What You Need To Know About The Internet Of Things And Cruise Ships

Cruises are among the fastest growing sectors in the global travel industry, so it’s no surprise that they’re becoming a mainstream choice for travellers around the world. And as the world opens up for more travel in summer 2021 and beyond, cruise industry leaders are looking for technical solutions to improve passenger experiences.

That’s nothing new. Cruise lines have been trying to leverage technology for years, but their solutions have mainly focused on mobile phone apps. The problem with smartphones on ships? Connectivity can be sporadic, passengers might prefer to leave their phones in their rooms, or they might not want to install various (and potentially privacy-intrusive) apps on their phones.

Imagine the kind of technology that thrives in low connectivity environments, that has been proven effective by top governments around the world, and that can easily (and affordably!) be branded and implemented at scale. It’s the kind of technology that cruise lines like Royal Caribbean, Viking and Fred. Olsen are leveraging to explore the future of connectivity. It’s called TraceSafe, powered by the Internet of Things (IoT).

What’s the “Internet of Things”?

In a nutshell, the Internet of Things, or IoT, is a system of “interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers (UIDs) and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.”

A “Thing” in the Internet of Things could be anything from a person with a heart monitor implant, a car with built-in sensors, or a Bluetooth-enabled device — essentially any natural or man-made object that can be assigned an Internet Protocol (IP) address and is able to transfer data over a network.

What does this mean for cruise ships?

The potential applications for IoT on cruise ships are limitless. A sleek branded device like a wristband contains a world of possible functions, like:

  • A room key. No more key cards to lose or metal keys to copy — the wristbands are simply assigned a cabin number and handed over to the guest. They’ll only have to wave their hand in front of their door to open it.
  • A wireless payment method. Instead of writing down their cabin number and signing their receipt, guests simply tap their wrists to a payment processor to charge their meals, purchase souvenirs, or buy special event tickets.
  • A medical record. Imagine a lone traveller goes unconscious onboard. Medical personnel can quickly scan their wristband to see which medications they take, what their relevant medical history is, and who their emergency contacts are.
  • A location analytics tool. With IoT, cleaning staff no longer have to knock and wait — they can see immediately if a room is occupied and plan to come back later.
  • Better logistics. Game changing AI-powered motion recognition can allow cruise lines to better understand the movement of passengers around the ship. The wristbands could help cruise staff understand which restaurants or facilities are overused or underused, so they can direct staff and resources to those locations.
  • A location tracking system. Cruise ships are vast entities. If friends and family members want to find each other on board, they typically have to arrange a meeting spot. Wearables can be programmed to give location information to friends and loved ones instead.
  • Instant messaging. Cruise operators can quickly and easily send out mass communications to passengers via the wearables.

Is IoT already being used by cruise lines?

Absolutely. Top cruise lines are using TraceSafe’s wearable technology to improve guest experiences before passengers even step foot on a ship — through a quick and seamless pairing process right from the dock.

On many Royal Caribbean cruises, sleek branded wristbands called “Tracelets” function as wearable contact tracing devices that are used to mitigate any potential spread of COVID-19. Together with TraceSafe, the cruise line is currently innovating to use the same technology for keyless access through an ASSA Abloy integration, contactless payments, and other cutting-edge IoT applications.

The Tracelet™

Aboard Viking cruises, TraceSafe’s full suite of connected technology, including the company’s new intelligent wearables, has been deployed on six ocean ships. Hundreds of these sleek rechargeable products can be charged at the same time through stackable charging trays. Jointly, the two companies are currently innovating a new IoT ecosystem, designed specifically for the cruise industry that will deliver hyper-personalized experiences for guests.

The possibilities are endless. Book your demo with TraceSafe today!