A senior IT analyst for Placer County government — whose name is familiar to Techwire readers — will join representatives of two tech companies Wednesday for a webinar focusing on the use of “conversational” chatbot tools in the public sector.

Ben Palacio, who writes about IT regularly for Techwire, will join Andy Velasquez, Google Cloud’s account executive for State & Local Government, and Tammy Cyphert, chief business officer for Dito. The free webinar begins at 11 a.m. and can be viewed later by registrants.

The participants will discuss Placer County’s desire to “go beyond” traditional Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems. In doing so, it worked with Dito and Google Cloud teams to develop a “conversational AI solution” that would allow the public to interact with county government “in a more interactive, modern and conversational manner.”

The solution they developed works on multiple voice platforms including Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, as well as mobile and Web interfaces. 

Dito's Director of Marketing David Cutter provided an overview of the topic and how it came about in a brief email interview with Techwire (it has been edited only for clarity and style)

Techwire: Specifically what technology did Dito and Google bring to the deal?

Cutter: Dito has app development, Firebase and Dialogflow expertise; a configurable chatbot framework to help customers rapidly deploy rich, interactive, and conversational experiences with their customers using our Dialogflow-based chatbot solution. Google Cloud Platform technologies (include) App Engine, Data Store, and Dialogflow. 

Techwire: How long has Dito been engaged with Placer County government?  

Cutter: Dito began working with Placer County in the fall of 2018, with the solution going live in spring 2019, and continues to support their chatbot and Google Cloud initiatives as a consultant, reseller and services partner.

Techwire: Do you have contracts for work with any other California counties?

Cutter: We have and continue to work closely with San Joaquin County (ICAN “Perfect Match” project —

San Joaquin has also just recently deployed a Dito Cloud Chatbot in one of their organizations with plans to scale usage. Also, the city of Oxnard.

Techwire: How was Ben Palacio chosen as the government representative for this webinar?

Cutter: Ben has played an integral and visionary role in leading the digital initiatives from Placer County; he is one of our main points of contact that our team has worked closely with throughout the Chatbot development and deployment. As we’ve seen Ben featured and publicly discussing his work, we felt he would be willing and able to participate in a public-facing discussion about the role our Chatbot has played in their digital gov/engagement strategies.

Techwire: Are you open to partnering with other vendors in this space? If so, how would you like to be contacted?

Cutter: Absolutely — vendors can either contact or through our website,