Monday, August 26, 2013

MyMagic+, wearable wristband for families visiting the Magic Kingdom

At Disney’s fan convention, D23 Expo, attendees were given an overview of Disney’s new wearable technology that will eventually be rolled out to all guests that visit Walt Disney World, MyMagic+.

The technology itself seems pretty neat. A wearable wristband that park visitors can use for pretty much everything you do at a theme park (e.g., admission, financial transactions, FASTPASS tickets, checking-in hotels/restaurants, room key). The intent of the technology is to make your trip to the hectic world of theme parks just a tad bit less stressful. The material is typical of most neoprene type products, water resistant and not prone to breaking or wearing down.

The bands are embedded with RFID and Bluetooth tech that reads your coded information as you travel through Disney’s property. RFID readers like the ones demoed and pictured in the gallery are used to check your identity (park admission, transaction, FASTPASS verification, etc.) whereas the Bluetooth data is a general reading of a certain zone that better helps map where the parks are busiest. Much of this data today is eyeballed and gauged in a very manual process. Think of technology that is not much different in marathons, where they track a runner’s progress. The Bluetooth tech isn’t blanketed across the property, so it won’t be as intrusive as one may think. Only in those areas that are of interest in respect to dissecting and alleviating crowd patterns.

Why the use for this technology? All the reasons above are currently tied to a ticket or a card that people use, lose and/or damage during their vacation.

Of course taking in to consideration good retail sense, you can even accessorize the bands by adding chotchkies on the bands to give it a bit more flair. Something the kids are sure to enjoy.

For now the technology is tied to the features mentioned above, but the possibilities are endless and it will be interesting to see where wearable technology can be applied.

If you are creeped out by the technology no worries, you can opt out of it all together. However, the data stored on the wristbands are encoded, and even if you can read the RFID or Bluetooth data, all you will receive is a series of numbers of letters that will mean very little to you.  
If you’re worried about transactions getting charged up by kids or strangers, the same credit card rules apply, and charges beyond $50 requires a PIN to complete the transaction.

The technology is currently being tested by lucky families visiting Disney Parks in Orlando, Fla. Disney is continuing to expand the user base as MyMagic+ expands and completes portions of the testing phase.

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