Meta clinches two accolades in the Hong Kong Business Technology Excellence Awards

Tech company Meta collaborated with the Fire Services Department to build the first government WhatsApp chatbot used in anti-pandemic mass communication for COVID-19 isolation facilities arrangement in Hong Kong.

During the first half of 2022, Hong Kong recorded around 20,000 to 40,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases daily for over a month. Some of its residents had been assigned to stay in community isolation facilities to prevent further outbreaks.

As part of their efforts to curb the surge of the virus, Meta partnered with the Fire Services Department (FSD) in Hong Kong to launch a platform, the WhatsApp Business API, with a chatbot function as a self-reporting channel for the confirmed patients to be admitted to isolation facilities within the shortest possible time.

The WhatsApp API allows two entities to communicate with each other, an automated software powered by AI and runs through WhatsApp. The chat interface helps people communicate with the government department.

FSD identified WhatsApp as an effective means to reach out to the residents and help facilitate the self-reporting registration for community isolation facilities.

Therefore, they decided to collaborate with Meta to develop a WhatsApp API that serves as the portal for the Department to receive inquiries about the pandemic and handle registration for the isolation facilities.

FSD and their technology partner worked closely with Meta to provide precise queries for users to reply to and to collect all the necessary information ranging from age to living conditions, symptoms to home quarantine situation, and availability. It helped tackle the volatile and evolving situation, which urgently needed a scalable solution to handle over 30,000 cases per day.

The chatbot facilitates instant and 24/7 communication and provides a convenient interface for people to share related contact information. The innovative solution has also enabled the FSD team to reduce data received through emails, phone, or fax, and the WhatsApp chatbot helped collect centralized data and allowed the FSD team to arrange faster responses and arrangements for confirmed cases.

The unprecedented collaboration between Meta and the Hong Kong government proves that technology can bring imminent and crucial support to the local community even during a pandemic.

The public-private partnership has piqued the interest of many other government departments, who are looking for similar digitized solutions to reach out to citizens and handle inquiries more easily and efficiently, thus bringing a positive impact to Hong Kong society.

Empowering over 3 billion people worldwide, Meta has won two awards, AI-Internet/New Media and Connectivity-IT Services categories at the Hong Kong Business Technology Excellence Awards 2022. 

The awards program honours outstanding companies that have made exceptional contributions through the most innovative and unique IT initiatives and solutions that have enhanced their company's business in Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong Business Technology Excellence Awards is presented by Hong Kong Business Magazine. To view the full list of winners, click here. If you want to join the 2023 awards programme and be acclaimed for your company's outstanding contributions in pursuit of technological innovation, please contact Julie Anne Nuñez at [email protected].

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