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North Charleston 1st in U.S. to launch Citibot texting service

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North Charleston has become the first city in the country to utilize Citibot, a text messaging software system that allows citizens to report problems to municipal government in real time.

The Charleston startup, which was formed in 2016 and was in Cohort 7 of the Harbor Entrepreneur Center’s Harbor Accelerator, allows citizens to report a local problem, search a website, send notifications and interact with government officials.

Citizens can report potholes or construction damage; find out local business procedures they may need, such as local regulations; check for trash pickup dates; and learn about other civic changes through texting.

Citibot was inspired by the evolution of conversational chatbots, which allow humans to gain information and interact with artificial intelligence. Citibot co-founder and CEO Bratton Riley said his goal is to “help governments be more accessible and accountable to every citizen.

Citibot aims to benefit cities by reducing time and money required for fixing issues, increasing trust between a city and its citizens and bringing a more responsive community together through technological innovation.

“Every citizen is important to us, and we want to meet their needs,” North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey said in a news release. “Citibot utilizes text messaging, something almost everyone now is using. It’s easy, conversational, and more efficiently notifies the city, allowing us to get the job done quicker. I encourage everyone to save and use the text number, 843-806-0204. Reporting issues and finding city information just became a lot simpler.”

Reach Carlos Monkus at 843-849-3125.

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