CIG R&D Lab: The Team of Developers of Virtual Assistant won in the second season in Odessa Polytechnic Institute


A second-year student of Odessa National Polytechnic University (ONPU), Nikita Syromiatnikov, and his team won in the second season of the educational scholarship program CIG R&D Lab and received half a million hryvnias for the development of their project, "Jarvis – virtual assistant".

In 2017, Chernovetskyi Investment Group (CIG) and ONPU established CIG R&D Lab. It is a platform for students’ scientific research, implementation, and commercialization of their innovative ideas, which will contribute to the development of the ecosystem of technological start-ups in Ukraine.

CIG provided scholarships and mentorship for to the participating teams. In the final, the teams with the best progresses receive funding for further development of their projects.

Sergei Nesterenko, vice-rector for scientific-pedagogical and educational work at ONPU, professor, PhD, says, "Our university has two big dreams. The first one is to make sure that graduates of our high schools prefer Polytechnic University to the universities abroad. We are gradually succeeding in this. Likewise, our second dream is to make sure our graduates will work and success here. And our partner—investment company CIG—helps us to realise this dream. I hope that, in a year or two, we will witness launch of real start-up companies of the program’s graduates."

In the second season of CIG R&D Lab, more than 20 ONPU teams submitted applications for participation in the program, 5 of which were selected and reached the final. The students chose their projects themselves. This year, they worked on a system of development of the safety of unmanned aerial vehicles; a system for the operational control of hormonal background; a mathematical model of a race car; a virtual assistant, Jarvis; and an eye-tracking system for medical research.

Vladimir Krivko, the managing partner of CIG, says, "We have created this educational program to bring science and business closer together. Our cooperation with the Odessa Polytechnic University and its ambitious students is an excellent example of such cooperation. Odesa is the flagship of CIG R&D Lab for us, and, thanks to the success of the pilot project, we decided to expand this experience in the other Ukrainian universities. This season showed how an idea could grow into a real product in a year, and this is, no doubt, the achievement of our teams. I am convinced that we needed a program that prepares students for the transition from the academic environment to business."

The best project of the second season of CIG R&D Lab in ONPU was the virtual assistant, Jarvis. The team of Evgenii Iatsishin and Nikita Syromiatnikov has developed a text chat for instant messengers and voice dictation for the prototype of intelligent speaker Jarvis Home. This technology will be useful for services working mainly through websites. A Ukrainian system for searching and booking tickets and a ticket sales service are already interested in such technologies.

The experience of global tech companies proves that the integration of a voice assistant in online services dramatically expands their use. Every month, we use 26 different mobile applications on average. A virtual assistant such as Jarvis solves this problem and consolidates most of the functions of traditional websites. So far, 24% of users prefer voice assistants, and this number will only grow with the improvement of technology.

Evgenii Iatsishin and Nikita Syromiatnikov say, "We are delighted with the victory and grateful to the CIG R&D Lab program. We want to reassure those who are still sceptical about the technologies: Don’t be afraid; start small. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes as the experience of failure is more valuable than that of victory. Just do what you believe in with faith in the team and your project."

CIG and ONPU have already announced the acceptance of applications for the third season of the CIG R&D Lab in 2019–2020.