Temasek Polytechnic, one of the leading institutions of post-secondary education in Singapore, has launched an augmented intelligence (AI)-enabled chatbot, Ask TP, to improve student engagement and aid in their decision-making process.

The intuitive chatbot continuously learns new information and delivers increasingly accurate responses. It is the first IBM Watson-enabled course advisor to be implemented in a polytechnic in Singapore. Its User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) were developed by students from TP, giving them first-hand experience at developing a live AI product.

The Ask TP AI-enabled chatbot is represented by four different avatars. Picture Credits: IBM Singapore, Temasek Polytechnic

Analyst reports have highlighted that majority of Singaporeans are active social media users and are spending more time online than before, and a report by the National Youth Council showed 99 percent of young users were aged between 15 to 34. This shift in online habits comes with a change in mindset in how institutes of higher learning, such as Temasek Polytechnic, interact with prospective and current students.The end goal is for AskTP to be able to handle the majority of potential student queries, equipping them with the necessary information to make better decisions in the next stage of their education journey.

Prospective students who have completed their O levels in 2017 can turn to Ask TP for information about TP courses and other information about campus life. Using the Watson Conversation service, the chatbot can answer questions in a natural language and is available 24 x 7 on web and mobile channels.

Going beyond student life, Ask TP is also able to provide advice based on future aspirations of prospective students. For example, if a prospective student is keen on entering the restaurant industry, they can ask for recommendations on which courses to pursue.

Since its launch in November, over 12,000 conversations have taken place — from helping prospective students understand the core differences between courses that have similar sounding names, such as biotechnology and biomedical sciences, to providing an overview of student life.

AskTP’s natural language capabilities means that it is able to understand the context of starting a restaurant and link it to relevant culinary courses offered by the school. Picture Credits: IBM Singapore, Temasek Polytechnic


Spokespersons Quotes

“The Ask TP chatbot has enabled us to better engage potential students and their parents, round-the-clock. Additionally, this initiative has been a rewarding experience for TP students who have leveraged their skills in augmented intelligence and machine learning to enhance the overall experience of users.” 

– Mr Tang Ming Fai, Director of IT Services at Temasek Polytechnic

Digital transformation is an on-going process and the prize is the ultimate customer experience. In this case, the end users are prospective students for Temasek Polytechnic. With youth these days, the expectation is that information is at their fingertips and content is delivered instantly. Deploying IBM Watson Conversation on IBM Cloud allows Temasek Polytechnic to provide their prospective students with accurate, factual and tailored course recommendations quickly and on platforms that are most embedded in their consumption habits.

– Abraham Thomas, Managing Director, IBM Singapore





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