Next time you check in a Hilton, you might find Connie, a robot concierge powered by IBM’s Watson artificial intelligence platform. At the Hilton McLean in Virginia, Connie is learning to interact with guests and respond to their queries.
“Hi Connie. How may I help you? I am Hilton’s newest concierge in training thanks to a pilot project between Hilton and IBM”
Next time you check in a Hilton, you might find Connie. A robot concierge, powered by IBM’s Watson artificial intelligence platform. At the Hilton McLean in Virginia, Connie is learning to interact with guests and respond to their queries.
Connie can recognize and respond to questions that guests might ask of a concierge. Each interaction allows the system to learn, adapt and improve its recommendations.
Right now, Connie will greet guests and answer questions about hotel amenities, services and hours of operation.
It’s important to understand one thing. The robot isn’t doing any of this. It’s just the tool through which people can interact with the AI system. That’s how IBM is hoping to sell Watson services.
It’s not the first time a hotel has experimented with a robot concierge. Last year a robot hotel opened in Japan with robots, but that was more about novelty and hardware.
IBM wants to build a major business on Watson and is pushing it hard. It’s offering $5 million in prizes to developers who make the biggest breakthroughs using Watson by 2020.
Watson debuted on the U.S. TV show “Jeopardy” in 2011 when it was a giant server, but it’s gone on to become a distributed system that lives in the cloud. IBM offers its various AI technologies like image recognition and language processing as services via APIs.
And that’s how Connie is interacting with guests.
Connie could be appearing at other Hilton hotels in the future.