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Ulster University have teamed up with Maverick Communications International, an Irish tech company based in County Tipperary, to pioneer new chatbot technology that supports business-to-business lead generation conversations online. This partnership was established through the InterTradeIreland Fusion programme.

Fusion connects science, engineering and technology graduates with an innovative business and a third level institution with specific expertise.

Shay van Dam, a recent graduate, has been leading the partnership in Maverick Communications.  He has utilised research findings from the Ulster academics together with marketing and technical know-how from within the company to develop the next generation of business-to-business lead generation chatbots.

The development of this innovative technology has been recognised on a global scale and Shay was invited to speak about the development of the chatbot at a major US virtual conference on chatbot technology, earlier this month.

Shay van Dam, Software Developer at Maverick said:

"InterTradeIreland has really helped jumpstart my career by connecting me with Maverick Communications and Ulster University to work on this new and exciting AI project. To be fresh out of university only last year and now be speaking at the Bots & Assistants conference is beyond what I thought I could achieve when I first graduated. I’m very grateful to be working with exciting, state-of-the-art technologies to build a product that will have a positive business impact.”

Ulster University is currently advising and partnering on over 30 InterTradeIreland Fusion projects, aiding in new product and service development as well as process improvement in a range of sectors including;  technology, advanced manufacturing, renewables, operations management and life and health sciences. The programme provides employment for graduates to work with business in partnership with Ulster and also enables them to complete a Post-graduate Diploma in Business and Management.

As Northern Ireland’s civic university, Ulster University is proud to share knowledge and expertise for the benefit of the wider community, including graduates seeking opportunities and experiences.

Professor Maurice Mulvenna, Professor of Computer Science at Ulster University, acknowledges the importance of Fusion partnerships with innovative companies, saying:

“Ulster University is incredibly active in chatbot research, winning significant funding from European and national sources and from this, we’re delivering our own apps, popular books, journal articles and impact for companies from knowledge transfer activities. It’s vital that we continue to work with Maverick and other great companies as it goes a long way to validate our research as commercially relevant and actually useful in society.”

Dan Devine, Technical Director of Maverick added:

“Maverick are very excited to bring this innovative project to market, and InterTradeIreland has played a key part helping us to achieve that goal. By connecting us with a top-quality graduate in Shay and giving the project access to the invaluable academic resources of Ulster University, the programme has greatly enhanced the potential of our project to bring transformative impact to our customers by unlocking the power of conversational AI to drive online lead generation and conversion”

Alan Morrow, Operations Manager of Innovation Programmes at InterTradeIreland, said:

“Innovation is a fundamental part of every successful business. InterTradeIreland is finding that even during these uncertain times, companies across the island are turning to open innovation, and to the Fusion programme in particular, as a structured solution. We are currently accepting new applications and encourage any interested companies to get in touch.”