Chatbots are already employed by lots of companies to front conversations on smartphones and other computing devices. Live chat options are emerging on many websites, including at universities, and some have reported that a significant number of clearing enquiries came through live chat rather than telephone calls during August. Many institutions are investigating how to build prototype bots into their business processes.
In response to this, Jisc, UCISA and four of the major platform vendors - Amazon, Google, IBM and Microsoft - have joined together to organise a hackathon on 24 September to help developers get started on building their own chatbots. The event is free to attend but those attending must have the support of their institution to spend up to five professional days, within one month of the event, to build a chatbot based upon their own institutional data and information. The purpose is to encourage institutions to investigate how this technology could be adopted in their own environment.
To book on the event go to the Jisc website.
Background information is available in Paul Hopkins’ blog for Jisc.