Imagine having 24/7 access to an intelligent, personalised companion who could help smooth out the bumps on the busy road of university life.
That’s now the reality for over 4000 Deakin Business and Law students who recently tapped into Deakin’s new mobile app ‘Genie’ – a smart, intuitive virtual assistant that provides resources, reminders, contacts and connections.
Deakin Genie is a mobile platform made of up artificial intelligence, voice recognition and predictive analytics. Integrated with other Deakin learning systems – such as the digital library and IBM Watson – it provides students with streamlined, highly-personalised support to help manage their life and study goals.
Lynne Warneke, Deakin’s Executive Director for Channels and Platforms, says the Deakin developers have worked hard to broach the gap between ‘human and digital’ to ensure that the interactions between students and Genie are as natural, comfortable and authentic as possible.
‘We’ve also ensured that Genie doesn’t just deliver the right information or action the right tasks but hits the right note in every conversation and interaction.’
Ray Cooke, Manager Personalised and Cognitive Platforms, says that Genie is designed to be as much a digital ‘companion’ as assistant.
‘Genie uses a very familiar chat interface. It understands natural language so all you need to do is push a button and ask Genie exactly what you want.’
While the intuitive, cognitive app has its own carefully-curated personality, it’s also built on a simple administrative tool that empowers new conversations with all Deakin students.
‘You don’t need to be a programmer to build things on Genie you just need to drag and drop. It’s there to provide a personal supportive experience for students’ learning,’ Mr Cooke adds.
Thanks to its innovative machine learning, the more questions a student asks of Genie, the ‘smarter’ it becomes and in a pilot trial earlier this year, Deakin students provided overwhelmingly positive feedack about their new personal assistant.
‘It’s like have Siri, but a Siri that organises your life.’
‘I love the fact that it knows my resources and I don’t have to go online have 15-20 clicks to find information…’
‘It’s given me information that I didn’t even know about, so it’s really useful.’
‘It’s easy to understand…very efficient… easy to use.’
One of the keys to Genie’s success is the strong partnership between the Faculty of Business and Law and Deakin’s e-solutions which has enabled the successful integration of complex systems and processes.
‘We’ve designed Genie to be useful, functional, efficient and effective – all of those assets that you’d expect of an assistant,’ says Ms Warneke.
The next phase in Deakin Genie’s development is to expand and increase optimisation for cloud students in T3 with an all-student rollout scheduled for T1, 2018.