In a keynote delivered yesterday morning at CES, Arnold Donald, President and CEO of Carnival Cruises, launched a brand new cruise experience that Carnival believes will revolutionize its business and the industry.
Carnival Cruises is a company that moves 11 million passengers each year on more than 100 ships to 740 ports worldwide, with 250,000 crew. I know, big numbers! That equates to 80 million vacation days per year spent on the Carnival Cruise fleet. The team at Carnival set out to create a new platform with proprietary and public technology to put the customer experience at the center of everything.
They had a number of criteria to meet including interaction and simplicity for guests and a way to bring people together through technology that allows them to connect more deeply on their journeys.
That technology product is OCEAN or One Cruise Experience Access Network. It is accompanied by a new piece of hardware, the OCEAN Medallion. This medallion is a simple, elegant device that can be worn on the wrist or around the neck.
Along with the medallion, which arrives before the customer even sets sail, comes an entire experiential ecosystem which allows the guest to plan and prepare their trip, become ocean ready with visa and passport details, and book activities. Once aboard, customers can open their cabin door, find out where fellow travelers are on the ship, play games, connect to media, and share memories with loved ones at home. OCEAN Concierge can use the medallion to make recommendations tailored to the preferences of the guests, using hundreds of screens located around the ship.
The concept, enabled by technology but not tech-centric, is designed to enhance the customer experience before, during, and after their cruise.
John Padgett, Chief Experience and Innovations Officer, and Michael Jungen, SVP of Guest Experience Design and Technology, joined Arnold Donald on stage to talk about the technology and the development.
The key is the personalization of the experience from evolving guest genome and using experience intelligence as the rocket fuel of OCEAN Concierge to take the brand beyond segmentation to a point where every guest becomes a segment.
Under the hood is an array of sensors, readers, actuators, and other technology. The ship becomes the device on which the platform sits as the operating system and the experiences are the apps. The medallion is the persistent identifier for each guest and the connection to the experience ecosystem. It needs to be intuitive, not disruptive.
One challenge that Carnival had to meet was installation time. Cruise ships never sleep or take weekends off. They enjoy just ten days off per year in a dry dock in Palermo, Italy. In that time, they had to install more than 70,000 sensors and 4,000 screens.
It is an inclusive, not exclusive, approach and everyone can have an elevated experience; this “personalization at scale is a game changer” for large organizations catering to big groups.
Carnival plans to roll this out to every ship in its fleet and eventually be able to leverage its data across the entire business to continually improve and automate services. This, of course, leads into things like AI and Machine Learning.
The project wasn’t undertaken in isolation; Carnival called upon a number of partners for the project which will scale to 100 ships worldwide that are all communicating in real time.
Carnival Cruise calls the OCEAN Medallion the next wave of innovation, but perhaps it’s the “Internet of Oceans”.
This type of personalization and ensuring an optimal user experience is something done “by design” and therefore, not something to be rushed into. Research, consumer studies, planning, and technology all come into play, as well as investments. Not for the faint of heart.
The good news is more and more organizations, both private and public sector, are approaching digital experiences with the consumer, the patient, the student, the guest, the fan, the employee, or the citizen experience in front of mind.
At Radius Innovation & Development, we are fortunate enough to work with many of these forward-thinking organizations and retain UX experts on our team who can discover spoken and unspoken needs in order to help our customers craft the right experiences. Once captured and well understood, Radius ensures the experience never gets lost in the discovery, design, development, or deployment of these solutions.
Radius’ ability to do this comes from the fact that we are a design firm that goes well beyond conceptualizing and drawing pretty pictures. Our software engineering capabilities, integrated manufacturing capabilities, and gigantic supply chain reach through Jabil, help us design right the first time and provide our customers a low risk, low friction, high speed to market approach. Or as we like to say: Innovation. Realized. Rapidly.