Category Archives: picks

Picks are the most newsworthy of articles posts on the site.

ADA Compliance For Restaurants

Reprinted from Webstaurant Store

The Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, was an important piece of civil rights legislation that was signed in 1990. The law asserts that businesses must take every possible step to allow people with disabilities to enjoy the same products and services that are available to other customers. It also deals with the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission to make sure that employees are not discriminated against because of a disability. The following guidelines will help you as a restaurant or business owner to recognize the requirements of the ADA, and to comply with them so that your establishment can be a positive and accessible place for all customers and employees.

Customer Accessibility

senior woman sitting at a restaurant

The biggest hurdle that business owners face when dealing with ADA compliance is the removal of barriers. Barriers can take many forms, and not all of them are obvious to a person without a disability. It may seem impossible to rearrange and reconstruct your business for compliance, but the ADA was not established to cause financial ruin. The removal of barriers is only necessary when it is readily achievable for a business to do so. If the removal of a barrier will require excessive costs that the business cannot afford, the barrier may remain until it is readily achievable to remove it. Below is a list of the types of barriers that should be removed in existing structures and avoided in new ones being built. ADA.gov lists detailed, specific requirements for fixing all of the following problems.

Removing Architectural Barriers

Architectural barriers block disabled patrons from accessing your establishment in the same way that able bodied patrons can. The removal of these barriers is an important part of ADA compliance. By altering the following areas of your business, you can make the largest impact on physical accessibility.

Parking and Building Entrance

Patrons with disabilities must not only be provided with parking spaces that are close to your business, but they must also be given adequate space to exit their vehicles, and a clear, accessible path into your business from there. The entrance must be flush with the ground, or must have a ramp with a slight slope and safety rails so that customers in wheelchairs may enter. If there is no way to make your main entrance accessible and you have other entrances that could be (for example your back door that is for employees only), you must open those up to the public and clearly note where that entrance is located. If your business operates on the third floor of a building with no elevator, for example, you can make compliance readily achievable by making your services available for delivery to customers’ homes or cars.

Doors

handicap accessible doors

Even if disabled customers can approach your business easily, they may have a hard time getting in if your entrance is not ADA compliant. Entrances must be at least 36 inches wide to accommodate customers in wheelchairs, and handles cannot require squeezing or turning to accommodate customers with mobility disabilities like arthritis. Loop and lever style handles are compliant, knob and panel styles are not.

Facility Layout

Once customers enter your store or restaurant, they must be able to move around safely and efficiently. Aisles between shelves or tables must be at least 36 inches wide, and merchandise cannot be out of reach of customers in wheelchairs unless there are employees that are readily available to help. This rule also applies to self-service counters with condiments or flatware in fast food restaurants.

Restrooms

handicap restroom sign

It is important to meet ADA bathroom requirements by ensuring your restrooms are accessible to disabled customers, including blind and wheelchair-bound patrons. There must be enough space for a wheelchair to maneuver around the toilet and the sink, and safety bars are necessary to prevent falls. Installing braille restroom signs is an easy way to convey useful information to blind customers. There must also be enough space under the sink so a wheelchair user can reach the soap and faucet, and the handles of the soap dispenser and faucet must be easy to use for customers with mobility disabilities. Check out this planning guide for detailed instructions to help you design an ADA compliant restroom in your restaurant.

Sales Counters and Tables

Checkout counters must have a section that is no higher than 36 inches to be accessible to customers in wheelchairs, unless they are equipped with auxiliary counters. If this is not readily achievable, a simple fix such as offering the customer a clipboard can be made.

Restaurant tables must meet certain height requirements as well, and if the tables in your establishment are fixed, at least one table must have movable chairs.

Tax Benefits for ADA Compliance

Although compliance sometimes costs money, the IRS Code states that all businesses are eligible for tax deductions when installing ADA compliant equipment or removing barriers. The maximum deduction is $15,000 per year, and small businesses are also eligible for a tax credit that can cover up to 50% (up to $10,250 per year) of compliance related expenditures. Large businesses (large businesses have over 30 employees or revenues of $1 million or more in the previous year) are only eligible for the deduction.

ADA Compliance for Employees

The ADA was written to protect both business patrons and employees. As a business owner or hiring manager, it is extremely important to understand both aspects of the ADA. Here are some steps you can take to ensure ADA compliance with your employees.

