Posted Friday, November 18, 2016 8:38 AM | Contributed by Jeff
Accesso unveiled a new electronic wrist band that will be used at Six Flags and other parks it works with. Prism, is sort of part MagicBand, part smartphone, and it will replace older ticketing and queuing technology like the Q-bot. Prism would essentially allow visitors to enter a theme park without needing their phones or wallets to fully enjoy the day.
Read more and see video from The Orlando Sentinel.
I assume that they have a customer or they wouldn't start manufacturing them, but I think this is going to fail. Have you been, anywhere, theme park or not, where people want to be without their phones? Good luck with that. If you can't pry the phones out of people's hands, you make a difficult case for this.
At Disney, the Magicband plus phone combination is pretty powerful, and it's relatively painless to push new versions of the software. And beyond that, while Disney wants to use the long-range RFID of the bands, they could quite frankly ditch the bands and use the phones entirely. There's no technological reason why you couldn't use the phones for Fastpasses today as well. You can already use them for Android and Apple Pay payments literally everywhere in the park.
Even at SeaWorld, you don't need paper wristbands with bar codes, because you can display them on the phone and use them at the gate and POS terminals.
The only use case for this, to me, seems like water parks, the one place where you can't take your phone on the rides. And apparently, Universal has some interesting answer for this.
On the contrary, I think this could be a relatively big hit. There are still a relatively large number of people that have either outdated phones that can't get the software, or don't have phones entirely. Then there are the people that simply don't want to waste the battery on their phone.
Where is this relatively large number of people? It does not appear they're going to theme parks. It's 70% in the US now, and I'm assuming the remaining 30% are children or the elderly. Stand in any queue at any park and observe the people heads down looking at their phones.
The "relatively large number" is basically anyone with an iPhone 4 or so, and many people that don't want to waste their phone battery.
Just let me use my Apple Watch, already...
As it stands now, if my phone is within range of and connected to a park's wifi, then my watch will connect to it and I can text and call. I use Apple Pay on it whenever I have the chance. I'm not wearing another wearable when I have a perfectly capable one with NFC, Bluetooth, WiFi, etc.. right there on my wrist, daily.
Go Intamin: As someone intimately familiar with research around smart phone saturation and its use in theme parks, I can confidently say that your "large number" is not a large number at all.
I've been wondering for nearly 10 years why these companies don't embrace the fact that everyone has a device on them rather than try to replace the device everyone has on them.
Ah, I love a good Gonchback.
I suspect that it would be difficult because everyone has a different kind of device. Not every device has every feature, and if it does have a certain kind of feature, there's still a chance it works differently. I'm no expert though. I am assuming.
I'm an expert, and your suspicions are unfounded. :)
Aren't there really only 2 operating systems across all of the different devices? Thousands of other applications find a way to be successful across both platforms. Why would this be any different?
More importantly, you can build apps for multiple platforms using the same tools and languages. It's a solved problem.
Do all devices have Near Field Communication? Bluetooth? GPS? I was talking more hardware and not software. And would those features be necessary? Could WiFi suffice? I really don't know for sure. Thanks for sharing.
I have a old flip phone phone and an iPod. I don't think my iPod has NFC or GPS, but it does do the WiFi global positioning thing and has Bluetooth.
I am one person who is very excited when I find that a park has free WiFi. :)
What if parks offered both? They could offer that "new" app for your device, or offer a device like Q-Bot. Maybe they could even phase the Q-Bot type device out over time. I think that the apps they offer would have to be compatible with older devices though in order to get the most users. I know a few people who own older iPhones.
NFC is pretty ubiquitous at this point, and GPS has been in most every phone since before they were "smart." Bluetooth isn't relevant in these cases. And when NFC isn't present, that's an edge case anyway.
The implementation varies so that hardware isn't always important. SeaWorld parks can display barcodes on their apps, which if you think about it was smart because barcode scanners have been in the parks for at least a decade. They didn't have to roll out new hardware for that. I don't know what their POS system is today, but the normal upgrade cycle is going to have NFC eventually because of the combination of chip card readers and Apple/Android Pay readers. Disney had a head start by a few years, but honestly, Magicbands are not strictly necessary at this point for anyone with a phone made in the last four or five years (which is likely also a fringe case, as people are now upgrading in two years or less, especially Apple users).
Aren't there really only 2 operating systems across all of the different devices?
There's actually a 3rd one called Windows Phone and it's still supported and being developed by Microsoft despite having less than 1% market share. There's not much software you can put on it as not very many developers push software for it and many has left due to the lack of devices in the wild. I had experience with one of these devices at work and they also crash and freeze a lot prompting me to never consider a Windows Phone ever. So we must never talk about this again.
They're is also a 4th called Blackberry OS that is obsolete and has not had a new release since 2013 and probably has support dropped for it sometime soon after. There's probably still few smart phones out there that use this software, but not enough to warrant support if you could even get support for it.
So support is only needed for iOS and Android and even then Accesso will not support those devices as they rely on Flash and Flash is not or no longer supported on those devices.Last edited by Sawblade5, Friday, November 25, 2016 7:52 AM
So, in other words...yeah, only 2.
I had experience with one of these devices at work and they also crash and freeze a lot prompting me to never consider a Windows Phone ever.
This is an anecdote and poor generalization. The Windows Phone OS was far and away better than Android or iOS, and both have "borrowed" heavily from the UI since. But yes, it was poorly marketed and never had the OMG hardware to make people want to buy it, which in turn reduced developer support for it. I held out until about a year ago, but I loved mine.
Unless this thing can take pictures, there is no way I'm leaving my phone in the car. (Among other reasons like staying in touch with my party etc.) My wallet, I would maybe part with just because I'm always afraid I'm going to lose it on some ride, but even then, without more features / use cases for the wristband, I'd rather have my wallet.
Another case that would make people want to carry their wallet is photo ID. If you want to buy beer/alcohol, most parks ask for ID if you look under 50 anymore. I'm not 50 but I'm far past 21 and am still carded at CP all the time. Granted not everyone is buying alcohol, but if you do, you better be ready to show ID no matter how old you are.
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