Touch screen kiosks are truly a fantastic feature to any type of business. It not only shows that businesses are keeping up with the growing trends in technology and modern society but it also shows the innovation a company has in providing new and exciting ways for customers to shop.
As a very user friendly device touch screen kiosks allow businesses to reach out to their target market with a message. The touch screen interface allows users to navigate around the system simply by touching icons or links via the screen, with the right software interface. People don’t have to have computer experience and can easily move around the system to find products and services that they need without the assistance of staff member’s.
With touch screen kiosks they:
Encourage self service: Most customers are quite happy in dealing with their own transactions via self service systems with minimal interference from staff members. They prefer to seek a technical opinon only when it is in dire need. However there should be assistance around if someone needs it.
Easy to maintain: Touch screen kiosks are easy to install and can be moved around your business rather than stand in a static place. They are easy to look after and software can be maintained and updated regularly.
24/7 sales service:
The biggest advantage is that it provides 24/7 services for customers without the use of store assistants during any transaction.
Focused and user orientated information: You can target your kiosk to provide a certain type of information for your customers. This will help you serve your users in a well equipped manner.
Reduces staff workload: Touch screen kiosks provides information for customers so your staff can concentrate on other tasks in and around the store.
For more information visit Protouch today the leading distributor and manufacturer of touch screen equipment across Europe. They have helped a wide range of businesses across a plethora of industry sectors introduce self service kiosks and touch screen technology into their business that is tailored to their business needs and customer requirements. You can view a selection of the Protouch case studies by clicking the link.
Okay so this may appear a little dramatic however the integration of self service and kiosk solutions is greatly reducing the amount of actual staff members employed onto the retail shop floor across UK stores.
Picture the scene: You walk into your local retail store searching for a particular product you cannot find. Frantically running around the isles searching for a staff member to assist you in your search, you find that not a team member appears in sight and all you are faced with is many computer screens and kiosk terminals. Not exactly the warm and friendly smile that you were hoping for but the only solution to your problem. So is this really going to work?
Well whether it will or not, this may be the future of customer service and already we have seen kiosks and self service checkouts deployed in our supermarkets, retail stores, pharmacies, post offices, in fact everywhere you look a kiosk has been put in place to replace staff members.
In Canada, the adoption of self service has taken the country by storm with Staples Business Depot already deploying video kiosks across all of its 34 stores around the country. The video kiosks connect to operators in Toronto who can help customers locate exactly what they are looking for.
Chris Woods, Chief Technology Officer of ClairVista, believes that video conferencing is the way forward when it comes to small businesses that are strapped for cash and struggling to employ staff members who have the knowledge and understanding of the brand and products they sell.
“Everybody who goes into a retail store today and walks away frustrated that they could not get their questions answered can get the help they need,” Woods said.
When pilot tests were run at the Staples store for the kiosk systems they found that they proved to be more popular with the customers as opposed to the staff members on call if customers needed a helping hand.
DL Baron, CEO of Expertcity said, “We found that consumers are lining up to talk to the person on the screen because they know the dopey kid behind the counter can’t answer their question.
“When consumers start using it, it becomes their preferred mode of engagement.”
However, video kiosks and information points cannot simply replace staff members completely. One of the key features of owning a store is making an impression on the customer and having a staff member to meet and greet when they arrive is highly important in order to retain business. On top of this, many customers may feel that integration of just kiosk systems is there because the company are looking to replace humans and cut down costs.
Baron believes that large retail stores don’t offer top quality customer service anyway and that video kiosks will actually be a major improvement.
“How many times have you walked out of the store because you knew more than the kid who was helping you?” he said. “Floor clerks have an impossible task in trying to keep up with and explain increasingly complex products.”
Baron believes that having set kiosks offer information on a product area can provide much better advice than a store assistant. Kiosks can also show videos which demonstrate how the products work and could even offer print outs for consumers to take away.
Customer service is still key in all of this and having automated responses or video kiosks can make the customer experience more impersonal. Customer service expert, Robert Spector author of ‘The Nordstorm Way,’ said,
“A lot of companies get enamoured with the technology and lose sight of the consumer,” he said. “Many companies don’t think like their customers, they think in ways to make (the company’s) life easier, rather than ‘how do we make the consumer’s life easier.’ “
There are so much more to kiosk systems that what meets the eye. Not only are they a cost effective service for the company and a new solution to the customer, there are other ways in which customers can truly benefit from a kiosk system.
