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Developing the Market for YANA, Our AI-Based Conversational Chatbot

Higher Education and Public Sector | July 23, 2019

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has arrived on the university campus in a big way. It’s become one of the most exciting new technologies, with benefits for students, administrators, faculty, parents and alumni. AI-based solutions can improve student success, make financial aid applications easier, boost office productivity and reduce wait times for IT support. Recognizing this opportunity, ThoughtFocus jumped in to create its own Al-based conversational chatbot product for Higher Education called YANA – short for “You Are Not Alone”.


YANA is gaining traction in the market and we have onboarded universities across the US, Canada and UAE. YANA works like Siri or Alexa, using AI and natural language processing (NLP) to answer questions asked via voice or text through messaging channels that students prefer, delivering the digital experience today’s students now expect. And with a diverse student population on campus, YANA can support over 20 languages. We’re using YANA’s English, Spanish and Arabic language capabilities at our customer sites.


YANA creates a 24/7, self-service capability for students that can be highly personalized. Complex questions on academics, advisory services, financial aid, and housing are answered instantly. YANA can even provide IT support with password resets and ticket status updates. Like other AI applications, YANA will perform other actions as it “learns” the preferences and behaviours of the user.


Decreasing call volumes to campus departments, especially during peak times, is a major benefit achieved through self-service and drives ROI important to decision-makers. We estimate that up to 60% of calls to campus departments can be offloaded to YANA, freeing up staff to focus on higher-value work. YANA will not replace staff, but it can be used to help staff handle mundane tasks that are time-consuming and repetitive.


YANA integrates with the major Higher Education platforms, learning management systems and student information systems. We typically integrate YANA with the school’s current mobile app to create a seamless branded experience. YANA can be customized for any university and deployed within a few weeks using a template-driven approach.


Gartner named AI conversational technologies as one of its Top 10 Strategic Technologies impacting Higher Ed in 2019. Every campus department can now take advantage of YANA to meet its mission for student success and drive productivity. We’ll continue to evolve the product with features that create new, innovative digital experiences.


Learn more about YANA at