What time is my class on Tuesday? How many Laundry Bucks do I have? Can I have a pet live with me on campus? Who is my advisor?
Northeastern students can now find the answers to these questions and hundreds more by simply asking their smartphones.
A new application called My Husky, which is accessible through Amazon’s Alexa app, gives students the ability to access their personal Northeastern information in mere seconds, without having to hunt through websites or make a single phone call.
“This is the first time anywhere in the world that students will have access to over 300 questions that they can ask their smartphone, through the Alexa app, and get personalized answers,” says Somen Saha, who is the founder and chief executive officer of n-Powered, a Northeastern spinoff company that created the technology.
Students can link their Northeastern account by logging into the registration page, and then opt in to which categories of personal data they want to have easy access to. After students enable the My Husky skill within the Amazon Alexa app, they can start using My Husky to ask about their individual class schedule, Husky Card balance, housing assignments, and more. Even if students decide not to link their personal information to the platform, they can still get answers to questions about things such as upcoming university events, co-op, and health services.
“We’re very excited about giving the students an opportunity to have this personalized information at their fingertips within seconds, wherever they are, whenever they want it,” says Marina Macomber, who is the assistant vice president of student and administrative services at Northeastern.
The questions students can ask My Husky were developed based on the most common questions received by different departments at Northeastern and feedback from an earlier pilot program in an effort to make an interface that interacts and responds in a comprehensive, human-like manner. If students ask what their current account balance is, for example, My Husky will also let them know what their anticipated balance is.
And My Husky will continue to improve. As students ask questions, the application will learn more about the information they need.
“With every interaction, My Husky is going to learn more about what questions students want to ask and how they want to ask them,” Macomber says. “We’ll continue to add to it based on that learning. The more that students use it, the better it will perform.”
“The sky’s the limit,” says Saha. “This is just the tip of the iceberg.”