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

  • Bloom
    June 29, 2015 | 11:32 am

    Bloom

    A new service called Bloom aims to bridge the generation gap using stripped-down technology. The service includes a minimal tablet display interface that seniors can place in a chosen room to receive updates from family, as well as a smart wristband that activates the display automatically when users approach it. Other family members who’ve downloaded Bloom can share photos and videos to their loved one’s stream using their mobile devices.

    Continue reading “Bloom” »

  • SecondHands
    June 25, 2015 | 12:02 pm

    SecondHands Small

    British online supermarket Ocado has announced its SecondHands program: a five-year project aiming to create an autonomous robotic warehouse employee. An example of our “Cognitive Technology” trend in this year’s Future 100 report, the project could revolutionize the way factories handle repairs, logistics and more, but comes with its share of challenges. Continue reading “SecondHands” »

  • Offices for the young at heart
    June 23, 2015 | 5:59 pm

    LegoModern offices, especially in the tech sector, have become known as adult playgrounds that foster creativity and collaboration. The image of millennials playing ping pong at work is its own meme in the age of The Social Network. And there’s a prevailing idea that the younger the workforce, the more cutting edge and productive the company.

    Continue reading “Offices for the young at heart” »

  • Transparency ratings
    June 22, 2015 | 4:23 pm

    Data

    The fight for digital privacy continues to gain momentum two years after Edward Snowden’s dramatic disclosures. But while most technology companies have made progress in protecting consumer data, some are lagging behind, according to the latest report from the Electronic Frontier FoundationContinue reading “Transparency ratings” »

  • Taste rewind
    June 19, 2015 | 5:29 pm

    Britney_Small

    Spotify’s new Taste Rewind feature is a music lover’s time machine. It’s a tool designed to help listeners discover “what you’d be jammin’ out to if you were born during a different decade.”

    Taste Rewind asks you to choose three of your favorite contemporary artists, then creates a personalized playlist representing each decade from the ‘60s on. Targeting a younger user base, the app plays on Millennials’ tendency to be nostalgic even about eras they never experienced. Continue reading “Taste rewind” »

  • Menswear’s delicate side
    June 17, 2015 | 5:13 pm

    DelicateMenswear

    Recent years have seen a surge in gender-neutral fashion, from luxury heavyweights such as Prada to cult favorite Hood By Air. But this week at London Collections Men, designers are offering a new twist: lace, ruffles and velvet, constructed in distinctly masculine shapes. Continue reading “Menswear’s delicate side” »

  • Co-working gets domestic
    June 16, 2015 | 5:28 pm

    WeWork

    Popular co-working space WeWork will soon launch WeLive—a project that combines WeWork’s famously fun work spaces with dorm-style micro apartments. A press release for WeLive describes the buildings as “neighborhoods,” featuring 200+ apartments with shared commercial-grade kitchens and community spaces, along with several floors of office space. Continue reading “Co-working gets domestic” »

  • Native American dining
    June 11, 2015 | 1:56 pm

    native-american-food-truck-small

    Although it’s easy to sample the cuisines of Ethiopia or Vietnam in most major US cities, Native American restaurants are practically nonexistent. However, with the rise of locavore movements and interest in pre-industrial foods from the likes of the paleo crowd, the indigenous cuisines of the United States could be ready to claim their rightful place in today’s food culture. Continue reading “Native American dining” »

  • Time-travel media
    June 8, 2015 | 5:13 pm

    Future Chronicles

    The Future Chronicles, currently raising money on Kickstarter, bills itself as the “first magazine ever that travels through time.” Created by German agency Hyperraum, the magazine aims to explore both the past and the future through creative narration and design.

    Continue reading “Time-travel media” »

  • Invisible wearables
    June 2, 2015 | 4:12 pm

    Project Jacquard

    A new initiative announced at Google’s annual developers conference is making waves in the wearable tech world. Project Jacquard, launched in collaboration with Levi’s, makes touch interfaces more wearable than ever by weaving them directly into traditional textiles. This high-tech fabric is made of conductive thread that can respond to touch signals like swipes and taps, and sync up with a smartphone to execute basic functions. Digiday calls the innovation “Google Glass for your ass.”

    Continue reading “Invisible wearables” »

  • RSSArchive for Things to Watch »