The ACROSS Virtual Assistant enables the end user to use the ACROSS platform through the Citizen Web App not only in the conventional mode of interaction (i.e. using keyboard and pointing device) but also through conversational interfaces, i.e. natural language. Through a natural-language dialogue, the VA “remote-controls” the CWA according to the user’s utterances, provides directions for the user on how to proceed (i.e. when a form needs to be filled step-by-step), or answers specific user questions, providing background information for the ongoing session.  The VA is designed for multi-lingual operation, and currently provides subset language support (for the ACROSS use-case languages German, Latvian and Greek as well as for English). 

Recently, new automatic speech recognition (ASR) and text-to-speech(TTS) synthesis components have been integrated into the Virtual assistant, enabling fully “hands-free” voice operation of important parts of the Citizen Web App and  the services it offers. Watch our demo video


The multi-modal and multi-lingual conversational user interface enabled by the VA improves ease of use and accessibility (in particular, for users with disabilities) for the ACROSS Citizen Web App, reduces barriers and contributes to inclusion. In contrast to voice-centric solutions in the consumer sector such as Amazon Alexa, the existing web interface of the CWA always remains visible and usable, so the user can easily check whether e.g. form fields have been filled correctly by the VA. Once invoked, the VA dynamically extends the CWA with a chat&voice sidebar through which the conversation can be controlled. Switching forth and back between traditional and conversational interaction, or between voice- and chat-based conversation is possible at any time. Similarly, the conversation language can be changed in sync with the CWA display language.   

The technology behind the ACROSS VA allows for easy integration with both proprietary and open-source speech processing components or services.