New Visit Orlando app launches pioneering IBM Watson AI tech

The Visit Orlando tourist board has gone live with a beta version of a new destination app that it claims is a world first for using IBM’s Watson artificial intelligence (AI) technology.

The central Florida tourism organisation has teamed up with WayBlazer to develop the app which is now available in the Apple App and Google Play stores.

The new app uses artificial intelligence to understand conversational language to offer users personalised recommendations of Orlando experiences that fit individual preferences.

In addition, the Visit Orlando App also features augmented reality experiences for visitors to explore, have fun and earn savings throughout the destination.

George Aguel, Visit Orlando president and chief executive, said: “As the first destination to create a mobile app using this advanced level of cognitive computing, our goal is to help visitors maximise 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. It can actually take 67 days to do everything.

“This innovative technology is like having your own personal Orlando expert 24/7. It analyses numerous options, extensive data, and insights from destination experts and fellow travellers to create a recommended experience that is just right for you.”

Terry Jones, chairman of WayBlazer, added: “Personalised and relevant insights are becoming crucial to the future of travel.

“By integrating this cognitive platform in a destination mobile app, Visit Orlando is pioneering an invaluable tool for visitors – one that gives recommendations that fit the visitor’s actual preferences and profile.”

Stephen Gold, vice president, IBM Watson, said: “WayBlazer with Watson delivers a more personalised and engaging experience for Visit Orlando customers, allowing them to experience and take full advantage of all the destination has to offer.

“Visitors can interact in a more natural, intuitive way, seamlessly navigating the wealth of information available about their destination, delivering a better outcome.”

In addition to artificial intelligence, the Visit Orlando App includes other interactive features including augmented reality and a “Magical Orb” game, an Interactive “Selfie Scavenger Hunt”, one touch connectivity to a human Orlando expert and the ability to purchase attraction tickets.

How it Works:

Travellers begin their app experience by speaking or typing in natural language into their mobile device, the same way people normally ask questions in conversation.

The Visit Orlando App uses Watson’s Natural Language Classifier and AlchemyLanguage services to enable this personalised and natural language experience.

The app also continuously learns from previous interactions and gains knowledge about user preferences, helping further refine its recommendations over time.

Once a user asks a question, the app narrows available options based on individual-specific factors such as the traveller’s interests, time of day, location and weather.

It then further refines the final recommendations by applying insights from numerous data sources such as media stories, consumer and expert blogs, trusted third-party travel resources such as TripAdvisor, and Visit Orlando’s database.

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