Government Technology

Carly the Avatar Greets Visitors to San Carlos City Hall



July 10, 2008 By

San Carlos, California's general fund budget cuts meant losing a receptionist at City Hall. Under similar circumstances, said Assistant City Manager Brian Moura, many cities might opt for volunteers to staff the reception desk. But Senior Systems Analyst Jasmine Frost had a different idea. Why not take a hosted Web-site avatar, and put it on a public access computer at reception? A bit of programming, a $20/month fee to sitepal.com and Voila! Carly was born.

Carly, named after the town by City Manager Mark Weiss, appears in the center of a monopoly-board type menu of city departments and services on the reception desk computer. Visitors can mouse over the computer menu and click for more information on a service or department. "But then there's this avatar," said Moura, "and if you click on it, it starts talking and explaining what services are on the first floor and the second floor, and what services the city provides."

Moura said the city isn't suggesting an avatar can replace a real live receptionist and city officials hope to have the general fund cuts restored and return a live receptionist to the front desk. But in the meantime, Carly is substituting for a $90,000/year funding cut, and visitors appear to like her.


| More

Comments

Add Your Comment

You are solely responsible for the content of your comments. We reserve the right to remove comments that are considered profane, vulgar, obscene, factually inaccurate, off-topic, or considered a personal attack.

In Our Library

White Papers | Exclusives Reports | Webinar Archives | Best Practices and Case Studies
Maintain Your IT Budget with Consistent Compliance Practices
Between the demands of meeting federal IT compliance mandates, increasing cybersecurity threats, and ever-shrinking budgets, it’s not uncommon for routine maintenance tasks to slip among state and local government IT departments. If it’s been months, or even only days, since you have maintained your systems, your agency may not be prepared for a compliance audit—and that could have severe financial consequences. Regardless of your mission, consistent systems keep your data secure, your age
Best Practice Guide for Cloud and As-A-Service Procurements
While technology service options for government continue to evolve, procurement processes and policies have remained firmly rooted in practices that are no longer effective. This guide, built upon the collaborative work of state and local government and industry executives, outlines and explains the changes needed for more flexible and agile procurement processes.
Fresh Ideas In Online Security for Public Safety Organizations
Lesley Carhart, Senior Information Security Specialist at Motorola Solutions, knows that online and computer security are more challenging than ever. Personal smartphones, removable devices like USB storage drives, and social media have a significant impact on security. In “Fresh Ideas in Online Security for Public Safely Organizations,” Lesley provides recommendations to improve your online security against threats from social networks, removable devices, weak passwords and digital photos.
View All

Featured Papers