Merlin and the Alexa project

Today we bid farewell to Merlin Maas, an 11th Grade student at Georg-Büchner-Gymnasium who we had the pleasure of having with us for the past two weeks. As part of this short internship, Merlin worked closely with the team to help develop the use case for using Alexa at TechQuartier. We chatted with him about his experience.

Hi Merlin! Before you leave us to go on vacation, a few rapid fire questions. How did you find out about TQ and what made you apply for an internship here? As part of my studies we have to do a two-weeks internship in a company, in order to get practical experience. I was doing some research on the web about startups, I felt I wanted to try it out, and that’s when I found out about TQ. I wrote an email to Sebastian, he told me to come by and discuss what I wanted to work on, and that is when the topic of Alexa came up.

Right, can you tell us about the original idea, and what you found interesting about it?

Sebastian told me that he was curious about how we could work with Alexa, thinking about TQ’s community and the many guests that come by, he wanted to see how the experience could be improved. Since I have some skills in programming and was a bit familiar with the technology, we thought it was a nice fit. In two weeks, you don’t really have the time to work on a large project, so this was perfect.

What’s the plan now with Alexa, can our guests use it?

Yep! The pain point we can solve is that sometimes, the receptionist might have to leave her desk temporarily. TQ is also open 24 hours to members, so it’s possible people need help before or after hours. What we are finalizing right now is a list of the Frequently Asked Questions, the ones the TQ team gets asked most often, and which people will now be able to ask Alexa. We have two devices, because you cannot have two languages in one pod.

For example, questions like ‘’Where is this meeting room?’’ or ‘’Where does this startup sit?’’ are very frequent. People also want to know where to find the TQ team, where the bathrooms or printers are, when does this event start, etc. We have to populate a database with those questions as well as the answers, so the system will improve based on the questions we get most often.

How did you find the experience working at TQ?

I really like that I had a specific project to work on and that I was able to make progress on my own, which is not necessarily the case in all internships. I had some supervision and support, but I could also do a lot myself. I also very much liked the vibe in the office, and also to be in touch directly with the startup community.

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A big thank you goes out to Merlin for his input we really enjoyed having him around! If you know someome who is looking do to an internship, we are recruiting on an ongoing basis. More information about it here : https://techquartier.com/about/careers/