Hudson Yards Improving Resident Experience using Virtual Assistants
Consumer Chatbot for Hudson Yards Residents
Hudson Yards is a real estate development under construction in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. It is the largest private real estate development in the United States by square footage. Upon completion, 13 of the 16 planned structures will sit on a platform built over the West Side Yard, a storage yard for Long Island Rail Road trains. The first of its two phases comprise a public green space and eight structures that contain residences, a hotel, office buildings, a mall, and a cultural facility. The second focuses on residential space, along with an office building and a school. Related Companies is the primary developer, and Oxford Properties is a major equity partner in the Hudson Yards development project.
The Related/Hudson Yards team engaged Google and SpringML to build a prototype chatbot as a proof of concept to help provide a modern way for their residents to interact with the property managers. A chatbot that could understand human natural language and also complete the backend workflows to enhance the overall resident experience. A few use cases were outlined to implement this chatbot using Google Dialogflow to help residents of Hudson Yards/Related to access information and complete transactions easily via a natural language interface. The chatbot could eventually be integrated to the mobile app being built and interfaces via Mulesoft to backend systems like Yardi.
Google Cloud Implementation
SpringML used GCP’s Dialogflow to build the chatbot. The chatbot interacts with several backend systems to get details on service tickets as well as allow users to create new tickets. To enable these integrations, API calls were made to Mulesoft for service ticket data, which was integrated to Yardi, allowing Hudson Yards residents to submit a service request, call the front desk of their buildings, and get their ledger balance. Finally, a UI was built using AppEngine for users to interact with the chatbot. This UI would eventually also be integrated into Hudson Yard’s mobile application allowing users to use one application to interact with all of Hudson Yard’s services.