Fujitsu, Fujitsu Laboratories, and EXest will conduct a field trial using artificial intelligence to discover unanticipated needs of travelers visiting Japan, propose tours or other activity plans, and verify the effectiveness of the new service’s application.
The trial will commence from 30 January to 31 March.
This field trial will match foreign travelers with activity plans devised by licensed guides on EXest’s “WOW U” platform by utilizing Fujitsu Laboratories-developed AI technology to take into account individual attributes and preferences, then recommending appropriate options.
Input data, such as age and travel goals, will be used to propose a variety of plans suitable for individual foreign travelers and to lead them to various tourist sites throughout Japan. Users’ level of satisfaction will also be verified.
EXest will provide feedback on the test results while collaborating with Fujitsu and Fujitsu Laboratories to improve the precision of the AI technology. The companies will aim to offer recommendation services that provide optimal activity plans.
Foreign travelers to Japan now exceed 30-million annually, driving diversifying needs for sightseeing and cuisine, and leading to demands for enhanced planning. The Japanese government has announced its goal of achieving 40-million visitors annually by 2020, and improvements in infrastructure, staffing, content, and services to welcome these visitors are now top priority.
Foreign travelers are currently concentrated in urban areas, including Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto. To encourage travelers to a broader range of destinations throughout Japan, it is necessary to promote the appeal of regional histories and culture while raising the awareness of travelers.
WOW U, operated by EXest, provides international travelers in Japan with trip plans for enjoying various activities throughout the country in tours led by licensed guides.
At present, when EXest receives queries from travelers who seek to visit Japan, or from those visitors to the country who have no clear idea about places to go or things to do, the company’s dedicated staff responds by using their individual experience and expertise to select a plan that fits the traveler’s needs.
At issue, however, is that preparing such proposals takes a considerable amount of time and cost.
After EXest signed on to Fujitsu Accelerator Program in 2017, both companies have looked to AI for ways to find solutions to such issues. Fujitsu, Fujitsu Laboratories, and EXest will now conduct a field trial utilizing AI to propose activity plans that match the needs of service users without the burden of site operation, and will verify the effect of introducing AI and its performance.
Details of the field trial
This field trial will use WOW U, a platform operated by EXest, to match foreign travelers with licensed guides. Based on attribute data entered by users, such as age demographic and purpose of travel, AI technology developed by Fujitsu Laboratories is used to match user attributes and interests and recommend appropriate options, inferring users’ interests to propose optimal activity plans.
The companies will evaluate the website log and the degree of service user satisfaction with regard to whether or not a proposal was detailed and rich in activities and did it meet the increasingly diverse needs of foreign travelers. In addition, they will verify the effectiveness of their respective expertise by comparing against past results the success rate of activity plan sales and the time required to complete a sales contract.
The role of each company in this field trial is as follows:
* EXest – Evaluate improvements in the success rate of purchasing, number of page views and the time spent on the site of WOW U.
* Fujitsu Laboratories – Prior to the field trial, interviews with visitors from abroad and questionnaire results were used to create a mathematical model that expressed the relationship between foreign travelers’ characteristics and preferences. This model was then used to develop the AI technology that matches service users and activity plans. Additionally, to verify the validity of the model that had been developed, Fujitsu deployed to WOW U a system to analyze the degree to which user preferences estimated by using AI matched with actual user preferences.
* Fujitsu – Develop and provide to WOW U APIs that will recommend the optimum activity plan based on the Fujitsu Laboratories-developed AI technology.