County’s new website talks back to you

VENTURA, Calif. – The County of Ventura has relaunched its website and this version speaks.

Actually, it’s Amazon’s “Alexa” who does all the talking, but the website has the ability to answer questions spoken to it through the Amazon Alexa app. Instructions for downloading the app appear on the home page of the completely redesigned website.

“The County of Ventura is nationally recognized for its technological innovation as the Number Three Digital County in the nation,” said County Executive Officer Mike Powers. “Consistent with this focus, the goal for this updated site with its many new features is to build on our technological advancements to enhance customer service to our community.”

The website has been updated with videos, online payment and application options, and interactive features such as the “Ask Ventura” chat bot, a software application that allows site visitors to type questions and then have them automatically answered by the site. There are also new options for navigation and translation.

The new site was developed in-house by members of the County’s Information Technology Services department and their work isn’t over, in fact, it’s just beginning. The interactive features of the site require constant updating to keep them functional and informative. As more people use the “Alexa” and “Ask Ventura” features, the number of questions the features can answer will grow. In addition, the site’s software platform allows content to be updated easily, so information can be added, deleted, or updated quickly and efficiently.

“This new site is our second major overhaul of the County website within five years and represents a big step into the growing world of artificial intelligence and digital assistants,” said Chief Information Officer Mike Pettit.  “We expect the technology to encounter a few bumps and bruises as it is further developed, but we believe we’re giving the public a completely new and improved online experience with County government”

The County’s website is at: www.ventura.org.

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