Cruise passengers are about to get their very own personal assistant on MSC Cruises’ fleet – and she’ll be on hand 24/7.
Meet ZOE , who can speak seven languages and answer over 800 of the most commonly asked quations.
She’s not human though – she’s a new virtual personal cruise assistant powered by AI.
A first for the cruise industry, think of her as the on-board version of Amazon’s Alexa.
Developed in partnership with HARMAN and Samsung Electronics, ZOE has been programmed and trained to respond to hundreds of common questions, with thousands of different variants of each question.
That includes information about on-board services, guidance and suggestions for activities, and even help in booking a specific service.
All passengers will need to do is say ‘OK ZOE’ and the device will be activated.
The system will also be able to interact with the in-cabin TVs to offer further guidance to passengers.
The device uses advanced voice recognition feature so that all cabin guests can easily control it and access information using only voice commands.
It will also be possible to connect phones directly to the device through Bluetooth to enjoy music, podcasts and more.
ZOE will be available in every cabin on the ship, first being rolled out on new ship MSC Bellissima , and then on each new ship following this including MSC Grandiosa and MSC Virtuosa set to sail in 2020.
MSC hopes that future versions of the device will be able to offer further personalisation and embedded experiences as part of MSC for Me.
However, the company flags that although ZOE will be a 24/7 service, it is not designed to replace human interaction between the crew and guests, but rather provide guests new ways to communicate and discover information without leaving their cabins.
Gianni Onorato, MSC Cruises’ CEO, commented: "The cruise experience is constantly evolving to become ever-richer, offering an increasingly wide choice of services and facilities.
"In 2017 we introduced MSC for Me, an industry-leading digital innovation platform that revolutionised the way that guests were able to customise and personalise their experience.
"The technology was built into the very design of the new ships, incorporated into every step of the development process of each prototype, from conception and construction.”
" This was just the starting point in providing a connected cruise experience. There was a core guest need to be met, which was to find answers to common questions in a quick and easy way, enabling guests to make the most of their holiday.
"We researched the latest connected technologies and identified voice assistants and Artificial Intelligence as the way to meet this need and the work on ZOE began."
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