Thursday, December 30, 2010

Entertain-me-right-this-second generation

The old maxim that industry must evolve to meet its customers needs is so true in the entertainment business and leading the edge of that wedge is Disney World in Florida. A recent article in the online New York Times shows just how much Disney is a leader in customer service innovation.

As an example, there are more than 40 rides available in the Magic Kingdom but customers generally get to ride only nine because of lengthy waits and crowded walkways and restaurants. So Disney looked at the problem, developed what they call the “operational command centre” and now the customer gets to ride ten of them. When you realize that more than 30-million people a year visit Disney World, you realize just how significant that number can be.

The goal for the modern Disney incarnation is profit. Disney wants to raise per-capita spending so if they can get you onto your favorite ride faster, then the thinking is you’re more inclined to spend on those ancillary things like restaurant meals, bobble heads, bumper stickers, t-shirts, etc.

One idea they’re exploring is using wrist bands encoded with personal information for the customers, including credit card numbers, favorite rides and more. That way, a wave of the wrist band would secure your purchase at a souvenir shop and animatronic characters might recognize that you’ve been through a particular ride three times that day and greet you by your first name.

The question then becomes what level of personal privacy are you willing to sacrifice in order to get a better entertainment experience? Chances are that harried parents would see it as a boon and accept the inevitable data mining as the price to pay for convenience.

It raises some interesting issues.


Wisewebwoman said...

My daughter, who is in the IT field has maintained for the last 10 years that we are one short stop from enbedding all our info surgically into our wrists (health card, SIN, DL, credit cards, etc).
Once I saw the full body scans at airports and read your post, I have no doubt at all.

ViewPoint2010 said...

I'm not in the IT biz, but my sense is that your daughter is right. I was talking with a cashier at Sobeys the other day who is about my age and we were joking about how we didn't beleive it when someone said a number of years ago that one day we would be able to use plastic the same as we use cash. Honestly, I hope I'll be dead before we start implanting chips with all of our personal data - fine for my dog, but not for me. As for the full body scans, to me, it's just another step on the road to dehumanizing humanity and most of us are going merrily along. I've made a personal decision not to fly into, over and/or out of the USA. Once the full body scans come to Canada en masse, I'll have another decision to make.