itb-au logo
Story image

Aussie company launches new chatbot service for homeless youth

Infoxchange has announced it is working on a new chatbot service for homeless youth in Australia. With support from the Telstra Foundation, the service is designed to help vulnerable Australians better connect to support and services.

Powered by the Telstra Foundations Tech4Good challenge, the website Ask Izzy, launched in 2016, connects  people in need with housing, meals, money help, family violence support, counselling and more.

The service is free and anonymous, with over 370,000 services listed across Australia and has had more than 2.5 million searches on the site since it was first launched.

Ultimately, the website has the aim of providing a conversational, personalised and supportive way to connect young people at risk of or experiencing homelessness to services, the company says.

According to the 2016 Census of Population and Housing, nearly 60% of homeless people were aged under 35 years. This spurred Infoxchange to work on the next evolution of Ask Izzy to help homeless youth connect to the services they need.

Set to launch in March 2020, the chatbot is currently in design and testing and is the biggest change to the Ask Izzy platform since 2016.

Through the chatbot functionality, Ask Izzy will better help connect people to the support they need, while maintaining human connection and integrity for its users, Infoxchange states.

Originally pitched as a voice assistant, research found that young people are more likely to use a chatbot. Through workshops and interviews, Infoxchange is working with service providers and over 35 young people with lived experience of homelessness to co-design chatbot functionality.

Infoxchange CEO David Spriggs says, “It’s important for us to partner closely with service providers and young people with lived experience of homelessness, to ensure were developing technology that will help disrupt the cycle of youth homelessness.”

“Were excited that were able to make big changes to the mobile site, with another two years of support and funding from the Telstra Foundation,” Spriggs says.

Telstra Foundation head Jackie Coates says, “Telstra has been a long-standing supporting partner in the development of Ask Izzy, and were thrilled to be part of the next phase of the journey with Infoxchange.”

Ask Izzy is free to use on the Telstra mobile network, meaning that people can use the service without credit or access to Wi-Fi.

Also just launched is the Telstra Top-up programme, which provides a complimentary $30 recharge to those who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness and or/family violence.

The programme is available to specialist housing providers via Infoxchange across Australia and eligible services have already been sent an invitation to opt in.

Story image
Australian organisations failing to support employees in remote working
“Remote working is here to stay into the near future and even after the virus, so now is the time for business leaders to evaluate and address how to future-proof their approach and optimise performance.”More
Story image
Report: Rushing into cloud migration directly related to security issues
A new report from Radware highlights the impact of COVID-19 on organisations compelled to digitally transform in order to maintain business continuity. More
Story image
5 ways to use data science to predict security issues - Forcepoint
Data science enables people to respond to problems in a better way, and to also understand those problems in a way that would not have been possible 50 years ago.More
Story image
Fiverr launches platform to bring freelancers closer to business
Fiverr says it wanted to create an integration that could fit into an organisation’s workflow and become ‘part of the digital onboarding experience’ for employees, meaning freelancers can access email, Slack, Dropbox, and the Fiverr Business team account.More
Link image
What's new in Genetec Security Center 5.9
The platform supports physical security that empowers organisations with greater situational awareness.More
Link image
You’re invited to the future of work: A pandemic spotlight
The time for hyperautomation is now. With experimentation and exploration, you can take an automation mindset & create a future-ready workforce today. Learn how on 29 September from 11.30am AEST. Register now.More