Digital signage key to improving shipboard traffic flow

Royal Caribbean's investment in interactive monitors aboard Oasis and its sister ships has been crucial for cutting wait times, guiding passengers.

Interactive monitors, aka digital signage, have vastly improved communication and crowd control for entertainment venues aboard some of the newest members of the Royal Caribbean Cruises fleet, including the Allure and Oasis of the Seas ships.

The monitors, strategically placed in elevator banks and other public junctures, showcase maps, schedules and dynamic occupancy rates at each of the on-board restaurants. The impact in terms of customer relations has been immeasurable, while the technology has positively impacted operational efficiency, according to Royal Caribbean executives.

"The Oasis was designed to be the ship without lines and this is part of the technology that makes this happen," said Kelly Gonzalez, associate vice president of Newbuild and Architectural Design for Royal Caribbean.

The digital signage solution was one in more than a dozen applications intended to help manage the flow of people around the ship, manage crowds at venues, and encourage people to participate in more activities, said the cruise line's CIO, Bill Martin.

There are approximately 100 monitors across the Oasis that offer an interactive view into daily schedules and that help passengers find their way around the massive vessels. While some information is still distributed on paper each day, the monitors help save money on printing cost because they enable the cruise line to more easily translate and offer information in multiple languages including English, Spanish, French, German, Italian and Portuguese, Martin said.

One of the most innovative applications used aboard Oasis is one that helps passengers figure out whether or not a specific restaurant or venue might have lines.

Shape-detecting cameras placed at entrances help keep track of entrances and exits, so that crowd and wait time information for the restaurants is updated dynamically and communicated throughout the ship on the information monitors.

The way the monitors were incorporated into walls and the ship design was also considered carefully. For example, the big 46-inch screens in the banks needed to be accessible to children and to passengers with accessibility challenges.

The ship could have made its point with smaller monitors, but the large screens invite interaction, Martin said.

"The signage is far and away the most effective technology we have installed so far," he said.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com