World-first virtual assistant wins coveted digital excellence award

Media release: Wednesday, 2 May 2018

'Alex', the world's first virtual assistant for intellectual property enquiries, was just one of the impressive winning entries in the National Archives of Australia's Digital Excellence Awards announced yesterday.

The Archives used the launch of Information Awareness Month to highlight and acknowledge Australian Government innovation in the management, use and reuse of digital information.

'Our annual awards recognise Commonwealth agencies that are leading the way in information management in the digital age,' Archives Director-General Mr David Fricker said.

'The list of 2018 winners demonstrates that digital innovation is changing the way government departments do business to better serve Australian citizens.'

IP Australia won the large agency category for 'Alex'. Alex was designed to manage IP Australia's significant volume of out-of-hours phone calls and now deals with 82 per cent of intellectual property enquiries for the agency.

The Central Land Council won the medium agency category award, impressing the judges with efforts to digitise over 130,000 documents in spite of cultural, technical and geographical challenges.

The Australian Commission for Safety and Quality in Health Care won the small agency category award for its consistent achievements, ranking in the top five compliant agencies and meeting the information management and digital targets set in the Digital Continuity 2020 Policy.

Ms Dinh Diep, Records and Information Administrator at the Australian Building and Construction Commission, was presented with the Individual Information Professional award for showing dedication to advancing information management and empowering others in the organisation to do the same.

Commendations were issued to the Parliamentary Budget Office, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, Department of Veteran's Affairs, and the Australian Commission for Safety and Quality in Health Care.

This year's awards attracted 13 applications from 11 agencies demonstrating their digital maturity. The awards were presented in front of representatives from Australian government agencies at the John Curtin School of Medical Research, Australian National University.

Mr Fricker chaired the judging panel and was joined by Rosemary Huxtable, Secretary, Department of Finance; Pia Andrews, Department of Internal Affairs, New Zealand Government; Gavin Slater, Chief Executive Officer, Digital Transformation Agency; Adrian Turner, Data61 Chief Executive Officer, CSIRO; Dr Stein Helgeby, Deputy Secretary, Department of Finance; and Matt Goonan, Chief Technology Officer, Digital Transformation Agency.

Contact information

  • Sophia McDonald (Senior Communications Officer)
    t (02) 6212 3697 m 0417 247 157 e

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Copyright National Archives of Australia 2019