After unpaid water bills resulted in water shutoffs at more than 20,000 Detroit residences, Wayne State University graduate Abess Makki founded CityInsight, an application that helps residents pay their water bills remotely via a smartphone, a tablet, or a laptop. CityInsight today announced it has partnered with Amazon to allow Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) customers to pay their bills with an Amazon Alexa command.
Residents can now “ask Alexa” for their water usage and billing information via CityInsight through connected devices like the Amazon Echo, a hands-free speaker controlled with the user’s voice.
“We are excited to make this information available to citizens via the CityInsight skill for Amazon Alexa,” says Makki, CEO of CityInsight. “Detroit is a hub for innovation. We are truly grateful to work with Amazon, adding another level of convenience for customers and forward-thinking, smart-home technology to a smart city.”
Makki was inspired to create CityInsight to help the Detroit water department streamline its payment operations and improve communications with customers, while helping residents find a more convenient way to pay regular bills. The application went live on Aug. 21 and $2 million DWSD’s bills have been paid through CityInsight by 4,000 users.
The DWSD customer portal allows Detroit residents to:
- Register accounts for residential and nonresidential properties.
- Make or schedule payments using a credit card or banking information.
- Use "guest pay" feature to pay on other accounts.
- Monitor payment and account history anywhere, any time.
- View and track water usage to more closely manage monthly expenses.
- Enter a payment plan arrangement.
Registration information for CityInsight can be found here.