MSC Seaview during her sea trails

MSC Cruises has revealed that its industry-first digital personal assistant will be named Zoe. MSC Cruises’ CEO Gianni Onorato made the announcement this week at the 12th annual CLIA Conference 2018, held in Southampton where he was keynote speaker.

Southampton is also where MSC Cruises will christen MSC Bellissima, the ship on which this tool will first be available.

“A way to combine tradition with our continued focus on innovation”

The topic for Onorato’s speech was the significance of technology in the cruise industry and he said: “As a family-owned company with over 300 years of seafaring heritage, it is a maritime tradition to involve the female members of the family in key events and developments.

“Zoe is a family name as well as being a name that is internationally recognised and easy to pronounce no matter what language a guest speaks. Choosing a family name was a way to combine tradition with our continued focus on innovation.”

The introduction of the Digital Personal Assistant marks a new phase in the ongoing evolution of MSC Cruises’ digital innovation programme MSC For Me, which was first introduced in 2017 with the launch of MSC Meraviglia.

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This connected cruise experience is also now available on MSC Seaside, MSC Splendida with a special adaptation for Asia and will be introduced on MSC Seaview when the latest flagship comes into service on 10 June.

The Zoe device

Zoe is being developed in partnership with HARMAN International, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Samsung Electronics, which has also developed audio solutions for the likes of Amazon, Google and Microsoft. This new collaboration is as the result of the long-standing relationship between MSC Cruises and Samsung.

A bespoke device is being designed specifically for use in the cabins on board and will be available in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, German, Brazilian Portuguese and Mandarin. The primary objective of this digital service is to provide the guest with a simple way to find information that traditionally is asked in person at the Guest Relations desk. This way the guest can find the information without having to leave their cabin.

As with all of the technology on board, this is not designed to replace human interaction between crew and guest, but complement it by answering frequently asked questions and therefore allowing crew to focus on a more personalised specific support.

Onorato also revealed that the next innovations to be introduced will include a more personalised one-to-one customer engagement powered by Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) & Machine Learning, smart cabin, of which the Digital Assistant is the first step as well as robotic entertainment.

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