Why it matters

Gaining real-time data about consumer behavior, from their current location to their transactions, is increasingly valuable for marketers. Building a digital ecosystem to achieve this goal, however, is extremely complex in practice.


  • Digital devices offer a profound opportunity to understand consumer habits, but brand custodians must act with due caution in this area.
  • Establishing a clear value exchange, which tangibly rewards consumers for sharing their information, is an essential task.
  • Privacy remains a critical issue, and should be baked into the design of products and services from the very beginning.

Last year, Princess Cruises – a sea-faring vacation brand owned by Carnival Corp. – introduced connected wearable devices for passengers on its digitally-enabled ships.

The 1.8-ounce OCEAN Medallion can be worn like a pendant, sportsband, or bracelet by travelers on any of Carnival’s five current “smart” vessels. Having originally been unveiled at CES in 2017, the free gadget gives each customer who activates and wears it a unique digital ID, so they can fulfill a wide range of tasks via their smartphone or through on-ship portals, including:

  • pre-entering information before leaving home, expediting the boarding process;
  • navigating around a ship;
  • learning about dining and entertainment options;
  • ordering drinks for delivery throughout the ship;
  • locating family members;
  • messaging other guests;
  • enjoying customized games and content.

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