Make Reasonable Accommodations When Possible

Under the ADA, it is illegal to refrain from hiring someone solely based on their disability. If you become aware that a potential hire is disabled, you must work with him or her to find a reasonable accommodation. Reasonable accommodations allow the employer to alter the way the job is performed so the disabled employee can do the job. This could potentially mean transferring the employee to a different position if that is possible.

cashier working at a grocery store

The employer does not have to make an accommodation if it proves to be an undue hardship, which means a significant financial expense, disruption, or change to the business. For example, if you run a grocery store and a potential cashier has a chronic back injury that prevents her from standing for long periods of time, you can accommodate her by allowing her to use a stool at the cash register, even if other cashiers are required to stand. It would be illegal to discriminate against this person if she is qualified for the job because this accommodation would not change the nature of your business or cause undue financial hardship.

You can also make reasonable accommodations by transferring an employee to a different department. If a potential cashier has a learning disability that prevents him from counting out correct change, you could consider hiring him to stock shelves instead. However, if a stocking job is not available, you do not have to give him the cashier position because he is not qualified for the job if he must handle cash.

Avoiding Discrimination During the Hiring Process

Some disabilities may be immediately visible when a potential employee comes in for an interview, but others do not present themselves right away. It is illegal to ask interviewees about any disabilities they may or may not have before presenting them with a conditional job offer. Contingent upon that offer, the employer may ask about potential disabilities to see if a reasonable accommodation must be made, but only if they ask the same questions of all employees with conditional job offers. They cannot revoke that job offer if the employee discloses that they do have a disability unless making accommodations would cause undue hardship to the business.

There are plenty of ways to accommodate both customers and employees with disabilities. It is important for the employer to be willing to work with disabled employees, both to avoid accusations of discrimination and to create an open work environment for everyone. Reading and learning about the ADA’s rules for reasonable accommodation is the best way to ensure that you’re providing a fair and equal opportunity for all employees. As it becomes possible, work to eliminate architectural barriers in your restaurant or business so that all patrons can experience what you have to offer.

OptConnect Newsletter – Innovation and Progress

OptConnect Wireless Kiosk News

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CHRIS’ CORNER
“I’ve come to learn in life that what comes easy, won’t last and that what lasts, won’t come easy. It’s always going to be a challenging journey for something that is worthwhile. We started with the simple goal of needing to connect an ATM cash machine to the internet. We wanted it to be fast, and we wanted it to be easy.   We worked harder and harder at making it easier for our customers. We chose to focus on areas intentionally, where others may not have even been looking. Today, the vision is the same: “make it easy.” The goal has changed: “connect the world.” I’m glad that it has been a challenging journey. I’m happy that we’ve all worked hard to simplify doing business with us. In essence, the challenges are what have continued to thrust the solution forward toward success. We believe that success is best enjoyed when we work really hard for it. At the same time, we value it more the harder we work, and our team has embraced that attitude in everything we do.  We work tirelessly for you.

We’re never done innovating, and we’re always working to improve our business. Thank you for trusting us and being the most important part of our journey.”

Chris Baird, President & CEO

OptConnect’s fully managed connectivity solution provides greater reliability, security, and peace of mind knowing you have a partner who is always available to help you and your business succeed. Watch this short video to learn more.
OPTCONNECT BLOG
CHOOSING A POINT OF SALE SYSTEM
By: Stefan Tapia
Not all POS systems are made equal and not all are designed to fit your specific business needs. This means that you’ll want to evaluate each component of a POS system to ensure it’s the right fit for you.Read More
KIOSK SECURITY: ARE YOU PREPARED
By: Micah Larsen
Now that more kiosks are being deployed around the world, there is an even greater risk for hacking. As kiosks are often unattended and physically accessible to hackers, it’s important that you make sure your kiosks are as secure as they can be.Read More
EVENTS
IoT Fuse – (04/23-04/25)
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Accelerating Your Cellular and Software Development with Managed Services
April 25th, 2:15-2:45
MCC Room #202
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Las Vegas, Nevada
Booth #1514
PRODUCT PROFILE: THE OPTCONNECT NEO
By: Aaron Reeder
In 2016, OptConnect saw the need for a fully functional cellular router in a small form factor, especially in markets like the kiosk, digital sign, and vending segments. Click below to find out more about OptConnect neo.Read More
COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT MANAGED CONNECTIVITY
By: Andrew DeLaMare
Connectivity is an integral part of any machine’s functionality. Whatever the purpose of the equipment is, it has to be connected in order to work properly. So, what exactly is connectivity and what does it take for it to really work?Read More
GALLERY
PRESS
Self-Serve Kiosks Reduce Friction,
but IoT Learning Can Throw a Curve 

Kiosk Marketplace (2/28/2019)
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GLI-33 Standards for Event Wagering Systems V1.1 Technical Standard Release

