Category Archives: Case Study

Feature – A Kiosk Helps Pave the Path to Scouting’s Highest Honor

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An interactive tablet kiosk from the Kiosk Group serves as the centerpiece of a young man’s Eagle Scout Service Project.

By Richard Slawsky contributor

Alex Harrison, a 16-year-old in his junior year at Fairfax High School in Fairfax, Va., has been involved with the Boy Scouts since he was in the first grade. He’s worked his way through the ranks over the past 10 years and is nearing the realization of a dream held by nearly everyone involved in Scouting, becoming an Eagle Scout.

Although the process is a long one, the final stop on the path towards becoming an Eagle Scout is the completion of the Eagle Scout Service Project, an opportunity for a Scout to demonstrate leadership of others while doing something that benefits the community. Under Scouting rules, the project can’t be of a commercial nature or be solely a fundraising effort. In addition, it needs to be something that extends beyond the Scouting organization.

kiosk tablet projectThe project Harrison chose would benefit and enhance “Historic Blenheim,” a brick house in the Fairfax area dating back to 1859 that played a prominent role in the area during the Civil War. His idea was to create a 360-degree visual tour of areas of the parts of the house that are inaccessible to visitors and place it, along with still photos and other information, on a tablet kiosk in the Civil War Interpretive Center located adjacent to the house, allowing visitors to the site to experience its entire history.

To help complete his project and clear the path towards becoming an Eagle Scout, Harrison enlisted the assistance of the kiosk industry.

Reliving history

At the time the Civil War broke out in 1861, Historic Blenheim was owned by Albert and Mary Willcoxon. Albert voted for Virginia’s secession from the Union and provided goods from his property to the Confederate Army. The area was known as Fairfax Court House and was held by the Confederates until early March 1862. At this time it came under Union control for the remainder of the war. The Willcoxon farm was occupied by Union soldiers for camping and drilling; it was also used as part of a large field hospital system for sick soldiers.

Soldiers living in the house at the time spent some of their free time drawing games, notes and signatures on its walls using charcoal, graphite and artist’s crayon. Scholars have identified the signatures of 122 Union soldiers from three different time periods in 1862 and 1863. The “diary on walls” provides insight into the life of a Civil War soldier life along with the effect of the war on local residents—such as the Willcoxon family—and free and enslaved people of African descent.

Historic Blenheim was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2001. Also on the 12-acre site is the Civil War Interpretive Center, opened in 2008. The Center further interprets the site’s history and the Civil War in the greater Fairfax area and includes an illustrated timeline of Civil War events, artifacts that interpret the everyday soldier, biographies of several of the wall signers and temporary displays.

The house is part of the “Northern Virginia Civil War Graffiti Trail,” six sites in Northern Virginia that offer a unique insight into the lives of Civil War soldiers.

Much of the graffiti left on the first-floor walls of Historic Blenheim was covered over by paint and wallpaper over the years, with that covering later removed to reveal the writings underneath. Despite restoration efforts, those inscriptions aren’t very clear and can be difficult to read.

“However, the best graffiti is in the attic and was never covered over,” said Andrea Loewenwarter, historic resource specialist with the Office of Historic Resources in the City of Fairfax.

“The stairwell construction does not allow for tours, so we created a ‘replica attic’ in the shape of the actual attic in our gallery in the Civil War Interpretive Center, with life-size photographs of the names on the walls,” Loewenwarter said. “Unfortunately, it does not include a third room, due to lack of space.”

Kiosk Group comes through

The rank of Eagle Scout is the pinnacle of the Boy Scout hierarchy, and is achieved by only about 4 percent of Scouts. Becoming an Eagle Scout will put Harrison in the company of people such as Neal Armstrong, the first person to set foot on the moon; Gerald Ford, the 38th president of the United States; and filmmaker Steven Spielberg.

Attaining that rank isn’t an easy process. There are strict requirements for becoming an Eagle Scout, including displaying leadership qualities, displaying the Scout Spirit and earning at least 21 merit badges. Harrison’s project represents the culmination of his Scouting experience.

There was just one missing piece to Harrison’s plan: the kiosk itself.

To raise money for the purchase of a tablet kiosk, Alex held fundraisers including a bake sale with his Boy Scout troop, raising about $580. In addition, the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution donated an additional $200. At that point, he began shopping around for the centerpiece of the project.

“We began looking for kiosks and our beneficiary Andrea (Loewenwarter) did some research and came across Kiosk Group,” Harrison said.

