Artificial intelligence (AI) has become prevalent almost everywhere. By the simplest of terms, AI is when machines using computer programs have been designed to be capable of thinking, acting, and learning like humans.
An example of AI technology that many may be familiar with is in healthcare, where use of robotics is seen to be on the rise. Currently, the use of robotics and artificial intelligence in this field can be seen in surgical settings, in the delivery of healthcare services (blood sampling, heart monitoring, fitness and health recommendations), and in robots who “converse” with patients after gathering data and then provide answers or suggestions based on the compiled findings. In healthcare environments, AI is also on the rise as a tool to assist professionals with their day-to-day tasks. For example, nurses can spend a large portion of a shift searching for medications, working on paperwork, coordinating lab results, and other tasks that take time away from hands-on patient care. The value of artificial intelligence in such a setting is that it helps to automate some of those processes, leaving the nurse with more time for delivering one-on-one patient care.
AI Taking Further In-Roads
Not as obvious, but still important, are the ways that artificial intelligence is becoming prevalent in other industries aside from healthcare. Regardless of industry, the main goal of AI use is to gather data and generate metrics. These metrics help assist the programming of computers that are built into certain machines - with the goal of these products eventually developing machine-learned, self-driven solutions.
In addition to using AI to augment human skills (like surgical robots in healthcare), artificial intelligence is especially suited for and expected to impact different aspects of project management and other business processes. For example, AI can be used for enhancing business-driven functions. Corporate departments that handle work such as IT administration, project planning and operations, risk assessment, product delivery automation, customer satisfaction ratings, and others are finding AI to be valuable.
The use of artificial intelligence in businesses is resulting in different positive outcomes.
While some industries are already seeing good results when AI is applied to internal processes, other outcomes are seen externally, such as in customer satisfaction levels rising - and companies dependent on good ratings are taking action. One example is the highly customer-centric travel industry that is currently experiencing an acceleration in the deployment of artificial intelligence use.
AI On the Move
For companies in the travel sector, AI allows travelers to design their unique preferences using various tools and then create tailored travel recommendations or services based on those choices.
UtripPro, a “data-driven personalization platform” uses sophisticated algorithms along with a compilation of a traveler’s interests and budget requirements to sort through options and deliver a personalized itinerary for the individual.
KLM Airlines, in partnership with DigitalGenious, uses an AI-powered platform to review customer service-based questions and then analyze and learn from past interactions and answers to provide more convenient replies via several customer service channels.
Hotels are also changing the industry with AI. Most people have heard about changes in hotels that include mobile check-in, concierge messaging, and smart-phone enabled technologies that control room temperature, locks, curtains, and the like, all designed to improve the guest experience. However, another new concept has hit the industry with great success. Some hotels are collecting personal information upfront, even before a booking is made, that relates to tastes, likes, and dislikes of the traveler. For example, at PersonalityHotels.com, the traveler can select from a menu of choices relating to what they want from a travel experience by simply using a slider action. Want more culture on the trip? Slide the bar right and the suggested activities instantly changes. After collecting this data, the site then recommends things like lodging choices, must see sights in the area, restaurant recommendations, and much more.
AI In the Cruise Industry
Changes in the use of AI are also found in the passenger cruise industry where the growth and benefits of artificial intelligence can be seen for both the companies using the technology and for the passengers.
Royal Caribbean relates that the use of this technology is about personalization and enhancing the traveler’s experience. According to Sol Rashidi, Chief Data and Cognitive Officer at Royal Caribbean, “From the first time they inquire about a promotion, or a destination, or a ship release, so when they call back, and they want to understand packages, offers, and promotions, to when they put their first deposit down” the cruise line is inundated with questions like “What's the dress code for a particular restaurant? What type of events do you have? Can you make reservations for a specialty restaurant? "We just added two to the party, can we adjust our reservation?" Royal Caribbean is using AI to analyze these types of inquiries to build out systems to help provide answers to passengers, while at the same time lightening the load on its customer service base of workers.
Another way Royal Caribbean is using AI is to enhance the perception of fun and convenience for passengers. August of 2108 saw the launch of a first-of-its-kind tool called SoundSeeker, an AI-equipped application that uses machine learning to create soundtracks based on a passenger’s photos. According to Cruise Addicts, the tool, a technological collaboration between Royal Caribbean, Berklee College of Music, and technologists from around the world, “the AI in SoundSeeker uses Google Cloud Vision to identify objects, facial expressions and colors in a user’s photo by referencing the roadmap developed by the leaders in music theory at Berklee. SoundSeeker then finds the musical elements corresponding to each mood in the photo to compose a genuinely distinct audio and visual photo album.”
Luxury cruise lines, as part of an effort to provide stellar, bespoke services, are using AI technology that gives them information faster than before. MSC Cruises, in partnership with HARMAN, is gearing up to debut an AI powered digital assistant on the MSC Belissima as part of the cruise line’s digital initiative project. According to HARMAN, the AI-powered personal assistant that can communicate in English, French, Italian, Spanish, German, Brazilian Portuguese, and Mandarin, “is capable of learning users’ preferences and meeting the needs of a truly modern consumer. It can communicate, order room service, offer quick answers, and act as a 24/7 virtual butler.”
Cruise Planning with AI
One of the most difficult parts of any vacation planning is weeding through options. Similar to the tool provided by UtripPro, JetBlue has partnered with CruisingStore to make this process easier and more enjoyable. Together, they have introduced a platform based on artificial intelligence technology that takes data collected from JetBlue’s cruise travel site and helps to make suggestions based on a traveler’s destination preference, budgetary restrictions, and other factors.
Regardless of industry, artificial intelligence is seen as a means of empowering companies who use it to gain intelligence into their business, develop proactive solutions based on that intelligence, and, in the end, provide better customized experiences for all involved.
Ghostwritten for online publication.