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IBM Challenges UMD Students to Develop New Customer Service Tech

March 24, 2014
Contacts: 

Joseph Bailey 301-405-3437 or 301-405-2174

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – IBM is challenging University of Maryland students to develop innovative business solutions related to customer service in the IBM Watson Engagement Advisor Case Competition from March 28-30.
 
IBM says about half of some 270 billion customer service calls go unresolved every year. The company's answer is the Watson Engagement Advisor, a cloud-based system  that activates when a consumer clicks the program's "Ask Watson" feature. That click, according to IBM, quickly helps address customer questions, offers feedback to guide purchase decisions and troubleshoots a customer's problem.
 
Competitors have worked in teams since December to develop organization-specific strategies to acquire and implement the technology -- driven by "Watson," the supercomputer that defeated former grand champions on the TV quiz show Jeopardy!
 
QUESTThe competitors are UMD Quality Enhancement Systems and Teams (QUEST) students. QUEST is a multidisciplinary, reality- centered program for UMD undergraduates from the Robert H. Smith School of Business, the A. James Clark School of Engineering, and the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences. QUEST students participate in a challenging course of study that focuses on innovation, quality systems management and teamwork and co-curricular programming aimed at bringing diverse knowledge, skill and perspective to enhance their professional and personal development.
 
The students will fine-tune and present their proposals in a culminating pitch competition from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Sunday, March 30, 2014, in Van Munching 1333 at the university's College Park campus.
 
IBM and other corporate representatives, alongside UMD professors, will judge the proposals. These industry leaders and faculty also will interact with the students through preceding weekend activities.