Saturday, April 17, 2010

Will this new Apple patent revolutionize guests experience at Disney Theme Parks ?

As everyone knows Apple Inc is one of the most secret company in the world. Steve Jobs protects all Apple inventions and want them to be known only when it's the right time and to be honest i think he's right. BUT as i am also a huge Apple fan i'm also happy to learn what Apple's future is made of. And for this, the great Patently Apple web site is just perfect. Like any company Apple must protect their new inventions and the best way to do this is to register a patent at the U.S Patent and Trademark Office. Each day Patently Apple is tracking new Apple patents and for sure it's the best way to learn before anyone what will be Apple's next amazing product. Recently Apple registered a patent for a new application, and this one could revolutionize your future visit at a Disney theme parks!

This new Apple's application is called "Concert Ticket +". As patently Apple explains it "The system that is laid out in this extraordinarily detailed patent, points to a new iTunes based web service for tickets... Apple definitely envisions a way to revolutionize the entire current concert ticket process so as to eliminate paper while enhancing the concert or event experience. But the patent goes far beyond concerts as well - so as to cover sporting events, and... theme park admissions and rides"! Considering that Steve Jobs is not only Disney's biggest stockholder but also a member of the WDC board you begin to understand why it's interesting to have a closer look to this new patent...

First, to help you to understand how it works let me give you more details about the part of the patent about concerts as the theme park part of the patent works on the same technique. You will see below the explicit patent picture, and here is Patently Apple explanation (the numbers in the text refers to the picture below):
"Apple's patent FIG. 8A shown below illustrates an iPhone obtaining and storing electronic tickets. The electronic tickets may be any data identified as electronic tickets and may include, for example, encrypted or unencrypted XML files which may be associated with a particular device or user account. An iPhone may obtain electronic tickets from an NFC enabled ticket (#106), by scanning a paper ticket (#108), by receiving an electronic ticket via e-mail (#110) or via the Internet, or by purchasing an electronic ticket from the kiosk or unmanned kiosks presented earlier.

In Apple's patent FIG. 8B we're able to see a variety of benefits that may be associated with the electronic tickets stored on the iPhone. After receiving electronic tickets using one of the manners depicted in FIG. 8A, additional benefits may be obtained by communicating information associated with the electronic tickets to a web service.

To provide a brief example illustrating the electronic ticketing system of FIGS. 8A-B below, a user may purchase an NFC-enabled ticket (#106) for a concert. The user may tap the NFC-enabled ticket to an iPhone running a ticket management application which may cause the iPhone to receive ticket information from the NFC-enabled ticket. The iPhone may next authenticate the ticket with a web service such as iTunes. Thereafter, the user may use their iPhone to gain entry to the concert through the ticket turnstile noted below (#94) - and obtain additional benefits as outlined below.

I-tickets may provide additional benefits, such as digital content which may include a live recording of the event, exclusive interviews with artists associated with the event, or studio recordings by artists associated with the event. The electronic tickets may offer other benefits, such as discounts on merchandise related to the event, discounts or prepaid refreshments for the event, discounts or prepaid merchandise like a T-Shirt for the event, and other related content, such as a digital map (#120) to the event or of the venue including your seating positioning relative to the stage".

Now, let's see the part of this patent about theme parks, which is from patent points 464 through to 478. You have the patent text below but as it is typical patent language i suggest you read it slowly if you want to understand something!

In two words this new application will allow you to order and store in your mobile device (IPhone or others) the entrance ticket to Disney parks but not only. Instead to make the queue to buy the ticket you will present your IPhone at the entrance and they will scan the image and barcode and that's it! This will be great for normal guests but of course if you're an Annualpass holder you don't really care about that. As you will see what's next is more interesting as "the electronic theme park ticket - that you will have stored on your IPhone or other mobile phone may also include such benefits as special ride tickets or prepaid or discount refreshments". Also, "other benefits which may be associated with the electronic theme park ticket may include photos of the user on certain rides, as well as certain entertainment which may become available while the user waits in line.

