Home Depot Self-Checkout Kiosks reviewed by Kiosk Industry correspondent Francie Mendelsohn
Francie Mendelsohn is President of Summit Research Associates, Inc.
Every so often, industry veteran Francie Mendelsohn tests kiosks that she previously evaluated several years ago to see if they are still useful, operational and, most-importantly—enjoying popularity among the establishment’s customers. This time, she paid a return visit to Home Depot.
Years after initially installing self-checkout kiosks, Home Depot has replaced them and deployed new-and-improved kiosks at their megastores. Located in the same space previously occupied by their old units, the four kiosks take up as much space as two manned checkout lanes. There are two self-checkout units per lane. The kiosks, in fact, take up so little room because no conveyer belt is needed to move products along (everything is tallied using the scanner) that a cooler selling Red Bull is located between the two units in one aisle! Both aisles are marked by bright orange “Self Checkout” illuminated signs on poles about 12 feet off the ground.
There are several notable, positive changes. The 22″ Dell touchscreen is more than twice the size of the previous units. The interface has been completely updated; it is very well-designed and easy to use. Very few words are used; almost everything has a pictogram associated with each step, thereby eliminating any confusion.
The instructions are quick and to the point: Start Scanning. The customer takes the PowerScan scanner out of its holster and aims it at the bar code on the item he wishes to scan. He has to push in the orange “trigger” button on the scanner in order to operate it but this is easy to figure out. If a customer has a problem, there is a human assistant who quickly comes to resolve the problem and help move things along. She was most pleasant and not-at-all-condescending. The scanner is quite forgiving – the customer does not have to align the scanner perfectly over the barcode. He just has to get the scanner close enough so that it registers. The process takes only a second.
The advantage of these cordless scanners is that they can transmit the barcoded data over a good distance which is useful for sheets of plywood, 2x4s, and other large-sized items. (Previous scanners in several self-checkout deployments—notably IKEA–used tethered scanners which made the process difficult and frustrating.) Each item is scanned in the same way, with a running tab showing on the touchscreen.
When the customer has finished, a “Ready to Pay?” screen is presented with a large rectangular orange “Pay Now” button appearing. (The smaller Pro Xtra ID button is Home Depot’s loyalty program and is not covered in this review.)
The next screen is intended only for those environmentally-aware localities where customers have to pay for each bag they use. This Home Depot, in Rockville, MD, is in one of those jurisdictions. Each plastic bag costs $.05. Accordingly, the next screen asks the customer to indicate how many bags they wish to purchase with numbers from 0 to 7+. There is no visual feedback on these kiosks; when you push a button, nothing tells you that what you pushed has been acknowledged. On the other hand, the system works so quickly and effortlessly, it is not an issue. (Note: as can be seen from the picture of the unit, the stack of plastic bags is easily accessible and one wonders how many people simply “help themselves” to free plastic bags.)
The units are intended only for customers NOT paying with cash. The opening screen states this fact clearly and in large font: CARD PAYMENTS ONLY. The customer is then asked to Choose your payment type. There are three options: Credit or Debit cards, Home Depot Gift cards and a special Home Depot Commercial card for the many professional contractors who patronize this store. The Ingenico card reader is very familiar to customers who have had plenty of experience using these devices to pay for groceries and gas. The receipt is quickly printed at the compact NCR printer located to the left of the kiosk. Many customers don’t even take their receipt; note the wastebasket located on the floor under the printer.
These kiosks represent an evolutionary change in the self-checkout space. Home Depot is to be commended for installing effective, easy-to-use, and fast kiosks. The customers and assistants I interviewed all agree that these units are a positive and welcome step forward. Lastly, every customer said they were a pleasure to use.
The distance from the floor to the bottom of the touchscreen is 42″.
The distance from the floor to the holster holding the scanner is 43″
The distance from the floor to the part of the credit card reader where you insert the card is 44″
Furthermore, you can tilt the cc reader down a bit. I never knew you could do that.
In any event, all the peripherals are within legal limits. The whole unit is so close to the end of the table–on which the touchscreen sits–that people in wheelchairs can readily access the kiosk. In addition, there is so much space in the aisle that wheelchair-bound people can easily turn around if they are more comfortable accessing it with their right arm/hand.
Workplace Temperature Kiosks Help Businesses Mitigate the Spread of COVID-19
Recently, New Jersey’s Governor Phil Murphy signed a COVID-19-related executive order requiring specific health and safety standards that would protect New Jersey workers at their places of employment. Amongst many directives listed under the order, one regulation outlines employers must conduct daily health checks like temperature screenings, self-assessment surveys, or questionnaires.
With cases continuing to rise across the nation, similar mandates may soon follow from other states. As employers consider bringing employees back or continue operating, many are looking for the best options to keep worksites safe and help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and other communicable illnesses.
Workplace temperature kiosks can assist employers in doing just that. Read on to discover what kiosk screening options are available as well as why they’re more advantageous than alternative methods.
Temperature Kiosks in the Workplace
Just like a handheld thermometer, temperature screening kiosks allow for unobtrusive temperature readings using infrared technology. The quick and accurate results mean these kiosks are a perfect solution for businesses that need an efficient process to monitor employee temperatures and symptoms.
A core benefit of workplace temperature kiosks is the ability to program software to take care of multiple needs. Not only can these units track temperatures, but kiosks can also be customized to ask health compliance questions as well. For both employers and employees, automating these tasks saves time and money versus a multi-step process involving taking temperatures, filling out surveys, and possibly more.
If an employee screens for fever or has a non-compliant answer to a symptom question, a company representative is automatically notified through text or email to perform a secondary check. In addition, temperature kiosks provide an easy way for companies to keep track of data for compliance purposes.
Temperature Scanning Options
Many fever screening kiosks involve scanning the forehead to read body temperature. While this is the most common method, another option growing in popularity is a wrist temperature scanner.
Because wrists contain many blood vessels close to the skin surface, scanning this part of the body for a temperature is equally as accurate as taking a temporal temperature reading. Many find this way quick and easy because there are less variables that can make a temperature assessment difficult. For instance, masks causing sensor confusion or hair placement making it difficult to get a reading.
Fortunately, both forehead and wrist infrared scanners are reliable, so companies can choose which option works best for the kiosk they employ.
Kiosks Versus Handheld Scanners
When the pandemic first began, many companies hired outside parties to provide temperature checks at worksite entrances. Others tasked a dedicated employee to screen.
As the pandemic continues, though, these methods have proven to be both expensive and less safe than other options.
Hiring a nurse or third party can be incredibly costly when compared to a one-time kiosk fee and nominal annual software cost.
In addition, assigning staff to perform checks can present a risk to both the staff member and employee because handheld scanners don’t allow for the recommended 6-foot distance between people.
As businesses consider options to ensure the safest environment for their employees, workplace temperature kiosks can offer an affordable and accurate way to help prevent the spread of illnesses.
Learn more about Frank Mayer and Associates, Inc.’s temperature screening kiosk. Backed by our trusted name and experience in the kiosk industry, our solution is made in the USA and offers either forehead or wrist scanning to read employees’ and visitors’ temperatures.
For more information send a request to Frank Mayer
Call for participation in upcoming 2021-2022 Self-Service Kiosk Market Analysis Report
WESTMINSTER, COLORADO, UNITED STATES, November 17, 2020 /EINPresswire.com/ — The kioskindustry.org communications site for the Kiosk Manufacturer Association (KMA) is pleased to announce the launch of our new website design.
The new design emphasizes content such as videos, opinion, sponsor and member news as well as industry-wide news in the self-service kiosk related markets. Coverage of digital signage, smart city, POS and retail automation are also part of the content mix.
Major improvements include:
o More relevant content more quickly found
o Demo videos in articles by default
o Up to date SEO mechanisms such as Structured Data
o Inbuilt Ad and Analytics hooks (though we are no fan of Adsense)
o HTML5 | CSS3 support
o Author pagestyles
o Responsive slider for features
o And lastly, it is extremely quick (as measured by Google)
As part of the launch the KMA has commissioned a 2021-2022 Kiosk Market Analysis report covering a minimum of 40 companies (members and non-members). Participation is open to any company involved in self-service kiosks. That includes deployers and customers, as well as device supply chain providers (printers, service, displays, menuboards, touchscreens, drive-thru, mobile scanning, touchless touch, computers and more).
Markets covered include self-service kiosks, customer-facing POS (with exception of supermarkets checkout), Smart City, International markets such as SE Asia and Europe, plus a wide range of “interactive” and smart digital signage (including menuboards, outdoor and drive-thru).
How the market was before the pandemic and how it has changed due to the pandemic is a major focus. Looking forward to how self-service will be utilized in the future is final component.
Your input is welcome and completely confidential with the nationally recognized research firm commissioned (BCC Research). Contact Craig at catareno.com and we will forward your contact information to the research firm.
Lastly, as a public service announcement, we would like to bring to the attention recent in-depth content on current VA fever screening actions which are endangering veterans as well as content on deceptive temperature screening tablets from China. IPVM has been the leading independent test authority for temperature kiosks and surveillance cameras.
KMA/ Kiosk Manufacturer Association
+ +1 720-324-1837 email us here
Visit us on social media: LinkedIn
KMA/ Kiosk Manufacturer Association
+ +1 720-324-1837 email us here
New report by IPVM issued on 9/22 testing the BEMs brand of temperature scanning tablets. Guangzhou Bems (brand Benshi) is the manufacturer behind temperature terminals relabeled by over a dozen Western companies. But how well do they really work?
The testing company bought and tested Bems temperature measurement tablet, examining the following:
How often did it miss elevated temperatures?
How accurate are measurements vs IR thermometer?
Can it measure taller and shorter people?
How does subject distance to the terminal impact temperature measurements?
