Emma is the newest Vail Resorts employee. She can answer almost any question you text her about nine mountain resorts in California, Colorado, and Canada, and just because she’s digital doesn’t mean she’s lacking personality.
If you ask, “What time do the lifts open at Breck?” Emma might answer, “Nature is always open – our lifts have operating hours, though. They start turning at 8:30 a.m.”
On Monday, Vail Resorts introduced Emma as the new digital assistant, who is debuting in the 2018-2019 winter season to help visitors guide their vacations at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado; Park City in Utah; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in Tahoe; and Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia, Canada.
Using artificial intelligence and natural language processing, Emma instantly responds to questions 24 hours a day, seven days a week, about snow conditions and lift line wait times, parking and in-resort wayfinding, ski school, lift tickets and equipment rentals, dining and activities, and more, according to the resort company.
And if she can’t answer your question, the company says she’ll connect guests to chat with a live agent for further assistance.
“I bring the passion and first-hand experience you’d expect from someone who’s lived and worked in the mountains her entire life,” Emma says on Vail Resorts’ website. “I know the resorts like the back of my glove — and can’t wait to put every adventure in the palm of yours.”
Starting this month, Emma will launch as an “alpha” version to a small community of users to prepare for her full debut. Future generations of Emma could integrate with Facebook Messenger, voice assistants like Alexa, wearable technology notifications and Vail Resorts’ EpicMix mobile app, according to Vail Resorts.
To start, she’ll be available through text — no download required.
Have you heard about the heated jacket controlled by your voice? It’s yet another form of user-command technology emerging in the outdoor industry.