reducing the burden on practitioners and other doctors, but also that we are helping to stop the spread of misinformation about COVID-19. As for the feedback, users love the website and the chatbot itself.
Is there a next step to the project?
In the future, we are considering updating the auto-diagnostic to fit the Czech users better.
Czech Covidbot: https://covidbot.medevio.cz/
French Covidbot: https://www.covidbot.fr/
Open-source Covidbot Project: https://github.com/CSML-by-Clevy/covid-bot-en
COGVIO company website: https://www.cogvio.com/