Do glasses/hats affect temperature measurement?
How accurate is mask detection?
How much can users configure settings on the device?
Remember, we have redundancy in the system,” he said. “We not only have temperature checks, but we ask a series of questions. We do multiple screenings before anybody enters into a facility.
I certainly haven’t heard of any problems with any of our thermometers out there. We use a variety. Some hospitals, they know your temperature before you even step inside the building, because they have other sensors … I haven’t heard any complaints or any problems with the temperature checks.
From IPVM Nov2020 — By Donald Maye, Published Nov 09, 2020, 12:01pm EST
PUBLIC – This article does not require an IPVM membership. Feel free to share.
The US Department of Veterans Affairs has spent millions of dollars on a hodgepodge of 12 different fever screening systems, including many ‘tablets’ which have significant accuracy risks, an IPVM investigation has found.
Considering the large quantity of temperature screening tablets purchased, including 166 Meridian tablets IPVM has already exposed, coupled with the vulnerable population they are intended to serve, the lives of Veterans are at risk.
IPVM analyzed Federal records, verifying VA purchase orders of at least 12 different models of temperature screening devices, totaling $4.5 million. Many of the devices procured, in particular, the hundreds of fever tablets/kiosks, have serious risks in design and implementation.
Worse, IPVM tried for a month to inform and warn the VA of these risks yet has not received any material response.
WESTMINSTER, Colo.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Tomorrow, Tuesday the 20th at 3:30 pm EDT, the CEO of Inspire Brands Paul Brown speaks on innovation and lessons from Arby’s, Jimmy John’s, Sonic, and other Inspire Brands companies. The Kiosk Association is the session sponsor. Our mission is to inform and educate. Towards that end here is a direct link to register. Some of the innovations include new drive-thru designs as well as integration to Alexa and Amazon.
Some other recent innovations in the QSR and Fast Casual space that the Kiosk Association has noted include:
Weatherproof Android EMV Terminals Introduced – link
Touchless Kiosk Software (patent pending) – podcast interview at FinTech – link
QSR Market Review by Kiosk Industry – in SLED and Federal $6B in Opportunities – link
Contactless Curbside Pickup with Geo-Fencing – El Pollo Loco – link
Self-Service Kiosks With Pickup “Cubbies” ala Brightlook and Caesars Pizza – link
If you are interested in self-order kiosks we have a catalog on kioskindustry.org of many manufacturers (customers include Appetize and McDonald’s to name some). There are 22 COVID-related solutions available from the Kiosk Association including automatic sanitizers, CDC-approved kiosks, and temperature scanning. You can see the catalog Temperature COVID Catalog on the Intel Marketplace Solutions.
About the Kiosk Association (KMA) —
On ADA and accessibility, we work directly with the U.S. Access Board and have a complete set of guidelines.
On PCI – we are a participating organization with PCI SSC. Our primary focus is on unattended ordering and ADA.
We are international with members in US, Germany, UK, SE Asia, and more.
Dave Haynes — The Silicon Valley firm 22Miles tends to be thought of in digital signage circles as a company focused on wayfinding, but that’s only part of the story.
It does indeed do a full set of features that help people navigate their way around malls, medical centers and corporate campuses, but 22Miles has evolved through the years into a rich, API-driven digital signage CMS platform that does a lot more than floor maps.
In this podcast, I caught up with Tomer Mann, a senior executive with 22Miles, and in most respects, the face of the company.
We get into what they’re up to, the pivots made to deal with 2020, and how its COVID-19 counter-measure technology has been future-proofed to have a life AFTER this pandemic ends.
We also solve the mystery of the company name. Think horses.
Touchless Touch – Universal RFID Mobile Credential Readers
Join us in welcoming our latest KMA Sponsor: ELATEC RFID.
ELATEC has been in business for over 30 years. RFID is what they do—it’s all they do. And their RFID technology is the most advanced available today. This is in part why they are a market leader in Europe and rapidly growing in North America.
But as their customers will tell you, it’s also due to their exceptional design expertise and technical support. They are EASY to work with!
And being easy to work with is critical to getting design engineers and product managers to move beyond their limited, traditional supplier base who is often not delivering the full value the customer needs today…or will likely require tomorrow.
Very nice video illustrating all types of mobile transactions.
ELATEC has a deep and wide understanding of how to work with OEMs and integrators.
At the core, ELATEC RFID readers are innovative due to their unique, flexible architecture and open API. This ensures smooth and easy integration with hardware systems and back-end software and enables firmware customization.
OEMs and Integrators: you have a choice—a proven choice. I encourage you to discover ELATEC RFID if you haven’t already and learn what you can do together!
THE ELATEC RFID ADVANTAGE
ELATEC designs and manufactures remotely updateable, universal RFID and mobile credential readers that help kiosk OEMs, integrators and VARs provide “future proof” user authentication for access control for their customers.
By providing a virtual single-part number solution that ensures worldwide compatibility and obsolescence protection, ELATEC readers reduce organizational procurement, IT, and touch labor costs. This is unlike other products out there which work with fewer transponder technologies, require on-site updating or reconfiguration for each device, and which may significantly increase total product costs when technology or security updates are required.
Learn the specifics — Whitepaper for Kiosk Integration
RFID technology is an increasingly popular component of kiosk systems, and there are already a number of different readers for the segment. Read to learn more. Download Whitepaper
ELATEC’s powerful, flexible open API reader technology gives OEMs, integrators and VARs a real competitive advantage, both now and in the future.
Expand internationally: ELATEC readers are certified for sale and use in as many as 110 countries around the world.
Maximize market opportunities: ELATEC readers support every major card technology worldwide—more than 60–including both HF and LF and smartphone mobile credentials via BLE and NFC.
Reduce total lifecycle costs: ELATEC readers simplify inventory management with a virtual single part number solution and can be easily upgraded or reconfigured without replacing inventory.
Deliver customer advantage: ELATEC readers reduce configuration expenses, extend product life, and support advanced functionality and security requirements, providing meaningful product differentiation for OEMs.
Prepare for the future: With ELATEC, you will be ready for whatever comes next. Our readers can be reconfigured and upgraded remotely to address emerging opportunities and customer requirements.
Contact us today to speak with an Application Specialist to make The Elatec Advantage your own.
Worth noting the noting of this isotropic screen failure at McDonalds Drive-Thru in California (Sep2020). Further investigation points to a Samsung OH55F, which given the specifications, is surprising. Our guess is the vendor supplying these is Coates and we have sent a query to them asking about this.
Wired did an investigation into kiosks (well, temperature tablets…) and has determined schools are purchasing thermal cameras that include facial recognition technology.
Ok. We can live with that…
Technically most all of the schools have been purchasing infrared sensor-based tablets. They are not thermal cameras (e.g. FLIR A400). We think it is safe to say looking at the RFPs and RFIs that the number is easily over 200 schools. Off the top of our heads figure 500 units for a large school district and at figure 40 school districts. We could include Colleges and Universities as well. Maybe we should include FEMA and DHS while we are at it. Reminds me of that old Sinatra tune.
But Munir says he knows little about the “top-of-the-line” facial recognition algorithms at the core of his expansion plans. “That’s almost like a black box for the OneScreen team,” he says. “We rely on the technology we are given.” He directed WIRED to Qualcomm, which makes the device’s processor, to answer additional questions about the facial recognition features and how they were tested for accuracy. Sanjeet Pandit, a Qualcomm vice president, confirms that OneScreen is the only thermal camera provider licensed to use its chips, but says Qualcomm does not provide the facial recognition technology used in the tablets. Munir did not directly answer a follow-up question about who had developed the facial recognition algorithms used in the device.
It’s a worthwhile read and within it there are references to IPVM who has done most of the heavy lifting in this area.
Some of the major distributors have been HP and CDW. The systems have been characterized “hygiene theater” by the CEO of Marriott and also a public hazard by independent testing groups such as IPVM. Given the false negatives they represent a public health situation.
It is good to see major publications beginning to see the developing story that we in the self-service market have been living with for the last 9 months.
But What About Employees?
We do think it is worth examining these technologies in the corporate employee space as well. That would cover both sides of the coin. Recently we saw where 6,000 units deployed at Home Depot. What is the basis and manufacture of those tablets?
Report from IPVM July 2020 – By: Isabella Cheng, Published on Jul 28, 2020 – Video surveillance is not the only market that has pivoted to medical device sales (admitted or not). Kiosk suppliers, hard hit by COVID-19, have also joined this emerging segment.
Frank Mayer kiosks are the gateway to connecting with consumers at retail. A authentic kiosk experience includes online sales, product demonstrations, consumer behavior tracking, mobile applications, employment, and much more.
Founded in 1931, Frank Mayer and Associates, Inc. is a third-generation, family-owned company which is based in Grafton, WI. Throughout the years, we have embraced transforming design concepts and ideas into a realized reality within the in-store merchandising industry.
Today, Frank Mayer and Associates, Inc. is a leader in in-store merchandising and is recognized in the point-of-purchase industry for the company’s ability to meet and exceed clients’ expectations.
Click for full image
“In an ever-changing marketplace, we are the constant that provides you with a creative, responsive, and thorough approach to every in-store merchandising or interactive kiosk program. Our mission is to create an environment which focuses on turning targeted in-store merchandising initiatives into guaranteed results.”
Question and answer from VMware community on configuring kiosk mode and thin client.
View Kiosk Mode with Zero Client – Auto login
myvdi (1 posts since Jul 7, 2014) Jul 7, 2014 2:20 PM
We are looking to use a zero client to provide guest internet access and are currently testing various configurations. We currently have a zero client (Wyse D200) setup with View+Kiosk Mode, which works great, with one main issue. We ultimately are looking to deploy ~300 zero clients which will connect to a floating linked clone pool which refresh on log off, however we only want the zero client to connect to the pool when someone is there and not stay connected 100% of the time.
