The US-based IT services provider HTC Global Services is focussing on education space in India and will launch products powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) in coming months.

The products are recommendation engine and automated student services like admission process.

Vishal Sethi, Global Practice Head – AI & Data Science, said while AI and machine learning are taking over most fields such as healthcare and IT in India, education space is yet to catch up. “But the field has a huge potential and is largely unexplored,” he added.

Recommendation engine

The first product it will launch is the recommendation engine, a web-based application that will help students make intelligent decisions when choosing courses and electives in universities. It will be launched by mid 2018.

This is how the application will work. Sethi said: “Think of it like the recommendation engine in e-commerce platforms.” If you are buying a book online, you would see popular products other people brought along with the book as recommendations. These are based on past data and analysed using AI and machine learning.

Recommendation for courses works in the same way. Sethi said: “Using AI we analyse past data available to understand how the courses selected fared during placement and how the electives impact a student’s curriculum.” “The results are more accurate as they are based on real time data and hence more reliable,” he added. While this product will be free for students, the company will partner with universities and colleges in India to sell it.

Student services

Another area HTC is keen on working is the student services space. Currently, students’ services such as admission queries are largely manual and it takes considerable amount of time that lecturers could spend in research and other activity productively. Sethi said: “That is why this area has huge potential in India.” The company’s partner start-up that uses bots to cater to student services will be brought to India.

Sethi said: “It will help an educational institution build better relationship with students and data collected can be used to change policies and curriculum positively.” “For this product we are in talks with business schools and engineering institutions,” he added.

In the school space, Sethi said a research on how facial expression could be used as a metric for calculating level of understanding of students in class is underway.

Sethi said: “This research is still nascent as there is not much data available.” HTC is also keen on partnering with start-ups that specialise in bots and object recognition. “We are looking for start-ups in India that have a product ready and are looking for a space to sell.” A separate team has been formed for the same.