Last year was a fantastic year for us; we won best use of technology in the hospitality and leisure sector in the Retail Systems Awards, Carnival UK deployed our kiosks at sea on their cruise ships, and retail store Matalan launched a concept store featuring our kiosks.
So it is no surprise that we are very excited about the upcoming year and what 2011 will bring!
In terms of the touch screen technology industry, businesses and companies are constantly looking for the next big thing to please the customers and better their experience to keep them coming back for more.
This is especially difficult to overcome, with the challenge of an already weakened economy and falling sales.
However, industry experts have agreed that the goal and top trend for 2011 is to combine kiosks, tablets and mobile technologies to keep the clients and consumers buying and using the technology.
The Touch screen tablet, such as the iPad, is said to rise in the market this year alongside app developers, as a definite trend to watch out for that impacts the kiosk industry.
This is exampled by the news story we previously reported upon, in which kiosks were installed at New York’s John F Kennedy and La Guardia airports where the consumer could order a meal deal on an iPad.
And only last week the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office made public Apple’s patent “Social Networking in Shopping Environments” which described how in-store kiosks would allow customers to access an item list and information on their phones and then share.
As stated, it is expected the mobile and kiosk industries will also work together, with the convergence of all technologies helping to engage the customer in its fullest.
Shoppers will be able to log in to their accounts via store kiosks but also online or on their mobile phones; with the kiosk acting as the focal point as it coordinates the overall customer experience.
It seems the public is more accepting now than ever of self-service machines, with them being so user friendly.
Tom Quarry, Managing Director of Protouch, said: “We are very proud of the success we have had over the past year and are more determined than ever to have a fantastic 2011. Touch screen kiosks are having a massive impact on businesses and will only become greater and more influential as the year progresses. To meet with this extremely wide need for self service, our kiosks are continually evolving and utilising the many innovative devices that are in demand across all industry sectors.”
To install a Touch screen kiosk in your business, contact Protouch today.
It is a common and well spread rumour in the ATM industry that manufacturers are moving towards a wireless connectivity.
Many companies are jumping on the technological band wagon to distribute them, providing their business with advantages for its future success; that will benefit them and their customers.
Wireless connectivity is nothing new in other industry sectors, with wireless internet routers, laptops, mobile phones and its presence in cars; whereas in the ATM World it is a fairly relative newbie.
However, consumers’ needs in the ATM sector could soon be met with the ‘cutting of the cord’, to reap the rewards.
Invest in it now and boost your business with wireless connectivity and gain;
- Faster transactions
- Fewer dropped calls
- Greater flexibility
- Higher customer satisfaction
Money is tight these days due to the economic climate and with time affecting money, wireless connectivity could solve these dilemmas as it is easy to upgrade, fast and reliable.
Most ATMs are tied to banks etc. by hardwires, that being power cords and phone lines. It can have its disadvantages though due to the requirement of regular manual checks and the possibility of running out of money or paper.
Wireless connectivity only requires a power cord so it can be deployed pretty much anywhere and moved from one end of a store to another; saving moving and perfect for store rearrangements or expansion.
It only takes one day to be installed whereas a hardwired ATM often takes weeks and enables portability, which can be critical when it comes to setting up equipment at special events e.g. exhibition.
And its router which is fitted within it transmits data faster, speeding up the processes.
So who knows what the future is of ATMs? You can be sure Protouch will be one step-ahead, as Europe’s number one manufacturer and distributor of touch screen equipment.
These days everyone is talking about what the customer wants, what the customer needs, how to improve customer service; however has everyone forgotten about the staff?
Your staff members are essential to keep your business going and if they are happy and receiving the top quality treatment they deserve then they will work hard for your business in turn keeping your customers happy.
There are a wide range of ways you can keep your staff member’s happy one being through the use of innovative technology such as an employee self service kiosk. You might be thinking this is a strange feature to offer staff members; however it can benefit your team in a variety of different ways and we at Protouch are here to explain how.
