PRESS-NEWS.org - Press Release Distribution
FREE PRESS RELEASES DISTRIBUTION

Digital assistants created for e-commerce which adapt themselves to each shop's needs

The UOC spin-off's technology learns new product developments by itself

2021-07-15
(Press-News.org) The pandemic has taught us that almost all companies have to sell on the internet. Bots are a technology that facilitates e-commerce. They are digital assistants that can answer customer queries about products that are sold or help to locate them, as well as supporting customers in the purchasing process. "In whatever language; and moreover, chatbots never get tired: They're available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year", said Jordi Cabot, the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) researcher who created Xatkit, a company specialized in their development. This technology has existed for some time in big companies and is now also helping improve the digital competitiveness of SMEs. Indeed, the introduction of bots is expanding: this type of artificial intelligence already generates over 40% of the traffic on the internet.

Xatkit is a new UOC spin-off which offers pre-trained bots for e-commerce. Once installed in the shops, they read the products that are sold and are automatically set up to begin to help the customers who arrive. They are also prepared to continue learning by themselves. "Our bots can do any task that a human salesperson would do, from recommending products or showing offers to notifying the shop when clients ask for a product that they are not currently offering", said Cabot.

The pandemic has taught us that almost all companies have to sell on the internet. Bots are a technology that facilitates e-commerce. They are digital assistants that can answer customer queries about products that are sold or help to locate them, as well as supporting customers in the purchasing process. "In whatever language; and moreover, chatbots never get tired: They're available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year", said Jordi Cabot, the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) researcher who created Xatkit, a company specialized in their development. This technology has existed for some time in big companies and is now also helping improve the digital competitiveness of SMEs. Indeed, the introduction of bots is expanding: this type of artificial intelligence already generates over 40% of the traffic on the internet.

Xatkit is a new UOC spin-off which offers pre-trained bots for e-commerce. Once installed in the shops, they read the products that are sold and are automatically set up to begin to help the customers who arrive. They are also prepared to continue learning by themselves. "Our bots can do any task that a human salesperson would do, from recommending products or showing offers to notifying the shop when clients ask for a product that they are not currently offering", said Cabot.

Beyond e-commerce: digital assistants using text or the phone

Digital assistants do not just simulate human conversations on chat windows (so-called chatbots), but can also be used to answer telephone calls or comments made on websites or social media in any language. At present, Xatkit creates bots that can understand and speak in English, Spanish and Catalan.

The technological improvement of bots means that these assistants can currently engage in "complex conversations and process management tasks, processing customers' requests", explained Jordi Cabot. This technology allows customer service costs to be optimized. Cabot, a member of the research faculty at ICREA and leader of the research group SOM Research Lab of the UOC's Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3), who developed Xatkit with Gwendal Daniel, a researcher from his group, indicated that the key to the development of digital assistants is that they have a specialized platform to define their functionalities and guarantee the quality of the training of the bot, testing and monitoring the behaviour in order to improve its effectiveness.

Bots created with open-source software

The Xatkit team works with open-source software, making it easy for clients to set up the digital assistants. Its platform is committed to integrating state-of-the-art technology in processing and understanding natural language to optimize the quality of the conversations. In addition to understanding what the client says, Xatkit summarizes and automatically translates texts, and also analyses the feelings of the buyers. "The bot can figure out whether the client is annoyed and adapt its answer to the situation", explained Jordi Cabot.

From research to entrepreneurship

The initiative of the UOC researchers to develop conversation bots began as a research project but, unlike other research, "we thought that, in view of the subject and the innovation behind it, it could help many organizations and have a bigger social impact", indicated Cabot. Thus, the creation of this new spin-off from the UOC's research activity allows the research group's technological expertise on digital assistants to reach the market. "Xatkit takes advantage of the state-of-the-art technology that we generate in the research to develop more innovative solutions and the research team learns from the application of the technology in real cases, thanks to the creation of the company", said the researcher.

"We recommend combining the role of researcher with that of entrepreneur, because this improves the quality and impact of the research", according to Cabot and other researchers in an article published for the 8th International Virtual Workshop on Software Engineering Research and Industrial Practice. Faced with the lack of more investment by industry in R&I, the experts said that as researchers they can "become the partners that companies need, and thus moreover bring the ideas of the research to the market".

The researchers are committed to promoting open resources, strengthening the triangle of collaboration between research, SMEs - as technology suppliers - and end clients - which could be big corporations -, or as a fruitful relationship which provides real cases of technological development. "If as researchers we don't find the appropriate SME to collaborate with our research, we create it, like we did with Xatkit", they concluded.

