Outside Launches First AI-Powered Adventure Concierge
January 30, 2024
Outdoor enthusiasts can tap the company’s new Scout chatbot for gear advice, trip itineraries, campfire recipes, and other advice sourced from Outside’s 20+ websites.
BOULDER, CO /OUTDOOR SPORTSWIRE/ – Are you looking for a more comfortable pair of ski boots? Expert advice on buying your first e-bike? A guide to the Grand Canyon from someone who’s hiked hundreds of miles there? Scout can provide detailed responses to all of your outdoor queries in just seconds – with answers that are much more informative and trustworthy than other generic search tools. That’s because this custom-developed chatbot was built using OpenAI’s LLM and trained on Outside’s library of exhaustively researched, fact-checked, and field-tested outdoor content as a knowledge base.
Scout is the latest technology innovation from Outside Interactive, Inc., the world’s leading provider of active lifestyle content, video, events, and services for outdoor enthusiasts. It follows the development of the company’s Outside+ subscription, personalized activity feed, all-access app, and other features that aggregate relevant inspiration and information based on location, reading habits, and other preferences.
Following an initial launch period when it was available exclusively to Outside+ members, the Scout widget now appears on the top navigation bar of Outside’s 20+ websites and serves as the primary search engine across the network. “The feedback from Outside+ members reinforced our belief that Scout represents a transformational step in our ability to serve the needs of our users,” said CEO Robin Thurston. “By tapping generative AI, we’re able to distill decades of reporting and storytelling into nuggets of actionable advice, such as detailed backpacking itineraries with links to supporting articles from the Backpacker and Outside archives. For outdoor enthusiasts, Scout is the ultimate adventure concierge, the trusted advisor whose recommendations are always relevant and useful.”
Built by a small team of Outside engineers, Scout is powered by the past two decades of content from the Outside network and will continue learning from the story archive as well as user queries. To ensure a level of accuracy and relevance consistent with Outside’s journalistic standards, Scout will not train on external content, which – even in the world of outdoor media – is rife with misinformation, pay-to-play product reviews, and outdated destination reports. “In the near future,” said Thurston, “we expect to integrate more advanced features and recommendations that tap our Trailforks and Gaia GPS apps and our athleteReg event registration platform. Imagine asking Scout for a mountain biking route in Utah and receiving a turn-by-turn Trailforks map and GPS coordinates in addition to an in-depth destination article from Pinkbike.”
To ask Scout for help with your own adventure questions, go to https://scout.outsideonline.com/.
Outside Interactive, Inc. is the premier destination for outdoor inspiration, activation, and reward. Each month, Outside reaches 80 million of the most active consumers in the world across its network of 25 media, digital, and technology platforms, creating an experience for both longtime adventurers and those just getting started. Outside’s mission is to get everyone outdoors, experiencing healthy, connected, and fulfilling lives. Outside’s membership offering, Outside+, bundles best-in-class storytelling, videos, gear reviews, mapping apps, online courses, discounted event access, magazines, and more. Learn more at OutsideOnline.com.