With a human resources kiosks,the direct savings you can make as a business are never ending. Through a HR kiosk you could potentially:
On top of this, there are a variety of features and benefits to a human resources kiosks which include:
If you are seriously considering a kiosk system for your staff members, why not contact Protouch today, the leading distributor and manufacturer or touch screen equipment across Europe. The team have designed and developed a wide range of kiosk systems for a plethora of industry sectors and can assist you in designing a bespoke kiosk system tailored to your needs and requirements.
A recent report by analysts at JP Morgan have predicted that kiosk vending systems such as Redbox and Blockbuster Express will fall short over the next few years with the emergence of streaming and video-on-demand (VOD).
Over the last 12 months consumers are catching on to VOD services with major studios, cable and satellite suppliers as well as electrical manufacturers and retailers jumping on the bandwagon in a bid to increase their customer service.
Company giants such as Walmart, Best Buy and Sears, as well as Amazon, Blockbuster and Apple have gone ahead and expanded their VOD services which has seen a positive response from consumers.
Netflix is currently launching its standalone streaming service in Canada this fall with Amazon reported to set their very own subscription based streaming service this Autumn.
“We believe adoption of online video streaming and downloading services will accelerate dramatically in 2011…and be promoted by major retailers,” JP Morgan analysts wrote in the August report. “DVD kiosk revenue opportunity [as a result] will peak in 2011, owing to loss of share of the home entertainment market to the online video services.”
Analyst with Frost & Sullivan, Dan Rayburn, said that Coinstar -owned Redbox is in a vulnerable position due to the increase in digital distribution such as streaming.
“They have no digital offering…they are in a hard spot,” Rayburn told KioskMarketplace.com, suggesting that Redbox will not be able to deliver video directly to the television.
Coinstar, are working to develop a digital distribution service that could potentially involve both kiosks and the Internet. Eric Wold, analyst with Merriman Curhan Ford in New York, downplayed Redbox’s need for digital distribution, suggesting that consumers are happy with multiple rental distribution channels.
“We continue to believe [consumers] are likely to use more than one rental channel,” Wold wrote in a note.
Netflix further expanded their customer reach paying $1 billion over five years to a plethora of studios in return for faster access to their movies and television programmes.
Laurence Berlin, analyst with First Analysis Corp., in Chicago, said that the deployment of Redbox kiosks, teamed with the availability of high definition Blue-ray Disc rentals, enables packaged media rentals a better choice.
“[Digital distribution] will take several years to play out,” Berlin told KioskMarket.com. “I suspect Coinstar has a smart management team that is working on this.”
A little over ten years ago self service check in units began popping up across retail and supermarket stores. Firstly greeted with a sense of suspicion and an arrogance to why the work shouldn’t be done by staff, self check in systems have become a beloved friend to us all and often the first port of call before a manned self check out service.
Paul Denimarck, who handles strategic marketing for the self checkout division at Honeywell Scanning and Mobility, the data connections and wireless communications solutions company has suggested that self service systems can be divided into one of two types; stationary and portable.
“Stationary self checkout platforms are located at the front of the store,” he said. “A customer using a stationary self checkout platform brings their merchandise to the lane, identifies the items they are purchasing with the scanners and tenders payment at the same location.
“Portable self checkout platforms disperse the transaction process at different points – the customer identifies individual items using a bar code scanner at the point of selection, and then the customer takes the items to a separate location to tender payment.”
There are a variety of different types of self service kiosks available and all work for different types of stores.
Modular Kiosk: Most commonly seen in a supermarket store. They are stand alone units most often deployed next to a few more kiosks at a fixed station.
Often a lay-aside area for scanned items and a larger bagging area, which is usually situated on a rotating carousel which makes the bagging process easier.
This option allows the retailer to change from a self service option to a manned kiosk instantly.
Countertop/In counter: Ideal for retailers with a single cash counter, such as convenience stores, deli’s and food areas.
This are versatile units that can be placed anywhere in a store. Smaller than self checkout terminals and are ideal for grab and go services and products.
