iSOCO creates a virtual assistant to handle enquiries from UPV/EHU students

• Ane has been programmed to answer any of the exchange student´s questions or of those who wish to continue studying abroad.

• Able to converse in Spanish, Euskara and English, the avatar amalgamates the entire contents of the UPV/EHU International Relations.

Online PR News – 20-May-2012 – Spain – Barcelona, 8th of May 2012.- “Hello! What would you like to know about our mobility programmes?", says Ane from the University of the Basque Country´s International Relations website – Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea The virtual assistant, developed by iSOCO, the semantic technology and artificial intelligence company, in order to ease the access to the huge volume of UPV/EHU content regarding studying abroad, has taken on a human character in the form of a young student who represents the values of this academic institution and who is able to naturally interact with users.

Amongst other functions, Ane helps to find the most suitable mobility programme to meet the needs of each student; it answers questions relating to scholarships and streamlines the search for information on the website. This is all possible thanks to iSOCO´s intelligent solution, Sherpa ®, the customer service platform, which can interpret and simulate spoken and written human language and enrich the on-line browsing experience.

The aim of the UPV/EHU is that, with the incorporation of this technology, both foreign students who want to study at the university as well as those who want to continue their studying abroad quickly find the information they are looking for from the large amount of resources currently available on the on-line portal.
In addition, thanks to the virtual assistant´s greater interaction capacity, the university can get to know the users of this service better, their behaviour and interests, and even detect the content requests to which the UPV/EHU still doesn´t have the answers.

Ane is the result of the indexing of all the information from the website and the information foe the UPV/EHU´s International Relations Department. Configured in Euskadi, Spanish and English, the assistant´s interface is always visible whilst browsing and it is therefore able to offer more content than just that inserted in its systems. It also comes with an optional voice button. With 6 different facial expressions, the avatar will have a monitoring system for real time updates and the improvement of its answering capacity.

The vice-rector for International Relations, Miriam Penalba, defines this initiative as "our customer service for the visitors and for our own students, who are increasingly travelling abroad for academic exchanges. Ane is active 24/7 and due to the growing number of consultations that we receive from anywhere in the world, having a state of the art, efficient and instant tool is extremely useful for our university".

Before its launch, iSOCO tested up to 1,964 dialogues with Ane and held a total of 52 consecutive hours of conversation with the assistant. With regards to the creation of collaborative environments, which are the result of their experience in semantic technology, the technological solution also offers the possibility of connecting all of the students who are interested in a certain destination to exchange experiences and recommendations.

Ane´s presentation video:

About iSOCO
iSOCO is an IT company that develops their own software based on artificial intelligence and semantic technology Founded in 1999, they are specialists in structuring and facilitating access to the large amount of information available on the Internet to transform it into valued knowledge for organisations.

Their portfolio of services and applications is designed from Semanti-K ®, a powerful search engine with advanced contextual management capabilities to analyse, understand and recommend information of interest.

The company has more than 10 years of experience creating collaboration platforms to make business relations more productive with clients, suppliers and partners, which is ever more necessary in a new economic model based on the management of knowledge obtained from the extraction, structuring and analysis of the information on the Internet. They have top-tier clients such as Almirall, AstraZéneca, Bankinter, BT, Colt, Grupo Leche Pascual, La Caixa, Repsol YPF and Zurich, amongst others.

Founded by five researchers in 1999 as a spin-off of the Institute of Artificial Intelligence Research (IIIA), of the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC), iSOCO develops their technology from their own research centre (iLAB) which, alongside international organisations such as W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) and the European Union, participates in the evolution of the current web paradigm to transform it into an intelligent space, capable of performing specific tasks beyond filing information. They are also the promoter of the Spanish Association of Linked Data (EELID), together with the Polytechnic University of Madrid (UPM)

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Montse Castellana ( / +34 93 238 57 09 - +34 679 983 310

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