Microsoft Teams spurs open source in Aussie channel

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Microsoft Teams spurs open source in Aussie channel

Sydney-based Microsoft partner Antares has open-sourced the "Qbot" Microsoft Teams add-on it helped develop with the University of New South Wales (UNSW).

Qbot, short for Question bot, is an AI-infused chabot for Teams that help answer student queries to help improve collaboration with both tutors and among other students.

The add-on will be available for free to eligible Microsoft Education users through GitHub.

Qbot is the brainchild of UNSW senior lecturer David Kellermann. Antares helped bring Qbot to life and, as it is the bot's primary developer, supports the code.

Antares principal consultant Sulabh Jain told CRN there is no commercial motive behind the open source release. Instead, he said it is hoped other educational institutions will take advantage of freely-available code to leverage the tech for their own use.

“We are working with Microsoft and Microsoft has also invested in the solution to make it open source because it wants every educational institution to be able to use the solution,” Jain said.

Interested parties may also use their internal developers to tailor the solution to their own needs, but otherwise they can also approach Antares to provide support and expertise like the company performed at UNSW.

Kellerman presented Qbot at this year’s Microsoft Inspire conference in Las Vegas, which helped garner global interest in Qbot.

“The amount of interest generated from Inspire came from not only other educational institutions but non-educational entities as well, wondering how they can incorporate the solution,” said Lara Vandersluis of Cloud Collective .

Cloud Collective is an alliance of three Microsoft partners, one of which is Antares, that work together on projects in which their skills are complementary rather than competitive. 

Vandersluis said users should expect to see more updates to Qbot in the coming months.

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