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Opinion – The Self Service Surge

The self-service surge:
step forward OEMs

Zebra April 2020 – The coronavirus is having a devastating financial impact across the globe. However, for OEMs building kiosks there may be a ray of light; through providing communities and companies with kiosk facilities to allow people to make transactions without any human contact.

While many businesses are suffering financially during the coronavirus outbreak, the self-service kiosk industry is experiencing a surge in demand.

Kiosk technology on the rise

Self-service kiosk technology has been on the rise for years, across fast food restaurants, in cinemas and entertainment venues, in banks and across retail stores. A MarketsandMarkets report claims that the global interactive kiosk market could be worth $30.53 billion by 2023, up from $20.37 billion in 2016. It’s a huge growth opportunity for OEMs in the coming years – even more so in times like these when faced with a global pandemic; face-to-face transactions are far less popular, and the way we all make purchases is likely to have changed, forever.

It has been widely reported that many consumers have altered the way they shop due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, with more than two-thirds of consumers now using self-checkout, touchless self-checkout or frictionless micro-markets to pay for groceries .

So, while many businesses are suffering financially during the coronavirus outbreak, the self-service kiosk industry is experiencing a surge in demand. Applications are widespread: from supporting those with Personal Protective Equipment supplies to keep coronavirus at bay, to assisting customers who simply prefer to make purchases or pay their bills without any form of human contact.

Kiosks for protection

One example of the introduction of self-service kiosks in response to coronavirus can be found in Warsaw and Krakow in Poland. New vending machines have sprung up to enable people to buy personal protective equipment, such as face masks, gloves and sanitisers so they can comply with a new law requiring them to cover their nose and mouth in public places. Hundreds more of these machines could be installed in the coming weeks. Vending machines in Hong Kong are also providing free masks across 18 districts, according to a dazeddigital.com report.

Kiosks for paying bills

The Alabama Power Company in the US now provides self-service kiosks to help people pay their utility bills in cash at a time that suits them. In fact, bill payment kiosks are being introduced across the US – providing people with a way to pay their bills without having to use the internet or interact with another human being. Payments are processed automatically – just as if they would be in the Post Office or at a bank – yet without human contact and available 24/7.

87% of shoppers say they would prefer to use touchless or robust self-checkout options.

Touchless kiosks

We’re all now far more aware of the bacteria or viruses that may be present on anything we touch, particularly when we are making purchases (87% of shoppers say they would prefer to use touchless or robust self-checkout options ). Even before coronavirus, when we carried out banking activities using a kiosk, or when we checked our bags in at the airport, many of us were all too conscious of how many people had touched the device before us. This is why touchless kiosks are seeing an increase in popularity and providing a new revenue stream for OEMs. Touchless is also of great relevance in healthcare where touching any medical equipment must be kept to an absolute minimum.

Keeping it clean

Any type of device in use in the workplace will now need to be kept cleaner than ever before. The way we perceive shared workplace devices or technologies used by the public en-masse has shifted and we must all provide reassurances to users that devices are regularly disinfected and kept as clean as possible.

Seize new opportunities

In any time of financial crisis, there will be businesses that cannot survive, yet for some, a crisis brings about new opportunities. The coronavirus is having an undisputed and devastating economic effect across the globe. However, for OEMs building kiosks there may be a ray of light; through providing communities and companies with kiosk facilities to allow people to make purchases without any human contact or transmission risk.

Outside of retail, there are opportunities for OEMs to create touchless kiosk technologies for healthcare, helping to keep environments sterile. The same goes for airport bag check-in facilities. There’s now really no need to touch the technology if it’s not necessary.

OEMs must seize the opportunities presented and meet this new and heightened demand for kiosks, which is surely here to stay. Step forward OEMs, we’re on the cusp of a brand new self-service surge. Our industry-specific application briefs can help you find out more if you’re just starting out in this sector.

If you are an OEM and you are keen to make the most of the rapidly changing kiosk marketplace, talk to the team at Zebra Technologies about our range of scan engines – and our expertise – helping you get your product to market faster and more cost effectively.

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See how we lighten your workload and help take your kiosk business to the next level.

Our whitepaper:

Best Practices for Infection Prevention has been written by a nationally recognised expert in infection control. While this paper was written for the healthcare industry, the recommendations provide a solid foundation for companies in all industries to
protect the health of staff and customers.

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Background link references

Kiosk Scan Engines – Zebra Announces New OEM Scan Engines

From LinkedIn May 2020

OUR LEADING TECHNOLOGY GETS YOU TO MARKET EASIER, FASTER AND WITH MORE PROFIT

When you choose Zebra as your OEM partner, you get a portfolio of scan engines and devices that deliver industry-leading features, durability and reliability — saving everyone time and money. You save on development time and cost. And, your customers get best-in-class, well-proven solutions that drive time and cost out of their everyday operations.

We have a 1D or 2D scan engine for the whatever range you need. When you work with Zebra, keeping your products updated with the latest technology is easy. Our platform strategy allows you to simply replace existing scan engines with the next generation engine — no expensive re-tooling required.

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