Best Travel/Hospitality Deployment - Digital Signage 
 Screenmedia Integration Award 


Project: Digital signage and interactive wayfinding
Client: Royal Caribbean International
Submitted by: Four Winds Interactive


Brief overview of the project/technology:

Royal Caribbean tapped Four Winds Interactive (FWi) to design a highly intuitive, yet complex passenger-facing communication network onboard Royal Caribbean’s newest, most technologically advanced cruise ships, Oasis and Allure of the Seas. With over 200 digital displays operating off of the FWi digital signage network, the system provides real-time data that offers a guest experience like no other and plays an integral part in assisting passengers with navigating a vessel 1,187 feet long and 208 feet wide, the world’s largest cruise ship. The signage network is very diverse with everything from passive screens displaying non-interactive information to sophisticated interactive touchscreens providing real-time data and wayfinding. Features such as dynamic venue occupancy rates, shown through a color coded thermometer for each restaurant, are possible through sophisticated data integration between FWi and Royal Caribbean's back-end systems. Interactive mapping is another popular feature that is being offered on over forty 46" touch screens, designed to give guests step by step directions to their destination, similar to the directions produced by popular online mapping solutions. The digital signs also offer support for multiple languages, giving guests the choice between English, Spanish, French, Italian, German and Portuguese. Interactive signage, in particular, has had a marked effect on reducing guest inquiries with regards to navigation around the ship, activity schedules and dining options. Non-interactive, scheduled signage has operationally supported the ships as it's been used to inform onboard guests of inaugural sailing events, production show times, and shore excursions. Numerous media outlets have recognized the innovative digital signage technology on the ship and commented on the intuitive and advanced technology offered for wayfinding, event details, dining, and more.

Objectives of the deployment or the technology:
To provide a highly intuitive, yet complex passenger-facing communication network onboard Royal Caribbean’s newest, most technologically advanced cruise ships, Oasis and Allure of the Seas.  The digital signage plays an integral part in assisting passengers with navigating a vessel 1,187 feet long and 208 feet wide, the world’s largest cruise ships. Royal Caribbean was looking to implement digital signage to help them achieve technological innovation, real-time interactivity and ultimately, enhanced operational efficiency. While one or two of these facets may be incorporated into a cruise ship's communications system, it is unlikely that you will find all three. Facing challenges that cruise lines have faced for some time, such as providing informative yet unobtrusive guest communications as well as maximizing cost-savings, Royal Caribbean International went in search of a digital signage solution that would fuse all the three aforementioned factions into one network. This highly complex digital signage network would need to be designed in a way to offer guests an unparalleled travel experience while creating significant back-end efficiencies.

Results achieved:
Behind the scenes, the digital signage network allows Royal Caribbean to create cost-savings efficiencies ranging from minimizing demand for guest services and concierge staff to streamlining restaurant operations. Sophisticated data integration between Royal Caribbean's back-end systems and FWi's hardware and software solutions has resulted in reduced lines and wait times and increased guest satisfaction, resulting in the development of a similar network on Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas. "The interactive system onboard Oasis of the Seas has given us the opportunity to provide our guests with a seamless experience," said Lisa Bauer, Senior Vice President, Hotel Operations, Royal Caribbean International. "The interactive features and information on the system has helped our guests have all the information they need at their fingertips." The signage has operationally supported Oasis of the Seas, serving as the preferred platform for safety demonstrations, and informing onboard guests of sailing events, production show times, and shore excursions. Numerous media outlets have recognized the innovative digital signage technology on the ship. Travel Agent Central saw the immediate need for the interactive wayfinding, noting "We had to use it more than once to find our way back to our cabin!" Cruise Direct concurred: "While obviously the ship is enormous and state of the art, to me the most innovative feature was the interactive deck maps." At the recent InformationWeek 500 Conference, Royal Caribbean was awarded a ranking of 41 out of a list of 500 companies for the most innovative uses of technology as well as a spot on InformationWeek Magazine’s 20 Great Ideas to Steal list for its innovative uses of digital signage aboard Oasis of the Seas. Four Winds Interactive was also recognized with a DIGI Award for Best Interactive Content, Royal Caribbean International.

Size and geographic location(s) of the deployment:
There are over 200 displays on each of the ships, Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas. The digital signs are located in high-traffic areas throughout the ships including elevator banks, main walkways, and guest services to name a few. The interactive wayfinding kiosks are the most heavily used due to the navigational assistance they offer.

Selected judges comments:

  • Wow. Hybrid digitial signage, interactive and large display format worked perfectly in this installation. Wayfinding application seemed to have amazing grace. Loved the restaurant status (bar-busy, not busy). 
  • To "forget that technology is being used" as expressed by the video in this entry, is a wonderful accomplishment. The content appeared to navigate very easily and provide important information simply. The real time presentation of how busy an on-ship distination is, would enable an improved cruise experience.
  • This is truly outstanding for a few reasons. First, it's a complete and interactive device for the ship, covering so many of the very basic yet crucial needs of passengers - wayfinding and location. Second, it's networked into the ship's activity - the capacity at restaurants - outstanding. Third, it's very intuitive in two regards - first, it's easy to use - big buttons and easy to understand; second, it's multi-lingual - respecting the various cultures that may travel. This is a standard by which many many other executions should be measured.
  • Nicely done - visually and technically. Meets needs of customers, improving their experience, thus greatly aiding the cruise operator.

 

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