Level Up Development Wins “Food Compass” Challenge At #IndyCivicHack 2018 with Robin AI!
Our team at Level Up Development were happy to take part this past weekend in the 5th annual #IndyCivicHack put on by Indy Chamber, TechPoint, and Open Indy Brigade- a non-profit advocate for public data and open source technology.
This year’s theme centered around tackling food insecurity- the idea of which was decided on as a result of a collaboration between government, non-profit, and tech companies alike brainstorming together to address Indianapolis’s hunger problem.
Around 180,000 of Indy’s 853,000 residents are food insecure, - an issue many find unacceptable given our city’s otherwise positive economic developments.
Specifically, the idea was to have developers compete to develop an app which would serve as a “Food Compass” to be used for the purpose of helping residents in the Indianapolis and surrounding areas discover how and where to find nutrition assistance programs in parts of the city that have come to be commonly referred to as “food deserts”, which Indy has more of than any other city in the nation.
The app would answer questions of program eligibility and help to find available federal, state, and local assistance based on location and individual needs.
About 20 development teams competed to design and build a working product within 24 hours and competitors were evaluated based on the following criteria:
- Addressing the Challenge
- Creativity and Innovation
- Feasibility and Sustainability
- Accomplishment and Learning
Mayor Joe Hogsett made an appearance to kick the event off and express his administration’s concern about food insecurity, awareness and hunger relief.
Participants worked on their ideas throughout Friday night and Saturday during the day with plenty of snacks and caffeine for fuel. At 4pm on Saturday, ideas were presented to judges in a science fair like setting.
Level Up Development’s entry consisted of a multi-channel smart communication engine, Robin AI.
Robin AI enables Indiana residents to have access to resources available to them at their fingertips on-demand wherever in need. The core of the technology uses natural language processing to process complex information and data to perform intelligent recommendations and semantic search on food assistance benefits like SNAP and WIC as well as other resources (groceries accepting EBT, food pantries, Summer Servings, etc.)
This information can be consumed quickly and easily through thechat interface. A companion mobile application can be used in conjunction with Robin AI whenever a family has access to a smart phone.
A few of Robin AI’s key benefits:
- Quick access to locate available resources, programs, and events based on my benefits and location
- Answer FAQ about Food Stamps / SNAP / EBT / WIC via a conversational user experience
- Share resources with others, save favorites, and set reminders through companion application
- Answer questions and navigate through SMS/text messages and/or through companion application
- Manage benefits though messaging
- Eligibility criteria and screening workflow
- Collect of information to help Indiana plan for the future
- Reduction of 211 call volume
This service would also be available via SMS text messages for residents who may not have access to smart phones or data plans.
We look forward to implementing Robin AI with Indy Hunger Network and Connect2Help 211 to the help the tens of thousands of people in our community facing the insecurity of where they will get their next meal!