Announced recently in the New York Times, Carnival Corporation, the folks behind Carnival Cruises are about to go wearable. They are going to outfit all passengers with medallions that record their every private moment, at least as far as where they go.
For some people this is just another example of privacy invasion, but it seems to be the new normal. Doubtful we will ever enjoy the privacy afforded us in the pre-technology days.
As the saying goes, what’s good for the Disney is good for the gander… er, cruise liner. If you recall, in 2014 Disney launched a system of wearables where park attendees could wear a bracelet that tracked their activities.
These aren’t fitness trackers. They’re trackers intended to collect data alright but not fitness. It’s much about collecting demographic data as it is about managing a crowd. To Carnival, it’s worth every penny.
Ships were big enough when the Titanic sailed to lose track of people. Just look at what happened to Leonardo DiCaprio when he was on the Titanic. (I may have gotten confused with my history there.)
Today’s ships dwarf the Titanic. They’re not getting smaller.
While today’s passengers have cell phones and boats have WiFi, two technologies that DiCaprio could’ve really used, those same passengers can jump in pools or misplace those phones. the medallion is not only easy to carry, it’s waterproof.
Carrying the medallion means they can find wherever you go.
About the size of a silver dollar, one can wear his medallion like jewelry. The boats will sell a variety of necklaces, bracelets and other housings in which one can put his medallion.
The medallion does more than break a small barrier of your privacy, it opens the door to your room. It allows family members to locate you anywhere on the boat. The medallions will also allow you to watch live entertainment, order food or drinks, and connect to an app on your smartphone.
From a service standpoint, the ship can identify guests by name using a tablet. The name of the guest will pop up as they approach the guest. They will also be able to track who is watching live shows, allowing entertainers to give shout outs to guests no matter if they are in the audience or watching from a monitor somewhere on the boat.
It will cost Carnival in the hundreds of millions of dollars to pull this off. They have to install around 7000 sensors per boat. Not only that, each medallion is laser-imprinted with the name of the guest so there’s that cost. As far as they’re concerned, it’s all worth it.
The current travel industry penetration of cruise ships is about 2%. There is a lot more money on the table. As far as they see it, this investment is about expanding that market share.
If that weren’t proof enough, as part of the medallion plan, Carnival is paying to produce three travel shows, all about portraying cruises as something anyone will enjoy.
Of course, the BodyHacks crew is sitting on the we told you so side of the fence. This is only the beginning. Assuming the Carnival medallion experiment is s success, we can see a whole industry of hospitality wearables opening up. There is that whole Las Vegas slice of the pie, but also every all-inclusive in the world.
Goodbye to the key card (and privacy). Hello, medallion.