We wanted to create an intelligent voice assistant that works efficiently and updates in real time. Our project is based on the influence of some of the leading industry technologies, such as Cortana and Siri, but seeks to integrate into popular messaging clients such as Slack to streamline workflows at an even higher level.

What it does

KARA is a Google Assistant agent that operates freely in the cloud. Our AI is capable of a variety of functions, including setting and remembering appointments, recalling date-specific events, working with Google Calendar, and providing company information and web links on demand. Additionally, KARA comes preset with a knowledge base containing a variety of one-line responses to certain questions. Administrators can add to this directory to index upcoming events or expand KARA's FAQ. All such information is simply uploaded in the form of a Google Sheets/Excel document (.csv), so no coding experience is required. The assistant is customizable, provides instant answers, services in organization and productivity, and is capable of connecting companies, customers, and/or employees through natural conversation. Our client is available freely on the web to all Google Assistant users as well as in the form of a text-based Slack bot. KARA can be integrated into back end systems using RESTful APIs, Webhooks, or its pre-built integration tools.

How we built it

Since our client is an extension of Google Assistant, we used Dialogflow to create our own voice agent and deployed it using Google's Actions Console. KARA's responses were configured using a combination of Google's default intents, Google Assistant API features, Google Cloud Function API, Google Calendar API, Slack API, and custom Javascript payloads. Visual elements and rich responses were implemented to enhance user interactions. Fulfillments of intents were built and managed via Cloud Functions.

Challenges we ran into

As always, it was difficult to start working with an entirely new set of software and APIs, but we got the hang of pretty much everything we wanted to add eventually! We had to work around several limitations by varying the methods which KARA uses to store information respond. Since the time we had to solve these issues was especially short, our biggest issue was likely the time constraint itself.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

KARA is fully functional in an independent messaging service! It feels great to create a service which integrates seamlessly into an interface as prolific as Slack. We're especially impressed with the amount we were able to complete during the time we had.

What we learned

We learned how to create our own agent for Google Assistant (an extremely powerful service), allowing us to program automated vocal responses for virtually anything we could imagine! There's not much more we could ask of Google Assistant, so the experience we gained here is exceptionally valuable.

What's next for Kara: AI Voice Assistant

We plan to prototype several versions of KARA for different organizations so the AI can serve in several separate, focused contexts. We plan to push through additional versions via the Google Assistant network and further increase Slack integration.

KARA has been submitted to the Google Assistant directory and is currently awaiting review before it is made available for testing. In the meantime, KARA's functionality is fully available and accessible via Slack!

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