Heading into high season for winter getaways, and with spring and summer vacations on the horizon, Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions are well-timed for the travel industry.
LAS VEGAS — Carnival Corporation & plc’s new Ocean Medallion is wearable tech for passengers, a 1.8-ounce disc (about the size of a quarter) that can be worn as a pendant on a wristband in a clip, or placed in a pocket, that will do everything from eliminate keycards by unlocking staterooms as passengers approach their stateroom door, to streamlining and expediting the port embarkation and disembarkation process, to allowing passengers to make onboard purchases without any transaction, cards or paper.
Similar in concept to other wearable tech devices like Walt Disney World’s MagicBand, Carnival says its Ocean Medallion “goes well beyond the growing number of wearables used by theme parks and other vacation companies by leaving behind the required action of ‘tap’ and ushering in a new paradigm for guest interactions.”
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 on Princess Cruises will be rolled out over multiple years on the entire Princess Cruises fleet.
In addition to stateroom access and onboard purchases, the Ocean Medallion will also enable passengers to locate friends and family around the cruise ship, deliver enhanced dining experiences based on food and beverage preferences, power an array of interactive gaming and immersive entertainment experiences and significantly enhance interactions with crew members and guests, says the cruise company.
The medallion can be accessorized with jewelry, clips, key chains and bands or carried in a pocket or pocketbook. Powered by proprietary technology developed by Carnival Corporation that features an ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) network of intelligent sensors and experiential computing devices, the Ocean Medallion “revolutionizes guest service not only for the cruise industry, but the broader vacation industry”. It will be officially introduced by Carnival Corp. CEO Arnold Donald on Jan. 5 when he becomes the first travel industry executive to deliver the opening keynote address at CES, the world’s largest annual consumer technology trade show.
“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. “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 is the only accessory needed to elevate the guest experience before, during and after each cruise in what the company is calling Ocean Medallion Class.
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.
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’, or xiOS. Carnival says xiOS seamlessly leverages hardware and software to enable all experiences including access, lodging, food and beverage, entertainment, retail, navigation, payment and media.
The guest experience platform is a key element of O·C·E·A·N or One Cruise Experience Access Network, a new effort by Carnival Corporation focused on expanding the cruise vacation market through guest experience innovation, the development of original experiential media content that includes new TV programs airing on national TV, and expanding its portfolio of exclusive and unique destinations.
The Ocean Medallion has no discernible technology – no on-off switch, no charging and no menu to navigate. The device, laser-etched with the guest’s name, ship and date of sailing, is provided to all passengers at no cost. Inside each guest’s Ocean Medallion are multiple communication technologies including Near Field Communication (NFC) and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE).