Ontario Regiment Museum-Oshawa

There is no greater collection of historical military vehicles in North America than at the Ontario Regiment Museum in Oshawa, many of which are used for TV and film productions, reenactments, and parades. A small army of volunteers maintains these living historical artifacts by driving and repairing them regularly. They have been supporting the museum in Oshawa throughout the pandemic.

CloudConstable’s Animated Virtual Agent (AVA) Master Corporal Lana stands out among others as an AVA developed by a Canadian company. At the entrance to the employee lounge, she watches for signs of COVID-19 as she screens volunteers. The museum plans to clone her when the museum opens for the public after MCpl Lana has proven to be effective and popular with staff.

The initial purpose of MCpl Lana was to provide friendly, helpful services to visitors, such as checking people into events and providing useful information about the facility. She can count visitors, manage crowds, and allow entry via ticket, QR code, or even facial recognition if users opt-in. Because of her natural language processing capabilities, she can carry on conversations and answer frequently asked questions; she can also answer questions with a nod “yes” or “no” using AI depth vision.

Just as she was set to make her debut, the museum was forced to close in March due to a new coronavirus. Animated personal assistant CloudConstable was born out of a consultation with the Ontario Regiment Museum.

A fleet of historic military vehicles dating back to the 1940s is maintained by more than 100 volunteers at the museum. The maintenance team is responsible for ensuring the fuel does not go bad, maintaining vehicle seals and preventing difficult-to-replace parts from breaking down. History buffs can experience tanks in person or see them on television by driving them in a nearby field.

MCpl Lana was in charge of keeping volunteers safe, as volunteer health was the new priority. Several reasons suggest she will be popular with a range of clients: COVID-19 has led people to be wary of close contact but at the same time eager for more human interaction. Executive director Jeremy Blowers of The Ontario Regiment Museum was impressed to see how interested people of all ages and backgrounds were in MCpl Lana, and most were eager to sign up for her facial recognition functionality.

“A notable advantage of MCpl Lana’s is that she doesn’t take breaks, she’s never run down, and she’s always on message,” he said. “However, it was fantastic to see how enthusiastic everyone was about her. The technology might take a quantum leap forward at this moment.