So my question is whether anyone knows how to configure the zero client with Kiosk mode so that a user would have to select ‘connect’ or something user initiated to tell the zero client to connect to the pool, rather than have the zero client atuo-connect when it powers on? We really like the Kiosk mode and using the mac address for negotiation rather than any type of generic user or anything like that, so it would be great if we can make this work.
1. Re: View Kiosk Mode with Zero Client – Auto login
NetManOne (12 posts since Aug 9, 2013) Feb 3, 2015 8:10 PM (in response to myvdi)
i have the same question
we want to deploy Wyse p20 so that users can deploy and run their results on a large common screen ie the output of their VM should display on a the zero client if there are more than one user, it would be handy if each users screen stays up for 20-30 seconds and then it round robins to the next user. if no user, then just display a world clock
any ideas anyone?
Report Abuse Like (0)
2. Re: View Kiosk Mode with Zero Client – Auto login
Hot Shot VMware Employees
Gaurav_Baghla (239 posts since Dec 19, 2012) Feb 5, 2015 1:04 AM (in response to myvdi)
Could you please refer to this if that helps
Editors Note : Article for Kiosk Industry by Francie Mendelsohn of Summit Research Associates. Francie is highly respected industry consultant with many years of experience and we are pleased to publish a new article by her. Thanks to Richard Slawsky for serving as editor.
When Summit Research Associates began testing kiosks more than 20 years ago, many of the usability issues we encountered were attributable to the hardware available at the time. Kiosks allowing customers to create their own greeting cards, for example, depended upon pen-plotters to complete the task! (Affordable color laser printers had not yet been invented.) No wonder people got tired of waiting for their custom designs to be completed only to be exasperated by the quality of the finished card because the ink colors ran out unevenly.
Click for full size
Today, many of those deterrents are long gone. The power of the microprocessors running the kiosks have increased exponentially, the Internet is robust and reliable, people are no longer intimidated by keyboards and—because of the widespread use of smartphones and tablets—touchscreens are second nature to almost everyone.
Self-checkout kiosks have been a long-established segment of the kiosk industry. First deployed at grocery stores, they are now a common sight at stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s.
Not all installations have been successful, though. IKEA pulled their units from all US-based stores several years ago because of constant failures, especially in the use of the hand-held scanner. This peripheral is a requirement when checking out the huge boxes containing many of the install-it-yourself products at the home furnishings chain. The tethered scanner was used to read the bar code but it was very fussy; customers either held the device too close to the bar code or too far away. The result: the item was not scanned successfully.
As a result, it was common to observe frustrated customers loading everything back into their shopping cart and finding another kiosk to use. The instructions on the touchscreen never provided even a hint as to where to place the scanner for successful “reading.”
In addition, IKEA did not give customers any choice; you either had to use the kiosks or walk away empty-handed. All the checkout lines consisted of a kiosk, with none staffed by a human being. They also had few store employees nearby to help confused customers complete their purchase.
Unfortunately, a number of kiosks deployed today continue to disappoint and frustrate users. What may look like hardware issues are actually software deficiencies. In this article we will look at two Self-Checkout kiosk deployments, illustrating one that is highly successful and one that is anything but. Because we have long seen that would-be kiosk providers and users will remember the failures far more often than the successes, we will devote the bulk of the discussion to that less-than-successful deployment.
Johns Hopkins University self-checkout vending kiosk.
Bistro self-order – click for full size image
The Rockville, Md., campus of Johns Hopkins University consists of three buildings and shares space and parking with the National Institute of Health’s National Cancer Institute. A snack bar providing food such as hot and cold sandwiches, soups and beverages, chips, candy bars and other desserts was in operation for many years, but because much of the traffic flow was dependent upon the school schedule, it increasingly became a money-losing proposition and closed for good in Spring 2017.
Students and faculty were not pleased by this turn of events, complained frequently and resulted in management finally providing a solution.
Click for full size
In October, Baltimore-based Black Tie Services installed a series of refrigerated units and shelving in an alcove just off the communal dining area in the main building (Gilchrist Hall) to provide much of the food previously available at the snack bar. Called Bistro to Go!, it allows people to select (mostly) snack food and beverages and pay at the kiosk located near the middle of the space. Black Tie Services is part of Accent Food Services, a national organization that primarily deploys “Micro Markets” and sells hot beverages.
The food and beverages are attractively displayed but there are no prices shown. Accent offers an App, USConnectMe™ at many of their locations that allows customers to pay for their purchases, earn points and add value with a special enrolled card similar to the popular Starbucks card. This is indicated by a square red button near the lower right corner of the touchscreen.
The developers expect customers to scan the products they are buying to determine the price. The entire success (and failure) of the kiosk depends on that scanner. Unfortunately, until customers “get the hang of it,” the scanner either does not recognize the UPC or it scans the same item repeatedly. There are no helpful hints on the large touchscreen showing customers how close they need to be to allow the scanner to read the bar code. The scenario is very similar to what prompted IKEA to remove its kiosks. Because of these scanner issues, it is common to see people waiting in line to pay for their food during busy periods.
Click for full size Checkout
There is a closed-circuit camera that (hopefully) keeps customers honest. Still, the struggle customers experience trying to get the scanner to recognize the items they are purchasing is likely to promote dishonesty–unless other people are waiting to pay and offer to help.
Click to expand
The kiosk sports a large (approximately 11×16-inch) vertically-mounted touchscreen. Yet it does not include How-To instructions. Instead, the developers have placed a rugged plastic sign on the counter listing all the instructions. This is foolish. What if someone were to (deliberately or inadvertently) remove the sign? Then customers would have no idea how to proceed Furthermore, the sign is too low to the ground, making it difficult to read for anyone not in a wheelchair.
Most people will try (repeatedly) to pay for the food they have selected. They will scan their food, which then appears on the screen as a running total, just as a grocery store kiosk works. A very loud voice informs the purchaser (and everyone else nearby) the items that are being purchased. They are then asked to “Select a pay method.” This is unnecessary because the only payment method is via credit card.
The customer is shown an illustration of how to insert their credit card. Now look at the photo of the credit card reader itself.Is it any wonder that people are confused? There is an icon on the reader itself but it is low to the ground and black-on-black is hard to read.
Click to expand
That aforementioned red USConnectMe button is also the cause of much customer frustration at this location. It doesn’t work but people touch it anyway. (In fairness to the customer: how do they know it doesn’t work?) Instead, a screenful of information about loading value on to the card appears which serves to further confuse students. And it dramatically adds to the time it takes for a student to complete his transaction; it is not at all easy to return to the previous screen. I personally witnessed longer (than usual) lines to pay when someone touched this button. The designers should adhere to our long-held rule: if a button is not relevant, REMOVE IT!
Click for full size CC
Finally, the customer is asked if he/she would like a receipt with large square buttons indicating Yes (green button) or No (red button). When I used the kiosk, I selected Yes, but never received the receipt. There was no way of knowing if the printer was out of paper or was simply malfunctioning.
Receipt – click for full size
Because of the many deficiencies listed, the kiosk leaves the user with an unpleasant taste (no pun intended) but if a student is hungry and has no alternative, they will put up with it and keep on trying until they are successful.
These micro-markets have the potential to resolve several problems in food services. None of the current usability issues are deal-breakers. Some common-sense software modifications should be made and will go a long way towards ensuring a successful deployment. Once the units are fine-tuned and made more user-friendly, they will achieve the desired results.
Harris-Teeter Self-Checkout Kiosks
Click to expand
The self-checkout kiosks at Harris-Teeter supermarkets generally work well and shoppers frequently wait in line to use them, even when manned checkout lines are lacking any customers. The 245-store chain is a subsidiary of Kroger and has been making significant inroads in the Greater Washington, D.C. area. Even though there are no signs alerting shoppers to their presence, people enjoy the convenience and generally acceptable functionality of the devices and happily wait their turn to use one. The store features six units, with two banks of three facing each other. A full-time employee is stationed in front of one bank of units.
click to expand
These types of kiosks will be familiar to anyone who has visited a grocery store over the past few years. They are fast, quite easy to use and do not require much in the way of instructions. The software interface is mostly self-explanatory. The scanner works exceptionally well and is infinitely more reliable than the small unit found on Bistro to Go!
Click to expand
The only problem? Sometimes the prices are incorrect, sale prices have not been updated into the system, and keying in the 4-digit code for produce can sometimes result in errors. These problems are almost always quickly resolved, thanks to the proximity of the store employee.
Click to expand
Payments are made at a separate unit located a few inches from the touchscreen and the well-designed images show how to scan or insert a credit card or pay with cash. The units are outfitted with several expensive peripherals, including the high quality/super-sensitive Toledo-Mettler scales embedded in the bagging area.
The importance of using high-end components can’t be stressed enough. These types of kiosks receive a tremendous amount of use and shoddy peripherals will result in inoperable units which quickly leads to unhappy customers. Whole Foods tried self-checkout units a few years ago but they failed so frequently that frustrated customers avoided them and the project was cancelled. It remains to be seen whether new owner Amazon will try deploying them again.
History has shown that the kiosk costs are more than offset by the number of employees the retailer no longer has to employ. Furthermore, customers love them and are convinced that the process is faster than if they had used a human checker. That is not true, but to quote an adage: perception is reality.
The past few years have shown just how popular self-checkout kiosks can be. Just make sure that they work consistently and do not cause customer unhappiness or frustration. Harris-Teeter has the winning formula. Bistro to Go! at Johns Hopkins could enjoy the same results with some fairly easy modifications.
