Government Technology

Polimorphic Debuts on GovTech 100 list

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Published:
June 4, 2024

The GovTech 100 is an annual list compiled and published by Government Technology as a compendium of 100 companies focused on, making a difference in, and selling to state and local government agencies across the United States.

Read more about the GovTech 100 in the January 2024 Government Technology feature story.

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2 Minutes
July 12, 2024
Government Technology

Prospect Park is the first municipality in NJ (among first in Country) to roll out AI Search

(PROSPECT PARK, NJ) – Mayor Mohamed T. Khairullah and the Municipal Council of the Borough of Prospect Park is proud to announce a groundbreaking partnership with Polimorphic, a cutting-edge workflow and Constituent Relationship Management platform for governments, to enhance the way residents interact with our borough website. Leveraging the power of artificial intelligence (AI), a technology that enables computers to mimic human-like thinking and decision-making, we are excited to introduce an innovative AI-powered interactive search feature in collaboration with Polimorphic. The first of its kind in New Jersey, this feature allows residents to ask questions in natural language and receive information about the Borough, synthesized into human-readable responses. This initiative underscores our commitment to embracing forward-thinking technologies that streamline engagement between residents and their local government. As AI plays a larger role in our daily lives particularly within the private sector, Prospect Park is paving the way for local government by integrating AI technology from Polimorphic that promises to reshape the dynamics of communication and service delivery. While Prospect Park is embracing the future, it is also taking steps to ensure AI is employed responsibly, as the search pulls entirely from content curated by the Borough rather than from any outside sources. “In the footsteps of past advancements that have propelled municipalities forward, Prospect Park is embracing the future while ensuring safety and reliability by maintaining 100% control over the content of our search. Our partnership with Polimorphic and their AI technology reflects our dedication to providing cutting-edge services that cater to the evolving needs of our residents,” said Mayor Mohamed T. Khairullah of the Borough of Prospect Park. In an age where information and convenience are paramount, the AI-powered interactive search feature from Polimorphic will empower residents to engage with the Borough website in a more intuitive and user-friendly manner. Residents can now ask questions in plain language without knowledge of specific terminology they might need (e.g., the specific name of a permit they might need) and receive near-instant responses, transcending traditional search experiences and enabling a more personalized and efficient interaction. Mayor Khairullah further added, “With better search results, residents need to make fewer calls to Borough Hall, freeing up our staff to dedicate time to resident issues that do require person-to-person interaction. So, while we view incorporating AI as a way to save staff time, the ultimate goal is to increase the amount of meaningful time we can dedicate directly to the public. Meanwhile, residents’ ability to quickly find essential information, regardless of language barriers, democratizes access to crucial information across our diverse community.” This initiative aligns with the vision set forth by the Borough to create a more connected and data-driven community where services can be accessed with a matter of clicks rather than a stack of papers. In addition to its AI-powered search, the Borough has also leveraged its partnership with Polimorphic to convert all of its services for residents into digital applications with automated workflows that allow for seamless transition of tasks in order to process resident requests in an efficient and transparent manner. Parth Shah, CEO of Polimorphic, expressed, “Our guiding philosophy is to automate busy work for governments and improve the lives of residents. With this AI-powered search feature, we’re not only reducing the workload for Borough staff but also democratizing access to information for all residents, regardless of language barriers. It’s about creating a more efficient, inclusive, and connected community.” This new era of interaction aligns with the broader trends in urban development, where technology plays a pivotal role in creating smarter, more efficient cities. With the launch of this AI-powered interactive search feature in partnership with Polimorphic, Prospect Park embarks on a journey toward a more interconnected and data-driven future. We envision a Borough that empowers residents with information at their fingertips, embraces technology from Polimorphic to enhance service delivery, and propels itself into the vanguard of cities leveraging AI for their citizens’ welfare. For more information about the AI-powered interactive search feature from Polimorphic and other innovative initiatives, please visit the Borough’s website.
3 Minutes
July 12, 2024
Government Technology

Governments Become More "Natural" With Search Tools

As natural language search gains traction in the public space, an associated technology is also finding more interest: the use of chatbots, including ones that offer responses in multiple languages. It’s not just what you say but how you say it that could become a guiding idea as state and local governments boost digital communications and services, often via artificial intelligence. Local governments such as Grand Rapids, Mich., and the borough of Prospect Park, N.J., are testing an increasingly popular form of search designed to connect residents and officials with ever more precise civic information. The idea, common in e-commerce, revolves around using natural language to unearth data often buried in legislation, meeting minutes, the deeper layers of municipal websites, or other digital hiding places. Natural language search, or NLS, means that people can go to a website and type in — or speak — a query that reflects how that person would ask that question in personal conversation. NLS, which takes into account the context of search terms, seeks to better understand the detailed intentions of users than the older methods of Boolean searches that rely on relatively static keywords. Here are examples of how NLS could work in local government. It comes from California-based Polimorphic, a three-year-old government technology provider that has put up its new AI-powered NLS search tool for testing in those two locations: “I’m opening a café to serve coffee by day and wine by night. What permits do I need?”‍ ‍“How do I make a public records request?”‍ ‍“I just moved to Grand Rapids. What do I need to do?” ‍The new tool goes “beyond just finding matches” to produce answers to such inquiries, Parth Shah, the company’s CEO, told Government Technology. The tool learns from the government’s website, using only sources from the site, puts it all together and provides answers, he said. He likened the process to transforming a digital maze into “something understandable.” That, in turn, can reduce 311 calls or angry complaints to city hall customer service workers — an attractive proposition for officials. “With better search results, residents need to make fewer calls to Borough Hall, freeing up our staff to dedicate time to resident issues that do require person-to-person interaction,” said Mayor Mohamed Khairullah of the borough of Prospect Park in a statement. “Meanwhile, residents' ability to quickly find essential information, regardless of language barriers, democratizes access to crucial information across our diverse community.” Officials, meanwhile, can use the natural language search and the tool’s AI to generate reports on a variety of issues, Shah said. Shah, who has a background in machine learning from MIT, said his grandfather’s experience as a utility director in India sparked his ongoing interest in workforce and customer service in government. Shah’s company has raised more than $3.7 million, according to Crunchbase, and was part of CivStart’s 2022 gov tech accelerator program, which just absorbed a fresh cohort. Natural language tools are gaining ground in government. One recent example comes from Illinois, where the state’s Department of Children and Family Services has started using natural language processing software from Augintel. The technology is meant to help agency employees gain a firmer grasp of data and narratives about cases. One analysis of the possible future of natural language tools in government foresees those tools encouraging more "one-stop shopping" in the public sector — that is, having a single portal through which residents can conduct such government business as tax payments and permit applications without having to navigate to or bookmark multiple pages. ‍
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