The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) has sued United Airlines on the claim that their airport kiosks, which use touchscreen technology, cannot be used by blind passengers.
It seems the nation’s oldest organisation of blind people and three blind individuals in California, filed a lawsuit Tuesday in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.
The pressure group alleges that the airline is violating the California Disabled Persons Act and the Unruh Civil Rights Act because the services it provides through its’ kiosks are not available to the blind.
The self -service kiosks in which they are arguing about presently provide flight information and allow passengers to check in for flights, print tickets and boarding passes.
The NFB maintain that audio interface, a keyboard or interactive screen reader technology could easily be added to the touchscreens as many other airlines have done.
Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “The airline industry has an unfortunate history of discriminating against blind passengers, and now United Airlines is repeating that history by deploying inaccessible technology that we cannot use.”
The Air Carrier Access Act requires airlines to provide special services for passengers who aren’t physically capable of using kiosks, such as assistance from staff in using the kiosk or allowing the passenger to come to the front of the line at check-in.
In a rebuttal statement, the airline said: “United Airlines is committed to providing quality service to all of our customers and to remaining in full compliance with the Air Carrier Access Act. We do not tolerate discrimination of any kind.”
Mike May, CEO of the Sendero Group, a manufacturer of technology for the blind, has supposedly said “it is easy” for United to make its kiosks accessible. He said: ”There is simply no excuse for the long wait and inconvenience that other blind United passengers and I continue to experience at airports.”
We recently reported how Italian banks have installed ATMs that are accessible for the blind and visually impaired in Rome.
Touchscreen technology in the business industry is ever-growing and the supply and need for them is expanding.
Protouch are Europe’s number one manufacturer and distributor of touch screen equipment.
Almost every environment you walk in to these days has a touch screen kiosk performing some kind of beneficial function or service that is ultimately giving the power back to the customer through self-service.
Whether it’s registering attendance at a doctors surgery, ordering products and scanning items to buy in store or checking in at an airport, the ability to self-serve is increasing customer satisfaction because people are able to manage themselves rather than being managed by staff.
Let’s look at the key factors that touch screens and kiosks provide:
In general, faster, simpler and hassle free processes that empower the customer and give them a sense of control equals satisfied customers. And in today’s world, in which everything is fast-paced and chaotic, this type of service is matching our everyday needs.
Now let’s see which, what and why?
The following examples give a quick snap shot of which sectors are using what kiosk applications and, benefits for the business and customer;
Applications for retail kiosks include: “Virtual warehousing,” which allows a store to offer a limitless inventory; in-store cataloguing and ordering; vending and purchasing; customisation, which might include monograms; promotional purposes, which might include monthly specials or featured/new products; employee recruitment, etc.
The benefits of retail kiosks include: lowered per-transaction costs, increased about of impulse sales, extended business hours, expanded purchasing options, quicker transactions that cut down queues etc.
Applications for entertainment kiosks include: Customer reward/points Information; ticket/cash redemption; event/betting ticket purchase; promotional offers/giveaways; check-in and wayfinding, etc.
The benefits of entertainment kiosks include: Reduced labour/overhead costs; increased convenience and decreased wait times; increased customer satisfaction/loyalty; accurate monitoring and reduced reporting errors; ability to gather targeted patron information, etc.
Applications for education kiosks include: Student registration; grade/transcript access; campus way-finding; student meal card dispensing and replenishing; electronic assignment submission; bookstore transactions, including textbooks; volunteer applications, etc.
The benefits of education kiosks include: decreased wait times for registration/purchasing; reduced costs for payroll/overhead; increased employee proficiency; increased branding/visibility; positive experiences/student satisfaction, etc.
Applications for healthcare kiosks include: Visitor management; self-check-in, including triage; vendor credentialing/management; appointment scheduling; hospital or office complex directories; etc.
The benefits of healthcare kiosks include: reduced administrative/overhead costs, increased employee proficiency, valuable data management capabilities, decreased patient wait times, positive user experiences and patient satisfaction.
For more information on how Touch Screen kiosks can help your business, visit Protouch today.
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.
A recent survey of 3,000 mobile phone users across France, Germany and the UK indicated promising feedback for the touchscreen industry.
Of those polled, 38% said a finger-based touchscreen would be their first port of call when hunting for a new mobile, while a further 16% would opt for a stylus-based touchscreen, suggesting a continuing market shift toward touch-centric devices.