Kiosk Group, based in Frederick, Md., is a privately held company with more than 30 years’ experience in providing interactive kiosks for companies, organizations and government agencies.

“In order to get a kiosk that would fit our budget, we contacted (Kiosk Group CEO) Mike James, who gave us a pretty good price break,” Harrison said.

James provided Kiosk Group’s Standalone Kiosk for a Samsung Tab Pro S 12” tablet. The company also donated a large graphics panel to go with the kiosk and covered the shipping costs to get the components to Fairfax. Kiosk Group also had its in-house artist develop the graphic for the panel.

“This is such a unique way to provide access to parts of a historic building that aren’t otherwise open to visitors,” James said. “When we heard about Alex’s fundraising efforts, we wanted to help make his project a success.”

To round out the project, the IT staff at Fairfax’ Office of Historic Resources provided the tablet that would deliver the content for the project. In addition to providing image access to the portion of the attic that has not been replicated in the Civil War Interpretive Center, the kiosk has also served as a vehicle for long-term planning. Once it is up and running administrators plan to gradually add new material, including a PowerPoint where individual soldier’s signatures and other graffiti will be shown with descriptive information.

“We are so thrilled and grateful for the work that Alex has done to make this become a reality,” Loewenwarter said.

“I have been talking for a while about a virtual tour of the other part of the attic that is not represented in our gallery space,” she said. “This is so much more than we imagined.”

For Harrison, the project will serve as valuable experience and lay the groundwork for his goals of graduating high school and going on to college, possibly pursuing a degree in film production, design or animation.

First, though, he has another goal to complete.

“I just have to turn in my application and hopefully I will be an Eagle Scout by the end of the school year,” he said.


For more information and for assistance with your next Tablet project contact Mike James with Kiosk Group [mjames@kioskgroup.com]

 

Case Study – Lilitab Kiosks Help Promote Environmental Sustainability

Case Study – Lilitab Kiosks Help Promote Environmental Sustainability

lilitab kioskThe Creative Animal Foundation is embarking on a 50 city tour to promote the protection of nature in a 200 sq ft. custom built tiny house, donated by 84 Lumber. Environmental experts Stephanie Arne (host of Mutual of Omaha’s “Wild Kingdom) and Tim Davison are visiting schools, universities, businesses, and festivals to educate the public. Their biggest obstacle was trying to figure out how to collect survey data from visitors. A recommendation from National Geographic led them to lilitab.

lilitab kiosklilitab worked with the couple in finding the best tablet kiosk solution, which turned out being the lilitab Wall Pro. Once the kiosks were in their place on the side of the house, Arne and Davison conducted pilot tests with more than a 100 people to tweak the software and make sure the survey process was smooth and easy. The kiosks are using survey software from San Francisco-based software company QuestionPro. Learn more at CreativeAnimal.org.

For questions and additional information contact Michael McCloud: michael@lilitab.com

Case Study – Schlolar Chip and Shuttle Computer – ID Attendance and ID Badge

shuttle kiosk computerScholarChip and Shuttle Computer Group:
A Winning Combination

Knowing where students are at any given time is of vital importance for teachers and school administrators. Keeping track of attendance is an essential part of a school’s budget, including state and federal financial support, and in some cases, even teacher performance.

ScholarChip, a pioneer of centralized and integrated School Safety and Operations Systems, is a leading supplier of ID card security systems that helps school districts across America automate services like student and teacher attendance, school visitor monitoring, cafeteria point-of-sale activities, bus ride tracking, and others.

shuttle kiosk x50 Instead of relying on old-fashioned attendance methods, ScholarChip’s automated platform centrally manages large group entry points, physical door access, and visitors, while its notification and alert services gives school administrators the tools they need to act in real time. Its products are technological, one-card solutions that have rapidly grown into an advanced and comprehensive security and multi-point attendance system.

ORIGINS
The company was founded in 2000 and used laptop computers, card readers, and proprietary software to create its flagship products. Knowing that there is constant technological innovation, by the early 2010s, ScholarChip was searching for a more efficient solution. Richard Seow, project manager for ScholarChip, discovered Shuttle Computer Group’s X50 all-in-one computer.

“We needed a very rugged, high-quality computer that would easily integrate so we could turn it into our own product,” said Seow. “Shuttle’s barebones computer came without a hard drive, memory, or operating system, and we were able to install everything we needed ourselves.”

Building their own was the key—and during this time, ScholarChip customized each computer they ordered, and built each kiosk accordingly.