"In-line entertainment may include, for example, complimentary or for-purchase digital content such as music, videos, or games". "A map to or of the theme park may also be associated with the electronic theme park ticket. Prepaid or discount parking or transportation may also be associated as a benefit with the electronic theme park ticket".

Also "the supplemental ticket data associated with an electronic ticket may include the GPS coordinates delineating where the event may take place. With such information, the electronic device, upon receiving the electronic theme park ticket, may also automatically instate an "out of office" reply to all incoming email or phone calls, indicating that the user is currently unavailable while the user remains within certain GPS coordinates delineating the bounds of the theme park. Additionally, as some theme parks may be affiliated with movie studios, the electronic theme park ticket may include a benefit such as special movie releases. Such special movie releases may become available, for example, when a user enters the theme park using the electronic theme park ticket".

With this App guests will be able "to obtain photos associated with recent theme park rides. As the user passes a ride exit, the unmanned kiosk or the exhibit station may be nearby. The unmanned kiosk and the exhibit station may enable the user to exploit a variety of benefits associated with the electronic theme park ticket". Thanks to the data supplied by the ticket to credit an account for an online media service, such as an iTunes.RTM. account, associated with the ticketholder with the images at a later time, the user may retrieve the images from the online media service from his electronic device. The electronic device may display a screen when, as discussed above, the electronic device interacts with the unmanned kiosk or the exhibit station located near the ride exit. Text may indicate the name of the ride. A button, labeled "See Photos," may enable the user to view photos from the ride. Another button, labeled "Suggested Rides," may recommend similar rides and provide maps to the rides".

"It should further be appreciated that the screen may be additionally or alternatively displayed while the electronic device is operating in a tour mode and the GPS coordinates denoting the end of the ride are detected by the location-sensing circuitry. The electronic device may compare the location data observed by the location-sensing circuitry and various locations denoting ride exits, noted as GPS coordinates in the supplemental ticket data. A hyperlink to a website or other server from the supplemental ticket data may provide up-to-date photo data from the ride".

"A number of benefits that may be associated with the electronic theme park ticket may ...become available to the user. While still at home, the user may prepay for parking and for enough refreshments for the whole family. The user and family may drive to the theme park aided by a map to the park. Upon arrival, because the user has prepaid for parking, the handheld device may display an electronic coupon indicating the user has prepaid for parking when the user arrives. Alternatively, the prepaid parking may be redeemed by tapping the NFC-enabled conference ticket to a kiosk or unmanned kiosk, which may verify that parking has been prepaid by contacting the web service".

"The user and family may gain entry to the theme park using the handheld device using the techniques described above. Once inside the park, the user and family may avoid certain ride lines with special ride tickets and, while waiting in line throughout the day, may take advantage of special in-line entertainment such as a trivia game against others waiting in line. After riding certain rides, the user may purchase photos of his family's recent ride experiences by tapping the handheld device to an unmanned kiosk stationed at the exit. Meanwhile, though the user may not have set an "out-of-office" reply before going to the theme park, the handheld device may automatically set an "out-of-office" reply when the user entered the park, based on user preferences. Finally, when the day winds down and the family is ready to go, certain special movie releases may be offered for purchase on the handheld device on the way out. As the user and family drive home, one of the recently-purchased special movie releases may play in the car".

If you own a IPhone or another mobile device that you can connect to a ITunes account all what you've read above should be possible. Instead to buy a ticket at the entrance booth or stop to pay for the parking you wil show your mobile device and the electronic or parking lot and that's it! And not to mention all what was described above and the goodies you may receive on your mobile device while waiting in line... Now that you've read the above description of the patent you probably understood how this new Apple patent might revolutionize your future Disney parks visits.

Do we all say "thank you" to Steve?

Thanks to leave a comment or discuss this article on D&M english forum on Mice Chat

Pictures and part of the text coming from Apple patent: copyright Apple Inc


Anonymous said...

Another great innovation that *nobody* needs, sorry, Steve.

Anonymous said...

Tout ça est trés interessant, notamment pour les pré-paiements et réductions, le reste etant de l'"accessoire".
Mais la question est desormais: "Quand est-ce que l'on peut espérer voir tout ça devenir concret?"