Seeking Technologies for Automated Call Handling Process for Contact Centre

Background / Description

The Open Innovation Platform (OIP), an initiative by the Info-Communications Media Development Authority of Singapore (IMDA), aims to connect real business challenges to problem solvers. 



The National Environment Agency (NEA) is the leading public organisation responsible for ensuring a clean and green environment, and the sustainable development of Singapore. Its key roles are to protect Singapore from pollution, maintain a high level of public health and provide timely meteorological information.

NEA operates a 24/7 Contact Centre with an estimated monthly inbound call volume of 22,000. The type of calls received are as follows:

  • Feedback calls for enforcement action
  • General enquiries on NEA matters
  • First call resolution (FCR)
  • Appeals
  • Referred to other Ministries/Agencies
  • Compliments
  • Suggestions
  • Complaints against service/staff

The average call handling time is estimated at six to eight minutes per call. For each call, the Customer Care Officer (CCO) is required to enter the relevant information pertaining to the call and its nature into the NEA’s Customer Relationship Management System (CRMS).

General enquires form approximately 35% of the calls received and would usually be closed by the Contact Centre. The feedback calls for enforcement action would be forwarded to the respective NEA operational departments to handle as they would require in-depth knowledge or on-site inspections.

Feedback calls for enforcement action are usually received in four official languages (English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil) in Singapore.

NEA is looking for a solution to automate the “feedback calls for enforcement action” category, specifically calls related to littering, high-rise littering, smoking in prohibited places, potential mosquito breeding grounds and idling engines. For this challenge call, NEA will focus on the English Language calls only.


Problem Statement

How might we automate the call handling process of NEA Contact Centre in a customer-centric way and capture the feedback accurately into the CRMS?

Technical Specifications

What Are We Looking For

  • A prototype to automate the call handling process to improve the efficiency and productivity of the Contact Centre and achieve a higher standard of service delivery
  • Audio speech-to-text transcribing that can operate in an environment of background noise with high accuracy and can process
    • Varying quality of speeches
    • Local/non-local accented English
  • Able to integrate into existing phone systems (AVAYA, CISCO) and existing CRMS (Microsoft Dynamics 365)
  • Able to automatically route to a Customer Care Officer (CCO) under scenarios where the Solution is unable to resolve. Example:
    • Non-English language
    • Highly emotive caller
  • The design needs to be customer-centric
  • Solution should have ease of adaptation to other categories of feedback in future and be able to self-learn/improve over time


Possible Use Case

  • Feedback calls for enforcement action received by the NEA Contact Centre will be handled by the eventual solution. These include feedback on littering, high-rise littering, smoking in prohibited places, potential mosquitoes breeding grounds and idling engines
  • Upon receiving a call, the solution is able to execute audio speech-to-text transcribing with high degree of accuracy
  • The solution is able to autonomously input the relevant information pertaining to the call and its nature into the CRMS
  • Feedback that failed to be transcribed by the solution is routed to the CCOs for immediate rectification and resolution


What's In It For You

  • SGD 40,000 of prize money for each winner of this challenge (see Award Model)
  • NEA will be able to provide previous data and domain knowledge e.g. probing questions related to specific feedback to guide callers
  • Opportunity to work with a Singapore government agency to co-develop and commercialise a call-handling solution, which could be a useful track record for contact centres in other industries
  • Winner will be able to use NEA as a reference customer for business promotion



We are open to global and Singapore-based individuals, research providers and companies that have digital technology expertise and innovation capabilities. Some of these include Info-Comm and Media (ICM) start-ups, SMEs and larger companies. Problem Solvers should have the ability and desire to co-create and innovate with Problem Owners or/and other partners to translate their ideas into solutions that can address real business needs. 

Problem solvers who choose to apply for this challenge must be registered and operating in Singapore. The prototype needs to be demonstrated in Singapore.


Further Details

Technical details of the problem statements as well as information related to the innovation calls can be found on the IMDA Open Innovation Platform (OIP) which you will be redirected to after clicking on the 'Proceed To Details' button below and filling up a short form with your basic information.

Preferred Business Model

  • R&D Collaboration
  • Business Collaboration (Joint Venture, Distribution)

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