Spin-offs from UOC research activity

At present the UOC has four spin-offs. Before Xatkit, it created Immersium Studio, specialized in the development of immersive technology (virtual, augmented and mixed reality); Care Respite, with the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, specialized in dependent people monitoring technology for carers; and Open Evidence, an international quantitative consultancy that promotes operating strategies and models for decision-making processes through data-based computational intelligence.

The Xatkit project won the jury award at Spin UOC 2021, the UOC's annual entrepreneurship, innovation and knowledge transfer programme, promoted by the Hubbik platform.

The Xatkit project (Massive Generation of chatbots on-demand, ref. 2019 INNOV 00001) is supported by the Department for Universities and Research in the Government of Catalonia's Ministry of Business and Knowledge and receives funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Xatkit supports sustainable development goal (SDG) 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

INFORMATION:

UOC R&I

The UOC's research and innovation (R&I) is helping overcome pressing challenges faced by global societies in the 21st century, by studying interactions between technology and human & social sciences with a specific focus on the network society, e-learning and e-health. Over 500 researchers and 51 research groups work among the University's seven faculties and two research centres: the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3) and the eHealth Center (eHC).

The United Nations' 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and open knowledge serve as strategic pillars for the UOC's teaching, research and innovation. More information: research.uoc.edu. #UOC25years



ELSE PRESS RELEASES FROM THIS DATE:

RUDN University chemists propose a one-step synthesis of substances for medicine

RUDN University chemists propose a one-step synthesis of substances for medicine
2021-07-15
The RUDN University chemists have discovered a reaction for the synthesis of acetimidamides, heterocyclic compounds with biological activity that can be used for the synthesis of hormones, anti-inflammatory and other medical drugs. The reaction goes in one step with an efficiency of up to 96%. The results are published in the journal Molecules. Traditional chemical synthesis goes in several stages and requires the isolation and purification of intermediates at each stage. It is not efficient and not environmentally friendly as it increases the loss of substances and the consumption of solvents, and there is a problem of waste disposal. ...

Bioengineering discovery paves way for improved production of bio-based goods

Bioengineering discovery paves way for improved production of bio-based goods
2021-07-15
Scientists have uncovered a way to control many genes in engineered yeast cells, opening the door to more efficient and sustainable production of bio-based products. The study, published in Nucleic Acids Research by researchers from DSM's Rosalind Franklin Biotechnology Center in Delft, the Netherlands, and the University of Bristol, has shown how to unlock CRISPR's potential for regulating many genes simultaneously. Baker's yeast, or Saccharomyces cerevisiae to give it it's full name, is considered as a workhorse for biotechnology. Not only has it been used for producing bread and beer for thousands of years, but today it can also be engineered to produce an array of other useful compounds that form the basis of pharmaceuticals, fuels, and food additives. However, achieving ...

Tracking COVID-19 across Europe

Tracking COVID-19 across Europe
2021-07-15
According to the World Health Organization, a third wave of COVID infections is now all but inevitable in Europe. A COVID tracker developed by IIASA researcher Asjad Naqvi, aims to identify, collect, and collate various official regional datasets for European countries, while also combining and homogenizing the data to help researchers and policymakers explore how the virus spreads. While many comparisons have been made between the COVID-19 pandemic and similar events in history, one thing sets this pandemic apart from others: the unprecedented amount of knowledge and data that is constantly being generated to understand how the pandemic is unfolding. For a high-income region like Europe, the quality of information made available on a daily basis is exceptionally ...

ComCor study on SARS-CoV-2: where are French people catching the virus?

2021-07-15
The Institut Pasteur, in partnership with the French National Health Insurance Fund (CNAM), Santé publique France and the Ipsos Social Research Institute, recently presented the results of the ComCor epidemiological study on circumstances and places of infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The aim of the study was to identify the socio-demographic factors, places visited and behaviors associated with a higher risk of infection with SARS-CoV-2. The study contains two parts: the first part describes the circumstances of infection of index cases diagnosed positive for SARS-CoV-2 during the curfew period, especially when the person considered as the source of infection is known; the ...

Caring for the physical health of those with mental illness

2021-07-15
PHILADELPHIA - People who struggle with serious mental illnesses are more likely to die early - about 10 to 30 years early - than those without mental illness from any cause. Many factors contribute to this disparity including poor access to care, undetected health conditions and difficulty managing chronic health conditions. Addressing physical illness in those with serious mental illness has been a major challenge. To address this, researchers tested a peer-led intervention called the Bridge that helps patients with mental illness prioritize their health, access health care and develop skills to self-manage their health. The approach showed a 50% reduction in emergency room use for those in ...

