Enlace Solidario: the chatbot that helps in times of quarantine

New software development initiative with social impact in the context of Covid 19. Pyxis' chatBot connects people seeking help with institutions providing assistance.
Enlace Solidario: the chatbot that helps in times of quarantine

Covid 19 has a multiple impact on society. Fears increase, loneliness appears, cases of domestic violence increase as a result of social isolation, among many other impacts. There are many families who suffer the loss of employment or the disease itself. “Being listened to can make the difference for a person going through loneliness, fears or anxiety, among other emotions difficult to manage at this time,” says Diego Sastre, CEO of Pyxis and counselor graduated from Edhuca (School of Human Development Casa Grande).

Active listening” was the starting point for Enlace Solidario. The project was born from Channel 4’s need to respond to the enormous volume of messages it began to receive through TU VOZ EN TELENOCHE, a Whatsapp service (095 061 761) that became available in the middle of the pandemic.

By putting the service on the air to respond to viewers’ queries and needs, over the course of the two-hour newscast they received more than 2,500 messages of all kinds. “From the nice and hopeful videos that we broadcast on our screen, to queries about access to baskets, difficulties in collecting family allowances, labor problems, etc. For 24 hours Telenoche tried to answer them all. But the messages piled up and exceeded our attention capacity”, explains Gonzalo Terra, Telenoche’s manager.

The following day, Sebastián García, director of the Pyxis ecosystem and co-founder of IDATHA, visited Channel 4 to participate in an interview on teleworking. Sebastián asked Gonzalo if he would not let him see the phone to see if he could help him in any way. “I come across an unmanageable amount of conversations of people going hungry, depressed, out of work and not knowing what to do. Gonzalo tells me that he was taking the phone home so he could answer messages. It was a really unmanageable situation because there were thousands of messages,” Sebastián recalls. And he adds that “immediately” he began to think of ideas to “organize, channel and systematize all that”.

From that moment on, within the framework of the Pyxis Social Responsibility program to promote technological initiatives with social impact, Pyxis offered to work together with Telenoche to generate a development that would make it possible to respond to all these messages. This is how “Enlace Solidario” was born.

The technological initiative of social impact, developed by Pyxis, Idatha and members of the company’s Social Responsibility teams, works as a link between people who need help and institutions that provide assistance, in a first stage with special emphasis on psychological counseling.

Specifically, it is a chatBot that receives WhatsApp messages, processes them through artificial intelligence to determine the type of help and connects each person with the most appropriate service for their need.

From this arises the alliance with Telenoche 4: the channel promotes the service and, in turn, uses the tool in its WhatsApp line. In this way, Canal 4 channels the 1,000 messages it receives daily with requests for help of various kinds.

In the first stage, Enlace Solidario focuses especially on facilitating psychological support through free counseling provided by the Uruguayan Association of Counselors in conjunction with EDHUCA (Casa Grande School of Human Development). These institutions are in charge of listening to the needs of each person and providing psychological assistance during the health emergency.

“The service vocation of these organizations and the fact that the counselors offered on an honorary basis to assist people in need was key to provide a high value service, while generating a synergy between technology and totally innovative psychological assistance” explains Diego.

“There is no profit or other gain, only, and we are more than satisfied, the gratification of crossing the path of those in need and those who are willing to give,” adds Gonzalo from Channel 4.

In the first stage, a virtual psychological consulting service is offered, introducing the concept that even if you stay at home, you are not alone. This is a service that has no cost for the end user and can be subscribed to voluntarily.

“The project creates a tool to increase the capacity to listen to messages from thousands of people in a way that would not be possible to achieve manually, being able to attend and respond to all messages received,” says Diego.

In fact, less than a week after it went into production, Enlace Solidario channeled 12,000 messages and responded to 3,500 users. Edhuca is providing more than 55 consultations. “I feel satisfaction and above all the need to continue generating new ideas to be able to respond faster and provide even more support,” says Sebastian when making a first assessment.

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