New Zealand Innovation Awards: Innovation in Technology Solutions, Air New Zealand

Excerpt from IDEALOG | 1December 11, 2017


 Sophie - created by Soul Machines for Air New Zealand Sophie – created by Soul Machines™ for Air New Zealand

And the winner of the Innovation in Technology Solutions is… Air New Zealand!

It’s one of Aotearoa’s best-known international brands, in part because of its creative inflight safety videos. But Air New Zealand is also gaining international attention due to its desire to innovate and its clever use of technology to enhance the customer experience.

Embracing the new rather than protecting the old takes confidence, of course. And the airline has it in spades. Recently, it announced the arrival of Sophie, a digital human created by Soul Machines™ to answer questions about New Zealand as a tourist destination and the airline’s products and services. Powered by artificial intelligence and possessing an advanced emotional intelligence and responsiveness, Sophie was shown at the unveiling of Air New Zealand’s “A better way to fly” campaign. Sophie uses neural networks and brain models, and received additional AI support from IBM’s famed Watson. For her specific role with Air New Zealand, Sophie learned specifically about New Zealand and Air New Zealand, tweaking her Kiwi accent and perfecting her facial expressions.