World-first finding offers hope for psychosis sufferers

2021-07-15
University of Otago scientists have opened the door to improved treatment of brain dysfunction which causes psychosis. Dr Ryan Ward, of the Department of Psychology, says he and a team of researchers have been working on ways to model schizophrenia symptoms in animal models. "Psychosis is a debilitating aspect of schizophrenia and, while current drugs treat it well, they have horrendous side effects which lead to poor quality of life for patients. Research which can identify specific mechanisms of the dysfunction can provide more precise drug targets for treatment, improving patient ...

Study shows diet causes 84% drop in troublesome menopausal symptoms--without drugs

2021-07-15
WASHINGTON--A new study, published by the North American Menopause Society in the journal Menopause, found a plant-based diet rich in soy reduces moderate-to-severe hot flashes by 84%, from nearly five per day to fewer than one per day. During the 12-week study, nearly 60% of women became totally free of moderate-to-severe hot flashes. Overall hot flashes (including mild ones) decreased by 79%. The study, called the WAVS trial--the Women's Study for the Alleviation of Vasomotor Symptoms-shows that diet changes can be much more powerful for treating ...

A new avenue for fighting drug-resistant bacteria

A new avenue for fighting drug-resistant bacteria
2021-07-15
A small regulatory RNA found in many problematic bacteria, including Escherichia coli, appears to be responsible for managing the response of these bacteria to environmental stresses. Professor END ...

Thinking without a brain

2021-07-15
If you didn't have a brain, could you still figure out where you were and navigate your surroundings? Thanks to new research on slime molds, the answer may be "yes." Scientists from the Wyss Institute at Harvard University and the Allen Discovery Center at Tufts University have discovered that a brainless slime mold called Physarum polycephalum uses its body to sense mechanical cues in its surrounding environment, and performs computations similar to what we call "thinking" to decide in which direction to grow based on that information. Unlike previous studies with Physarum, these results were obtained without giving ...

Comprehensive primary care is vital to holistic care and optimal recovery after a stroke

2021-07-15
DALLAS, July 15, 2021 -- Statement Highlights: The new scientific statement, "Primary Care of Adult Patients After Stroke," acknowledges the importance of primary care in the system of care for patients with stroke, summarizing the available literature and providing a roadmap for holistic, goal-directed and patient-centered care. The statement is published today in Stroke, a journal of the American Stroke Association, a division of the American Heart Association. Primary care professionals provide essential comprehensive and consistent care to patients ...

LAST 30 PRESS RELEASES:

Scientists model 'true prevalence' of COVID-19 throughout pandemic

New breakthrough to help immune systems in the fight against cancer

Through the thin-film glass, researchers spot a new liquid phase

Administering opioids to pregnant mice alters behavior and gene expression in offspring

Brain's 'memory center' needed to recognize image sequences but not single sights

Safety of second dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines after first-dose allergic reactions

Changes in disparities in access to care, health after Medicare eligibility

Use of high-risk medications among lonely older adults

65+ and lonely? Don't talk to your doctor about another prescription

Exosome formulation developed to deliver antibodies for choroidal neovascularization therapy

Second COVID-19 mRNA vaccine dose found safe following allergic reactions to first dose

Plant root-associated bacteria preferentially colonize their native host-plant roots

Rare inherited variants in previously unsuspected genes may confer significant risk for autism

International experts call for a unified public health response to NAFLD and NASH epidemic

International collaboration of scientists rewrite the rulebook of flowering plant genetics

Improving air quality reduces dementia risk, multiple studies suggest

Misplaced trust: When trust in science fosters pseudoscience

Two types of blood pressure meds prevent heart events equally, but side effects differ

New statement provides path to include ethnicity, ancestry, race in genomic research

Among effective antihypertensive drugs, less popular choice is slightly safer

Juicy past of favorite Okinawan fruit revealed

Anticipate a resurgence of respiratory viruses in young children

Anxiety, depression, burnout rising as college students prepare to return to campus

Goal-setting and positive parent-child relationships reduce risk of youth vaping

New research identifies cancer types with little survival improvements in adolescents and young adul

Oncotarget: Replication-stress sensitivity in breast cancer cells

Oncotarget: TERT and its binding protein: overexpression of GABPA/B in gliomas

Development of a novel technology to check body temperature with smartphone camera

The mechanics of puncture finally explained

Extreme heat, dry summers main cause of tree death in Colorado's subalpine forests

[Press-News.org] Digital assistants created for e-commerce which adapt themselves to each shop's needs
The UOC spin-off's technology learns new product developments by itself