Carnival is introducing a personalized concierge service for its cruise ship guests through its Ocean Medallion wearable.

The wearable will do everything from unlock your cabin door to check you in for a reservation at a restaurant, and it will work both during and after cruise vacations. Arnold Donald, CEO the world’s largest cruise company, introduced the Ocean Medallion at a keynote speech at CES 2017, the big tech trade show in Las Vegas this week. Donald isn’t from a tech company, but his presence at CES shows how technology has spread into all forms of business.

The wearable combines a personal digital vacation concierge and an Internet of Things network of intelligent sensors to provide better service for millions of passengers on 10 different cruise lines.

The Ocean Medallion enables sophisticated wayfinding, food and beverage on demand, and an array of interactive gaming and personalized entertainment experiences. It is the size of a quarter and weighs 1.8 ounces.

Ocean Medallion wearable can unlock your room on a cruise ship.

Above: Ocean Medallion wearable can unlock your room on a cruise ship.

Image Credit: Carnival

The device is powered by proprietary technology developed by Carnival that features an IoT network of intelligent sensors and experiential computing devices. While the Ocean Medallion resembles the wearables used at theme parks, Carnival said its wearables go well beyond those in terms of capability. Nytec designed the hardware system, working with Carnival.

The wearables will streamline and expedite the port embarkation and disembarkation process; allow guests to access their staterooms as they approach the door (no keycard required); locate friends and family around the cruise ship; enable guests to purchase merchandise without any transaction, cards, or paper; deliver enhanced dining experiences, based on food and beverage preferences; and power an array of interactive gaming and immersive entertainment experiences.

“With this interactive technology platform, we are poised to have our global cruise line brands at the vanguard of forever changing the guest experience paradigm — not just in the cruise industry, but in the larger vacation market and potentially other industries,” said Donald, in a statement. “Our focus is on exceeding guest expectations every single day and consistently delivering great experiences, and we do that extremely well. Now we are in prime position to take the guest experience to a level never before considered possible and build on cruising’s popularity and value as the fastest-growing segment of the vacation sector.”

The Ocean Medallion pairs with an optional personalized digital concierge called the Ocean Compass — a digital experience portal available online, on smart devices, on kiosks in home ports, on stateroom TVs, on interactive surfaces located throughout the cruise ship, and on devices carried by all guest service hosts.

Ocean Medallion lets you interact with interactive displays on a cruise ship.

Above: Ocean Medallion lets you interact with interactive displays on a cruise ship.

Image Credit: Carnival

Both innovations combine with an invisible network of proprietary sensors and computing devices embedded throughout the ship, home ports, and destinations that collectively form the Experience Innovation Operating System known as xiOS.

The proprietary xiOS uses a guest-centric, IoT approach to enable guests to maximize their experiences in real time based on their choices and preferences — delivering enhanced personalization across every aspect of their cruise vacation. The xiOS seamlessly leverages hardware and software to enable all guest experiences, including access, lodging, food and beverage, entertainment, retail, navigation, payment, and media.

The new guest experience platform will debut on Princess Cruises’ Regal Princess in November 2017, followed by Royal Princess and Caribbean Princess in 2018. The new Medallion Class Ocean Vacations will be rolled out over multiple years on the entire Princess Cruises fleet.

The guest experience platform is a key element of OCEAN, or One Cruise Experience Access Network, a new effort by Carnival focused on expanding the cruise vacation market through guest experience innovation. This includes the development of original experiential media content and inclusion of new TV programs airing on national TV and the expansion of its portfolio of exclusive and unique destinations.

Guests can use Ocean Compass to enhance their vacations, select experiences, and create personalized, event-based itineraries. No guest is required to have a personal device to access Ocean Compass. The Ocean Compass also serves as a digital media platform that offers custom experiential media content, as well as access to vacation photos captured during a cruise.

You can interact with Carnival's portal via a smartphone or other devices.

Above: You can interact with Carnival’s Ocean Compass portal via a smartphone or other devices.

Image Credit: Carnival

The Ocean Medallion wearable is laser-etched with the guest’s name, ship, and date of sailing and will be provided to passengers at no extra cost. Inside each guest’s Ocean Medallion are multiple communication technologies, including Near Field Communication (NFC) and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE).

“The Ocean Medallion creates an elevated level of service that’s made possible by technology but doesn’t feel like technology,” said John Padgett, chief experience and innovation officer for Carnival, in a statement. “Whether guests are exploring new experience options, having a drink delivered to their seat at the night’s show, or trying their luck gaming while lounging poolside, we will assist our guests wherever they are, while engaging with them in a uniquely personal way. Our mission is to help our guests make the most of every moment of their vacation.”

It’s easy to get lost on a big cruise ship, but the Medallion enables point-to- point wayfinding across the ship, thanks to an intelligent navigation assistant — similar to a car or phone GPS app.

It also facilitates ordering, menu exploration, and delivery of food and beverage services. Guests can even place orders and view the whereabouts of their food and beverage from anywhere on a ship, as well as placing future orders and having them delivered wherever they plan to be at a designated time.

Guests will be able to conveniently and securely make payment for experiences using their Ocean Medallion. They can associate any number of credit cards, reward cards, gift cards, and advanced payment services (Apple Pay, PayPal, etc.) with Medallion Pay.

Lippincott helped implement Carnival’s vision.

“We were thinking pretty much like a startup, although Carnival Corp. is an established company with 50 percent market share,” said Randall Stone, chief experience officer and director of Lippincott’s Innovation Lab, in an email. “They enlisted the help of us to bring their vision to market. That aspect is often the last part of an innovation project. This time it was part of it.”

“As an innovation team partner, we worked across teams to blend experience innovation with the expression of the new brand,” Stone added. “Our work is helping to establish a common language across development partners and an experience that never loses sight of the new guest experience.”

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