Royal Carribean Cruises International has announced what the company is billing as “The World's First Smartship,” dubbed Quantum of the Seas. The ship incorporates extensive technology from Microsoft and other top-level companies to create a modern cruise experience like never before.
Thanks to revolutionary low-orbit communications satellites provided by O3B Networks, which maintain geosynchronous orbit closer to Earth than traditional satellites, the ship can enjoy uninterrupted high-speed Internet access that in turn allows for many exciting features. For example, radio frequency identification (RFID) bracelets will be worn by each passenger and connected to the network to facilitate room access, onboard purchases and dining and tour reservations. A corresponding app, called Royal IQ, can track the ID, stateroom, preferences and reservations of each passenger as well as provide maps of the ship, daily event schedules and luggage tracking functionality. Passengers can use their RFID bracelets to interact with Royal IQ stations scattered around the ship.
The ship is loaded with high-resolution screens, which feature Internet-enabled features such as Skype and Xbox Live. Transactions will be easy with a mobile point-of-sale system using VeriFone payment sleeves attached to Windows tablets, which include a card swipe, bar code reader and RFID reader. Services such as these are unprecedented on cruise ships but are finally available thanks to the cutting edge O3B network and sponsorship from Microsoft.
To acquaint employees with this cutting-edge technology and promote the launch of the Quantum of the Seas, Royal Carribean has announced its plan to gift a Dell Venue 8 Pro tablet running Windows 8.1 to all 40,000 of its employees. The devices will come pre-loaded with primary Microsoft services such as Skype, OneDrive and Office365 in addition to the Royal IQ app.
Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Richard D. Fain urges that the gesture is not just intended to boost productivity, saying: “The Royal Caribbean men and women who provide such great vacations are the real heroes of our fleet, and these gifts demonstrate our appreciation in a tangible way. This technology isn't only about giving our guests a better vacation – it's about giving our crew and their families a closer connection than we've ever been able to.”
The Quantum of the Seas will disembark on its first voyage in late October of this year. Royal Caribbean plans to begin rolling out the gifted tablets then as well and hopes to have completed the process by December.
Edited by Maurice Nagle