Chatbots are fast taking over the daily work routine from humans . Every industry and function is planning to implement those and why not? It’s a simple way to automate basic communication needs that we all have in a very human like way. Its saving time and allowing busy people to keep more focused on the things they are working on when they don’t have continuous interruptions coming from a flood of discussions. The EHS function is no different here and chatbots are actually a really good addition to the EHS managements toolbox.
Introduction to chatbots
A short briefing to chatbots or chatterbots might need to be put in place, if you haven’t heard about them before. Chatbot is a computer program that is able to conduct a conversation in a very human way. The best of them pass the Turing test that measures capability for intelligent behavior similar to that of humans. There are usually two different approaches, the first one being that the chatterbot functions are based on a set of rules. The second approach is based on AI (Artificial Intelligence). Obviously the latter is superior as it can understand natural language better and conduct more complex discussions. For more information please visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chatterbot
Chatbots are used in various industries and are extremely capable to search for information and to educate, as they can present questions and understand native language and not just predefine commands. Facebook has added payment features to their chatbots so that the chatbot can actually be an automated sales rep for the company and handle the whole sales cycle completely autonomously.
A good real-life example would be a shopping assistant bot. Basically when you chat with a store on the web and ask for information about your order and the availability of products, you’re not talking with a real human being anymore. You’re talking with a chatbot. An example discussion could go like this:
So this very human like discussion that at its best even adapts to the tone of the discussion. Either to be more formal or a bit more informal. In this case, you can’t tell the difference if it is a human or a bot. And for this kind of enquiry chatbots are extremely good already.
Usage in EHS management
The biggest benefit is probably the ability to transfer over basic information distribution to the safetybot. Like I discussed on our YouTube-channel that safety needs to be online all the time. Chatbots are a great way to make this happen. You have a relentless partner that can tell you the important risks when going on a site that it has fetched from an EHS management system like NordSafety. It can talk to you when a sudden risk emerges by getting information from the backend. It can also help you when you want to ask some guidance on working safely in a certain work phase. All the info that you’ve previously had to ask from your superior of safety management you can now ask of the safetybot. And this is all done on the user’s terms when they have the possibility or need to consume information.
The best thing is that the interaction is like talking with a real person and you have a record of the discussion. This reveals the information hidden in informal discussions in the work place. By analyzing this, you can find out different pain points your organization is struggling with. You could also assign this task to the safetybot. It will then analyze the discussions and alert you to the topics that seems to occur most often.
Taking it a bit further down the road, you could also use the chatbot as the activating party. When certain risks have been identified, the chatbot could initiate a discussion with all relevant users and have a safety toolbox talk with them on the related topic when it is suitable to you. Also, if someone is entering the site for the first time without proper introduction, the chatbot will alert the user and have the introduction or direct the user to the correct person.
Technology needs to implement Safetybot
Safety management information solutions like NordSafety has all the risk related information available in real-time. The data is in a formal structure. This way the chatbot has no problem to retrieve this information from it’s library of information and decision-making. The success of the safetybot depends on the data it has at its disposal.
The high-level technology picture is that you have an application that is for the chatterbot or it’s implemented within your safety management solutions mobile solution. The chatterbot is an independent entity with its own logic, but it relies on the data collected through your backend. The chatterbot should have also a cloud based backend where all the logic is controlled, to enable quick interaction in the frontend where the users can find the solution. Usage of different API’s is a must to handle all the backend information collection and processing.
How to go forward from here
If you would like to talk more about this topic, please contact me, Fredrik at nordsafety.com. I’m happy to have a talk about our development road map on this issue and give you ideas on what you need to think about if you are planning to implement a chatbot as your co-manager for EHS.