Kiosk Service is the red-headed stepchild sometimes in the planning stage
Richard Slawsky is an Educator and freelance writer, specializing in the digital signage and kiosk industries. Louisville, Kentucky Area
There’s nothing that kills customer enthusiasm more for a kiosk deployment than walking up to a unit and seeing a piece of paper taped to the front bearing the hand-scrawled words “Out of order.”
Such a sight conveys the impression of neglect, and makes customers wonder what else the business operator is neglecting. And if they see that note on a subsequent visit, they’re unlikely to ever use the kiosk even if it’s eventually restored to a working condition.
The reputation of the entire kiosk industry rests on the shoulders of service providers, and anyone who treats service as an afterthought runs the risk of seeing their deployment turn into expensive dust collectors. Unfortunately, deployers often put service way down on their list of priorities when planning a self-service project.
Setting up for failure
Probably one of the most dramatic failures of a kiosk project in recent memory took place in Pennsylvania in 2011. The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board shut down a project that used self-service kiosks to sell bottles of wine in dozens supermarkets around the state. In addition to a complicated transaction process and an inexperienced vendor, service problems forced the board to shut down the kiosks for several weeks in December 2010, just as shoppers were planning to stock up on spirits for the holidays.
Although there were a number of issues with the project, it’s likely that the service problems alone would have prompted its collapse. And while most projects don’t attract the negative publicity that this one did, a variation of the old military saying holds true: poor planning, especially when it comes to service, will equal piss-poor performance. That can be avoided by considering service while a kiosk deployment is still in the budgeting and planning stage.
“With the service and support aspect of putting a piece of equipment out there, you’re probably looking at 15 to 20 percent on a yearly basis to fully support what’s out there,” said Luc Vallieres, CEO of Salt Lake City-based CSA Service Solutions, a nationwide provider of service solutions to a number of technology sectors. The company’s clients include such notables companies in self-service, retail and healthcare.
So if any of those kiosk market reports appearing on the Internet are to be believed, the service industry market is worth anywhere from $2 billion per year to $4 billion. So if the project budget is $100,000, anywhere from $15,000-20,000 should be earmarked for ongoing service. Whatever the size, it’s money well spent.
“It’s a waste of budget and resources to invest in implementing self-service hardware across your retail locations, but then fail to keep those devices updated and functional,” said Brad Fick, president of Minneapolis-based Direct Source, a provider of technology solutions for tier-one retailers.
“We always recommend quoting and setting up a hardware maintenance plan for three-to-five years after rollout,” Fick said. “This should be an important step in any retailer’s sourcing process.”
Unfortunately, though, many deployers overlook the importance of service. Another challenge can be that the implementation teams and the “after-roll-out” support teams are different.
“No matter what type of technology is being implemented, retailers have historically put service and device support on the back burner,” Fick said.
“Part of this is simply the excitement of a project and the focus on getting the technology right so customers or associates can start to use it in the stores,” he said. “How the tools are supported after roll-out can simply be overlooked.”
And in many cases, deployers secretly hope service won’t be an issue for several years after the project goes live.
“When purchasing a car, appliance or home electronics, you don’t think the device will fail because it’s new,” said Tony Lomazzo, VP of business development with Tyngsboro, Mass.-based Marathon Deployment. Marathon provides a full range of IT services with clients in the retail, hospitality and business services verticals around the world.
“When it comes to POS hardware and kiosks, though, you want to ensure your investment is protected on day one,” Lomazzo said. “This service needs to provide same day or next day onsite service. If your investment is inoperative this will cost you customers and will affect your bottom line. You should always protect your investment by adding the extended service.”
Here are some real life pictures
Slide out service
Shipping is very important
What Tech Faces
Planning for success
Servicing self-service devices is more complicated than just pasting a sticker with a toll-free number on the side of the kiosk enclosure.
Nick Manolis, CEO of the Dublin, Ireland-based Escher Group, advises his clients to prepare for a number of servicing activities. Escher provides kiosks, software and other technological solutions for 35 postal operations around the world.
The activities Manolis recommends deployers focus on include:
Soft servicing – keeping the kiosk stocked, keeping receipt/label rolls full, emptying cash if the kiosk takes cash, and general “soft monitoring” of operation. If the kiosk is in a manned office, this may be done by local staff as one of their duties. If it is in a standalone location, then it will require a visit.
Hard servicing – field maintenance (proactive and reactive) and general refurbishment. The kiosk needs to “look good,” especially if it’s your first point of contact with customers.
“Besides servicing the machine, companies also need to interact and follow up with the customer and/or the kiosk manufacturer,” Manolis said.
“A few things can be implemented to make this type of servicing easier, including alerting and self-reporting,” he said. “If the kiosk is not manned, then it should be able to ‘call home’ in the event of a problem such as a jam, paper low and so forth. Besides regular checks, the company needs to be regularly monitoring for both problems and non-use. The lack of use can also be indicative of an issue.”
Train Your Staff
On-site staff should be trained on basic maintenance such as changing receipt paper or rebooting the machine. The ability to monitor and troubleshoot problems remotely can be a major cost saver, especially if a technician needs to drive a long way for a site visit.
Screens need to be cleaned everyday and the right cleaners used. Think of walking into a hospital where basic cleaning doesn’t take place. Incidents like the one recently dramatised by UK tabloid newspapers and McDonalds resulted in some serious actions despite the nature of the report.
Service and maintenance by employees is a direct factor on how much service support you will need. Design the unit for easy servicing and maintenance and productivity will go up for both factors, and costs will go down for both.
Replacing paper in printers would seem to be a common task to train for, yet many times there is only one person who has taught themselves to do it.
Make sure the unit and components are designed to be serviced. Provide tools internally if necessary. Sometimes you can actually have customers do some of the servicing for you.
Ever grab a grocery cart at Krogers? Maybe you got one of the cleaning wipes out of the canister and wiped it down before taking into the store. Happens all the time and it helps keep the carts cleaner and safer.
Some real-life examples below:
Here is a credit application kiosk. Complete strangers and prospective customers approach and provide detailed information for a credit application. They get a printout. That printer requires paper replenishment (which is a good ROI indicator in itself). The problem is that the unit is designed so that employees leave the internal components accessible to anybody in order that they may easily change paper. But what if I were a bad hacker? The computer is exposed too, and I can just as easily insert a USB malware drive into the unit and record all the credit information entered. Perhaps I may be able to breach the actual office system and conceivably the corporate system..
It may make it easier to change paper but it is NOT the way to do it
Another real-life example would be cash cassettes. A super-major telecom provider with bill pay units had a severe cost problem with cash cassettes being damaged by employees when removed and re-inserted. They literally dropped them, often on the floor resulting in damage. Those costs were well over 300K a month just servicing those damaged cassettes. And it could have been averted by proper training.
In McDonalds, every one of those units has locks which operate to track and audit access by employees. They were designed in and they are not cheap, but in the overall scheme they are a bargain in the reduced service costs they might otherwise incurred. And it is worth noting that the original locks did not provide audit access but they were selected because they could easily be upgraded later to include auditing. That’s thinking ahead and saving yourself some budget. Look ahead and have a plan for success.
Types of Service Needs
In addition, service needs will vary depending on the type of service the unit provides. Informational and transactional self-service share much of the same technology, but their complexity varies greatly. Informational self-service projects are usually much smaller in scale with prepackaged software and information that can easily be rolled out to a self-service unit.
A transactional solution, on the other hand, is typically defined by its integration with a payment device or ecommerce module. With a transactional kiosk, there are more challenges around data security and payment processing. As such, transactional self-service projects are always more expensive and require more strategic planning.
<“Anything that’s transactional and helps drive revenue is likely going to require service much more quickly,” Vallieres said. “Anything that’s transactional and tied to the deployer’s business plan will typically have requests for a much quicker response time. If it’s informational, that may be a lot more flexible.”
Keeping kiosks healthy can be made easier with the use of kiosk management software. Tools that notify kiosk owners that maintenance is needed, paper is out, or the printer is jammed can optimize staff time and increase kiosk up time. The use of kiosk management software is just as important as staff availability for fixing hardware issues on site and keeping abreast of kiosk downtime.
Utilizing kiosk system software and keeping that software up to date is another way to avoid security holes and downtime. Updating to the latest version available can reduce bugs, security holes, and other issues that can cause downtime.
Having people maintain the kiosks and the hardware is one thing, but the maintenance of software over time, and the features that can assist with monitoring kiosk needs/health/states can be vitally important to the success of a project.
A changing approach
In addition to ensuring that kiosk uptime remains high, planning for service from project conception can have a major impact on the cost of that service.
While designers may approach a project from the perspective of how the kiosk looks, they don’t always consider serviceability. That’s something that can drive service costs through the roof.
“Speaking from experience, manufacturers sometimes think, hey, we’re going to put this box together and it ends up weighing 1,200 pounds or it needs to be bolted down, and the access panels are in the back,” Vallieres said. “Those are some of the issues that need to be taken into account that manufacturers don’t always think of.”
And who will provide that service is another issue that needs to be nailed down from the very beginning.
As the use of self-service devices in the marketplace changes and expands, so is the way service is provided. Some manufacturers offer service as part of a kiosk project, while others partner with third-party providers. In addition, the growth of the “gig economy” has spawned companies such as Field Nation, Upwork and others that make it possible for deployers to keep up with repairs and maintenance without the expense of an in-house service staff.
However they choose to approach it, though, deployers need to do their homework, talk with other deployers and examine the provider’s history.
“Design the software, the kiosk, the service aspects and the service plan for both Soft and Hard service needs all at the same time,” said Frank Olea, CEO of Olea Kiosks. “ And as time goes on, monitor your approach and adjust as needed. Don’t go it alone thinking you’ll figure it out when it happens. We don’t jump off cliffs and think about a parachute after the fact.”
