Durham Region services added to smart home devices, in a Canadian first

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Published November 24, 2021 at 10:49 pm

You can now ask Alexa about bus schedules or waste pickup if you live in Durham Region.

On Wednesday, Durham Region, in partnership with Qwhery, became the first regional municipality in Canada to bring services to smart home devices. The new myDurham 311 Smart Home Device Voice App is designed to help customers access information, and frequently asked questions, through smart home devices.

“This app is the first step in our transformation towards a customer-centric approach,” Durham Region CAO Elaine Baxter-Trahair stated. “Because true customer engagement begins by offering access to services at a time that works for the individual, rather than the corporation.”

The app is available through Google or Amazon Alexa Marketplace. For those who do not have access to Google Assistant, the app can be downloaded from a mobile device’s app store.

After downloading the myDurham 311 Smart Home Device Voice App, users need only say, “Hey Google, talk to myDurham 311,” or “Alexa, open myDurham 311.”

“We are proud to be one of the first municipalities to be introducing this technology, as it will give our residents an additional communication platform that they can use at any time of the day,” stated Kalyan Chakravarthy, Durham Region’s chief information officer.

“The project is currently being piloted, and more services will be added over time. This is the just the beginning, and a great example of how we’re enhancing our service delivery platforms.”

Durham Region worked in partnership with the Ontario Centre of Innovation and Spark Centre to challenge small- and medium-sized enterprises to help make regional services more accessible to the public.

Qwhery, which is based in Burlington, is a start-up that works to connect smart home devices with cities. It was recently a Canadian finalist for the Enterpreneurship World Cup.

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