By Björn Gülsdorff
In the annals of KAUST (King Abdul University of Science and Technology), the 21st of May 2020 is marked as the day of the soft launch of VITA (called KAI back then), the university’s VA (Virtual Assistant); knowledgeable in many things IT related.
VITA asks for username or KAUST ID at the beginning, but lets you chat on even without that. It connects to an Active Directory (AD) to pull more user information and helps with all kinds of IT issues. When things get serious, VITA creates a ticket on the user’s behalf – but only if the user authenticates using the university’s login tools. When things go wrong, VITA hands over to the live chat agents, using Creative Virtual’s very own Livechat.
With on-the-fly login, AD integration, ticket creation and Livechat handover, VITA ticked the boxes and had very successful conversations. We then added a full-page version and a PWA (progressive web app) so that people could bookmark the link to VITA on their devices. And deep links into the Knowledge Base allowed the Service Agents to send links to VITA’s answers in emails. As a natural extension, VITA was made available on Facebook Messenger. To improve CX, the UI was connected to KAUST’s face recognition system. A user can now identify themselves using their cameras to take a picture, which VITA sends to the face recognition software.
While these extensions were delivered, work had started for another department: Facilities Management (FM). In May 2021, Mr. FIX’T was launched, supporting on-site residents with a variety of FM matters, from air conditioning to kitchen appliances to waste management.
During the FM project, we built on the existing Active Directory integration and added WhatsApp as a channel for both IT and FM, included document upload, integrated with another back-end ticket system, and created a dedicated queue for FM on our Live chat back end. We also enabled live chat agent to use a personal image in the chat UI. The new content was added to the same installation, but separated from IT using V-Portal’s built-in “Business Area” concept, whilst V-Portal’s “Channel” support is used to manage the now 4 different delivery channels (Web, PWA/Fullscreen, WhatsApp, Facebook)
A short while after the launch of the FM solution, we were then approached by the library department. Their VA, called Labib, went live on the library website end of February 2023. Whilst being mainly an FAQ machine and only conversing on the web for the time being, it comes with the specialty of escalating to the library live chat rather than our own.