Benefits to customers
Offers privacy: Consumers may not like the idea of having to shout out loud which product they are wishing to purchase or further discussing it in store with an assistant they have never met. Kiosks remove the potential embarrassment.
Faster service: Kiosk systems enable customers to speed up their customer waiting time and unnecessary hanging around which is often the case if all your staff members are preoccupied.
More convenient: Consumers don’t need to be computer savvy as kiosks don’t require any particular training or intelligence. Nowadays many customers are able to comfortably use interface kiosks and find it much easier than talking to a sales assistant.
Communication: Kiosks can’t be misunderstood so further enhances the customers experience because they don’t feel the frustration of not being able to communicate their needs.
Precision: The customer receives exactly what they are looking for and all their needs are met via the kiosk.
Benefits to the store owner
Productivity: Kiosks can maximise productivity by limiting the amount of time spent in conversation and data entry. If there are multiple kiosks then it can take orders simultaneously.
Ordering accuracy: When ordering with a store assistant there may be the case that the order when completed isn’t correct. There is a small margin for human error; however this is drastically diminished if kiosk systems are installed.
Easier to hire staff: Now you can focus your staff members more on what they do best. As opposed to having staff who need to do all jobs, you can now leave the customer service mostly down to the kiosks and manage your staff members more effectively.
The future for kiosks only looks like it is set to grow over the next few years; however the complete removal of staff members on the shop floor won’t be for a very long time. And if it every does then there are certainly going to be a lot of unemployed people hanging around the UK.
The future of touch screen technology could take us anywhere? We could see all of our potential kitchen and home appliances turn to touch screen, our cars adopt a new touch screen system (although some already have!) In fact your imagination could run wild with the ideas of where touch screeen technology could be in just a few years time.
TAT – The Astonishing Tribe – have come with their very own video to where touch screen technology will be in just a few years time. The video was to show case their research and user feedback at the Open Innovation Experiment.
The video goes shows the adoption of multi-screens, mirror screens, expandable screens, e-ink screens, transparent screens. In fact think of a touch screen and it will be here in a few years, according to TAT anyway.
TAT currently works with 4 of the 6 biggest mobile manufacturers designing screen interfaces for over 400 million devices, so may be we do need to watch this screen, I mean space…
The adoption of touch screen technology into our every day devices has really taken off. From mobile phones and iPads’ to ticketing kiosks and supermarket self service systems, everyone has jumped on the bandwagon and consumers seem to be enjoying it. There are many people however who haven’t adopted self service and touch screen solutions which can potentially improve your business and customer service if deployed and manufactured correctly.
To give you an idea of what is out there, we have put together some examples of touch screen uses in today’s ever changing society.
Public information displays:
One of the main reasons to why touch screen uses are most often used as a public display is down to the fact that they are easy to use. From a young child who isn’t completely computer literate to an elderly person who has never used a computer before, everyone can easily understand how to navigate around a kiosk system and find the information, products or services they need quite easily. A public information display most commonly refers to information kiosks or trade show kiosks.
Retail systems: We live in a fast paced environment where we are continually in a rush to get things done in a short space of time. Implementing a touch screen system into your store allows your staff to complete tasks a lot faster and training time could possibly be reduced as the system is easier to navigate around. With touch screens much of the counter space is freed up allowing for a cleaner and open spaced environment.
Customer self service: Everyone hates to queue and this can be eliminated by the use of touch screen technology. With a touch screen monitor situated in your store or restaurant you can improve customer service as well as reduce customer waiting time allowing your customers to take control of their day. From ATM/s, ticket terminals, ordering kiosks, product/service buying etc, there are a plethora of ways to give your customers a more valuable experience.
Touch screen technology is everywhere and it’s just getting bigger by the day. The multimedia interactive technology offers consumers a modern platform which allows them to say good by to the keypad and hello to a innovative and compact technology products.
Although it may only seem that the touch screen interface has been around and about for the past few years, research suggests otherwise. Dating back to the 80s the touch screen was a new and exciting technological device that has been developed and improved over the years to mix into our every day world; and that development has proven to be a huge success with mobile phones, kiosk systems, computers and many more technology products adopting a touch screen interface.
So to give you an idea of the world of touch screen and how it all began, here are a few touch screen gadgets from years gone by.