The scenario at the time would typically go like this: new computers were delivered to ScholarChip; once received, each one was unpacked and plugged in. They would then set the BIOS, load the OS, load software, install the card reader, test it, unplug it, repack it, and deploy the system. This process worked for a good long time. And then the company started to really grow.

For the full case study Scholarchip_Shuttle_CaseStudy.

 

Feature – Avoid Those Kiosk Project Fails – Reverse Kiosk Best Practice

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The kiosk industry is growing, but the road to self-service success is littered with the remnants of those projects that didn’t quite make the grade.

By Richard Slawsky contributor

Good news for the health of the kiosk industry continues to roll in. A research report issued in early March by Transparency Market Research projects the global kiosk market will expand at a combined annual growth rate of 10.9 percent over the next seven years, topping $30.8 billion by 2024.

kiosk best practice
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A report issued just a few days later Stratistics MRC is even rosier, predicting that the market will reach $88.34 billion by 2022. Another report, from IndustryARC, predicts that growing competition at the retail level will boost demand significantly.

Despite those predictions, though, not every self-service kiosk deployment is going to be a success. Some operators seem to be determined to wrest failure from the jaws of success, either through a lack of clarity on what function the kiosk is supposed to perform or not viewing the deployment from the standpoint of the end user.

kiosk market size
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So to help those considering an investment in self-service kiosk technology, here are a few suggestions about what NOT to do when planning a deployment:

 

Tip #1 – Don’t forget to include ALL stakeholders.
Obtaining input from stakeholders in the project may seem cumbersome in the beginning but is advantageous in the long run, says Janet Webster, president of Washington, D.C-based consulting firm Creative Solutions Consulting. Invite all key groups within the organization to offer their input.

kiosk best practice
Deduct a few points for accessibility?

“You will be surprised at just how many areas are affected during kiosk deployments,” Webster said. “It’s better to let the groups know up front instead of having an issue later.”

Getting input from stakeholders might have helped the Mayo Clinic avoid a spectacular fail when the Rochester, Minn.-based health care facility deployed health information kiosks in the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn., in 2011.

“You could go and look up information, let’s say on psoriasis or heart disease or whatever, and the kiosk would print out information for you,” said Francie Mendelsohn, president of Washington, D.C.-based kiosk consulting firm Summit Research Associates.

Unfortunately, while the idea was good, the execution was lacking. Instead of offering a one-page summary of various health issues in a reader-friendly format, the kiosks dispensed what amounted to a medical-school textbook entry on whatever disease the user chose.

“Let’s say you wanted something about one of the signs of impending heart problems,” Mendelsohn said. “You got maybe 20 pages in at best eight-point font. It was just unusable from a customer point of view. They had the opportunity to allow people to sign up for their newsletters and to promote the sale of their publications while offering information, but they just went about it all wrong.”

Tip #2 – Don’t skimp on components

Placement seems to be a rare skill…

Trying to get by with consumer-grade components in a commercial deployment is a recipe for disaster. Using cheap components may save money up front, but it’s likely to cost much more over time in maintenance, lost sales and the eventual replacement of those components.

In addition, multiple breakdowns are likely to foster distrust of the kiosks even when they are operational. If customers approach the kiosk and it’s out of order they may come back a second time, but if the device is out of order the next time, they’re likely never to return.

Jamie Richter, regional sales manager at commercial touchscreen provider Elo, encountered such a situation with a large deployment.

User enrollment on a budget for sure.

“A kiosk fixture company chose to use consumer-grade flat panel TVs inside a kiosk to save money,” Richter said.
“After running 24/7 the panels overheated and started smoking within the kiosk enclosure,” Richter said. “The fixture company had to not only remove all of the panels inside the kiosks, but also replace them with new panels. The cost to retrofit over 500 kiosks already in field was tremendous and a painful lesson about using consumer-grade equipment for commercial applications.”

Tip #3 – Don’t forget to look at the deployment from the eyes of the end user

Although a deployment may look good on paper from the deployer’s point of view, it’s easy to forget that part of the goal of using self-service technology is to create a great user-experience.

Furniture maker IKEA has long used kiosks that allow shoppers to sign up for their loyalty programs, and those devices generally garnered positive reviews. Unfortunately, the company stumbled in their venture into self-checkout kiosks.

While most IKEA stores featured both self-service and cashier-operated checkout lanes, during the deployment the company only opened the cashier lanes on peak shopping days. On other days, no cashiers were available, and shoppers were directed to the self-checkout kiosks.