This certainly strikes a chord with smart phone vendors whose designs are focused on delivering enhanced consumer experience and could nudge those lagging behind to reconsider their strategies.
Looking at the results by handset brand, HTC and Apple stood out as having a much higher proportion of users wanting to stick with the same type of UI, while Sony Ericsson had the lowest proportion among the major handset vendors, at just 29%.
The health care industry has come on leaps and bounds of the past few years with the implementation of kiosks and hi-tech systems to improve the efficiency and quality of service the health system provides.
Doctor’s surgeries have installed touch screen kiosks to reduce the waiting time at the reception desk so staff can concentrate on other tasks in and around the surgery.
And in Boston an electronic ‘doctor kiosk’ is under development at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) to improve the way the health care system works in America.
The self service kiosk promises to increase efficiency both inside and outside the physician office setting by gathering basic information from patients, such as the patients medical history, weight, pulse, blood pressure, and blood tests for glucose and cholesterol, and directing that information to a physician prior to an office visit.
It will also be able to function as a virtual health concierge for managing chronic illness, prompting the patient to answer a series of important health questions such as ‘did you take your meds today.’
The whole process of investing money into health care technology is to increase the efficiency of the health care system and the patient health care process.
Many patients, however fret about the lack of doctor-patient time they will receive if a lot of their time in doctor’s surgeries and hospitals is spent in front of a screen.
One of the consistent problems with the continuity of care is the lack of resources and time that doctors spend with their patients after being diagnosed.
So although kiosks may ease the weight off staff when it comes to the mundane tasks of obtaining information and filing data, the care of patients should not be replaced by kiosk systems unless they receive offer better after care than what they have now.
Kiosks in the healthcare industry must make patients feel more connected to their health information-not less so. If patients feel that the increase of technology replaces their time with their GP rather than supplementing it, they will most likely reject it outright.
Yet these kiosks are designed to reduce the amount of paperwork a GP has to go through allowing them to be more efficient with their patient and spend more time talking than writing notes.
Nurses are there to assist the doctor and many often take up the mundane tasks the doctor does not have the time to fulfill.
However nurses are often overburdened with a whole host of work and their valuable skills are not used enough. They are trained in the medical profession and spend most of their time doing paperwork, which could be easily sorted with the help of a kiosk.
The kiosk can help collect patient data and allow the nurse to assist the doctor in anyway possible so the patient feels fully catered for and looked after while in their local surgery.
For a kiosk to work in the health care industry, it needs to do the job intended and try and not take over the initial job of doctors and nurses, and instead assist them in doing their job with ease and efficiency.
Visit any airport worldwide and you are guaranteed to find self service kiosks situated at entrance, front desk, car parks, terminals, food counters etc.
The deployment of kiosks in the airports has enabled people to have more control of their travelling to save time waiting in long queues to check-in.
Before the installation of the kiosks, the Government and airport staff were keen to ensure that the usage of kiosks would still ensure the safety of passengers and staff travelling around the world.
A lot of time and energy went into making sure that the kiosks were safe to use and equipped with hi-tech security when people were checking in.
And now the airports have gone kiosk mad.
“You can do everything with ticketing kiosks, from upgrading your seat, changing your flight, checking your bags or adding an infant on your boarding record-all of which you may have done with an (airline) agent in the past,” said Tania Ladic, spokesman for NCR Corp, the manufacturer of ticketing kiosks for 21 airlines, including American United, Delta, Northwest and Continental.
And according to studies led by NCR checking in at the counter with a ticket agent takes an average of four-six minutes for domestic and international flights, respectively and less than one minute for both when using a kiosk.
“The advantage for passengers is the speed at which you can check in, whether from home or at the airport,” Ladic said.
“The airlines are looking for hassle-free experience for customers. The kiosk automates the check-in process and makes it a faster experience because the customer clicks in what they want. The kiosk doesn’t forget to ask you if you want to upgrade your seat.”
And the more they continue to grow, the more companies jump on the bandwagon offering efficient services to travellers.
Rental cars, accommodation booking and insurance companies are implementing kiosks into airports so travellers have a wide range of services at their beck and call.
Many people have worried about the implementation of kiosks and how they will affect people’s jobs now they are no longer required. However Ladic sees this differently and instead a new way of staff adapting to a change in lifestyle.
“It doesn’t necessarily mean fewer agents,” Ladic said. “Agents are assigned to watch the kiosks and provide assistance when needed.”