In 1983 Hewlett Packard’s HP-150 was the first commercially available touch screen PC. The screen was fitted with a grid of infrared beams which were in place to detect finger movements across the screen; however the IR sensors often became clogged up with dust and dirt and required regular cleaning.
In 1993, Apple was still leading the way in handheld devices with its Newton PDA. With handwriting recognition it was years ahead of its time and even now the device is commonly found being sold on Internet auction sites for large prices.
In 1996 the Palm took over the touch screen market for over ten years with its Pilot series. The company then expanded its products to Smartphone technology getting rid of its operating system in favour of Windows Mobile.
The year 2000 saw the launch of Microsoft handheld ‘tablet’ devices. Bill Gates, founder, saw the potential of the touch screen device and launched the product with the Windows XP Tablet edition in 2002. Not many people bought the tablet PC’s due to the high costs.
2004 saw the introduction or touch screen Smartphones which have grown in popularity over the years. Handsets such as Nokia’s Symbian handsets, Windows Mobile as well as the Sony Ericsson’s UIQ phones have all driven the touch screen technology forward.
The launch of the Apple iPhone in 2007 hit the touch screen industry by storm. There was a lot of work that needed to be done to the device for it to meet to people’s expectations however the sleek and sophisticated design proved to be an overall winner which left many other mobile phone manufacturers struggling to play catch up.
2008 saw the touch screen industry move for a more commercial than home use. The new Microsoft touch screen controlled table was launched prices at a whopping £8,500. The new interactive system adopted a multi touch surface which allowed many users to interact at the same time.
Print media is in trouble. After firing over 500 staff just four years ago, leading newspaper The New York Times is attempting to further cut costs, passing risk onto distributors and limiting the amount of free content published on its website. It’s a story that’s remarkably common amongst newspaper publishers, and it’s one that many believe could spell the end of the daily publishing industry.
But a growing number of publishing industry insiders are telling quite a different story. Inspired by the potential impact of touchscreen devices such as Apple’s iPad, many publishers are reconsidering their decision to write the internet off as a zone outside the realm of profit. Aiming to replace the ‘free content’ online mantra with one a little more sustainable, many publishers believe that paid iPad and Amazon Kindle subscriptions could help newspapers monetize their online presence.
currently publishes content through its own iPad application, charging subscribers an affordable £16 monthly for the privilege. As content on the iPad is readable almost anywhere, the newspaper hopes to replace near-free online content with a more portable paid version.
Over five UK-based newspapers have their own iPad and iPhone applications, each available in a range of monthly subscription or one-off pricing options. We suspect more will follow, aiming to capitalise on the device’s popularity and potential to introduce new income into a financially stagnant industry.
A decade ago, touch screens were a cool addition to sci-fi films and a dream for geeks across the world. Who could have imagined that just seven years later – with the release of the iPhone in 2007 – they’d become a commonplace feature in just about every
piece of technology released since?
From touchscreen kiosks to touch-driven mobile phones, we’ve scanned the entire commercial world for the most desirable, interesting, and pure cool touchscreen accessories on the market. If you’re after a slick new car, a cool new mobile phone, or
an interesting new gaming device, read on and choose from our ten coolest touchscreen gadgets.
Apple’s iPad is the ultra-popular touchscreen device of the moment – a content reader, web browsing tool, and portable computer all at once. Designed to offer an alternative for netbook and laptop users, the remarkable tool has truly taken off, selling out its entire shipment in less than a week’s worth of pre-orders.
Despite early criticism from the technology press, the iPad appears to be sticking. From 90-year-old grandmothers to young children, the device’s demographic is much wider than that of traditional PCs, making this flashy piece of technology a must-have for people all around the world.
2. Nintendo DSi
When released in 2004, the DS quickly became Nintendo’s hottest gaming console. The ultra-portable touchscreen device drew praise from the hardcore gaming press and the casual gaming crowd, giving it lasting appeal that its competitors just couldn’t match. With over 125 million units shipped, is appears Nintendo have conquered touchscreen gaming – blocking out competitors and inspiring their users at the same time.
The DSi – and DSi XL, a larger version of the device – are the latest on offer from Nintendo. Both include a range of features aiming to increase their appeal, including a high resolution camera, web browser, and remote chat interface.
