MSC Cruises has launched ZOE, which is claimed to be the world’s first virtual personal cruise assistant, which uses artificial intelligence (AI) technology.
The innovation will launched on ‘MSC Bellissima’ and will then be available on the next new ships, including the ‘MSC Grandiosa’ this year and ‘MSC Virtuosa’ in 2020.
Developed in partnership with Harman International and Samsung Electronics, ZOE is a voice-enabled AI tool and will be located in every stateroom. ZOE will be able to speak seven languages, answer hundreds of questions about the cruise and provide information about on board services and help to book a service.
Claiming to be an easy to use device – guests simply say, “OK ZOE”. 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.
The conversation designs, ZOE’s natural speech recognition and ability to transform speech into text and back again has undergone significant testing, in addition to a variety of other behavioural, experiential and performance tests. As an AI solution, ZOE is designed to continue learning and developing her responses based on real guest interactions.
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 to 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 vacation. 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,” he said.