Yet again this year, Deutsche Telekom IT GmbH was the main sponsor of the largest nationwide case study competition (KREATI) for industrial engineering students in Germany. The competition, organized by the Association of German Industrial Engineers (Verband Deutscher Wirtschaftsingenieure, VWI), was held across the country. After the starting gun on the 2021 competition was fired in the spring, the preliminary rounds were held in an online format. The final, on the other hand, which brought the five best teams together, was held at end of the year at Telekom IT's premises in Aachen.
The final week - workshop and case study day
The final week kicked off with a workshop on artificial intelligence (AI) for the participants. The first part featured an introductory presentation by Heiko Sindel (AI expert at Deutsche Telekom IT GmbH). The second part consisted of a practical exercise with Calliopes, which was carried out by two colleagues, Carsten Tschöp and Arndt Baars from the location in Aachen (Aix-la-Chapelle). Calliope is a microcontroller that was developed for educational purposes and is used at German elementary schools, among others. The goal was to give the students a fun introduction to machine learning.
The second day focused on a concrete case study on the topic of AI with regard to the application of chatbots in exchanges with customers. The student team finalists from Aachen, Berlin-Heidenheim, Bremen, Dresden, and Kassel were invited to present a possible development path for chatbots for proactive customer service with the key objective of "OMOTENASHI" (Japanese understanding of hospitality). The goal was to identify AI's potential in this area, to overcome the problems created by our personas, and to show what engagement with these problems in the future could like without any direct human involvement. While working on the challenge, the teams had numerous laptop and smartphone tools at their disposal again this year. Likewise, many department representatives were present to answer the participants' questions at any time.
In the afternoon, the results were presented to the five-member jury consisting of Telekom IT and VWI representatives. The Aachen team's winning idea was particularly striking. Performing strongly in the presentation, they sold their innovative yet practical assistance approach "Toshi", which combined RPA technologies (Robotic Process Automation) and virtual gaming elements.
Conclusion and event after all the hard work
After this complex case study was over, the program for the participants continued for several days. The agenda included various workshops, a city tour, and a variety of evening events. A particular highlight was the dinner at the Aachen Tivoli soccer stadium followed by a tour of the stadium. On the last day of the final week, the participants solved another case study. This was followed by the award ceremony where Melanie Jana-Tröller was on hand for DT IT to present the prizes to the 1st and 3rd placed teams. The 2nd place team was chosen by the other final partner, Capgemini Invent.
Acknowledgements and outro
Yet again this year, KREATI was a resounding success for us at Telekom IT. Despite all the difficulties caused by Covid restrictions, the organizing team managed to arrange the digital preliminary rounds in a flexible and creative way and put together a new concept for the final. We'd like to take this opportunity to thank the project team at VWI Hochschulgruppe Aachen for the joint organization of KREATI throughout 2021. We would also like to thank all those who supported us in finding a topic for the case study and in organizing the final week. We look forward to more exciting projects with you!