Lisa Montoya, American Airlines customer service agent at Tulsa International, said that the younger generation are able to use the kiosks with ease as they are so computer savvy.
“About 75 per cent of people require assistance,” Montoya said.
“If you print your boarding pass from home, scan the bar code (at the airport) recapture your itinerary and pay by credit card you are in and out within 15 seconds.”
For more information about how a kiosk solution can improve the efficiency of your business visit Protouch, the leading distributor and manufacturer of touch screen equipment in Europe.
FILM producers spend millions each year to draw audiences to their movies. And ADVERTISERS take advantage of the pre-cinema screening of ads and promos to promote their products. But now advertisers are moving their commercials to the entrances of cinemas as well, introducing kiosks and advertising boards to appeal to customer’s cinema experience.
Over the past two years, cinemas have been installing touch screen kiosks so cinema-goers can book and buy their tickets with ease and efficiency without having to wait in the queue.
However, kiosks are not just about ticket collection anymore. Cinema-goers want a more enhanced and rewarding experience when they visit the cinema and kiosk systems are the new and exciting way to do this.
Cineword, the UK’s second largest multiplex cinema chain, rolled out Protouch’s Xen X5 and Xen X4 kiosks into a number of its UK cinemas. The kiosk systems were installed to allow users to pick up tickets as well as support Cineworld’s Unlimited Film programme.
Cineworld plan to install the X5 kiosk into all of its cinemas selling the Unlimited programme. John Anderson Cineworld’s Marketing Co-ordinator said, “The Unlimited programme is a large and important part of our business and distinguishes us from every other cinema company in the UK and Protouch’s X5 kiosk is helping us to advance this programme.”
And the latest new promo is telecommuncations firm Sprint, is sponsoring the new marketing effort of placing 500 self service kiosks in movie theatres so that customers can scan in a code from their phones and get coupons for snacks.
The coupons will vary in discount and price with some allowing a free upgrade to a bigger popcorn or large drink.
Companies have been expanding their products and services into cinema advertising, as they noticed that cinemas are a good place to reach audiences that don’t have too many distractions.
“People with high mobile phone usage do tend to go to the cinema more than people with lower mobile phone usage,” he said. “Years back, when cinema advertising was just launching, people were a little skeptical on how it would be received.
“It has only been around for a relatively short amount of time, but all the research that came back said, despite initial skepticism, people feel that the advertisements are not intruding-in fact, many ways are complementing-the overall event.”
The coupons being introduced via the self service kiosks will definitely encourage more people to visit the cinema and make use of the deals on offer.
“The first was a reward for their own customers, building that loyalty, and the other was the envy factor,” said Christine Martino, national account director for Screen Vision who suggested the idea to Sprint.
The kiosk works by instructing Sprint customers to text a certain world (like Sprint) to a certain phone number. The cinema-goer then receives a text message that includes a string of letters and numbers. The kiosk features a computer screen next to the scanning device, and people hold up their cellphones, scan that code and can browse through a few offers on the screen.
The customer then selects their chosen offer, to which a receipt will be printed that people can take to the concession stand for a free upgrade, such as a larger drink.
Margaret Clerkin, the head of the invention group at Mindshare, Sprint’s media agency and a unit of WPP, said that offering something to Sprint customers was a necessary element. “There is entertainment value provided by cinema advertising, but there is also an exchange of value-can you enhance their experience?” she said.
In time, ScreenVision would like to see other companies like Burger King offer discounts on a post-show hamburger for instance.
“It is a direct reward for the consumer,” said Andrew L.Blacker, senior vice president for marketing at ScreenVision.
Implementing a self service kiosk into your company can really increase the amount of sales that come into your business…if installed and designed properly.
The whole objective of a self service kiosk system is to free up the time of an employee to interact and liaise with customers as well as general management of your store, so any transactions can be made via the kiosk.
Chris Gilder, CEO of Meridan Kiosks, said, “It is foolish to have a salesperson waste time accepting a payment when they could be working on landing new customers.
“A kiosk is a great way to free up that employee to sell more while giving customers a much better experience of not waiting in line.”
Airport self service kiosk are a prime example of an outstanding system which has changed the way consumers travel. Gilder said it took a concerted effort by the airlines to get people to use the kiosks, but now people seek out the kiosks because they know it means a shorter wait.
The best way to start a kiosk design is to plan it as simple as possible with the end user constantly in mind. However, it still needs to be as reliable as possible in order for it to work.
