Thursday, January 28, 2010

Disney Blogger Weighs In On Billion Dollar "NextGen" Project

"" blogger Kevin Yee (click title link) ruminates on why Disney is going to spend a billion dollars to develop, produce and implement the "next generation" way to connect with this technology might work...and what the possible downsides might be.

Yee is one of the most important Disney watchers in the blogosphere. He has excellent sources throughout the Disney company (especially inside Imagineering), so his take is always illuminating. He explores the pros and cons of this technological leap.

The ubber-question that seems to underlie all the other considerations is this one:

"Will Disney use this technology primarily to pad the bottom line -- steer guests toward high-pried retail opportunities, close off under-used parts of the park and amass data about guests to manipulate them buying more Disney more of the time...or will Disney use this technology to give people a better, more personal guest experience?"

What's your take?

Friday, January 22, 2010

When Members Contribute to (And Help Curate) Collections...

The New York Times (click title) covers the "next generation" of guest involvement in contributing to, shaping and even co-curating museum content. Several museums-to-be are soliciting content from future guests, and sharing this content on-line. The Smithsonian has something called "Smithsonian Commons," which allows visitors to "download, share and remix the museum's vast collection of public domain assets." They'll be able to use the museum as a kind of micro-Internet, creating personalized niche views of the collection by using (fully licensed) images on their web sites and Facebook pages.

The Smithsonian's new media director, Michael Edson, says that this is a mission-shift "from an authority-centric broadcast platform to one that recognizes the importance of distributive knowledge creation." (Whew!)

The most important question raised seems to be, "How do museum curators encourage participation, create interest through involvement, and give up enough control to engage people, without losing control?" Any thoughts?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Disney to Spend A Billion on "Next Generation" Technology?

The Orlando Sentinel (click title for link) is reporting that the Walt Disney Company is planning to spent one billion dollars on technology (possibly based on radio frequency identification microchips) in order to track the movements and actions of guests.

A careful reading of this article raises more questions than it answers. Many of the proposed benefits for using RFID technology -- tracking guests to steer them toward retail and dining opportunities, enabling "fast-pass" style check-ins to shorten lines, creating more of an 'individual' experience by having characters greet guests, etc. -- are possible today, or will be in the near future. Which raises the question -- where will the billion dollars really go? As the article states, this money could pay for two 4,000 passenger cruise ships...or 4 "Avatars"....or a new Disney theme park.

Can Disney buy the "next generation" of technology that will fundamentally change the guest experience for theme parks? For museums?