Nexus: AI powered app using Microsoft Graph for enhanced collaboration and productivity
Published Aug 23 2023 02:25 AM 1,574 Views
Copper Contributor

Nexus is the outcome of a collaborative effort by a team of six students pursuing Computer Engineering at Imperial College London. Allow us to introduce ourselves: Angus Parry, Brendon Ferra, Charmaine Louie, Indraneel Dulange, Konstantinos Sougioultzoglou and Mahanoor Syed.

 

In the bustling world of academia, where time is of the essence and collaboration is key, Nexus is able to revolutionize the way university staff and students work together. The aim of this transformative project was to enhance productivity and foster seamless collaboration within the university ecosystem. Nexus is meticulously designed to streamline workflows and empower users with unparalleled convenience and efficiency.

 

This blog post is an introduction to Nexus which is developed specifically for university staff and students. Our goal is to highlight the significance of this project in addressing the unique challenges faced by academic institutions. By seamlessly integrating with the powerful Microsoft 365 suite of applications, this application bundle provides a unified access point, eliminating the need for users to juggle multiple tools simultaneously. We will explore the key features, benefits, and the impact it has on productivity and collaboration within the university environment.

 

Upon signing into Nexus, users are greeted by a dynamic and visually organized dashboard. This dashboard presents users with the most important updates and information, such as Outlook, Todo items, Teams, and Agenda, in a grid view. The grid view allows for quick and easy access to relevant sections and provides a comprehensive overview of the user's essential tasks and activities.

 

Users can perform various actions directly from the dashboard. They can instantly add, delete, or mark to-do items as completed, ensuring efficient task management. By clicking on the tiles, users are redirected to the corresponding sections of the overview page or calendar, where they can access more detailed information and manage their tasks effectively.

 

Screenshot 2023-07-27 at 11.44.16 PM.png

Dashboard

 

The overview page serves as a centralized resource hub, catering to the needs of students and staff. It features three tabs that display the user's emails, Teams channels, and Teams chats. These communication channels are vital for seamless collaboration within the Microsoft Graph Application.

 

Screenshot 2023-07-27 at 11.44.32 PM 1.png

Overview

 

The calendar section provides users with a glimpse of their upcoming events and appointments and allows them to search for suitable meeting times. The automatic meeting transcription summarizer built into the calendar ensures you never miss important discussions, even if you couldn't attend. Seamlessly integrating with Nexus, our application extracts the content of meeting transcriptions from Microsoft Graph and generates informative summaries of the entire meeting.

 

Screenshot 2023-07-27 at 11.44.32 PM 1.png

Calendar

 

To provide easy navigation throughout the application, a user-friendly navigation bar is conveniently found at the top of the page. The navigation bar has a built-in custom search bar which enables users to conveniently search across all their Microsoft Apps to allow users to find what they easily need all in one place.

 

SmartScribe, an innovative feature of the Microsoft Graph Application, leverages AI technology to summarize documents. Users can upload documents from OneDrive or their local storage and receive accurate summaries. These summaries can be seamlessly uploaded to OneNote, allowing users to access them alongside their personal notes for convenient reference.

 

Screenshot 2023-06-25 at 2.15.25 PM.pngSmartScribe

 

For students applying to internships/jobs, CareerTrack offers a specialized dashboard. This dashboard enables users to create application timelines for each role and company, ensuring efficient tracking of their progress. The timelines are neatly organized based on user preferences and can be displayed in different modes to clearly highlight upcoming interviews or assessments. Application-specific email addresses are curated and added to the application timeline, facilitating effective communication. Users can easily fetch emails from these addresses, either automatically based on the company name or manually. To keep timelines clutter-free, unsuccessful or stagnant applications can be archived and later deleted.

 

Screenshot 2023-07-27 at 11.44.54 PM.png

CareerTrack

 

In summary, Nexus empowers users with a comprehensive dashboard, resource hub, and specialized features like SmartScribe and CareerTrack. By providing a visually organized dashboard, seamless navigation, AI-powered document summarization, and efficient application tracking, Nexus enhances productivity, collaboration, and overall user experience.

The project started with a thorough planning phase, where the team identified the goals, objectives, and requirements of the application. Extensive discussions were held with supervisors, to understand their needs. This helped in defining the scope of the project and establishing clear objectives.

