We help the Government of Catalonia to develop a virtual assistant with AI
Paubot is a new automated communication channel that was born coinciding with the virtual edition of the Saló de l’Ensenyament and Saló Futura of Catalonia, helping 1,325 students with more than 37,000 messages through their conversations on Telegram and WebChat.
- Offer a new communication channel with the pre-university student through social networks.
- Automate communication through a chatbot with its own personality and identity. The language used by the chatbot had to be close and familiar to the students, taking into account that it had to hold conversations in Catalan.
A holistic vision of a conversational bot to define an identitary conversation language through artificial intelligence technologies:
- To carry out this challenge, it was necessary to have a team capable of visualizing the final product in its entirety, a transdisciplinary team was required. Designers with development skills, developers with user experience skills, and managers with analytical skills.
- Being an innovative conversational bot, two clearly different phases were carried out in the project:
- The first phase consisted of carrying out an MVP (minimum viable product) to test the main questions and answers of the chatbot with the client and end users and receive feedback as quickly as possible to rectify in the second phase.
- The second phase of the product was complete and also contained all the learning from the first phase. This part ended with the release to a 100% productive environment.
- The purpose of this innovation project was to experiment, discover and solve the problems that this undirected artificial intelligence technology could pose, and thus be able to lay the foundations for the new communication form most used today, chat applications.
- Reporting on the university’s admission cut-offs and the calendar of the entrance exams was the main objective of the bot. Now, in the medium and long term, Pau2020bot leaves the door open to be the partner, the advisor and the university mentor of future students.
- Among all the technological stack used to make the chatbot possible through Telegram, and also through the canal universitats website, it is worth highlighting the integration of the NLU (Natural Language Understanding) of Google DialogFlow as a tool to understand and respond in Catalan to the student.
- The majority of existing NLUs currently contemplate the understanding of the most widely spoken languages worldwide, but Catalan is not one of them. Fortunately, Catalan and Spanish (which is within DialogFlow), have the same Latin roots and therefore, many words identified in Spanish are also identified in Catalan.
- The training of a bot consists of feeding its dictionary with all those terms that are necessary to achieve a conversation. In our case, we focused on two groups:
- Words used in a university context or jargon: “maths” as a synonym for “mathematics”, or “uni” as a synonym for “university”.
- Typical Catalan words without similarities in Spanish and that could appear in conversations with students, for example: please “si us plau” (in Spanish “por favor”).
- Pau2020bot's identitary exercise was deep and complex with the idea of finding which personality should help future students, and most importantly, with their own language. We talked about gender, who Pau was, what training he had, and his knowledge.
- Talking about user experience with conversational bots meant talking about the conversation tree and what the student's intentions were to follow a conversation flow with Pau. These were classified as follows:
- Dialogues on the PAU calendar.
- Dialogues about the degrees’ admission cut-offs.
- Dialogues of naturalization of language such as greetings, affirmations, denials or even rude expressions or insults.
- Dialogues on other frequently asked questions in the context of the university.
- To validate the human character of the bot, a test was carried out with real pre-university students to draw conclusions about whether the conversation was appropriate for the context that was designed.
- 2 new communication channels established with pre-university students: a webchat on the canal universitats website, and a chatbot on Telegram.
- In times of covid-19 where face-to-face consultations are complicated, we facilitate access to university information during the virtual editions of the Saló de l’Ensenyament and Saló Futura, talking with 1,325 students with more than 37,000 exchanged messages.
- Creation of an identitary language that is close to the student and allows quick access to university information through natural and humanized conservation with a bot.
“The bot will give an immediate response 24 hours a day, seven days a week through the Canal Universitats webchat or via Telegram. The project wants to consolidate itself as a permanent tool of student service and expand the areas of resolution of doubts".
The Secretary of Universities and Research and the General Directorate of Citizen Action of the Generalitat de Catalunya, opted for Opentrends for:
- Our performance capacity in innovation projects where the ability to manage uncertainty is required.
- Our years of experience in connecting strategy, design and technology, fundamental pillars to have a holistic vision of the product.
- Being a company sensitive to the needs of the public administration.