ZOE will be placed in all guest cabins onboard MSC Bellissima and all upcoming MSC Cruises newbuilds (Image: MSC Cruises)
MSC Cruises has revealed details about ZOE, the world’s first virtual personal cruise assistant, which will be available in all guest cabins onboard its new flagship MSC Bellissima when she starts service this March.
Developed by MSC Cruises, Harman International and Samsung Electronics to enrich the MSC for ME ecosystem, the voice-enabled assistant will use artificial intelligence (AI), natural language processing and smart audio technology to interact with guests in seven languages.
The device, which features far field microphones and a professional quality speaker, is activated by voice command and has been trained to answer more than 800 of the most common questions from cruise guests. Hence, ZOE can offer guidance and recommendations, information about onboard services and even make reservations. ZOE will continue to learn and develop her responses following every real-life guest interaction.
Guests are also able to connect their phones directly to the device through Bluetooth to enjoy music, podcasts and more while in their cabin.
“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,” said Gianni Onorato, CEO of MSC Cruises. “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.”
MSC Cruises’ long-term innovation partner Samsung Electronics has also designed hotel management system software to enable ZOE to interact with in-cabin TVs. This provides guests with access to additional information and services.
“The partnership with MSC Cruises is an example of how our advanced solutions enhance the guest experience not only displays to access information and infotainment content onboard, but is also a true comprehensive digital experience,” said Hyesung Ha, senior vice president of the Enterprise Product Marketing Group at Samsung Electronics.
In future, ZOE will offer further personalisation and embedded experiences, becoming a cross-channel personal assistant that will take on new forms within MSC for Me.
“Today, customers have increasingly high expectations for connected experiences wherever they live, work – and now travel,” said Sanjay Dhawan, president of Connected Services and CTO at Harman. “Digital assistants and voice recognition technologies are transforming the opportunity to create a guest experience that is highly personal, adaptable and intuitive. Our team at Harman Connected Services is incredibly excited to bring this innovation to MSC Cruises as we modernise and enhance the guest experience from the start to the end.”
MSC Cruises will offer ZOE onboard every new ship following MSC Bellissima, including MSC Grandiosa and MSC Virtuosa in 2020.
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