Instead of taking away jobs, self-service technology is opening up a host of new opportunities. A look at how self-service adds employees and also an internal look at compensation for people in the self-service industry.
By Richard Slawsky contributor
Nearly everyone who’s been involved with the self-service technology industry for any length of time has heard the refrain. Applications such as self-order kiosks, patient check-in tablets and similar technologies are allowing evil corporations to replace employees with machines, putting people out of work and eliminating entry-level opportunities.
In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Deploying kiosks to handle mundane tasks such as taking orders or filling out patient forms is helping to increase business for companies that deploy those devices. And far from being a job-killer, the development of self-service technology is creating a host of new job opportunities
Show me the money
While restaurant franchisees tend to view self-service initiatives as an unnecessary expense and employees view them as a threat, in practice the opposite appears to be true.
Sales at Panera Bread’s nearly 500 company-owned stores, for example, were up 6.2 percent in Q1 thanks to the ongoing deployment of Panera 2.0, a suite of technologies designed to improve the customer experience. Those technologies are centered around tablet-based self-order kiosks.
Tablets are made by LILITAB
“The consumer-facing technology results in labor savings for Panera; these hours are redeployed in the café,” Panera Chief Transformation & Growth Officer Blaine Hurst told Business Insider. “In fact, in most cases, Panera increases the number of associate hours in our cafes; and they see increases in overall guest satisfaction.
Probably the biggest explosion in job growth, though, is taking place in the kiosk industry itself. Although studies that purport to put a dollar value on the size of the kiosk industry vary from one to the next, they all agree on one thing: The market is expected to continue growing for the foreseeable future.
Transparency Market Research, for example, pegged the global kiosk market at $12.2 billion in 2015, with that market expected to grow at a 10.9 percent clip over the next eight years, reaching $30.8 billion by 2024.
That growth means tremendous opportunities for people with skills in design, engineering, software creation and sales, to name a few. And in many cases, pay for those positions is well above what other industries are offering.
“You want mechanical engineers with experience.,” Snyder said. “Mechanical engineering in the kiosk industry is very specialized. You want to keep experienced mechanical engineers at all costs.”
Factory floor people are important too, Snyder said.
“You want to keep these guys since it takes about eight months for a factory floor guy to become experienced enough to be productive,” Snyder said. And today, software is such a consideration that hiring software developers has added a whole new pay tier. A kiosk deployer can easily spend several million dollars in setting up a software department.
Sales positions are a bit easier to fill, but the kiosk salesperson has to understand lots of components and the engineering aspects of the various kiosk models being offered by the company. While compensation plans are obviously an uncomfortable topic, and every company has their own practices when it comes to pay for the sales staff, there are some commonalities across the kiosk industry.
“It was kind of a ‘what have you done for me lately’ model,” he said. “Some of the deployments we did were multimillion-dollar deals, so it was very lucrative to get those. You could also make a lot of money on higher-margin deals for deployments of five or six kiosks.”
Commissions were paid once the purchase order was paid, with deployments taking place over months or years paying as the various stages were completed. And in Olmsted’s case, at least, items such as software or service plans provided the opportunity to make higher commissions.
“Those margins were a lot higher because we already had the software in-house,” he said. “Obviously each individual’s going to have different needs and wants, and that’s going to affect commissions.”
Click to expand
The accompanying sidebar gives a rough estimate of what the various positions in a large kiosk manufacturer might pay. Obviously, compensation is likely to be much less in a smaller company, and in many cases one person might hold multiple positions. In addition, salaries depend on factors including the cost of living in a particular community, the value of a particular employee and how long they have been with that company.
Riding the cycle
Staffing a kiosk manufacturer can be made a bit more complicated by the cyclical nature of the kiosk industry. A major deal that keeps a company running at full steam for several months may be followed by a period where the only business is a few five- or six-kiosk deployments. It’s critical, though, to keep those workers in preparation for the next up cycle.
“You need to keep your core experience and adapt to the up-and-down cycles using temp workers,” Snyder said. “Sales and engineering is a bit more complex in that you cannot use temps for salesmen or mechanical engineers.”
It’s the same with project managers and buyers. Companies need to optimize their structure to be able to adapt to sales fluctuations.
“There’s ways to double up,” Snyder said. “An engineer could also be a project manager. You can slip and slide them in between positions that way, but you’ve got to keep a certain amount of people on the bench. Project managers, engineers and factory floor production people are hard to find. If you get one you like, you keep them.”
Complicating matters is the fact that companies are faced with the challenge of competing with other technology industries for qualified employees.
“It’s a challenge, especially when it comes to engineers,” Snyder said.
“It’s really hard to find a good mechanical engineer who has any background in the kiosk world, because it’s a whole different ball game,” he said. “You’re talking about bending metals. You’re talking about bend radiuses and metal stretching when you bend it. You’ve got to be aware of all these things. Usually, a kid coming straight out of college knows the basics but not the specifics of a kiosk operation.”
See sidebar graphic for Tips for sales compensation plans.
Click to expand
As the industry continues to grow, companies can work to overcome those challenges by going out to universities and tout the opportunities the industry holds. Most engineering schools require students to do a co-op as they near graduation, so getting involved with those types of programs can help meet staffing needs as well.
“What they can do to foster it is they can go to universities and say, ‘We have openings for college kids to come in and co-op’,” Snyder said. “Obviously, you’re then going to get a better result if you give them some level of compensation. It doesn’t need to be much, but you have to give them something.”
Northern Quest Resort & Casino, located in Spokane, Washington, offers luxurious accommodations, Vegas-style gambling, a spa, and over one dozen restaurants, bars, and lounges. One of the most popular spots in the resort is EPIC Sports Bar, a comfortable sports bar featuring upscale pub fare.
Open daily at 7 am, EPIC’s guests can enjoy viewing sporting events at any time of day – breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Like all sports bars, EPIC’s crowds and varying event types make high quality displays a must for patrons. However, constructing and maintaining a large screen was a challenge. The bar originally relied on an old TV screen, which was then upgraded to a movie screen and two sizable projectors that would play content. However it was difficult, if not impossible to clean the screen and when the HVAC system was in use, the screen would shake. Further, the projectors proved to be quite noisy and replacement costs were astronomical.
With these issues in place, Northern Quest Resort & Casino decided to seek out a digital signage option for EPIC that would best showcase sporting events and entertainment, while meeting the resort’s high aesthetic standards.
Click for full image
In summer 2017, the resort began conducting research, turning to its longstanding installation partner, YESCO, for help with the project. YESCO next sought to find a display and mount that would best meet EPIC’s needs. Based on past experience and a strong partnership, YESCO selected Samsung for its IFH LED displays. With trusted recommendations, along with video wall expertise, quality hardware, and a comfortable price point, YESCO chose Peerless-AVas the mount manufacturer for the project.
An additional benefit of working with Peerless-AV was SEAMLESS by Peerless-AV ® , the company’s LED video wall integration program that provided start-to-finish support throughout the project. Peerless-AV’s dedicated SEAMLESS LED Solutions Team sets the bar for high quality design, incorporating a dynamic group of structural and mechanical engineers, product managers, project managers, installers, and sales and service personnel, which were all available to YESCO and Northern Quest Resort & Casino.
Download the full case study
[easy_sign_up title=”To quick download the whitepaper we do ask for some contact information to discourage autobots and also in case our sponsors would like to contact you.” fnln=”0″ esu_class=”my-class” esu_label=”Peerless EPIC Case Study” esu_r_url=”https://kioskindustry.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/EPIC-Sports-Bar-Northern-Quest-Casino-Resort_Case-Study.pdf”]
It seems like it was just yesterday that nearly every grocery store and strip mall featured a drive-up Fotomat film processing shop in the parking lot. Amateur photographers would drive up to the window, drop off their film or disposable camera, and stop back a few days later to pick up their pack of prints.
With the advent of digital photography, though, those shops quickly disappeared, with photo processing services moving inside the store to serve as a customer draw. In 1980 there were more than 4,000 Fotomat stores around the United States; today not a single one remains. Digital cameras began outselling film cameras in 2003, and the trend has continued ever since. Kodak stopped selling film cameras in 2004, and Nikon followed suite in 2006. What was probably the final nail in the film coffin came in 2012, when Kodak declared bankruptcy.
The move to digital did, though, open up opportunities for photo development kiosks as the customer touchpoint for photo processing services. The premise was that shoppers would bring in their camera’s memory card, insert it into the kiosk and select the number and size of the photos they’d like printed. And of course, do a bit of shopping while they waited for their photos to be ready.
While the veracity of the numbers is debatable, one of the many research reports that predict trends in the kiosk industry forecasts the size of the global photo kiosk market in 2017 will total $1.5 billion. Another one forecasts the market will total $1.9 billion by 2020, so apparently some amount of growth is likely.
Does that mean kiosk manufacturers should consider adding photo kiosks to their portfolio? While that depends on the strengths and expertise of a particular company, the short answer is probably not. The capital investment required to make a go of photo kiosks is so large that it’s likely beyond the capabilities of all but the most established companies, and the multitude of changes occurring in the imaging industry means the direction of the market isn’t yet clear.
Following the trail
To get a sense of where the photo industry is going and what the opportunities for kiosk deployers might be, it helps to have a sense of where it’s been.
From the early 1960s, when Kodak first introduced its inexpensive Instamatic camera, on through the 1990s, most households likely owned a single camera or bought disposable cameras one at a time, processing two or three rolls of film a year. It wasn’t unusual to find a disposable camera with four or five shots left on it in the bottom of a drawer, snap off those photos and drop them off for processing with little or no recollection of what was on the earlier shots.
