Social robots could change the customer experience for hotel visitors

At the reception desk of a Hilton hotel in McLean, Virginia, a robot named Connie could help you get around town, find a museum or recommend what to do during your visit. It stands nearly two feet tall, working side-by-side with hotel staff to greet guests upon arrival, assist with visitor requests and answer questions about the hotel. Connie, named after Hilton’s founder Conrad Hilton, marks the first time IBM has developed a Watson-enabled robot for the hospitality industry.

Though already a fast learner, Connie is getting on-the-job training. The friendly concierge is powered by Watson, IBM’s cognitive computing technology platform that allows systems to understand the world in the way humans do: through senses, learning and experience. The robot is the NAO from Aldebaran. Over time, it will learn, adapt and improve its recommendations after interactions with guests, and provide data on interactions that were previously impossible to capture, enabling continual improvement of the customer experience.

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