Back in the day, a mobile phone was exactly what it says on the tin. Not everyone had one, and when you did it was rarely used other than to make calls. Many people would leave the phone off for days and turn it on to use it when needed.
Nowadays the mobile phone has become integral to our every day lives. Everyone has one and we would be totally lost without it. Smartphones have taken over the globe offering new features and applications that twenty years ago, many of us would’ve never imagined.
However, with these cool, trendy and fun-filled Smartphones, there comes a price. And that price can often put you in rather difficult situations and stressful moments if you are stuck of a solution.
The problem comes in a small little box known as the phone battery which can be totally drained in one day if the phone is incessantly used to make phone calls, send text messages, connect to the Internet, playing games, taking photographs and films etc.
Despite mobile phone manufacturers desperately trying to improve the battery life of their phones, they still haven’t found a quick fix solution for batteries to handle the large amounts of applications and features that these new Smartphones bring.
Fortunately there is a solution to this problem and it could be coming to a town near you very soon. Yes, a new kiosk is due to be deployed that can offer rapid phone charging for little or no money as well as a great way for business owners to get people through their doors and possibly increase their revenue.
Already a big hit in Asia, the US are looking to deploy the kiosks which will feature a set of connectors for various phone types, a monitor, touch screen options, a payment system as well as connectivity for the processing of transactions, remote management and the download of new content for the monitors.
Like the ATM, the mobile phone kiosk will provide customers with a unique solution to help ensure the mobile communication of voice and data is not restricted by the death of the battery.
And there are many businesses that can truly benefit from deploying these kiosks systems including, hotels, convention centres, airports, hospitals, bars and clubs.
For example, if you are in an airport and your flight is delayed or cancelled you may find yourself having to sit around in the airport longer than you expected. These scenarios can leave you frustrated especially if your battery is on its last legs and your charger is in your main luggage. With the mobile phone charger kiosk system your prayers are answered and you can get in touch with home to let them know that you will be late so they are not stood waiting for you at the airport.
The new mobile phone kiosk is a fantastic idea and is sure to be a big hit once deployed in shops and stores across the US. Lets just hope it hits the UK very soon.
Improving your brand and your loyalty to the customer is more important than ever as today’s consumers cope with tighter budgets, busier lifestyles and – in most cases – shorter attention spans.
Kiosk systems, smart phones and social media tools have dramatically boosted brand loyalty if used correctly.
With many technology devices out there, it is hard to decide which one is the best method for you and your business.
So which communication channels work best to entice consumers and keep them coming back for more?
A recent study conducted by New York-based BuzzBack Market Research found that most North American shoppers prefer retailers that enable them to shop consistently across a multitude of channels, such as kiosks, smart phones and social media tools.
More than 80 per cent of surveygoers said that they want more control over where, when and how they interact with retailers, whether it be through Facebook, iPhones or in-store kiosks.
“Consumers are time-starved, value-driven, digitally enabled and frustrated by inconsistent shopping experiences across channels,” said Mike Webster, senior vice president and general manager of retail and hospitality business for NCR Corp, who commissioned the study. “Retailers must deliver more personalised, unified reactions whether their customers are on the Web, in the store or using their mobile device. For retailers to respond to this new ear of converged retailing, they require solutions that bring these channels together.”
The detailed study on consumer behaviours focused on how consumers use self-service, social media and other technology to shop and in response, how retailers can tap into those channels. And its overall analysis found that customer loyalty is the key focus, with consumers and their desire for retailers to offer a more consistent and seamless shopping experience.
The study also looked at the value of a consistent experience across all channels as well as the value that consumers place on personalisation, such as language, payment systems, brand preference and receipt type. In response, almost half agreed that retail shopping or restaurant ordering would be faster and more convenient if they had a more personalised experience.
The highlights of the study included;
To view the full white paper released in May 2010 at the Food Marketing Institute showcase in Las Vegas, click here.
