January 17, 2013

Disney’s MagicBand opens door to Hyper- and Predictive Personalization—and privacy fears

Posted by: in North America

Last week, Disney caught headlines with its announcement of MyMagic+, set to debut this spring at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla. The new system—part of a larger effort that’s estimated to cost between $800 million and $1 billion—includes a new website and app, My Disney Experience, designed to give visitors a quicker, less stressful experience at the park (e.g., letting people preselect FastPasses for shorter wait times and VIP seating). The feature that’s capturing the most attention, and raising a few eyebrows, is the optional RFID bracelet, or MagicBand, which can function as park ticket, FastPass, room key and credit card if users opt in. Those who do so will enable Disney to create a highly personalized experience—for example, employees will be able to address guests by name, thanks to sensors that pick up MagicBand data. Robotic seagulls will even strike up conversations with MagicBand wearers in line for the new ride Under the Sea.

Whether the birds will chat about the weather or local sports is unclear, but it’s not hard to imagine topics tailored to a user’s data. As more MagicBand data is collected, the more sophisticated Disney can make its personalization, eventually evolving from Hyper Personalization (one of our 10 Trends for 2011) to Predictive Personalization, one of our 10 Trends for 2013. For customers who gravitate toward souvenirs, for example, Disney might send alerts about new merchandise (and avoid aggravating patrons who don’t care to shop). Going further, it can promote appropriate offerings based on the age of a family’s kids.

The question is how many people will opt in. When the news broke, many expressed serious privacy reservations. Even with safeguards in place (e.g., requiring a PIN for purchases $50 and up; remote deactivation), it may take a leap of faith to provide a company with an array of personal data and then let it track one’s movements and purchases, especially when it comes to tracking children. With its considerable investment, Disney clearly sees potential in this system, but anything new is likely to have some kinks. The MagicBand will need to have a strong opening and then maintain the integrity of its users’ information over time if it’s to persuade visitors to follow the early adopters.

Image credit: Disney

2 Responses to "Disney’s MagicBand opens door to Hyper- and Predictive Personalization—and privacy fears"

1 | Mizmo

January 18th, 2013 at 8:47 pm

Avatar

Seems like an ideal tool to help keep track of young children. As a parent, I would have welcomed having something like this on my daughter when she was young. A lost child would be quickly reunited with their family.

2 | Will Palley

July 17th, 2013 at 5:48 pm

Avatar

Disney’s MagicBand has been a huge success at the brand’s theme parks. http://bit.ly/12W5vyJ

Comment Form

SIGN UP FOR OUR WEEKLY EMAIL NEWSLETTER:

10 Years of 10 Trends

The Future 100

Things to Watch

  • Monogamish millennials
    May 29, 2015 | 4:45 pm

    Monogamish

    As gender and relational boundaries become more fluid, millennials (and their more adventurous elders) are crafting their own approaches to coupling. A far cry from the “free love” proponents of the ‘60s, today’s “monogamish” couples tend to be young professionals in committed relationships seeking occasional outside companionship.

    There’s even an emerging niche in the post-Tinder world of dating apps designed to accommodate these behaviors. Continue reading “Monogamish millennials” »

  • Food literacy
    May 28, 2015 | 1:07 pm

    Food Education

    Childhood obesity and poor nutrition are endemic in low-income communities throughout the developed world. Solutions based on healthier school lunches and better access to grocery stores have helped, but progress has been slow. Now, nutrition advocates are turning to a new tool: education.

    Outreach tools in this new movement go beyond the classroom, from celebrity chef campaigns to non-profit restaurants. Continue reading “Food literacy” »

  • Bistro In Vitro
    May 26, 2015 | 3:59 pm

    In Vitro Ice Cream

    A new virtual restaurant is serving up “food for thought,” using design to explore a range of possible futures for human interaction with meat. The project, dubbed Bistro In Vitro, takes the far-out idea of in-vitro meat and situates it within the world of online gastronomy as we know it—amid menus, chef interviews, critical reviews and the like.

    Continue reading “Bistro In Vitro” »

  • Bio-responsive spaces
    May 19, 2015 | 4:48 pm

    DynamicSanctuary

    At last week’s Sight Unseen Offsite event in New York, Ford partnered with indie design studio The Principals to create the “Dynamic Sanctuary.” The sanctuary is a sculptural space made out of plastic, Plexiglas and LED lights that connect to a heart rate monitor and fade in and out based on the wearer’s pulse. The space was meant to be a haven from the chaos of daily life and a “poetic metaphor for the design ideas behind Ford’s 2015 Edge vehicle,” said Sight Unseen.

    Continue reading “Bio-responsive spaces” »

  • Rosé’s normcore moment
    May 14, 2015 | 12:21 pm

    Rosé

    As summer nears, once again we’re on the cusp of “rosé season.” While late spring often sees attempts to elevate the red-headed stepchild of the wine world into a product worthy of connoisseurship, this year something different is afoot: a knowing celebration of rosé’s bland charm.

    For perhaps the first time, a wine label is emerging from the self-aware world of Instagram—and, no surprise, it’s a rosé. Continue reading “Rosé’s normcore moment” »

  • Snapchat TV
    May 12, 2015 | 5:25 pm

    Snapchat

    This summer, TV’s highest-paid female actress, Sofia Vergara, will star in a reality series launching exclusively on Snapchat. The series, titled Vergaraland, is co-produced by Fusion and Vergara’s production company, Latin World Entertainment. It will tell the story of her Hollywood life through the eyes of her 24-year-old son.

    Continue reading “Snapchat TV” »

  • Virtual reality theme parks
    May 11, 2015 | 4:12 pm

    TheVoid

    Some worry that the coming age of virtual reality could lead to an epidemic of digital shut-ins—why leave the house when you can “be” anywhere with the touch of a button? The Void, however, imagines a social space where virtual reality might draw people together—a 21st century take on the classic video arcade.

    Continue reading “Virtual reality theme parks” »

  • Intangibles
    May 7, 2015 | 6:37 pm

    Intangibles

    How much would you pay for a snap? A voicemail?

    Walker Art Center in Minneapolis has launched an online shop that could be considered a conceptual art piece itself. The shop sells what Walker calls “intangibles”—ephemeral, digital commodities such as personalized ringtones or custom avatars to use on social media. Prices range from $1.99 to nearly $4,000, for a virtual ocean-view property on the platform Second Life.

    Continue reading “Intangibles” »

  • WhatsApp marketing
    May 6, 2015 | 4:32 pm

    Clarks

    Clarks shoes in the UK recently launched a WhatsApp campaign to bring the brand to life for its fans. The campaign asked users to add three characters to their contact lists—“some of culture’s greatest innovators, rebels and fashion icons”—who were all fans of the shoes. The characters then sent messages, videos and Spotify playlists through the app, telling the brand’s story while interacting with Clarks enthusiasts.

    Continue reading “WhatsApp marketing” »

  • Facebook’s Anthology
    April 30, 2015 | 4:20 pm

    FacebookVideo small

    Video is king on social media—more than 4 billion are viewed per day on Facebook alone. To capitalize on that, Facebook has just introduced Anthology, a partnership with seven media companies with the aim of creating unskippable ads.

    Continue reading “Facebook’s Anthology” »

  • RSSArchive for Things to Watch »