LONDON: MSC Cruises has unveiled the world’s first virtual personal cruise assistant.
Developed in partnership with HARMAN and Samsung Electronics, ZOE is a voice-enabled artificial intelligence (AI) found in every cabin that can speak seven languages.
Able to answer hundreds of questions about the cruise, the virtual personal cruise assistant can provide information about onboard services, provide guidance and suggestions or help to book a service.
The advanced voice recognition feature makes it easy to control and access information using only voice commands.
ZOE is a first for the cruise industry and will launch on MSC Bellissima and be available on each new ship in the MSC Cruises‘ fleet, including the upcoming MSC Grandiosa and MSC Virtuosa in 2020.
Gianni Onorato, MSC Cruises’ CEO commented: “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.
“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.”
ZOE has been designed to enrich the MSC for Me ecosystem and interacts with the in-cabin TV.
To ensure ZOE could respond effectively to all guests, she has been programmed and trained to respond to more than 800 of the most commonly asked questions with thousands of different variants of each question.Testing was carried out on the conversation designs, ZOE’s natural speech recognition and ability to transform speech into text and back again, in addition to scores of other behavioural, experiential and performance tests. As an artificial intelligence solution, ZOE is designed to continue learning and developing her responses based on real guest interactions.
While ZOE acts as a 24/7 virtual personal cruise assistant, she is not designed to replace human interaction between crew and guest, but rather to provide guests with the flexibility to communicate and discover information from the comfort of their cabins.