Quick thinking companies are nowadays deploying software, linked to enterprise applications like customer data and analytics, in order to deliver timely and relevant communications across multiple points of service, based on their customer’s preferences and location.
“A new generation of consumers craves more personalisation and control over when and how they interact with retailers,” said Dusty Lutz, general manager of NCR Netkey digital signage and kiosk applications.
“Consumers are willing to reward retailers that enable a seamless, converged channel experience across Web, store or mobile channels. Retailers are responding by evaluating technology solutions that help them interact with shoppers based on their individual preferences and location to create a more compelling shopping experience.”
The stereotypical image of a truck driver in the UK isn’t great. In fact, when most people think of a truck driver it generally includes a middle-aged male who is tired, dirty, hasn’t showered in a week and uneducated. This concept is unfair and rather snobbish as many dont’ see the move truck drivers have made into the modern age.
For starters, the route of most trucks is tracked by a global positioning system, with music playing over a satellite radio and the driver most likely to be chatting on an integrated hands free mobile phone system.
And it’s not just the trucks that have gone tech savvy as technology has come to the truck stop. Today more and more drivers are stopping at self service kiosks before even ordering a cup of coffee.
Drivers today must meet a set of regulations set by the Government. From logging the amount of time they spend behind the wheel to maintainance of the truck. On top of this the rising fuel costs are forcing drivers to cut costs wherever and whenever they can.
Because of this, more and more kiosk systems are enabling truck drivers to manage their time behind the wheel.
Flying J Travel Plazas is just one company that has deployed kiosks to serve its drivers. A Driver Services Kiosk provides fax services a fax mailbox, copy services and a driver load exchange board. The kiosk also offers calling cards for sale and even allows drivers to arrange for the delivery of flowers to loved ones back home.
They also act as an Internet kiosk providing access to the World Wide Web as well as a Scan & Go Express Fuel Desk Scanner which enables drivers to scan shipping documents and send them to the corporate office.
One of the kiosks servers as a Truck Driver Kiosk, allowing drivers to obtain receipts for many of their transactions in the Pilot store without having to wait in line at the checkout. A second kiosk is also dedicated to human resources applications.
“Our driver customers depend on these services, as their truck is a moving business office and theny need access to technology to conduct their business and communicate with their home offices,” said Gary Barlow, president of Flying J Communications.
In September 2009, Knoxville, Tennassee based Pilot Travel Centres began deploying self service kiosks in its own locations around the country. Pilot operates 306 travel centres in 29 states across the US.
Some of the pilot kiosks allow customers free access to the Internet while drivers are on the go.
Petro Travel Centres needed a digital device to maintain a connection with their travelling customers and truckers. Kiosks were installed across 60 Petro Travel Centres across the US so that the Petro brand could communicate with 250,000 customer cardholders as they redeem gas purchases for coupons.
“When you think about it, this is the only way to communicate with a group of customers that is continually moving around the country,” said Brian Ardinger, chief marketing officer with Nanoation, the manufacturer of the Petro branded kiosks.
The kiosks are actively promoted on video trailers of DVD movies for sale at Petro locations, as well as special promotions for other Petro amenities. Each card reader features a touch screen, card reader, printer and durable enclosure all designed to maximise the ease of use, functionality and return on investment.
For more information about interactive kiosk systems that can provide different channels of communication for your staff, then speak to Protouch today. As the leading manufacturer and distributor of touch screen technology across Europe the team are expertise in deploying successful kiosk systems that benefit individual businesses needs and requirements.
So, in December 2009 the Government body who issue the alcohol licenses decided to pilot two wine kiosks across grocery stores in the state. And the launch last week did not receive a warm welcome for many local citizens or opposing Government and Union bodies.
Implemented by The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) two of the wine kiosks began operating at local grocery stores in Dauphin and Cumberland counties.
Over the next 30-45 days the beta test machines will be closely monitored and if all goes well, PLCB Chairman P.J Stapleton said they will start the rollout of 98 more machines statewide, giving wine drinkers in Pittburgh the chance to buy a bottle or two from a vending machine by autumn 2010.
