The No. 1 most visited destination in the U.S. – known for innovative vacation experiences – unveiled another “first” for visitors today with the beta launch of a destination mobile app that uses WayBlazer’s IBM Watson-enabled technology. The new app taps Watson’s artificial intelligence to understand conversational language from users and offer personalized recommendations of Orlando experiences that best fit an individual’s needs and preferences.
In addition, the Visit Orlando App also features augmented reality experiences for visitors to explore, have fun and earn savings throughout the destination.
The app was created by Visit Orlando, Central Florida’s official tourism organization and trusted source of visitor information. It is now in public beta and can be downloaded in Apple App and Google Play stores.
How it Works:
Travelers begin their app experience by speaking or typing in natural language into their mobile device, the same way people normally ask questions in conversation. The Visit Orlando App uses Watson’s Natural Language Classifier and AlchemyLanguage services to enable this personalized and natural language experience. Because of WayBlazer’s Watson-enabled machine learning capabilities, the app also continuously learns from previous interactions and gains knowledge about user preferences, helping further refine its recommendations over time.
Once a user asks a question, the app narrows available options based on individual-specific factors such as the traveler’s interests, time of day, location and weather. It then further refines the final recommendations by applying insights from numerous data sources such as media stories, consumer and expert blogs, trusted third-party travel resources such as TripAdvisor, and Visit Orlando’s extensive database.
Sample natural language questions a traveler could ask the app include:
- Where can I find a scenic view of Orlando?
- Where can I eat that has live music?
- What’s something adventurous to do?
(Editor Note: See accompanying graphic illustration)
Additional interactive features:
In addition to artificial intelligence, the Visit Orlando App includes other interactive features to assist and entertain travelers including:
- Augmented Reality “Around Me” Capabilities – Easily locate and learn about relevant dining and entertainment experiences in your immediate vicinity as the app adds an overlay of augmented reality information to your phone camera’s view.
- Augmented Reality “Magical Orb” Game – Unlock Orlando deals by hunting and capturing Magical Orbs that appear throughout the destination via augmented reality on your phone camera. Collect all to enter a sweepstakes for prizes.
- Interactive “Selfie Scavenger Hunt” – Earn savings for taking selfies throughout the destination such as Orlando-themed photo filters, discounts, and a unique virtual souvenir to remember your trip: a 3-D “photo cube” of all your selfies.
- One-Touch Destination Specialist Service – For an even more personalized experience, you can instantly connect to a helpful (and human) Orlando Destination Specialist with just one touch.
- Ability to Purchase Attraction Tickets
“As the first destination to create a mobile app using this advanced level of cognitive computing, our goal is to help visitors maximize their Orlando vacation in a way that is personally meaningful to them,” said George Aguel, Visit Orlando president and CEO. “Visitors to Orlando can be awed and sometimes overwhelmed at the array of unique attraction, dining, shopping and entertainment options. It can actually take 67 days to do everything! This innovative technology is like having your own personal Orlando expert 24/7. It analyzes numerous options, extensive data, and insights from destination experts and fellow travelers to create a recommended experience that is just right for you.”
According to Terry Jones, Chairman of WayBlazer, “Personalized and relevant insights are becoming crucial to the future of travel. By integrating this cognitive platform in a destination mobile app, Visit Orlando is pioneering an invaluable tool for visitors – one that gives recommendations that fit the visitor’s actual preferences and profile.”
“WayBlazer with Watson delivers a more personalized and engaging experience for Visit Orlando customers, allowing them to experience and take full advantage of all the destination has to offer,” said Stephen Gold, Vice President, IBM Watson. “Visitors can interact in a more natural, intuitive way, seamlessly navigating the wealth of information available about their destination, delivering a better outcome.”
WayBlazer is the world’s first cognitive travel platform focused on delivering artificial intelligence to the travel industry. Bringing together IBM Watson and proprietary cognitive computing technology, WayBlazer’s AI analyzes cues and triggers from the traveler’s search to yield personalized travel and hotel recommendations. WayBlazer is led by seasoned travel and tech entrepreneurs, including the Founder of Travelocity/Founding Chairman of Kayak.com, the former GM of IBM Watson, and the former President of Sabre Hospitality Solutions.
About IBM Watson: Pioneering a New Era of Computing
Watson represents a new era in computing called cognitive computing, where systems understand the world the way humans do: through senses, learning, and experience. Watson continuously learns from previous interactions, gaining in value and knowledge over time. With Watson, organizations are harnessing the power of cognitive computing to transform industries, help professionals do their jobs better, and solve important challenges. Watson is open to the world, allowing a growing community of developers, students, entrepreneurs and tech enthusiasts to easily tap into the most advanced and diverse cognitive computing platform available today. For more information, visit: ibm.com/Watson and ibm.com/press/watson.