We got the inside scoop from a 2019 #STCGlobal exhibitor SWL Robotics. Discover what the future entertainment looks like; hint, it's drones.
Entertainment is a key differentiator between cruise lines. How do you see the future of entertainment on cruise ships continuing to evolve in the next three to five years?
We see a continuation in the current trend of offering cruise passengers varied entertainment options for days at sea or the passenger that prefers to stay on board during a port of call. Pool and water activities along with traditional cruise director options will be complemented by experiences the passenger may not typically have access to at home.
The 360-ROV will provide passengers the opportunity to dive virtually using VR goggles. With the 360-ROV you give passengers that may not otherwise be able to dive, the opportunity to explore reefs, shipwrecks, or submerged structures while in the comfort of their cabin or viewing theatre.
Todays passengers range from luxury travelers, to family travelers, to millennials and more. How can cruise lines utilize different onboard experiences and entertainment options to tailor to these demographics?
While passengers do consider on board experiences when selecting one cruise line over another, we wanted to focus on what everyone on board has in common. The tastes in on board experiences may vary from customer to customer but everyone on the ship selected the same itinerary and they want the experience. Passengers want to experience the places on the itinerary in their own way.
The 360-ROV allows passengers of all age groups and demographics to experience the ocean worlds near the itineraries they selected. This is exclusive enough to entice the luxury passenger while offering excitement to the tech savvy millennial. The adventure doesn’t even have to end once the ship leaves port.
Will the ever progressing technological landscape, how are entertainment companies ensuring that cruise lines stay relevant?
It goes back to the experience - People travel to experience new things. New smells, new foods, new cultures, new people, new sights. It is up to the cruise lines to bring different and new ways of experiencing ports of call and their surroundings.
At its core it seems to us that it’s a matter of learning and we can’t think of a better aid to learning than technology. For example, videos created with the 360-ROV can include audio describing the history of a certain area or underwater feature. Imagine your passengers seeing a 360x360 video of a reef in the Bahamas and as an eel swims by the drone the audio tour begins describing the importance of eels in this ecosystem and what type of eel or fish surround you.
People who embrace technology also expect things to be available to them 24/7 and on their schedule. Cruise lines will have to start making the port of call experience something that goes beyond the time you are physically docked.
How do you see the underwater drones, as well as drone technology revolutionizing entertainment is being seen and experienced in the industry?
The 360-ROV is going to allow passengers to access a whole new form of entertainment on board smart cruise ships. It will be an entirely new way to experience the ports of calls or points of interest. Our R&D team has spent years developing and patenting technology that creates a seamless 360x360 video without any obstruction in the image. Because of this, viewing our videos with VR goggles makes you believe that you are physically transported to the location of the drone. It's better than diving because now you can turn your head in any direction and not even your own body is in the way of the underwater wonders around you.
The 360-ROV also carries 74,000 lumen of cool, warm, and UV providing the viewer plenty of light for their deep sea or night dives. That is about the same as 74 divers following behind you with dive lights. What is even better is that the 360-ROV carries the entire light spectrum for you so the videos and pictures you see really pop! Forget about needing to be certified or being physically capable of diving, the 360-ROV is for everyone.
Imagine that you are cruising to Grand Cayman and want to dive with the stingrays but never learned to swim. With the 360-ROV you will feel like you are in the middle of a stingray feeding frenzy while safely aboard the ship. If exploring the submerged portions of icebergs in Antarctica is what you want, the 360-ROV can take you inside the frozen blue ice caverns all while you are warm in the ship's auditorium. If exploring shipwrecks in the Mediterranean or diving with sharks is what you desire the 360-ROV can help you explore all those locations up close. Before you know it, you will be wanting to get up and walk around the deck of that shipwreck or reach out and touch that shark without ever training one day for it.
Drones - especially underwater drones - are revolutionizing every industry. As cruise lines prepare for the customer of the future it is essential that drones and the advantages they provide become an integral part of the entertainment offering on smart ships