London South Bank University builds chat bot that knows your favourite beverage

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London South Bank University partners to build a first of its kind voice-enabled and biometric facial recognition chatbot in Europe.

By U2B Staff 

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The London South Bank University has selected UK cloud and digital services provider ANS Group as its partner to build first of its kind voice-enabled and biometric facial recognition chat bot in Europe.

This strategic partnership sees the development of ‘Ellie’, the university’s first chat bot with biometric capabilities. ‘Ellie’ will be developed on the ANS-built chat bot accelerator, Basebot and will be hosted on the AWS cloud framework.

Ellie will provide an engaging 3D front-end experience to users, through its integration with Amazon Sumerian which will provide tools for mixed reality apps, and voice-enabled technology.

Ellie will be equipped with facial recognition technology, allowing it to identify students though biometric technology. This will enable the  delivery of personalised and customised information to each individual student.

Access to the chat bot will be available across the campus on multiple digital screens. Upon detecting movement towards the screen, it will recognise the individual and will provide verbal information pertinent to the student, including lecture time and location, and even provide directions to the students.


This technology will even enable students to pre-order their drinks or hot snacks which will be available to collect as they make their way to their next class.

This technology is made possible through the use of machine learning algorithms and predictive analysis which will enable Ellie to make personalised suggestions and recommendations, without being prompted.

Director of Innovation and Transformation at London South Bank University, Alex Denley said, “We wanted to develop a sophisticated chat bot that could do more than just answer frequently asked questions. Voice and facial recognition technology have been around for quite a few years now as has AI and machine learning, so we wanted to leverage the power of all of these technologies to create a truly unique and engaging digital offering for our students,”

Denley added, “The combination of an avatar, facial recognition and the personified voice is something that hasn’t been done before in the UK higher education landscape so we’re really excited to see what impact this will have on our student.”


Chief Technology Officer at ANS, Andy Barrow said that ANS were able to provide a unique chat bot foundation to the university. Barrow commended the university on its agile delivery model that was of huge value to ANS.

He added that this, and the university’s proven track record of success in the higher education industry gave the team at ANS the confidence to work collaboratively to deliver this project.

Barrow also added that while chat bot technology is not new to the higher education market, London South Bank University have redefined the boundaries of this technology with their unique digital vision to improve student experience.

Barrow concluded, “We’re delighted to be working so closely with the university to bring this digital vision to life, and we look forward to working with them in future as they develop and expand their digital offerings.”