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Disney’s Take on the Internet of Things: A Magical MagicBand Wristband

Disney's Take on the Internet of Things: A Magical MagicBand Wristband from IEEE Innovation at WorkWhile more and more organizations are seeking out ways to implement the Internet of Things (IoT) to boost efficiency and connectivity, Disney World is ahead of the game.  If you haven’t heard about it yet, Disney’s take on the Internet of Things comes in the form of a magical wristband.

Officially called the Disney MagicBand, these colorful silicon wristbands look deceivingly simple on the outside. Beneath the surface, however, they actually contain an RFID chip and long-range radio with a transmit range of 40 feet in every direction (Kuang, 2015). With batteries meant to last two years, these wristbands enable park visitors to digitally consolidate a number of things, such as park tickets, credit card information, and room keys.

Disney mails the MagicBands to park visitors before their visit, not long after they purchase tickets online and settle on an itinerary. Those that sign up for the “Magical Express” eliminate all paperwork, and significantly reduce inefficiencies from the time they land in Orlando until they leave the park. All the information needed is contained within the band (Kuang, 2015). No need to pick up luggage, rent a car, wait in long lines, carry cash, or even order food at a restaurant, at least not when these things can be taken care of ahead of time with internet access and the MagicBand.

Although designing and implementing the plan for the MagicBand took several years and a lot of work, the band’s integration within the amusement park now seems quite seamless (Kuang, 2015). Band readers are set up at various locations around the park, particularly at entrances to the park and rides. Visitors only need to touch the band’s Mickey icon to the reader’s circled Mickey icon: a successful connection results in a green light and a pleasant tone from the reader, while an error results in a blue light.

So far MagicBands are only used at Disney World in Orlando, but it is likely that Disney will integrate similar aspects of the MyMagic+ program into other parks soon (Pedicini, 2014). Their ease-of-use and multiple capabilities have already gained popularity among park visitors, and other industries are taking note. According to Kuang (2015), “Despite their futuristic intentions, they’re already invisible.”

Want to learn more about the Internet of Things and how it’s being used today and in the future? Check out our newest online course program  IEEE Guide to the Internet of Things. Interested in learning more about how to create Internet of Things devices with significantly longer battery life? Learn more about the groundbreaking IEEE Technology Report on Wake-Up Radio, coming soon!

References:

Kuang, C. (2015, Mar 10). Disney’s $1 billion bet on a magical wristband. Wired.

Pedicini, S. (2014, Dec 25). MyMagic+ on its way to other Disney parks. Orlando Sentinel.

Image: Julie Friend (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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