MSC Releases Details on Virtual Cruise Assistant

msc for me zoe personal cruise assistant
The ZOE device will be able to connect to guests' smartphones for listening to music and more. - Photo by MSC Cruises

MSC Cruises has released new details on their virtual cruise assistant technology, ZOE.

Developed in cooperation with HARMAN and Samsung, ZOE is a voice-enabled artificial intelligence that will be in every cabin on ZOE-enabled ships. It can speak seven languages, and is able to answer hundreds of questions about the cruise, provide information about onboard services, and even help book services. To use it, all passengers have to do is say “Okay ZOE,” and it is ready to help.

ZOE will launch on the line’s new ship MSC Bellissima when it debuts in March, and will be available on each new ship after that, including MSC Grandiosa and Virtuosa in 2020.

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.”

ZOE’s design includes far field microphones and a professional-quality speaker to provide the best audio experience. It will have fast response times thanks to a quad-core processor and travelers can connect their phones directly to the device through Bluetooth to listen to music, podcasts, and more. In the future, ZOE will be able to offer even more personalized experiences. It has been designed to enhance the MSC for Me system, and interacts with the in-cabin television, as well. 

To ensure ZOE could respond effectively to all passengers, it has been programmed and trained to respond to over 800 commonly asked questions with thousands of variants of each question. As an artificial intelligence, ZOE was made to continue learning and developing in its responses based on real guest interactions, which means the more passengers use it, the better it will become at answering questions and providing assistance. Learn more about ZOE here.

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How do you feel about having a "listening ear" in your cabin? Would you feel comfortable using ZOE?

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