Content platform Have Halal, Will Travel (HHWT) and enterprise software solution company PleoData have launched a chatbot named “Sofia”, to help Muslim travellers find halal food overseas.
Sofia, which features Microsoft’s Azure cloud and its Language Understanding Intelligence Services, is online 24/7, assisting travellers with their queries worldwide, regardless of the time zone they are in. It utilises a decision tree that allows users to narrow down the answers they are searching. This process will eventually become simpler and more intuitive, with Sofia automatically answering questions without having to seek clarification, the press statement read.
HHWT serves as a guide for Muslim travellers to search for halal food or find suitable prayer spaces, among others, when travelling, drawing recommendations from communities of contributors worldwide. It decided to launch Sofia to better serve its rapidly-expanding user base and respond to questions that can be answered largely through automation. Through the responses and feedback received from users’ interactions with Sofia, HHWT is now able to analyse and contextualise all the information to offer travellers more personalised content.
The platform reaches more than nine million Muslims from Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia each month, offering them with information to popular destinations such as Hong Kong, Japan, London, Melbourne and South Korea. It also works with tourism boards globally to reach out to the Muslim community. With Sofia, HHWT looks to expand into more countries within Southeast Asia.
HHWT aims to delve deeper into machine learning, by developing contextual and personalised content with the large datasets it gathers after running the chatbot over a period of time. According to co-founder of HHWT Mikhail Goh, the company is focused on building on its understanding of consumers’ needs and wants over the next two years.
“As a Muslim myself, I feel that Muslims shouldn’t be restricted to just kebabs or nasi biryani. To really understand different cultures, you have to eat their food, speak their language, and really get lost in their country. Muslims shouldn’t be deprived from that opportunity,” Goh added.
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