 

Based on the gathered requirements, the team proceeded with designing the application architecture. Careful consideration was given to ensuring seamless integration with Microsoft applications and providing a unified access point for users. The design phase involved creating mock-ups of the user interface to visualize the application's layout and functionalities.

 

Screenshot 2023-07-27 at 11.49.55 PM.png

Mockup VS Final Design

 

The development phase involved translating the design concepts into actual code. The team utilized the Blazor WebAssembly framework, which enabled the creation of a client-side web application using C# and .NET. This allowed for a rich user interface and seamless integration with Microsoft Graph API. To display information from the user’s Microsoft applications, various GET and POST requests were made to the Graph API.

 

During the project, the team encountered several challenges, such as managing authentication and authorization and ensuring a smooth user experience across different devices and platforms. To overcome these obstacles, the team actively sought solutions, leveraging documentation and seeking help from supervisors. We conducted thorough testing and debugging to identify and resolve issues promptly.

 

Throughout the project, important decisions had to be made to ensure the application's success. These decisions included selecting the appropriate technology stack and determining the optimal user interface design. The team carefully evaluated different options, considering factors such as scalability, security, and user experience. Regular meetings and discussions were held to ensure consensus among the team and supervisors.

 

Testing played a vital role in ensuring the application's stability, functionality, and performance. The team conducted rigorous testing at different stages of development. Feedback from users was gathered to identify any issues or areas for improvement. This iterative approach helped in delivering a robust and reliable application.

 

Some of the key lessons that the team gained are:

  1. Importance of User-Centric Design: Throughout the project, we realized the importance of prioritizing user needs and preferences. User-centric design principles guided our decision-making process, ensuring that the application was intuitive, efficient, and aligned with the expectations of university staff and students. Gathering user feedback and conducting usability testing played a vital role in refining the application and delivering a user-friendly experience.
  2. Overcoming Integration Challenges: Integrating with various Microsoft applications required creative problem-solving and perseverance. We encountered technical complexities when establishing seamless connections with Outlook, Teams, Calendar and OneDrive. Overcoming these challenges required in-depth research, collaboration with supervisors, and leveraging available resources and documentation. This experience enhanced our technical proficiency and problem-solving skills.
  3. Effective Communication and Collaboration: The project emphasized the importance of clear and efficient communication within the development team. Regular team meetings, frequent updates, and open channels of communication enabled us to collaborate effectively, align our efforts, and address any issues promptly. Strong teamwork and collaboration were instrumental in overcoming obstacles and delivering a cohesive and integrated application.
  4. Continuous Learning and Adaptation: Developing a project of this nature exposed us to various technologies, frameworks, and best practices. It reinforced the importance of continuous learning and staying up to date with the latest developments in the Microsoft ecosystem. Adapting to new tools and technologies, such as AI-driven document summarization, required a willingness to explore, experiment, and embrace innovation.

 

For future development, the team would be interested in integrating more beta features within the web app. Notifications on handheld devices would also be able to improve the productivity of users as users would gain real-time updates. Another feature that can enhance the application dashboard would be integrating some AI features which can auto-generate cover letters or suggest reading materials to users in the process of job applications.

 

In conclusion, the development of Nexus for university staff and students has been a challenging but rewarding endeavour. By seamlessly integrating with Microsoft applications, the application provides a unified access point, simplifying the user experience and eliminating the need to juggle multiple applications simultaneously.

 

We invite you to engage with the project by exploring the project repository. We welcome your feedback, suggestions, and collaboration opportunities to further enhance the application and extend its impact in the education domain.

 

Connect with us on LinkedIn! 

Angus Parry - https://www.linkedin.com/in/angus-parry 

Brendon Ferra - https://www.linkedin.com/in/brendonferra/ 

Charmaine Louie - https://www.linkedin.com/in/charmaine-louie-a9bb64198/ 

Indraneel Dulange - https://www.linkedin.com/in/indraneel-dulange/ 

Konstantinos Sougioultzoglou - https://www.linkedin.com/in/konstantinos-sougioultzoglou-886851223/ 

Mahanoor Syed - https://www.linkedin.com/in/mahanoor-syed-8bb55b1ab 

 

Version history
Last update:
‎Aug 12 2023 03:19 PM
Updated by: