Digitalising Cruising — What the hack!?

Have you ever thought about technology on cruise ships? This is what we’re working on in the recently set up Digital Unit in the heart of Hafencity, Hamburg.

It’s exciting

We’re part of an industry that’s centuries old. It’s made up of corporations some of which have been around for over a century themselves. Our products are mind expanding vacations in gigantic movable guest houses — cruise ships — which are floating cities with closed, isolated systems, that can lag behind modern technology in many areas and leap frog changes in others.

Big corporations. Isolation. Lagging tech. Sounds horrible, doesn’t it? It’s not. It’s one of the best challenges around. We work closely with brands like AIDA and Costa Crociere, evolving the cruising experience to include modern digital habits.

Think about the ways in which the digital world improves your lifestyle. It doesn’t rewrite it. It enhances it. Concepts like smart homes, RFID-wristbands for theme parks, and using augmented reality for path finding. Now think of a place where you have the control to combine these concepts together — cruise ships!

It’s challenging

Let’s pick something that we take for granted in our modern world. We’re constantly capturing photos with our mobile devices to share with friends online. This is especially true on vacation. Now imagine over 1500 fellow cruisers wanting to do the same thing from inside a huge floating metal Boaty McBoatface, with only a limited satellite connection and this connection needing to support the running of the ship to boot. Wow.

Now imagine you were building an app on top of that same system, which itself could need a consistent connection to the internet. Now imagine you needed to deploy a critical fix to production when the ship is in the middle of the ocean. Now imagine… you get the idea. These are just some of the many challenges we are tackling head on.

To solve these challenges, we get broad freedom to think the unthinkable. We pair with brilliant minds and collaborate with outside talent to face new horizons together. It’s exciting!

What’s next

We’re putting a lot of thought into the challenges of the cruise industry and want to share our journey with you as we go along.

You can expect a mixed bag of insights on improving the guest experience, new features, deployment challenges, big data, and topics like using robots and machine learning to improve the experience both on-board and ashore!

Thanks for reading.