IBM is teaming up with hotel chain Hilton to launch “Connie,” the world’s first AI-enabled robot concierge.
Connie, a small humanoid robot named after Hilton’s founder Conrad Hilton, draws on knowledge provided by Watson and travel platform WayBlazer to advise guests on hotel features and make local recommendations.
The robotic concierge is currently stationed near reception at the Hilton McLean in Virginia, and utilises a combination of Watson APIs, such as Dialogue, Speech to Text and Natural Language Classifiers, to assist guests in any way possible. Perhaps more impressive, Connie is able to able to learn, adapt and improve its recommendations the more it interacts with visitors. Hotel staff also have access to a log of Connie’s dialogue, enabling them to make further improvements to their level of service.
Rob High, IBM fellow and vice president and chief technology officer of IBM Watson, believes that the Connie robot is another example of the way that Watson is changing human-machine interactions.
“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,” he said.
Connie robot, Watson and IoT
The concierge experience may be a new application for IBM’s Watson supercomputer, but the technology has been used to power other IoT solutions. In particular, the scale and complexity of IoT data is likely to present challenges for programmable computing. Instead, cognitive IoT, of the kind being pioneered by Watson, will learn from the environment and its interactions and offer a more effective way of understanding and extending the insights gained from IoT data.
To demonstrate its commitment to the technology, IBM recently opened a new Watson Internet of Things global headquarters in Munich, Germany and has secured two new IoT partnerships with Finnish companies based in the building and energy industries.