The 40-square-foot machines will operate from 9am to 9pm, Monday through to Saturday. More than 53 types of wine stored at 62 degrees will be available to purchase from the kiosk system. Prices will range from $10-$20 a bottle.
Users are asked to swipe their drivers license and then look at a high definition camera to allow a worker at a call centre to verify identity of the purchaser. Once approved, the customer has to blow on a screen housing a Breathalyzer. If a breath of alcohol level of .02 or higher is detected, the consumer will be unable to make the purchase.
The kiosks touch screen also guides shoppers through the wine selection process and offers food pairing tips.
All the machines are to be placed in grocery stores but the final list of locations has not been confirmed.
Stapleton said, “Consumers are yearning for additional consumer convenience. Customers are going to local supermarkets to pick up a couple of great steaks and bring them home for dinner and now they can bring home a cabernet to have with them.”
At present, Pennsylvania is the only state using such kiosk systems.
Their are many people who have been outraged by the kiosk, including the union that represents the state store employees. The Independent State Store Union spokesperson, Ed Cloonan, said, “Cigarettes are banned from being sold in vending machines in Pennsylvania supermarkets and yet Americans’ number one drug of choice will now be vended only in Pennsylvania by the PLCB.”
Cloonan has coined the wine kiosks ‘Rube Goldbery-like contraptions.’ In retaliation to the kiosks, The Independent State Store Union has filed suit in Commonwealth Court to stop the placement of wine vending machines in grocery stores. “Alcohol is not a Red Box DVD – it is the most abused drug in every town, city and state in the USA,” says David Wanamaker, Vice President of ISSU.
And it’s not just the Union that are unhappy.
|Wine dispenser open for business at Wegmans|
At the blog The Wine Culture Project, the kiosk has been singled out as the ‘worst wine idea of the year.’ Writer John Kafarski laments what it will do to the wine buying experience, turning the product into ‘nothing more than soda in a vending machine.’ Shoppers will be unable to look at a bottle, hold it in their hands and read the labels before committing to the purchase.
One person had a major issue with the breathalyser function, not only that you are putting your mouth up close to something that other people are also breathing into, and it’s not being cleaned between uses, but the fact that there is need for this function for the kiosk to work within regulations in the first place.
“I think that it is incredibly restrictive,” said Neal Ward, sommelier at The English Grill in Louisville, Ky, a AAA Four Diamond restaurant with a wine cellar that is considered to be one of the best in the Midwest. “You have to prove that you are not drinking in order to buy a bottle of wine? Come on, that smacks of Big Brother. I don’t see where forcing a person to take a breathalyser test serves any purpose other than to frustrate the consumer.”
According to the PLC press release, the breathalyser is set to the state’s zero tolerance level of .02 blood alcohol – so in other words, if a shopper has had a beer with dinner, he would be unable to complete the purchase.
We’re not entirely sure that’s true. Over the last thirty years there’s been another major revolution in retail – one that’s distinctly less observable for analysts and technology enthusiasts. It’s a revolution in self service, particularly in the massive progress caused by self-service kiosks and user-powered utilities in hundreds of industries.
We’ve picked seven of the world’s biggest industries, and highlighted exactly how self-service has contributed to their ongoing success. From multi-million dollar retail chains to key public facilities, the impact of self-service kiosks and interfaces is undeniably huge. With experts predicting multi-billion dollar savings and major strategy changes, this is one revolution that can’t be ignored.
1. Grocery Stores and Supermarkets
If there’s a single shining star of the self-service world, it’s the grocery industry. Faced with lowered profit margins and high staffing costs, self checkouts and interactive kiosks have helped thousands of major grocery outlets keep their budget balanced and their profits high.
Studies have demonstrated a six-hundred percent boost in employee efficiency when self-service checkouts are implemented, allowing businesses to cut staffing costs while simultaneously raising their overall output levels.
