by Ken Storey
With Pokémon Go taking the world by storm there’s been plenty of talk of augmented reality smartphone apps, and now Orlando has one of the world’s most unique.
Visit Orlando, the region’s tourism association, has launched a new smart app that combines a searchable information database with a "gamification" overlay.
Harnessing the power of IBM’s Watson, the famous artificial intelligence computer that was once on Jeopardy, the Visit Orlando Destination app allows users to ask nearly anything Orlando tourism related and have it answered.
The app also features interactive games, similar to Pokémon Go, where users can capture ‘orbs’ or go on a photo scavenger hunt. The games allow for users to find various deals around town based on where they are or what interests them. Deals range from 50% wine to $2 off at WonderWorks. Other local businesses to be featured on the app include Mango’s Tropical Café, Fun
Yo create the app, Visit Orlando partnered with WayBlazer, which is a Texas-based cognitive recommendation engine for the travel industry started by the founder of Travelocity, the chairman at Kayak and the former GM of IBM Watson.
The new app creates a single destination for visitors to purchase tickets, find info and interact with their surroundings. If the whole "ask a robot to recommend where you should go to dinner thing" isn’t for you, the app also includes an option to chat with an Orlando Destination Specialist.
Over a year in the making, the Visit Orlando Destination App combines data behind the ever-changing Orlando tourism landscape to craft a unique list of must-dos for each user.