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Using AI to empower NZ’s biosecurity officers to focus on the most important aspects of their role.

An AI-powered, digital biosecurity officer who can take the load off the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) officers during peak times by answering simple biosecurity questions from the public.

  • The world’s first digital biosecurity officer to work at an airport.
  • AI-powered, empathetic conversations about biosecurity, including what visitors to New Zealand are allowed to safely bring into the country.

Arrival into a new country can be overwhelming, especially when it’s your first time visiting. Busy biosecurity officers often find themselves answering the same questions from travellers frequently. Auckland’s International Airport was the first world-wide to deploy a ‘digital’ biosecurity officer, and they chose FaceMe to design her.

Vai, which stands for Virtual Assistant Interface (Vai), is the first ever Digital Employee to be deployed at an airport and will take some of the load off MPI officers during peak times by answering simple biosecurity questions from the public. Vai frees up officers’ time so they can deal with the really important aspects of their role. She can see, hear and answer arriving international visitors’ questions.

Westpac’s Innovation Fund supported the development of Vai for the MPI.

Vai was built using FaceMe’s world-leading Intelligent Digital Human Platform. 

Vai is highly conversational and has been trained through every interaction, as well as data available on the website. She embodies the AI experience with human like qualities, including a friendly personality and emotional understanding.

 

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Overview:

The MPI helps maximise export opportunities for New Zealand’s primary industries, improve sector productivity, ensure the food we produce is safe, increase sustainable resource use, and protect New Zealand from biological risk.

Founded:
2012

Challenge:
Explore the use of technology in facilitating the smooth passage of visitors to NZ.

Solution:
A first-of-its-kind digital biosecurity officer, powered by AI.

Read more:

Westpac: My name is Vai, how can I help?

Ministry of Primary Industries: Digital biosecurity officer starts at Auckland Airport

“The aim is to help create services and experiences that help grow a better and more innovative New Zealand.” – Brent Chalmers, Westpac Head of Public Sector Strategy.

At a glance

  • Vai interacts via voice and eye contact with visitors who talk to her at a conveniently located kiosk.  
  • Vai is highly conversational and has been trained through every interaction, as well as data available on the MPI website. She embodies the AI experience with human like qualities, including a friendly personality and emotional understanding.
  • Nothing can replace real human interaction and relationships, but Vai frees up officers’ time so they can deal with the really important aspects of their role.