With the acceleration and adoption of touch-less technology in a
post-pandemic world, Royal Caribbean Group is now looking at extending
its existing face recognition software during boarding — to onboard for
unlocking stateroom doors next.
The new proposal to the United States Patent and Trademark Office is
for a 'multifunction smart door device' that would open based on either
facial recognition, or wireless credentials.
On the premise of providing guests "greater convenience, comfort and
efficiency", a practical question Royal Caribbean considered was: Are
passengers willing to adopt and wear wearable devices all day long, if
that's the only way for that to be "truly useful"?
"Comparatively, the human face is an always-on 'wearable' and should
see a universal rate of adoption," says Angie Stephen, Vice President
& Managing Director, Asia Pacific, Royal Caribbean International.
Currently, Royal Caribbean passengers open their doors using a
SeaPass card, or via the app on newer ships. Select ships — including
Quantum of the Seas — also feature WOW Bands, which can unlock doors.
Looking at the bigger picture, Stephen added that the device will
also perform other functions, "such as controlling stateroom
personalisation features, allowing controlled access for authorised crew
members, accommodating remote unlocking, and providing notifications —
all of which will allow for an even more customised, secure and
enjoyable experience for our cruisers".
For safety reasons, a video will capture footage of the public area
adjacent to these smart doors, which guests will be able to view on live
stream on their smartphones.
Guests aboard the Sky Princess can use the medallion app, on top of wearing the ocean medallion. Photo Credit: Princess Cruises
Such smart technology isn't new.
MSC for Me was launched in 2017, a digital guest experience programme
displayed ship wide on touchscreens around the ship, the In-Cabin Smart
TV and as an app on phones. Among the myriad features such as texting
fellow sailing family or friends via the app, a virtual personal cruise
assistant, keyless stateroom unlocking is included as well.
In 2019, Carnival Cruises unveiled the Sky Princess, its first ship
built to accommodate the company's OceanMedallion: a technology guests
can wear as a bracelet, necklace or in their pockets to perform various
tasks. One of which, is unlocking a stateroom door when guests approach.
a smart door system like Royal Caribbean's would do, is omit
pre-boarding procedures needed for such medallions to work; since the
current procedure is that weeks before sailing, guests need to head
online to upload personal information, and download apps for use
Smart doors will also save costs, since in the case of Royal
Caribbean, guests who wish to use a WOW band instead of their SeaPass
card have to pay for one at US$4.99.
Guests who book Golden Suites & Royal Premiere rooms for Spectrum
of the Seas and Quantum of the Seas can skip this charge, although
these bands are not reusable.