Elevating customer care experience with watsonx.ai to support multilingual virtual assistant
City of Helsinki + IBM
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A great chatbot made better with AI

The City of Helsinki is enhancing the way different languages are supported in their customer care chatbots. IBM Client Engineering and the City of Helsinki collaborated on a Proof of Value (POV) to showcase how IBM watsonx.ai™ could elevate customer care with advanced language translation and summarization capabilities. The POV brought the talents of both IBM Consulting® and IBM Client Engineering to the effort.

Initially, the POV demonstrated that IBM watsonx.ai is proficient in translating questions in foreign language into Finnish, the chatbot’s base language to increase intent recognition. The answers given are pre-written and checked to avoid mistakes. The current City of Helsinki’s customer care solution supports three languages (Finnish, English and Swedish), and watsonx.ai was piloted to select the most suitable Large Language Model (LLM) for translation. City of Helsinki has set a high bar for translation, and watsonx.ai performed on par with the currently used system in this critical function.

IBM Client Engineering and IBM Consulting facilitated a series of Innovate Workshops with the City of Helsinki team that designed the POV approach, addressed challenges and culminated in the conclusion that watsonx.ai could be the new translation solution for City of Helsinki. This collaborative effort demonstrated how the solution can be further developed to meet their needs and integrated into their infrastructure, promising an elevated customer care experience for Helsinki’s citizens.

The pilot developed by IBM demonstrated that the idea of utilizing LLM’s as a translation technology has very promising and real potential. And although more planning and testing is needed, we are confident we can together design a solution that is both safe to use, and provides actual value to the customer and us as the service provider. Janne Kantsila Tech Lead, Product Owner City of Helsinki
Better intent recognition will mean better service

To measure the quality of the translation, IBM used the intent recognition metric that is specific for the City of Helsinki solution and the COMET score that is an open-source framework for machine translation evaluation. Watsonx.ai was shown to be on par with the current translation solution on COMET score:

  • For English to Finnish, watsonx.ai scored 0.90 and current solution scored 0.91 (out of 1.0)
  • For Swedish to Finnish, watsonx.ai scored 0.87 and current solution scored 0.86 (out of 1.0)
Our longstanding close collaboration with IBM specialists facilitates the development of solutions also based on entirely new technologies as part of our existing services. Janne Kantsila Tech Lead, Product Owner City of Helsinki
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About the City of Helsinki

The City of Helsinki (link resides outside of ibm.com) is a government entity that provides a large number of services for its 650,000 citizens. Those services cover a wide range of areas, from healthcare to education to land use. With approximately 38,000 employees, the city is Finland’s largest employer.

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