“There are way too many kiosks out there with blank screens,” Gilder said. “Most of the time it’s the result of poor hardware choices. These things are designed to run 24/7.”
Not only is the hardware very important, the software is just as essential to get it right and working for each individual user. The software needs to meet the needs and requirements of each individual customer and allow them to fulfill their order or transaction so that they go away feeling happy.
And it really isn’t just the hardware and software either, the location of the kiosk as well as its shape and style will play a massive impact as your customer needs to see it to use it.
For more information about self service kiosks and how it can improve and benefit your business visit our website today on www.protouch.co.uk
Shoppers are embracing the world of self service kiosks. Many have incorporated the clever systems into their every day lives to make things faster, easier and suited to their needs and requirements.
In recent news, DallasNews.com interviewed several shoppers asking them about their usage of self service kiosks.
One man, Bryon Wiebold, said, “Anything I can automate, I do for the sake of time. It is not that I want people totally eliminated, but I appreciate the option if I am in a hurry or in a bad mood.”
And DIY services are continuing to edge into our every day life, via kiosks, smart-phone applications and the Internet. Already people are doing most of their shopping online or visiting their local supermarket for a sandwich using the touch screen checkouts to process their purchase.
Many hospitals and doctors surgeries have implemented touch screen kiosks to reduce the waiting time for patients when checking in for their appointment.
And taking it that one step further some customers even have machines that give vision exams and scan feet to produce customer insoles.
And the proof is really in the pudding. Kiosk transactions are expected to surpass $775 billions this year, up from $607 billion in 2008. These figures releases by IHL Group, who track the self service industry believe the total could hit $1.6 trillion by 2013.
And businesses are cottoning on to how big this industry is and how it can potential affect sales in their company. The movie rental business are currently in a DVD rental war with Redbox taking the firing line against Blockbuster taking 30 per cent of the US market to continue through to 2010. Blockbuster, on the other hand, are closing 960 of its unprofibable stores and installing 10,000 kiosks in their place.
The turning point for kiosks came in 2001 when Kroger and Home Depot installed self checkouts. Lee Holman, lead retail analyst for IHL Group, said, “After some hand-holding, consumers have embraced it. Now their’s a perception that ‘I can do this quicker.’”
According to an IHL survey, almost 90 per cent of consumers said they used self-checkout ‘even if they didn’t like it,’ Holman said.
And now they are situated across every retail part, supermarket store, airport, train station, in fact any busy place you can think of you will probably find a kiosk or touch screen system.
If you think that a kiosk is the way forward for your business and would like to actively speak to a company that purely deals with kiosks and touch screen systems, then contact Europe’s leading distributor and manufacturer Protouch today.
A self service kiosk can be installed into any business and used to provide a wide range of services to facilitate and enhance customer and staff experience.
Already airports have installed many kiosks so customers can check themselves in when arriving to catch their plane, reducing the queue time and staff needed on the main check in desks. This giant leap for airports has given customers a sense of control of their travel
as well as reducing the frustration many customers have when queuing to check in.
The health industry have also benefited from interactive kiosks which has reduced the pressure of admin work many doctors have to deal with on a daily basis. An interactive kiosk can be installed in any of the departments and used for a range of multi-functional purposes i.e. self check-in in busy offices, informational/web access in waiting rooms, and virtual “nurses stations” on patient floors.
Kiosks can even be installed with printers allowing the printing of patient information, magnetic card stripe readers can be used for patient check-in and to authenticate staff, and signature pads can be used to capture doctors’ signatures on orders.
agencies can also highly benefit from being able to redeploy and configure kiosks with the hardware and software needed for each department. For example, interactive kiosks can be used for self check-in in busy offices, and completing applications online. The signature pad can be used to capture customer signatures, and the printer can facilitate work flow through various stations within an office.
Financial Institutions can use interactive kiosks for a variety of applications withing retail branches, optional devices can be used to take customers well beyond simple online banking in the branch. For instance, customers can retrieve more information via kiosks about services the bank provide instead of waiting in the queue to speak to an advisor. If they want to cash some money in, interactive kiosks can be specially and securely designed for customers to control their account.
The retail industry can definitely benefit from interactive kiosks as they can reduce queuing, provide information about products and services and keep customers come back to your store because of the happy and efficient service. Many retailers such as Argos have implemented touch screen kiosks so that customers don’t have to wait in long queues and can manage their own payments in their own time.