The Generalitat de Catalunya makes available to pre-university students a virtual assistant with Artificial Intelligence
PAUbot, developed by Opentrends, helps more than 1,300 young people on their way to the University Entrance Exams (PAU) by means of conversations on Telegram and WebChat
The Generalitat de Catalunya, through its Canal Universitats of the Ministry of Research and Universities, has made available to pre-university students a new communication channel to help them on their journey towards the University Entrance Exams by means of conversations on Telegram and WebChat. To do so, the Government of Catalonia relied on Opentrends, a technology consultancy firm specialized in digital transformation solutions, which developed a system based on Artificial Intelligence functionalities.
“Even before the pandemic, the Centre de Tecnologies de la Informació i les Comunicacions (CTTI) was considering to establish a communication channel with pre-university students using social media, an automated system that would operate through a chatbot with its own personality and identity”, explains Laura Manso, Director of the TIC Area of the Research and Universities Department. The language used by the chatbot had to be close and familiar to the students, and the bot must have the ability to hold talks in Catalan.
In response to the needs raised by the Ministry, Opentrends created PAUbot, an online platform that offers students two communication channels: on the one hand, a webchat within the Canal Universitats and, on the other, a chatbot on Telegram. The system uses an identitarian language that is close to the student, and provides quick access to all the information thanks to natural and humanized conversations with a bot.
“To face this challenge, it was necessary to create a multidisciplinary team capable of visualizing the final product.” explains Juanjo Giménez, CEO of Opentrends “We also counted on designers with knowledge and abilities in development, user experience and data analytics”.
To make the Telegram chatbot and the webchat on the Canal Universitats website possible, Opentrends integrated the NLU (Natural Language Understanding) module of Google DialogFlow as a tool to understand and answer to the student.
In the conversation flow with the assistant, users can ask and get answers about key aspects such as test schedules, cut-off marks of the different degrees and other frequently asked questions in the university context. To validate the human character of the bot, Opentrends carried out a test with real students that allowed the company to draw conclusions about whether or not each specific conversation was appropriate in the context for which it was designed.
Currently, work is being done to expand the bot's range of conversation for making it capable, for example, to inform on the weighting of the different subjects on each high school branch that will be applied for university admission. The bot is also being prepared to ask for feedback in order to improve, and to be able to obtain PAUbot use indicators.
These more than 1,300 students have already exchanged over 37,000 messages through Telegram and WebChat with the new platform.
"Our medium and long-term goal is for the platform to be a companion, advisor and mentor to future university students," explains Juanjo Giménez, CEO of Opentrends.
With more than 18 years in the market, Opentrends joins together talent, technology, creativity and innovation to put companies on the path of digital transformation through disruptive business models and the creation of sustainable competitive advantages. With a team of over 350 professionals in Barcelona, Madrid, India and Silicon Valley, Opentrends has clients of the likes of GB Foods, Generalitat de Catalunya, Madrid Digital, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya or the World Tourism Organization, among others.