“The photo finishers used to joke they’d get a roll of film and there was a Christmas tree on each end,” said Gary Pageau, who formerly as an executive and communication consultant with the now-defunct industry trade group the Photo Marketing Association. At its peak, the annual PMA trade in Las Vegas boasted more than 50,000 attendees, but industry changes prompted a scheduling change in 2012 to coincide with the Consumer Electronics Show. In 2016, the PMA merged with the Photo Imaging Manufacturers and Distributors organization to form the Imaging Alliance.
“People in those days used to take pictures more for memories,” Pageau said. “And very few pictures were enlarged.”
Cameras were first paired with mobile phones in 2000, and today nearly everyone has a mobile phone camera in their pocket. In most cases, those cameras pack a resolution greater than the best film cameras.
And that has led to a staggering increase in the number of photos taken each year. Technology website TechCrunch estimates there will be 1.2 trillion photos taken around the world in 2017, nearly 14 times the 86 billion photos the news site Buzzfeed estimates were taken in 2000.
Although that would seem like a jackpot for the photo processing industry, it hasn’t quite worked out that way. Most photos aren’t ever printed, and photo paper is only one of several choices of media on which to print images.
“Metal prints are big right now, canvas prints are big and paper prints in weird sizes like square prints,” Pageau said.
“Printing on clothing, printing on fleece, throws and blankets and things like that are popular,” he said. “Now, when they do print pictures, people usually have a specific purpose in mind.”
Another change affecting the photography world is the advent of smartphones and wireless connectivity in the mid-to-late 2000s. Although there was a brief period where an in-store kiosk was the method of choice for choosing images to be printed, that has been supplanted by websites and apps. If a store does offer a photo kiosk, customers expect to be able to wirelessly transfer images from phone to kiosk.
And many customers are no longer expecting to have their prints ready in an hour or less.
“Although instant printing used to be a big thing, many people today really don’t expect to get their output right away,” Pageau said. “They understand that if you’re making a print on metal or canvas that it’s going to take a while; it may have to be shipped out or whatever.”
So while 10 years ago it may have been cost effective for a retailer to invest $250,000 or more in an in-store photo lab, today that may not be as worthwhile. While in the early days of digital photography that photo lab might have guaranteed two customer visits – one to drop off and one to pick up – today those customers may not even set foot in a store to have their images printed.
So where are things headed?
Obviously, the photo kiosk market faces stiff competition. Although there are still plenty of kiosks in the marketplace, anyone thinking about entering the market is likely to face some challenges.
“A new photo kiosk is a beautiful thing, but sadly the market is full of old photo kiosks,” said Murray Macdonald, president and chief technology officer at Vancouver-based Storefront.com, which specializes in creating customer-facing applications, imaging infrastructure and management systems for SMEs, global multinationals and Fortune 500 clients.
“Retailers today don’t have the capex to change that,” Macdonald said. “They’re just kind of maintaining what they have.”
Consolidation in the retail and pharmacy sectors has left many companies with collections of disparate kiosk solutions, making it difficult to introduce new equipment and having it play well with legacy systems. And of course, kiosks have become just one of several channels by which customers get their images to the lab.
“Retailers today need a Web solution and a mobile app along with a kiosk,” Macdonald said. “So retailers really need three customer-facing interfaces and then the backend stuff. A kiosk is really just one of those three today. You’ve got to kind of stitch all that together as a retailer or buy it from a provider who can give you all those pieces.”
In addition, online photo processing sites such as Shutterfly and Snapfish, where customers upload their photos to a website and have the printed images shipped to their homes, are gaining in popularity and market share. Shutterfly, for example, serviced 10.1 million customers in 2016, a 4 percent increase over the previous year.
Still, that doesn’t mean that kiosks as part of a photo solution are a dying breed.
“We’ve been surprised by how strong the kiosks are, actually,” Macdonald said. “We’ve actually seen growth on ins store purchasing for certain types of products and depending on the retailer. “
A host of new technological developments promise to crack open new opportunities for both the kiosk industry and the imaging industry as well.
“I’m very excited right now about both industries,” Macdonald said.
“There is a lot of stuff happening right now,” he said. “Things like 3D printing and depth cameras are going to bring on a whole new rash of applications.”
Depth cameras, or range imaging time-of-flight cameras, can sense the time that it takes light to return from objects in a photograph. The camera takes that information and combines it with video data to create 3D images, enabling it to calculate the measurements of a room or remove or overlay 3D objects or backgrounds from an image.
“I think there’s a market for novelty kiosks and mobile applications that do fun stuff with people and their photos,” Macdonald said. “That will all be based on new types of cameras and some of the other new products coming on the market.”
Other new technologies promising to bring change to the industries include some that Macdonald’s company is developing, including artificial intelligence that can expand the size of an image while actually improving resolution. Potential applications include taking a 4” by 6” image and blowing it up for a large wall canvas.
“We can take your image and not just scale it up, but actually synthesize the detail that’s missing at that resolution,” Macdonald said. “The results are spectacular.”
COVID-19 has shifted the way we as a society views cleanliness and personal hygiene. There is a new importance placed upon these principles that many people are prioritizing over everything else in their day-to-day activities as evidenced by industries shifting to a mostly work-from- home -style schedule. When people aren’t in the safety of their own homes, it’s not uncommon to see them regularly applying hand sanitizer,; wearing masks in public areas,; and keeping an appropriate social distance from other people; and more habits that were not commonly seen before the global pandemic of 2020.
That begs the question as to how businesses can maintain regular operations while also keeping in mind the newfound importance of minimizing the spread of bacteria. A growing number of businesses is discovering that implementing a touchless interface to their self-service kiosks covers most of those bases. This is how a touchless kiosk interface does it:
1. A touchless kiosk interface allows for the same interaction without physically contacting the surface of the self-service device. Minimizing the amount of contact an end-user has with your self-service kiosk is one thing, eliminating it is another thing entirely. This can be accomplished by scanning a QR code to access a secure connection between the kiosk device and the end-user’s personal mobile device.
2. Maintaining a self-service kiosk option allows end-users to avoid person-to-person contact with your human workers. Over the past few months, researchers have narrowed down the most common way to transmit COVID-19: person-to-person. It is estimated that interactions between unmasked COVID-19 carriers and unmasked healthy individuals have a 90% chance of resulting in a healthy individual becoming infected. Masks greatly reduce the spread of infection but do not eliminate it, so providing self-service options to minimize person-to-person interactions where possible is essential.
3. Implementing a touchless kiosk solution helps the sanitization supply chain recover. Over the past five months, it has been extremely difficult to purchase cleaning and sanitization supplies. These products have been in such high demand to maintain a level of social cleanliness that suppliers have been operating on a perpetual back-order status since the start of the pandemic, and an alternate solution could alleviate some of that stress on the supply chain. Allowing people to interact with a kiosk through their own personal device will create a gap where products like hand sanitizer or sanitizing wipes would normally be used to reduce the chance of pathogen spread. That begs the question as to how businesses can maintain regular operations while also keeping in mind the newfound importance of minimizing the spread of bacteria. A large number of businesses have discovered that implementing a touchless interface to their self-service kiosks has covered most of those bases. Here’s how a touchless kiosk interface does it:
4. A touchless kiosk interface allows for the same interaction without physically contacting the surface of the self-service device. Minimizing the amount of contact an end-user has with your self-service kiosk is one thing, eliminating is another thing entirely. This can be accomplished in a number of ways, one of them is scanning a QR code to access a secure connection between the kiosk device and the end-user’s
personal mobile device.
5. Maintaining a self-service kiosk option allows for end-users to avoid person-to-person contact with your human workers. Over the past few months, researchers have narrowed down the most common way to transmit COVID-19: person-to-person. It’s estimated that interactions between an unmasked COVID-19 carrier and an unmasked healthy individual has a 90% chance of resulting in the healthy individual becoming infected. Adding masks to the two hypothetical people in those scenarios begins to reduce the chance of infection, but never completely eliminates it. While COVID-19 can still be spread by touching some surfaces contaminated with the virus, it is far less likely to infect a person compared to a person-to-person interaction.
6. Implementing a touchless kiosk solution allows resources that are being otherwise drained to maintain a level of social cleanliness to recover due to a lack of necessity. Over the past five months it has been extremely difficult for anyone, businesses and consumers alike, to purchase cleaning and sanitization supplies like liquid solutions and paper products. There has been such a high demand that suppliers have been operating on a perpetual back-order over the duration of the pandemic and an alternate solution could alleviate that stress on the supply chain. Allowing for people to interact with kiosk through their own personal device will create a gap where products like hand sanitizer or sanitary wipes would normally be used to reduce the chance of pathogen spread.
To address the issue of spreading germs via kiosk touch screens long before COVID, KioWare Kiosk System Software began development on a touchless interface. The impact of COVID-19 accelerated development, and last month, KioWare introduced Allow me to introduce KioTouch™ — the a touchless kiosk interface solution designed by KioWare Kiosk System Software. KioTouch allows for an end-user to interact directly with a kiosk via their personal mobile device by scanning a QR code that is displayed on the attract screen. At that point, a trackpad-style mouse is displayed on the end-user’s device, giving them complete control of the kiosk ’s screen functionsjust as they would have control during normal, physical interface. The trackpad is responsive to clicks, swipes, and all other normal mouse functions. When If a field requires text to be entered, a simple click into the text field ofusing the trackpad onto the field will bring up a keyboard on the end-user’s device, allowing them to enter text as if they were sending a text message or e-mail. At the conclusion of the user’s session, KioTouch can be programmed to display content of the kiosk deployer’s choosing such as, but not limited to, a website, loyalty app, newsletter, or simple “thank you” message.
If you would like to see KioTouch in action, click here .
