“Even as it begins to look more promising that the pandemic will one day be behind us, we continue to move toward digital acceleration,” David Moise wrote on Forbes. “We already knew that the companies that invested more in IT have a competitive edge and the pandemic doubled down on that concept.” In his article, Moise brought several examples of innovative use of artificial intelligence, including Invest Estonia’s chatbot Suve, that helped fight the burden on emergency hotlines during the COVID-19 related emergency situation in Estonia and has now transformed into a chatbot advising businesses and foreign talent interested in Estonia.
Chatbot helping during the COVID-19 situation
The chatbot Suve came to life and started her work on many public and private websites, including Invest in Estonia’s one, last spring, just a few days after the COVID-19 related emergency situation in Estonia was declared. It was developed to help both, residents and visitors of Estonia to find information on changes brought along by the extraordinary health situation. The idea was developed into a working AI-based conversational robot at a hackathon where volunteers from Invest in Estonia, Work in Estonia, several private tech companies and the volunteer sector formed a team that had a great balance of technical, marketing and communications skills.
After just 36 hours of hacking, it was clear that the government of Estonia is really interested in the idea – the main tasks for the bot being keeping the emergency and information phone lines clear for those who had non-generic questions, and preventing the spread of fake news during the COVID-19 situation. The state-approved chatbot functioned on several government websites, including the official emergency situation website. Right from the beginning, several other possible use cases for business users of the chatbot were identified for the future. Now, as the health situation has improved, the chatbot has found its everyday use, giving accurate information related to business in, relocating to and the commercial code of Estonia.
Digital as a strategic choice
Becoming more and more digital – and doing so in a way that benefits Estonia’s investors – has been the Estonian Investment Agency’s strategy for a few years already, the COVID-19 situation being just a small accelerator for some changes. „The key to Estonia’s reaction to the situation has been a strategic and research-based approach towards the use of tech,“ Invest Estonia’s Digital Services Development Manager and a part of the team building the agency’s bots hands-on, Andero Kaha said. “Nobody can be fully prepared for a pandemic but we must say, having invested a lot of our time in digital transformation already before, we could act really quickly as the unexpected started to happen last year. The COVID-19 situation has made it even clearer that solutions like virtual investment visits, chatbots and robotic investment advisors are the way forward for our agency.”
Known for its agility, innovative use of tech, and a systematic approach towards researching the effects of tech use in investment promotion, the Estonian Investment Agency came up with several different new solutions during the COVID-19 situation. Its first new and specialised video meetings solution was created just three days – or one business day – after the emergency situation in Estonia was declared and now, the concept of virtual investor visits has been developed into a fully functional web environment for potential investors.
Robotic assistants helping the agency help investors
Several other smart automation solutions have been in use at the investment agency for some time already. Since its launch, Estonian Investment Agency’s unique e-Consulting service, branded as electronic investment adviser Eia has helped 3,000+ potential investors – and the number kept growing rapidly even during the COVID-19 situation. At the same time, electronic multimedia assistant Emma helps the agency with media monitoring, marketing analytics and preparing social media content.
In December 2020, the Estonian Investment Agency received the United Nations Investment Promotion Award for Excellence in the Response to COVID-19 crisis.
Interested in doing business in Estonia? Send us a request for e-Consulting.