Friday, May 1, 2015

Disney, the other giant of the new technologies – Le Figaro

The American multinational entertainment invests heavily in innovation, research and start-ups to improve the experience of its viewers and visitors to its amusement parks.

The magic does not exist without technology. Even if one knows more about Disney’s animated films and theme parks, the American company was not ashamed to face Facebook, Google or Microsoft.

She, too, in its way, a giant of innovation. Disney employs engineers, organizes “hackathons” (innovation competition), and develops mobile applications and video games. The group even has its own start-up accelerator, the Accelerator Disney, where he sponsors every year ten companies in the entertainment and media.

Three members of its board of directors are also from the Web and new technologies sectors: Jack Dorsey, founder of Twitter, Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s number two, and John S. Chen Former BlackBerry and Sybase software publisher. The former head of Apple, Steve Jobs, it also served. Now these innovation specialists are full of praise for Disney. “This is not just a company that applies the technologies, but also built the” thought Jack Dorsey in an interview with Forbes magazine.

drones and robots

In addition to its animated films, the best showcase of innovation are its Disney theme parks. The company has its own subsidiary for the development of rides, shows and entertainment for visitors, Walt Disney Imagineering. He was responsible eg “animatronics”, talking robots now used in many attractions or their queues.

A hundred technology patents

Disney owns a hundred technology patents. It now seek to file three others to allow the use of drones in its parks. The flying machines would be used to project 3D animations or perform choreographies, for example during a parade or a show.

To improve his knowledge in robotics, Disney can rely on Disney Research, its research network of laboratories and universities that he created seven years ago. The latter has six offices worldwide, including one in Europe, mounted in partnership with the Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH). He was responsible for numerous inventions, such as Beachbot, a robot that can draw in the unmanned sand or Acoustruments, that control a smartphone with sounds. By chance, Disney Research was born in 2008, the same year as the movie Wall-E, which just tells the adventures of a little robot.

The latest technology fits perfectly Disney betting to the trend of high-tech market: the MagicBand, a connected wrist that simplifies access to the various activities of its parks. The American group has invested nearly a billion dollars to its design and gradual implementation in its US parks.

MagicBand can store a wealth of data about visitors: their favorite attractions, characters they wish to meet, the type of ticket purchased … or even, their bank details to buy products derivatives. The bracelet can do everything, or almost. Visitors just have to pass it in front of readers scattered throughout the park to view the activity of their choice.

“If you want to have an idea of ​​our future when our laptop will be the guardian of our money and our identity, avoid Silicon Valley and instead go to Walt Disney World in Orlando, “says the trade magazine Wired, more accustomed to sending its reporters to Apple keynotes in an amusement park.

The MagicBand that would soon land at Disneyland Paris, however not everyone packs. Online freedoms advocacy groups are particularly concerned about the storage and reuse of personal data stored in this way. Until his polemics, Disney has everything a great new technology enterprise.

“To see the future, go to Walt Disney World”


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