The scanners quickly became a source of frustration.
“A lot of the stuff you buy at IKEA comes in big boxes, so you can’t just pick it up and pass it across the scanner,” Mendelsohn said. “They did have these handheld devices that were tethered to the kiosks, but the tether wasn’t very long, and if you didn’t approach correctly the scanner couldn’t read the code.”

In addition, there were no instructions on how to use the handheld scanners, leaving shoppers guessing about what to do.

“Because this was so frustrating, a lot of people, myself included, just picked up the merchandise or wheeled the cart to another one and eventually checked out,” Mendelsohn said.

MTA having some problems. Looks like this board conducted its periodical windows update (auto windows update is probably not turned off), the OS update caused a change with the Autologin credentials. I also see two user accounts, perhaps defaulting to a single account for a kiosk would be ideal? And no doubt the lowest bidder won this contract.

Eventually, the negative feedback from customers grew so great that in 2012 the company yanked all of the kiosks from its U.S. stores.

Tip #4 – Don’t overlook the value proposition

Don’t forget to clearly define the purpose of the kiosk, the value of offering a kiosk solution and the operational impact.

Greeting card maker American Greetings was one of the earliest entrants into the self-service kiosk market, deploying thousands of CreataCard greeting card kiosks in thousands of retail locations in the early 1990s.

The kiosk featured a selection of greeting card templates and a pen plotter, allowing users to choose their own design and personalize it with names and sayings. Once the user made his selection, a number of colored pens created the card.

What the company apparently didn’t consider, though, was how a kiosk that could take up to 10 minutes to print a greeting card at a price more expensive than off-the-shelf cards improved the lives of shoppers. Another point of dissatisfaction was the limited number of templates available compared with the number of card styles on the rack.

The final nail in the coffin, though, was the fact that the kiosks didn’t require payment until after the cards were completed.

“They ended up becoming what I would call a kiosk babysitter,” Mendelsohn said.

“They’d have them in stores and people would say, ‘Johnny, go make a card while Mommy shops,” and come back in ten minutes,” she said. “It was quite an interesting thing for a kid to sit there and watch, but at the end of the day, they didn’t buy the card. Of course, the company lost a tremendous amount of money.”

Note: Janet Webster and Francie Mendelsohn are both principals with DigitalBusiness.us which is the premier kiosk and self-service consultancy. Other principals include Peter Snyder, Karla Guarino, Benjamin Wheeler and Craig Keefner.

Here are spme excellent questions provided by Janet Webster with Creative Solutions Consulting.

Questions to consider when planning a kiosk deployment

Why are you offering this self-service solution?

  • Reduce operational costs?
  • Increase revenue?
  • Improve customer satisfaction/engagement?
  • Expand access points?
  • Improve brand?
  • Be more competitive?

Don’t presume you know what the customers want/need; validate your rationale for offering a kiosk. Ask your customers what they want, need, and expect of your business and provide examples of planned kiosk offerings to ensure you’re on the right track (multiple focus groups will help clearly define customer expectations).  

What is the advertising/marketing strategy?

  • How will you let customers and employees know this new kiosk is “coming soon, and “now available?
  • How will customers provide feedback?
  • Don’t presume they will use it just because it’s there!

What are the success metrics and how will you collect the data?

  • Define the baseline and timing for metrics
  • Revenue vs. Performance?  What is the impact of a “down” kiosk?

What if it doesn’t work?

  • How will you notify the customers and employees?
  • How will you replace the new kiosk services to ensure customer satisfaction?

Source: Creative Solutions Consulting
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Case Study – Leading Restaurant Chain Integrates Mobile Apps, Point-of-Sale Kiosks and Integrated Infrastructure to Boost Sales and Increase Customer Loyalty

Kiosk Case Study Paneras

Kiosk Case Study Paneras

Kiosk Case Study Paneras – A leading national restaurant chain facing growing competition and an increasingly mobile-first customer base enlisted WWT to bring their holistic customer experience solution to life.

Source: www2.wwt.com

Excerpt from kiosk case study Paneras – Same store sales where the new technology has rolled out has increased at almost double the rate of stores not yet converted. Digital sales now make up more than 20 percent of overall business, with projected e-commerce sales of $1 billion by 2017. Mobile sales and in-store, self-service kiosks have reduced bottlenecks to provide all customers with faster service and an improved customer experience. As the company moves to increase their home delivery and catering business, we are continuing to collaborate with them to provide their customers with a personalized and seamless user experience.