The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the lives of everyone in the UK and worldwide. The FX Digital team wanted to use their voice technology expertise to contribute to British society’s collective effort battling the spread of Coronavirus.
The NHS 111 service has been overwhelmed with the number of callers in the wake of Coronavirus and is directing users to utilise the 111 website. With Smart Speakers in at least 1 in every 5 UK homes, FX Digital decided that building this Voice App could be a small contribution to combat COVID-19 in this challenging time.
As voice is a hands-free solution, a Voice App of this kind could potentially help the elderly and vulnerable members of society access important advice if they suspect they have the symptoms of Coronavirus. Further, it could ease the strain on a service with a soaring demand.
Specifically FX Digital has utilised the content from the NHS 111 Online “Get help if you’re worried about coronavirus” website. The user will be able to interact with their Voice assistant following the same Question & Answer flow used on the NHS 111 website. An example of the prototype and how it works can be found here.
FX Digital has applied for a government innovation grant for this project to cover costs, however, if not successful in winning this grant, they are still willing to develop the Voice App at their own expense if it is a solution the NHS is keen to explore. The Voice App would initially be built for the Amazon Alexa platform, but could also be developed for Google Assistant and Samsung’s Bixby.
The tech agency is now searching for contacts at NHS 111 Online to understand if this project would be beneficial and to seek endorsement from NHS 111 Online to develop the prototype into a fully functioning Alexa Voice Skill.
Ramsey Marwan, Marketing Manager, FX Digital, said: “To get this skill certified as an Amazon Alexa Skill or Google Action, FX Digital requires the approval of the NHS. FX Digital has built this Voice experience at their own cost and is not seeking to deploy the skill for financial gain. We hope that this Voice experience can be published and help the NHS and the wider public. However, if it cannot be certified, we hope that this Voice experience inspires others to dedicate resources to projects that can help in any way in managing Coronavirus and the disruption it is causing across the country and beyond.”