3. Sony Dash
The Sony Dash may not be an iPad-killer, but it is
a very cool device on its own. Designed to offer touchscreen technology around the house, the Dash requires a wall socket to function and a relatively static location in order to perform best. Perfect for the kitchen counter, coffee table, or bedside desk, Dash users can quickly configure home video, movie rentals, or web browsing using the device’s touchscreen interface.
The Tesla Model S Dashboard
It’s difficult to top American carmaker Tesla when it comes to innovation. The well-known Silicon Valley company has designed and built the world’s first electric sports car – the Tesla Roadster – and more recently the Model S sedan. Designed as a piece of technology first and a luxury sedan second, the car boasts a range of impressive features.
At the center of the Model S’s dashboard is its full-featured touchscreen options menu. Designed to simplify operation of the radio, vehicle controls, and heating options, the screen can adapt to different input menus or display modes with a quick press of the driver’s fingers.
Attigo TT Touchscreen Turntables
Who said turntables were strictly analog? Dundee University graduate designed the Attigo TT – a full-featured touchscreen turntable system – as a final year project for his product design degree. The device attracted attention in the DJ world, and eventually moved into limited production for a small number of very lucky DJs.
Users can mix music by scratching simulated records, by manipulating sound waves, or by creating preset buttons on the device’s adaptable displays. While the Attigo TT currently operates alongside a standard mixer, it seems inevitable that DJ technology will turn entirely touch-based – competitors appear to be working on multi-channel touchscreen mixers and control units at the moment.
While the world’s public transport systems vary in a lot of ways – particularly arrival and departure times – one technological addition is a common sight in global train stations, airports, and subway systems: touch-screen kiosks. Commonly used as ticketing machines or account credit systems, the touch screen units are almost impossible to miss in public transport systems.
London’s Underground system uses kiosks for ticketing, alongside several others throughout the UK. Experts believe that incorporating the system into ticketing has increased efficiency and dependence on public transport significantly, prompting many commuters to leave their cars at home and enjoy relatively crowd-free train stations.
Outside the UK, a large number of public and private transportation companies are embracing touch screens for efficiency and speed. Used to change currencies and purchase tickets at stations, the machines can result in considerable savings in operating costs. Compared to the cost of employing ticketing staff, the amount of capital required to maintain a touch screen kiosk is relatively small.
With large infrastructure projects underway throughout Asia, it appears that touch screen kiosks will grow even more popular. Feedback from system users is largely positive, with most noting the clear decrease in the amount of time required to purchase train and bus tickets.
Those who find the touchscreens on their ever shrinking gadgets too fiddly to handle, will be glad to hear scientists are developing a new touch surface… your own arm.
Developers at Microsoft Research and Carnegie Mellon University are working together to create an armband that projects an interface directly onto your skin.
They have combined a mini projector which creates a changing display with a sophisticated sensor that can tell which part of your arm is being tapped.
The researchers showed Skinput can be used to control audio devices, play simple games like Tetris, make phone calls and navigate simple browsing systems.
The gadget effectively turns your arm into a touchscreen surface by picking up various ultra-low sounds produced when you tap different areas.
Different skin locations are acoustically distinct because of bone density and the filtering effect from soft tissues and joints. The team then used software that matched sound frequencies to specific skin locations. The prototype then uses wireless technology like Bluetooth to transmit the commands to the device being controlled, such as a phone, iPod, or computer.
In April, the researchers plan to present their work at the Computer-Human Interaction meeting in Atlanta, Georgia.
Microsoft has been working on touch technology for a while. The big drawback was the hardware interface. But that is no longer the case. Here are some of the enhancements that Microsoft has done to improve the user interaction with their touch screens…
Easier grasp on PC’s.
Microsoft has enlarged icons in Windows 7 for the Start Menu, Taskbar and Windows Explorer. This makes it easier to grasp the PC. So in place of the mouse, you can open and shut programs by directly tapping or double-tapping with your fingers. You can also summon a virtual onscreen keyboard, too, though it’s nowhere near as natural as typing on a physical keyboard.
You can also zoom in on a picture by spreading two fingers apart, or zoom out by pinching them back together. You can “right-click” by holding down one finger while you tap the screen with a second finger.
100 Point Support
Windows 7 can support up to 100 touch points, Microsoft says, though there are hardware constraints (screen size) and the genetic reality of having just so many fingers with which to perform gestures. The behavior on the screen changes depending on how many fingers you use.