IBM Watson: Hilton Hotel Hires First Robot Concierge That Uses Cognitive Computing System

The latest implementation of technology in place of human will begin to take place at multiple Hilton hotel chains.

According to PCMag, IBM’s artificial intelligence system, Watson, will deliver concierge services at select Hilton hotels.

The prototype will be named “Connie” in honor of the hotel chain’s founder, Conrad Hilton, and will utilize domain knowledge from Watson and WayBlazer (the world’s first cognitive travel recommendation engine) to aid guests with information about local tourist attractions, hotel features, and amenities, along with providing recommendations based off popular trends.

“Watson helps Connie understand and respond naturally to the needs and interests of Hilton’s guests,” Rob High, vice president and chief technology officer of IBM Watson, said in a statement.

The robot will be the first Watson-enabled bot concierge in the hospitality industry and is planned to work “side-by-side” with Hilton’s Team Members (who it hasn’t already replaced) to assist and personalize the guest experience.

Like any other A.I. system, the more individuals interact with Connie, the more it learns and the better it adapts to the hotel’s guests.

Reports have confirmed that the Hilton will access and utilize a log of questions asked to the robot along with Connie’s answers, which will aid in customer satisfaction before, during, and after their stays at the hotel.

“We’re focused on reimagining the entire travel experience to make it smarter, easier and more enjoyable for guests,” said Hilton Worldwide’s vice president, product innovation and brand services, Jonathan Wilson. “By tapping into innovative partners like IBM Watson, we’re wowing our guests in the most unpredictable ways.”

“This project with Hilton and WayBlazer represents an important shift in human-machine interaction, enabled by the embodiment of Watson’s cognitive computing,” stated IBM’s fellow and vice president and chief technology officer of IBM Watson, Rob High. “Watson helps Connie understand and respond naturally to the needs and interests of Hilton’s guests — which is an experience that’s particularly powerful in a hospitality setting, where it can lead to deeper guest engagement.”

The Hilton hotel company isn’t new to being at the forefront of technological advances that prove to better serve their guests. In 1947, the successful hotel chain was the first to offer televisions into guest rooms. More recent innovations include a digital room check-in similar to airline apps that allow you to check-in to your flight.

The cognitive computing found in systems like IBM’s Watson allow robots to have a more humanistic dimension to them. The Hilton’s Connie is just the latest automation that continues to transform our global workforce while attempting to understand the world as humans do.

Advocates of A.I. claim that such systems positively affect the workplace by improving professional productivity, allowing individuals and companies to utilize the information gained from these cognitive systems and better understand their consumers and industry.

But despite the promise of improved business productivity and customer satisfaction, there are those who see these new innovations as a threat to their job security, mostly those that are working positions that offer a minimum wage.

SoftBank has recently announced that it plans to open a cell phone store in Tokyo staffed primarily by Pepper robots this Spring. The Japanese telecom giant announced that five to six of these Pepper robots will be responsible for running the cell phone store from March 28 through April 3.

According to an earlier report from the Japan Times, the robots will go along answering customer questions regarding the cell phone service, and even complete the checkout process once the customer is ready to purchase.

[Photo by Green Buzz Agency/Feature Photo Service for IBM]