28 November 2018

Virtual assistant at ZSEM

Since September, the virtual assistant „Smarty“ has been helping ZSEM students get answers to their questions 24/7, regardless of their location.

Smarty responds in Croatian within a few seconds to a wide range of general queries concerning undergraduate programs, the entrance exam, mentoring program, enrollment documentation, and other.

Smarty is a virtual communications tool that uses the IBM Watson Assistant, a service of the IBM loud service which helps understand human speech and utilizes machine learning to communicate with people by simulating conversations.

Smarty was developed by the Croatian start-up Careesma. „I studied at ZSEM. During my studies I spent a lot of time at the student office, and most often I needed answers to urgent questions in the evenings and weekends. For a long time I had been wanting to do something about that, so the right opportunity presented itself when I founded Careesma. That’s when I had the idea of developing a chatbot.”

“The biggest part of the development was the training”

„When I started researching what and how I could put my idea into practice, I joined the IBM program „Startup with IBM“, which is part of the program „IBM Global Entrepreneurship“, and immediately started with the realization. Everything happened very quickly.“ said Lana Balić Matijašević, founder of Careesma.

A multidisciplinary team of developers, students, and professors worked on Smarty’s development. „We decided to spend most of the time on training the chatbot. ZSEM students were actively involved in the construction of “Smarty” by coming up with a set of most commonly asked questions, for which they usually consult the student office staff. They helped in providing the content necessary for putting the system to work.”, said Balić Matijašević.

In addition to helping students, Smarty will help ease the workload of the student office staff. According to Balić Matijašević, similar solutions can be used in other industries such as service industries, banking, the telecommunication sector,… Therefore, Careesma is planning to use its knowledge and experience in other areas as well.