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Alexa, when do I put my bins out? Council creates handy ‘skill’ for residents
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Alexa, when do I put my bins out? Council creates handy ‘skill’ for residents 

A local authority is thought to be among the first in Scotland to create a ‘skill’ on Amazon’s Alexa that reminds residents when to put their bins out.

Argyll and Bute council has developed the handy voice assistant to tell local people when their refuse collections are due.

The local authority, which serves a largely rural population of 86,000 people, launched the product to support its online bin calendar look-up and downloadable calendar.

It is part of the council’s ongoing commitment to delivering new and useful digital services.

A council spokesperson said: “This ‘skill’ as it is called by Amazon, allows you to ask your smart device when your council bins will next be collected. We will be adding other council-related information to the service over the next year.”

The spokesperson added: “This was done as a proof of concept with a company called Webcurl. We developed an in-house App that pulled all the data regarding bin days for postcodes across Argyll and Bute. Webcurl then created the interface between that and the Alexa skill on Amazon that customers download. 

“The skill already tells you if you need to put out your green or blue bin. Some days both bins are collected on the same day so it tells you to put both out.

“Using the Scottish Approach to Service Design we have polled customers asking what other resources they want to see on there and will be building these as a priority. We also want to offer resources on other Smart Speaker platforms.”

The feature, launched this week, has already received a number of positive comments from local residents with a 3.5 out of five rating on the Amazon site.

One person wrote: “Top notch, now I can be ever lazier.”

Perth and Kinross Council has also adopted the service as well as some councils in England.

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