KioTouch is compatible with any kiosk system software and can be installed on any self-service device, whether it be a full-sized kiosk unit built into a display or a smaller device that would normally be handheld for the end-user. KioWare is not required to run KioTouch, but it is integrated into the latest versions of KioWare for Windows and KioWare for Android and easily activated with a subscription license. and can be installed on any self-service device, whether it be a full-sized kiosk unit built into a display or a smaller device that would normally be handheld for the end-user.
The world around us is changing. People are viewing the world through a new lens, one that emphasizes the importance of reducing germ and pathogen spread. This new perspective means businesses are going to need to get be creative with accommodating the sanitary desires of its customers or continue to deal with closures and limited services due to mandates put in place by governments. Creating a touchless experience with a seamless interface on self-service kiosks without sacrificing a seamless interface will be crucial to thriving in this new era of limited human interaction and higher standards of cleanliness and sanitation.
HUNTS POINT, N.Y., July 19, 2016 (SEND2PRESS NEWSWIRE) — Baldor Specialty Foods, the premier ingredient source for NYC’s best chefs, today announced a collaboration with Whole Foods Market’s Northeast Region that will make the company’s selection of unique culinary items available to home cooks for the first time through an in-store, digital kiosk called The Baldor Forager which will launch exclusively on July 26 in coordination with the grand opening of Whole Food Market Williamsburg. – News from Baldor Specialty Foods, Inc., issued by Send2Press Newswire
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– A safe, easy way to get rid of your prescription drugs is now available at several Walgreens locations in the state. The medication disposal kiosks allow people to throw away unwanted, unused or expired medications.
We are located in beautiful, historic Frederick, Maryland, an hour outside of Washington and Baltimore, home of Francis Scott Key, and just miles from Gettysburg, Harpers Ferry, and Antietam.
I am the founder and president of Kiosk Group, Inc.
2. Kiosk Industry Group: How is business these days?
MJ: Business is great and growing steadily.
In July of 2010, we came out with the first commercial iPad kiosks and decided to invest heavily in this narrow segment of the kiosk industry.
We have developed a modular system of iPad and tablet kiosks that are the true heavyweights in this niche. While there are many manufacturers in this field that go the cheap route, producing low-quality kiosks that are ultimately not durable or secure, we’ve taken a different approach. Our kiosks are “real kiosks” (to take the words of just one of our satisfied customers), made from milled industrial-grade thermoplastics and heavy-duty, welded rolled steel, and made the way kiosks are supposed to be made.
We created the Kiosk Pro line of iPad kiosk software to make sure our customers had something to run on our kiosks. Kiosk Pro is now widely recognized as the best software for this type of application and tops the charts for the term ‘kiosk’ in the iTunes App Store with over 75,000 downloads.
Today we are very busy with both off-the-shelf and custom order kiosks, and our biggest worry is keeping enough product in stock.
3. Kiosk Industry Group:What is your most popular product?
MJ: Our iPad Standalone kiosk is by far our most popular single product.
We’ve been able to create quite a number of accessories for this model, including branding options, credit card readers and even motion-controlled illumination systems for rear camera photos and barcode scanning.
4. Kiosk Industry Group: How large a company are you?
MJ: Believe it or not, we are just 10 people today. We outsource metal bending, painting and plastic work to four nearby fabrication facilities, so we keep our overhead very low and can offer great prices on our products. Our in-house staff is responsible for software development and support, product design and prototyping, branding, minor CNC machining, quality control and order fulfillment.
5. Kiosk Industry Group:How many years have you been in business?
MJ: I started my business with an Apple II, purchased in 1977 (which I still have). I have a background in developing industrial films and programming multi-projector slideshows and saw computers as a better way to deliver media content. I was able to code control of a 12” laserdisc player with the Apple II via RS-232 and, in 1981, hung out my shingle developing interactive content for sales and training.
This small start expanded into a company with 35 software developers — Multimedia Software, Inc. We developed many hundreds of interactive programs, including World’s Fair exhibits, Amtrak’s ticketing kiosks and training programs for Chrysler, IBM and many others.
After selling MSI in 2001, I studied the market, determined that the kiosk industry was where everything was heading and launched Kiosk Group, Inc. We’ve been designing and selling kiosk hardware and software ever since.
6. Kiosk Industry Group: What is your biggest market(s) or skills focus, or do you have multiple?
MJ: In terms of markets, our kiosks are used in every discipline. It should be easier to name the markets we are not in, but I can’t think of any. Seriously.
We focus on creating the best interactive touch-screen kiosks available. Whether that means taking on a new software feature request or building out a custom hardware configuration, we do what it takes to make each project a success.
7. Kiosk Industry Group: What are the strengths of your company?
MJ: Innovation. Innovation. Innovation. We focus on coming up with the right products, and having the right solution already designed when a new customer calls us with a tough requirement. No other iPad/tablet kiosk seller does this.
I’ve also got a great team of people working with me. Each and every person has multi-disciplinary talents and is driven to grow and succeed.
Having metal-bending and other fabrication out of house has been a terrific asset. Most traditional kiosk companies mark up their cost of touchscreens, computers and peripherals at 100% to cover the cost of a large crew. With our low overhead, our average markup from wholesale is just 28%.
8. Kiosk Industry Group: What market trends can you share with us?
MJ: The next step in the small form-factor kiosk world is the addition of peripherals beyond basic card readers and keyboard trays. Look for the integration of thermal receipt printers, card-stock ticket printers, barcode scanners, RFID readers, ApplePay, EMV SmartCard readers, PIN pads – the list goes on and on.
This is where you’ll see a separation of the serious kiosk manufacturers from the quick-buck, plastic-injection-molded iPad kiosk sellers.
We’re also going to see an end to the made-in-China housings offered by many iPad kiosk sellers. The tablet market is changing so fast, you need a system for managing hardware change. With the introduction of the smaller-sized Apple Air tablets, we’re already seeing a large number of sellers dropping out of the business, and leaving their customers without support.
9.Kiosk Industry Group:What new products might we see in the next year or two from your company?
MJ: In the short-term, look for Bluetooth printer integration for all of Custom America’s thermal kiosk printers (http://www.customamerica.com/) into our Kiosk Pro Enterprise iOS app.
We have been hard at work on a new system for kiosk customization and delivery for the past two years.
Imagine placing an order for custom kiosks with your own branding and a wide choice of screen sizes and peripherals – previously this meant weeks or months of lead time and a price tag to match. With our new system, you can have this type of custom kiosk at low cost and delivered within a week!
We’re going to deliver this new development in early 2015. Prepare yourself for the next industry revolution!
10. Kiosk Industry Group: For more information who should people contact?
MJ: I’m always available at [email protected] or you can call me at 888-569-5467 x101.
Moe’s Southwest Grill launched its first-ever kiosk-only restaurant this past weekend in Pittsburg, PA.
The kiosk-only restaurant, owned and operated by Moe’s multi-unit franchisee, Mike Geiger, seats 16 and features Moe’s new brand design. The build took approximately 10 months to complete, with the final inspection scheduled for one day after the city shut down due to COVID-19 (March 13).
This timely launch provides a more contact-less ordering option in the time of Covid-19, as well as additional sanitation efforts have been put in place in accordance with CDC guidelines. This is just the latest in a string of new product offerings and technological advancements the brand has put into place since March of this year. Other examples include:
A completely revamped app which launched earlier this month
Launch of Taco Kits for easier family-style dining at home
The announcement of Moe’s Market, where stores would sell bulk ingredients that were in low stock at local markets.
Free delivery via the Moe’s app March 16-April 17
Ramped up curbside dining
Across Moe’s more than 700 restaurants, provided thousands of meals to healthcare workers and first responders
The Nevada DMV partners with ITI to offer quick and easy services.
Craig Allen Keefner‘s insight:
According to Dillard, the program has been a significant success. “The statistics themselves show the picture,” he says. “Year over year, transactions continue to rise on the kiosks to where we’re pushing about 50,000 transactions a month. That’s in a state with a population of a little over 2 million. Putting them out in the community has helped drive those numbers up.”
The scene: Disney and its spouse (also Disney) have just finished a hard evening’s grocery shopping. Cart piled high with all the things a growing-but-massive entertainment conglomerate needs, the pair stop at the store’s exit, right next to a distinctive bright red kiosk. Disney turns to its partner:“Honey, should we pick up a Redbox lawsuit tonight?” “Oh, yeah, that sounds like fun!”
Excerpt: Kiosks that handle cash and other forms of payment are the most complex of self service kiosk designs. Don’t trust just anyone to design and manufacture your next financial service kiosk. Led by Olea Kiosks we work with best-in-class partners to bring you a complete bill payment solution.
New Franklin Payment Kiosk
Payment Solutions cover a large range of situations from the simple purchase to more complex deployments.
We offer two turnkey solutions at this time: The Caddo and also the The Creek. Bill payment available for purchase, lease or operation (revenue share) and beginning at $30K complete solution.
We offer three different base + custom models for bill payment.
Applications range from your basic bill payment (paying your Comcast bill for example) to alimony to robust mobile bill pay. Indoor, Outdoor, Wall Mount, Standup, Countertop, Drive Thru.
Underbanked, non-banked and the kiosk industry
Some of the strongest growth the kiosk industry is seeing these days is in the self-order arena, specifically in fast-food restaurants. Those transactions are typically $20 or less, right in the sweet spot for cash usage.
Billpay kiosks are growing in popularity as well, targeting underbanked consumers or those who don’t have the ability to pay bills online. Some of the deployed applications include water bill payment, electricity bill pay, gas bill pay and light bill pay. 30% (and rising) of the US population is lower class living in apartments, renting housing. 25% of the US population is unbanked or underbanked according to a 2017 survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp and that number is considered low. Again, the type of people who are likely to favor cash.
