When the world’s largest leisure travel company, Carnival, wanted to create the ultimate vacation experience aboard their ships, they realized they needed to improve the convergence among the physical and digital worlds into a seamless experience.
Placing their guests at the center of the experience design and empowering commerce capabilities everywhere, Carnival announced the OceanMedallion™ (at CES January 2017), a small wearable token connected to a specific guest, interacting with 7K sensors onboard. Carnival rolled out the OceanMedallion™ onboard the Regal Princess in November 2017. As the largest cruise ship in Carnival Corporation’s fleet, the Regal Princess carries over 3500 guests and 1340 crew.
“We believe that OceanMedallion™ is the next wave of vacation travel,” said Janet Swartz, Group President of Princess Cruises during an interview with Cheddar Media.
Transforming the experience with commerce everywhere
The medallions are connected to an ecosystem on board the ship – Ocean Compass, a network of thousands of sensors and smart devices working to provide personalized recommendations and a plethora of exceptional opportunities.
All of the onboard technology tracks where the guests are, what they’re doing, and what they might want to do next.
It may appear very Big Brother-eque and a potential security hazard should the medallion get lost or stolen; but the medallions are solely for identification purposes. No personal information is kept on the device other than an encrypted ID number. All personal information is encrypted and stored in the cloud; and by using Bluetooth Low Energy and NFC to connect to the sensors onboard it creates an additional layer of encryption protection. With multiple layers of security, it works with a smartphone app and allows guests to customize it and do exactly what they want. Therefore, addressing any concerns of intrusiveness on the ship. If a guest wants to be left alone onboard, the medallion allows the system to adjust based on how much they use it. Guests may also opt to not wear the medallion at all.
In October 2018, Princess Cruises announced that all Caribbean Princess passengers will now have access to the OceanMedallion™. “Having 100 percent of our guests using OceanMedallions on every sailing of Caribbean Princess is a significant milestone that we are celebrating on the path to fleet-wide implementation,” said Swartz in a Travel Agent Central article.
The innovation that is taking hold both on land and sea with Carnival has not gone unnoticed. Cruise Critic named Princess Cruises as one of the top cruise lines in their 11th annual editor’s pick awards this month. It was also announced in November that Carnival will be recognized as a CES 2019 Innovation Awards Honoree for OceanMedallion™ and on display in the Innovation Awards Showcase at the upcoming CES 2019 in Las Vegas.
“Few accolades are as prestigious as the CES Innovation Awards and we are incredibly honored to receive this recognition for game-changing innovation,” said John Padgett, Carnival’s Chief Digital Officer to Travel Daily News.
It will be interesting to see how the rest of the travel industry takes on experiential IoT in 2019 and what new trends emerge from CES 2019 in January.
For a full look at the enhanced experience offered with the OceanMedallion™ from before, during and even after the vacation, watch this short video from Barrhead Travel.
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