Robots may soon take over … the hotel concierge desk.
Hilton Worldwide and IBM announced a collaboration to pilot "Connie"—the first Watson-enabled robot concierge in the hospitality industry. Connie draws on domain knowledge from Watson and WayBlazer to inform guests on local tourist attractions, dining recommendations and hotel services.
Watson is a cognitive computing technology platform that marks an era where systems understand the world in the way that humans do—through senses, learning and experience.
"We're focused on reimagining the entire travel experience to make it smarter, easier and more enjoyable for guests," said Jonathan Wilson, VP of product innovation and brand services at Hilton. "By tapping into partners like IBM Watson, we're wowing our guests in the most unpredictable ways."
Connie, named for Hilton's founder Conrad Hilton, marks the first time IBM has developed a Watson-enabled robot for the hospitality market. Connie will work side-by-side with Hilton's Team Members to assist with visitor requests, personalize the guest experience and provide travelers with information.
Currently stationed near reception at the Hilton McLean in Virginia, Connie is learning to interact with guests and respond to their questions in a friendly and informative manner.
"This project with Hilton and WayBlazer represents an important shift in human-machine interaction," said Rob High, IBM fellow and VP and chief technology officer of IBM Watson. "Watson helps Connie understand and respond naturally to the needs and interests of Hilton's guests—which is an experience that's particularly powerful in a hospitality setting, where it can lead to deeper guest engagement."
Connie uses a combination of Watson APIs, including Dialog, Speech to Text, Text to Speech and Natural Language Classifier, to enable it to greet guests upon arrival and to answer questions about hotel amenities, services and hours of operation. By tapping into WayBlazer's extensive travel domain knowledge powered by Watson, Connie can also suggest local attractions outside the hotel.
(Editor’s Note: Connie probably won’t be able to secure your VIP executive tickets to an exclusive concert or make last-minute dinner arrangements at the top restaurant in town—yet.)
Hilton and IBM released the following video, promoting the Connie pilot program.