So if credit cards are the only payment option, a company that relies on self-service kiosks may be missing out on substantial revenue opportunities.
Still, accepting cash does present obstacles deployers need to overcome. And with the use of alternative forms of payment on the rise, deployers need to plan for those as well.
Centralized electronic bill presentment and payment portal for customers of the city.
– Provide custom API’s or batch process to support non-integrated systems.
– Provide self-service abilities such as AutoPay, interactive pay by text, interactive email, and scheduled payment sign-ups.
– Provide the ability to pre-authorized payments including sending a notification for expiring credit cards and utilize available database from visa and Mastercard. Manage rejected payments, sending notification to the customer and notifying city staff.
– Provide self-service to start or stop utility service or edit customer information on the existing utility account. Or automatically generate orders for the agency and provide an upload process for ownership and lease documents.
– Customer service rep assisted IVR capability. Provide the ability to track a customer’s call in-progress when passed to IVR for payment and assist customer needs if they need CSR (customer service rep) assistance.
– Ability to send friendly reminders, courtesy interactive email notifications, and SMS text to accounts with a balance due.
– Automatic account linking for customers with multiple accounts, including linking of different bill types in a single customer view.
– View multiple bills with a ‘consolidated’ view.
– Single payment capability for multiple bills and multiple bill types, and correct application of relevant service fees.
– Provide an itemized detailed receipt where one or multiple services are being paid for, and indicate where service fees are being charged to the customer.
– Provide the ability to make payments via Web, Mobile, IVR, Kiosks, and POS systems.
– Reconciliation and reporting capabilities. Create adhoc and custom reports during the implementation phase to meet our requirements.
– Implementation services.
– On-going technical support and maintenance of the portal site.
– Detailed reporting for fee statements and the most efficient solution for charging fees.
– Flexible solution allowing the city to absorb credit card fees for most transactions and pass along credit card fees for selected transactions.
– Product and solution will be in compliance with city-specific rules governing transaction fees or service fees.
– Allow the following transaction types: Credit Card, Debit, Check, Cash, ACH, and trust account payments.
– Portal shall provide for payments and funds from different departments to be directly deposited into proper city account with unique identifiers to ensure that the funds are appropriately credited to the respective accounts.
– Handle dispute resolution and repudiation for non-ACH transactions.
– PCI Level 1 compliance and other information security standards.
– Allow point-of-sale (POS) transactions in various locations across multiple departments to include cashier stations, wireless transactions (kiosks) and portable device card transactions for use in the field. Provide necessary equipment for these services.
– Provide necessary equipment for these services.
– Provide citizen mobile application for web portal (iPhone, Android, tablet device, etc.) or provide mobile adaptive website
– Provide continuous availability of web portal with system redundancy and “up-time” guarantees or contingencies.
– Help desk and assistance point of contact for both the citizens or users of the portal and city administrators and accounting personnel.
– Provide the ability to utilize chip technology or develop in the future.
(2) Contract term will be one year.
Bill Payment News Release — Here is preliminary presss release on the Franklin
Olea Kiosks Introduces The Franklin Bill Pay Kiosk
LOS ANGELES, Calif., October 9, 2019 — Olea Kiosks of Los Angeles welcomes the Franklin Bill Pay kiosk as the newest addition to its self-service line-up. This secure and versatile kiosk is built to handle payments of any kind, anywhere.
The Franklin Bill Pay kiosk has the ability to accept and dispense dollar bills, dispense coins, read checks and take credit card payments. Because it’s a modular solution, it can be customized in a number of pre-designed configurations which make it easy to deploy in situations with first to market opportunities or where time is of the essence.
This kiosk was introduced for those industries that still have a high number of cash-paying customers. “In the past, cash-handling kiosks were very costly to deploy, but with this solution, we’ve implemented some standardizations, which makes complete self-service operation attainable,” explained Frank Olea, CEO of Olea Kiosks. The unit can be equipped with several different models of bill acceptors and dispensers to accommodate all manufacturers and compatibility with almost any software application.
The Franklin is perfect for any cash-paying application including Bill Payment, Retail Transactions, Ticketing, Food Ordering, and Hotel Check-in which makes it an ideal candidate for casinos as they can deploy the same look and feel across a number of different guest services. (if we can get the Casino page updated we can link it here)
The Franklin will be on display at the JCM Global booth 4039, at Global Gaming Expo (G2E) in Las Vegas, October 15 to 17. Olea Kiosks can also be seen at work in a number of other booths demonstrating a range of applications including player loyalty, player games and tournaments, betting applications and food ordering. You can find more information here:
The first step of the self-service journey starts with knowing where you want to go
Increasing productivity, being able to scale up easily to provide more services AND higher levels of services is a crucial baseline for success. Self- service capability via any number of solutions is there to help.
The toolset includes displays, signage, fixtures, kiosk terminals, tablets, thin clients, mobiles, iPads, Androids, scanners, infrared sensors, proximity sensors, vending, checkout to check-in and more. Couple that toolset with additional interactive channels including mobile phones, scanners, the POS system, WiDi, 4G, WiFi and the list goes on.
“Moving forward, automation is going to be about cutting to the chase, skipping past laborious processes, to get us to the experience or the product more quickly,” said Richard Cope, director of insight and trends at Chicago- based research firm Mintel. “For companies this means offering a choice between human expertise and automated fast-tracking in service, and adding customer customization and artisan suppliers to the product supply line. Man and machine are not at war, and the challenge is to use automation as something that gives us more time to focus on being more human.”
A key question for any business though, is where to start. How do you choose a partner for your own particular self-service journey? Is the project a single-stage one-off, or is it a short-term near-term that has a big “tail?” Are there long term (3+ years) considerations?
“A good first step would be a needs analysis performed for your business/ facilities and identify the potential and lost opportunities for self-service,” said Craig Keefner, manager with Menomonee Falls, Wis., interactive solutions provider CTS. “Hard to know which direction to go if you don’t know where you are.”
Being able to identify, integrate, maintain and service these tools in your own personalized environment, decors and networks is the big challenge, Keefner said. It’s all supposed to work together – visually and functionally.
“Recalibrating your business processes so your customers are more easily and quickly served means deciding what is important to you,” Keefner said.
“Moving forward, automation is going to be about cutting to the chase, skipping past laborious processes, to get us to the experience or the product more quickly” — Richard Cope, director of insight and trends, Mintel “Going to the DMV to renew a license is much different from transforming a bank branch into a self-service environment. There are informational, transactional, and multi-discipline solutions.”
Once the parameters and opportunities are established, it’s critical to work with an experienced provider that can help you develop and arrive at the solution that best matches your business objectives and goals. So, after doing some initial homework, the next step is picking a partner.
Some of the considerations:
The best partner will be a reputable company. The kiosk space is small compared with many other industries so reviewing the industry sites should be an easy task.
Even then bear in mind that the natural tendency of companies is to over- state their capabilities. Florsheim introduced the first major kiosk project in 1985 and the first real electronic kiosk enclosure company Factura was founded in 1986. If a company says they’ve been in the kiosk business for 50 years they are probably exaggerating.
Are they a manufacturing partner or do you need more than that? Someone like Flextronics has supply chain advantages but even someone like that might team up with a smaller design firm to develop the platform. Do you have special marketing requirements where multiple technologies need to be designed into environment? Those are special skills in addition to standard manufacturing.
Are you driven by function or solution? An operation that needs relatively simple information or transaction processes has different requirements than one needing multiple “solutions” in order to form a solution. Verizon Bill Pay kiosks are single-minded focus heavy component transactional units while Sears merchandise units requires a combination of transactional and informational units across multiple departments.
What market and environment are you operating in? Rating the providers by their experience in your market is due diligence. The healthcare market has very specific characteristics, for example. It has its own set of inherent liabilities that come into play just like retail and financial transactions. How up to date and experienced are they in your current market? Or are they just learning?
Some final thoughts
Many providers will tell you they make almost everything. Be sure you are not paying to be their test subject.
Never mind the list of bullet points or the endless powerpoint. Sometimes the more they defend, the more likely they have offended.
Cheaper business class PCs sound nice but they go End-Of-Life to fast.
After 5th image in 2 years you’ll ask yourself why you didn’t use that industrial-class PC in first place.
Are the components industry-approved stock components with certification labels and marks or are they piecemeal assembled and/or modified prior to integration? Make sure you can buy complete assembly off the shelf.
Is the remote monitoring working, or are the devices just capable? Paper low and paper out are the killers.
Customer Recommendations – Who are their reference accounts and repeat customers? If a company is as good as they say it should be easy to get locations, numbers and names to verify their work.
Independent research – What industry research is there regarding that com- pany and how they operate in your space?
Regulatory – how committed and resourceful are they when you look hard at the details? Here is where the words ADA, HL7, HIPAA, UL, and PA DSS have meaning. Asking if someone supports that is not the same as getting a product which includes that.
Components – Cheap anything comes with trade-offs.
Enclosures –Look inside a demo kiosk and, if you dare, run your fingers carefully along the enclosure. Can you really service the inside?
Computers – is it a business- or industrial-class unit? Business class is cheaper but they break down more often. Solid state storage is afford- able, more reliable, greener and by far the better option now.
Displays & Touchscreens –The standard for the kiosk industry is the Elotouch 17xx and 19xx SAW. For 22-inch and larger displays you should be sure that the standard HD resolutions are supported by the monitor and by that PC/graphics.
Keyboards – The best advice here unsurprisingly is to make sure your keyboard is made by somebody who makes keyboards. It sounds absurd but it’s relevant unfortunately.
Devices – Cheap devices have cost more money in more projects than any other element. Hitting a particular price point by using a cheap device now means they have to replace those devices more frequently later.