T H E e L I Z A P R O J E C T

What is eLIZA?

eLIZA is the name of an innovative project that aims to develop a virtual digital assistant using artificial intelligence (AI) technology.
Why AI? AI will advance the Deutsche Telekom business by automating everyday tasks, thereby enabling employees to concentrate on creating value and solving more complex problems. Furthermore, it will benefit customers through smoother processes and faster, more accurate solutions.

How will the project benefit us?

The integration of artificial intelligence will help us to ensure that our products and services will continue to be competitive in the future. Artificial intelligence can take something – such as a voice-command system that compares entries against a catalogue of keywords – and transform it into an intelligent assistant that can apply its broad knowledge to assisting customers with multiple issues, and offering a range of options. As a result, common problems can be resolved automatically and therefore, quickly and cost-effectively, but also in a way that is intuitive for the customer and does not demand any technical knowledge. Ultimately, this reduces the workload of service employees and allows them to concentrate on new, more complex matters.


Why did you choose to call it eLIZA?

The name eLIZA was inspired by a computer program developed in 1966 by Joseph Weizenbaum. This program aimed to demonstrate the possibilities of natural-language communication between computers and humans. It is, however, only a working title. We have yet to decide on a name for the assistant.


Who is responsible for the project?

The project is the result of cooperation between Deutsche Telekom, T-Mobile Austria, Group Innovation+, T-Labs and PDE. Overall responsible for the project is Jan Hofmann, supported by Miles Lynam-Smith and Jan Morgenthal.


What does TINKA have to do with eLIZA?

TINKA is an abbreviation of the German, “T-Mobile Interaktive Neue Kommunikations-Assistentin”. It is the name of the T-Mobile virtual assistant, who greets customers and visitors to the T-Mobile website and on the My-T app. TINKA uses a catalogue of keywords to answer common customer questions via chat. When necessary, she can also direct customers to other communication channels such as FAQs or the hotline. TINKA will soon be gaining new abilities that will help to make her answers more intelligent and similar to those of a human service employee. Through the enhanced Big Data capabilities of eLIZA, she will be able to recognise customers, address them personally and access their service history from other service channels such as FAQs or the Customer Forum. Big Data will also allow TINKA to harness the data from other customers, across multiple sources, to provide answers and recommendations that are both useful and relevant to the customer. All of this will be made possible by applying the artificial intelligence developed within the eLIZA project. It will be applied to TINKA and tested by T-Mobile Austria using live customer interactions.

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