Despite early security hiccups, self-service checkouts are also relatively safe. Weight sensors and other helpful additions have kept theft levels low, while the monitoring and assistance of employees allows even the least technically minded user to operate a self checkout unit easily. Consumers and businesses are in agreement: self-service checkouts are great for the grocery industry.
2. Air Travel
Airlines have been using self check-in technology for almost twenty years, although the service has only found a wider audience within the past decade. Statistics from 2006 peg the rate of self check-in usage at eighty-six percent, indicating that long haul travelers are quickly growing fond of the efficient check-in and baggage register method.
But it’s not just airlines implementing self-service kiosks – a large number of immigration services are now opting for the automated devices. Passport scanners are now available in a number of EU and Australasian airports, giving flyers an alternative to standing in endless passport control lines.
3. Cinemas and Entertainment
Over the past decade, self-service kiosks have crept their way into cinemas and other entertainment booking areas. Once used almost exclusively for film information, a large percentage of UK cinema chains now use interactive kiosks for ticketing, feature film information, and previewing upcoming events.
While the new technology may have dulled the casual matinee environment, it’s certainly found support in theatergoers and cinema operators. With dwindling margins and a greater reliance on confectionary purchases, cinemas have been able to focus their staffing efforts on the snack bar, cutting the cost of staffing and boosting efficiency at the same time.
4. Digital Media, Movies, and Music
Currency kiosk firm Coinstar certainly hit the mark when it bought a share of Redbox in 2005. The McDonald’s funded company offers a variety of movies for rent through its kiosk network, allowing users to pick up the latest and greatest theatrical releases from as little as one dollar per night.
After passing the 100 million rental mark in February 2008, Coinstar bought the company outright for almost $180 million. The company, one of several movie rental operators using kiosks, plans to offer Blu-ray movies and television series within the coming months.
It’s not just Redbox that’s making waves in the self-service media world, either. Apple’s much-loved iTunes Store started offering movie rentals in 2007 and continues to do so today, alongside its huge and ever-expanding archive of classic albums and artist singles. Apple recently announced their ten-millionth sale – an important milestone in online self-service media sales.
5. Public Transport and Rail Travel
Commuters have been making use of self-service kiosks for almost two decades. With the ubiquity of automatic ticketing desks and automated account systems, it’s no surprise that a growing number of the world’s public transportation networks have been able to report healthy income figures.
Alongside the immense success in light rail ticketing systems and bus passes, several cities have seen successful results from self-service bicycle loan programs and communal transport solutions. Self-service kiosks remain a common sight along toll roads and major highways, letting motorists cut down on the amount of time required to pay travel costs and usage fees.
6. Fashion and Retail Shopping
What could possibly cause the world’s most exclusive fashion brands to adop
t a kiosk-only retail strategy? Huge boosts in customer satisfaction and loyalty. While self-service kiosks are a common sight in major shopping malls and department stores, the latest retail developments have seen them appear in high-end boutiques and luxury lifestyle shopping centers.
It’s not just high-end stores that are seeing the benefits of a self-service strategy, though. Shopping mall operators are increasingly opting for self-service information booths as an alternative to help desks, slimming staffing requirements while simultaneously making information more accessible.
Many of the world’s largest retailers have implemented self-service kiosks within their stores. Book stores continue to lead in self-service usage figures, while entertainment and multimedia stores have started to report high interactive kiosks usage rates despite low levels of consumer demand.
7. Catering, Restaurants and Food Services
Workplace cafeterias have enthusiastically adopted self-service kiosks, allowing users to place their orders more efficiently and easing the duties of serving staff. With the workweek forever extending and free time in a constant shortage, employees seem to be opting for self-service ordering systems in order to cut down on wasted rest time.
Touchscreen kiosks are also becoming popular in the commercial restaurant world, where both staff and customers are benefiting from more efficient ordering systems. Kiosks are often used to record customer orders and make notes on meals, allowing wait staff to accommodate diners with specific dietary requirements.