Mobile Travel App Embraces Cognitive Computing
The Orlando Tourism Board is looking to IBM Watson to provide personalized local recommendations for visitors
In a push to nurture a more frictionless tourism experience in Florida, Visit Orlando developed an app named WayBlazer which integrates with IBM Watson technology to test and share key behavioral insights with the travel industry. The app will be using Watson services like the Natural Language Classifier and AlchemyLanguage to provide a personalized experience where users can speak casually with their phone.
As is the case with other customization services we’ve seen, users specify their interests and other factors like time of day, location and weather to help WayBlazer return relevant results. The app learns more about the user the more interactions take place.
What makes WayBlazer special is that users can send queries in a conversational manner asking questions like “find me something fun for kids to do tomorrow” or “where can we drink locally brewed beer?” These types of queries often return flat results on other traveler apps and search engines. Thus the group thought to source more nuanced information that reflects contributions from across the state. For example, the app layers on data from countless other sources including TripAdvisor, local/national publications, destination experts and tourism board’s own data.
Visit Orlando’s President and CEO George Aguel clarifies the end benefit to in-market Florida travelers,
“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…Visitors to Orlando can be awed and sometimes overwhelmed at the array of unique attraction, dining, shopping and entertainment options.”
In the spirit of added value for end-users, WayBlazer also incorporates features grounded in augmented reality, ‘one-touch’ access to a destination specialist and unique game-oriented features (such as an ingenious selfie-scavenger hunt where users can earn savings for their selfies).