Thursday, June 7, 2018

Here’s How Disney Uses IoT for a Seamless Guest Experience

It’s no secret that the Internet of Things (IoT) is becoming more and more relevant in all industries. We know it’s powering our smart homes, making our shopping experiences smoother, and helping manufacturers be more efficient. But, have you ever thought about the impact that IoT could have on your theme park visit? Think about it: what are the worst parts of visiting an amusement park? For me, the first things that come to mind are: long lines, high expenses, and large crowds. Now think, what if we leveraged technology to mend all of these issues? Well, the good news is that it’s already being done! Walt Disney World is successfully doing it–which opens the doors for amusement parks everywhere to follow suit.

So, let’s use Disney’s use case as a jumping off point. If you’re like me, you can remember a childhood trip to one of the Disney theme parks. There is a long list of positive memories associated with Disney trips (think: princess signature books, delicious dinners accompanied by the characters, and sweet treats, to name a few). But if you’ve taken a more recent trip (particularly if you’re a parent), your memories might look a little less magical and a little more wait-filled–long periods of waiting for rides, long lines to get food, and trying to keep track of everything and everyone–it’s an exhausting experience to say the least.

In the amusement park industry, customer satisfaction is just as (if not more) important than in any other industry. If a family leaves an amusement park trip happy, they are not only more likely to return but also they’re likely to go and tell their friends about it.

Let’s dive in to how Disney has reduced friction in its parks by way of the MagicBands program. These colorful bands can now be the “one-stop shop” for all things Disney. Through RFID tags and Radio Frequency technology, these smart bracelets are able to store information, communicate with you and the park, and lighten your load as your travel throughout a day. Your MagicBand can serve as your:

  • Park Ticket: No need to stress about keeping track of the whole family’s paper tickets, making getting out the door easier and getting into the park hassle-free.
  • Fast Pass: Fastpass line entry made simple: just swipe your MagicBand at the entry during your arrival window and unlock fun times.
  • Payment Method: No need to tote around a bag that ends up creating issues at rides; complete your profile and simply pay with your MagicBand (and don’t worry they have a pin entry to ensure security).
  • PhotoPass Access: Gone are the days where you have your photo taken and they hand you a small card with an access code on it that you always manage to lose; simply tap your MagicBand to the PhotoPass photographer’s handheld device, and your photos are magically linked to your My Disney Experience app.

And that’s just a few of the many functions that are held in that powerful little bracelet. Think about the implications of nearly every guest having this piece of technology on their wrist! It has the potential to be your park ticket, method of payment, hotel keycard, and more–essentially negating the need for a wallet or purse, which means shorter security bag check lines and happier guests. Disney reported a nearly 30 percent cut in turnstile transaction time thanks to the IoT-powered wearable tech, proving the results are well-worth the time it takes to implement this technology.

They say the best leaders are the ones who lead by example, and Disney has definitely taken that lesson to heart. IoT in theme parks is just beginning–and, although Disney has managed to come up with many use cases for their IoT technology, the possibilities are endless.