Even before you sail away on a Carnival cruise, the company operates more than 100 ships that travel to 740 destinations in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe, Asia, and Australia; you get to experience breakthrough technology from the cruise company's interactive customer experience initiatives. Using Internet of Things (IoT) technology, connected devices and artificial intelligence (AI), the company is on a quest to turn cruise ships into “smart cities at sea.”
Wearable Technology to Create a Seamless Cruise Experience
Carnival’s customer experience division is led by John Padgett, who was instrumental in developing Disney’s $1 billion MagicBand and MyMagic+ project and is now Carnival’s chief experience and innovation officer. He introduced the Ocean Medallion, a quarter-size 1.8-ounce waterproof wearable device powered by a battery that will last at least a month, at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2017. The Ocean Medallion, that you can carry in a pocket or in a bag or wear it around your wrist, neck or on your belt, is the central element that allows for personalization and the use of technology to elevate the cruising experience on and off the ship.
It was first deployed on the company’s Regal Princess ship—a 1,100-foot behemoth with 19 decks that can carry 3,500 passengers and 1,300 crew. The modern-day cruise ship has multiple restaurants, attractions, shows, and activities. With so many choices and no way you could experience everything on one cruise, personalization enabled by technology can help passengers get exactly what they want when they want it without spending much energy figuring it out themselves.
The Ocean Medallion—“the most extensive experiential Internet of Things that’s ever been done, ” according to Padgett—relies on 7,000 sensors placed throughout the multiple-decked ship. There are hundreds of miles of cables on the ship that support the technology. Every stateroom door and staff mobile device is also a sensor to enable the Internet of Things experience. Each passenger’s name is carved into a Medallion that’s connected to them, tracks their movements throughout the ship and works in conjunction with Ocean Compass, the app and service that displays personalised recommendations for every passenger on 4,000 digital interaction points from 55-inch high-res screens distributed throughout every area of the ship.
What Does the Ocean Medallion Do?
The promise of the Ocean Medallion is to provide everything you want, whenever you want it. As Padgett was quoted, “Our focus is the end-to-end guest experience being holistically delivered in a personalised way, a simplified way.”
Some of the things the medallion enables passengers to do include:
Internet of Things technology, artificial intelligence, and connected devices and the way they are deployed to provide exemplary personalised service to Carnival cruisers is the way the company hopes to achieve a competitive edge from other cruise lines such as MSC Cruises and Royal Caribbean who are also unveiling their own personalised tech experience.
Bernard Marr is a bestselling author, keynote speaker, and advisor to companies and governments. He has worked with and advised many of the world's best-known organisations. LinkedIn has recently ranked Bernard as one of the top 10 Business Influencers in the world (in fact, No 5 - just behind Bill Gates and Richard Branson). He writes on the topics of intelligent business performance for various publications including Forbes, HuffPost, and LinkedIn Pulse. His blogs and SlideShare presentation have millions of readers.