GLI Standards for Betting Kiosks

May 14, 2019 – Gaming Laboratories International, LLC (GLI),  is pleased to announce the release of the final published version of the “GLI-33 Standards for Event Wagering Systems V1.1”, for use by the sports wagering industry, coinciding with the one-year anniversary of the fall of PASPA (Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act).
GLI-33 V1.1 reflects a revision to the core event wagering standard to provide better clarity between technical requirements which would be evaluated in the lab and operational controls and procedures, which would be evaluated on-site post system install. Additionally, this revision enhances sections pertaining to operational controls and procedures, including periodic security testing to help regulators and operators create more efficient and alternative processes for monitoring sports wagering operations. In general, the changes are largely designed to improve the clarity and consistency of requirements.
A PDF copy of the final published version of GLI-33 V1.1 is linked below for your reference and is also accessible by visiting the GLI website at www.gaminglabs.comand clicking on the ‘GLI Standards’ tab.
Additionally, an Executive Summary of the changes against the prior GLI-33 V1.0 is linked below for reference.
Multiple tribal and state regulators have already adopted and/or accepted certification to GLI-33 standards including Mississippi, West Virginia, Rhode Island, Washington DC, and the Cherokee Tribal Gaming Commission of North Carolina. 
Translated versions of the GLI-33 V1.1 standard will be made available in the near future.  These translated documents will be posted to the GLI public internet site for global consumption.
Each standard in the GLI Standard Series is a culmination of industry best-practices and is continually updated based on industry feedback.  The GLI Standards are true “industry standards” in that they are created using a collaborative approach which involves thousands of gaming industry stakeholders. 
These standards are intended to assist regulators by creating baseline technical guidelines which they can adopt and/or utilize in the manner they see fit.  In addition to assisting regulators, the standards are of tremendous value to suppliers who use the standards as a guide in their design and development process, saving both time and expense.  GLI-33 and the rest of the GLI Standards Series are available for free download on the ‘GLI Standards’ tab found at www.gaminglabs.com.
Kind Regards,
The GLI Team

GLI-20 Gaming Standards for Kiosks V2.0 Technical Standard Release

Gaming Standards for Kiosks

May 14, 2019 – Gaming Laboratories International, LLC (GLI), is pleased to announce the release of the final published version of the “GLI-20 Standards for Kiosks V2.0” for use by the gaming industry.
During the past several months, GLI worked closely with various industry stakeholders including suppliers and regulators to ensure GLI-20 V2.0 represents the most highly-developed set of technical requirements and practices available in the gaming industry.
GLI-20 V2.0 reflects a revision to the core kiosk standard to incorporate technical requirements reflecting the latest trends in kiosk technology, to better align with overlapping requirements in the GLI Family of Technical Standards and other industry standards, and to maintain best-in-industry practices. In general, the changes are largely designed to improve the clarity and consistency of requirements.
A PDF copy of the final published version of GLI-20 V2.0 is linked below for your reference and is also accessible by visiting the GLI website at www.gaminglabs.comand clicking on the ‘GLI Standards’ tab.
Additionally, an Executive Summary of the changes against the prior GLI-20 V1.5 is linked below for reference.
Translated versions of the GLI-20 v2.0 standard will be made available in the near future. These translated documents will be posted to the GLI public internet site for global consumption.
Each standard in the GLI Standard Series is a culmination of industry best-practices and is continually updated based on industry feedback. The GLI Standards are true “industry standards” in that they are created using a collaborative approach which involves thousands of gaming industry stakeholders. These standards are intended to assist regulators by creating baseline technical guidelines which they can adopt and/or utilize in the manner they see fit. In addition to assisting regulators, the standards are of tremendous value to suppliers who use the standards as a guide in their design and development process, saving both time and expense. GLI-20 and the rest of the GLI Standards Series are available for free download on the ‘GLI Standards’ tab found at www.gaminglabs.com.
Kind Regards,
The GLI Team

Panel-Brite’s new Smarter KIOSK!

BETTER RESULTS AND A LOWER COST OF OWNERSHIP WITH

Smarter Kiosks

Interactive kiosks are growing in popularity because they enable a wide range of businesses and organizations to put information and services at people’s fingertips, increase customer loyalty, and strengthen their brand with target customers.
The new Intel® Smart Kiosk Module (Intel® SKM) is a revolutionary solution that addresses key challenges related to scaling and maintaining interactive kiosks because of its modular design.

Following Intel’s SKM specification and reference design, Panel-Brite’s manufacturing partner, Litemax Electronics, has now launched SKM boards the ASKM-CFL0. The ASKM-CFL0 is equipped with Intel® 8th Generation CoreTM i7/i5/i3/Celeron Processor (Coffee Lake), Two DDR4 SDRAM, Multi-Display, One M.2 E-Key(2230) and one M-key (2280). With this technology, kiosk manufacturers can now choose to create specialized peripheral interface boards for major markets like banking, healthcare, retail, and smart cities.

PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS:
• one size fits all
• Simplified Service and Maintenance
• Ease of Upgrading
• Lower Total Cost of Ownership
• Workload Consolidation
• Scalability
• Backward Compatibility with Intel® SDM
Want to learn more?
Give us a call or email us today and we would be happy to discuss this technology and the best products to meet your needs.
CONTACT US >

Contact Panel-Brite for more information

Self-Service Kiosks Are Transforming the Ticketing Process

Reprinted from Meridian Kiosks blog

Picture this: you just arrived at the airport with a group of your closest friends and you are getting ready to embark on the vacation of a lifetime. Your “out of office” message is on, your bags are packed, your car is parked, and there’s only one thing left to do before you board the plane—get your ticket. Once you locate the appropriate counter, your excitement comes to a screeching halt as find your way to the end of a long line of other passengers.

But what if you didn’t have to wait in that long line just to retrieve your ticket? Perhaps, rather than finding your way to the back of the line and starting your vacation off on a sour note, you instead choose to use one of the airline’s self-service ticketing kiosks to print your ticket. In choosing option two you simply use the kiosk to enter your information, print your ticket, and head to security. While both options will land you on the same plane in the same location, self-service ticketing kiosks kickstart your vacation on a more positive note—without the long lines.

Ticketing kiosks aren’t limited to airports, though. They can also be used for other forms of transportation, concerts, movies, sporting events, or any other use case that requires a ticket. Designed to provide shorter wait times, improve the guest experience, promote operational efficiency, and drive sales, ticketing kiosks have and will continue to revolutionize the ticketing process.

Shorter Wait Times

Whether getting ready to board a flight, attend a concert, or spectate a sporting event, guests typically want to get the details and logistics of their experience squared away as quickly as possible so they can relax and enjoy themselves. Easily duplicatable, multiple check-in kiosks can be installed to accommodate typical attendance levels and use expectancies at a given location. By increasing the number of available ticketing locations, self-service ticketing kiosks can easily reduce wait times by distributing user traffic evenly across the various kiosks.

Improved Guest Experience

While it goes without saying that shorter wait times almost always directly correlate with improved guest experiences, self-service ticketing kiosks can be used as a guest information resource—providing additional information on the location and services offered, including food and beverage, guest services, and more. Ticketing kiosks also allow ticketing representatives,  who were previously tasked with printing and distributing tickets, to devote their time and attention to the guests who need it most—namely those who either have difficulty using or who choose not to use the ticketing kiosks, or those looking to make changes or upgrades to their tickets.

Operational Efficiency

While self-service kiosks certainly do not eliminate the need for a ticketing representative altogether, they do relieve them of some of their more menial duties and reduce the number of guests waiting in their lines every day. Additionally, as the demand for assistance decreases, employees can be transitioned into other roles within the organization that might need more manpower to operate efficiently, such as customer service.

Drive Sales

While not all ticketing kiosks are designed with an ordering and payment interface, some allow guests to select and purchase their tickets directly from the kiosks. Created with flexibility in mind, ticketing kiosks can incorporate cash, card, and contactless payment in addition to printing and ordering capabilities. By incorporating these features, event, performance, and sports venues, especially, can further drive ticket sales for future events.

From transportation to performances, movies, sporting events, amusement parks, and everything in between, ticketing kiosks are completely revolutionizing the way guests retrieve, and sometimes select and pay for, their tickets.

To learn more about Meridian’s self-service ticketing kiosks, visit www.meridiankiosks.com or give us a call at 866-454-6757.

Regulatory Affairs – Medical imaging company will pay $3M HIPAA settlement

Read full article at MedCity

Touchstone Medical Imaging has agreed to pay $3 million to HHS’ Office for Civil Rights to settle a breach that exposed more than 300,000 patients’ protected health information.

Touchstone Medical Imaging, a diagnostic imaging services company based in Franklin, Tennessee, has agreed to pay $3 million to HHS’ Office for Civil Rights to settle potential HIPAA violations.

The company has also agreed to adopt a corrective action plan, which includes adopting business associate agreements, completing an enterprise-wide risk analysis and policies and procedures to comply with HIPAA.

According to its website, Touchstone has imaging centers in Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas.

In May 2014, the FBI and OCR notified Touchstone that one of its FTP servers allowed uncontrolled access to its patients’ protected health information, according to HHS. Search engines could index the patients’ PHI, which remained visible online even after the server was taken offline.

Read full article at MedCity

Accessibility needs to be at the forefront of tech — here’s why

Excerpt reprinted from TheNextWeb

Andrew Burton

Story By Andrew Burton

Founder, The Circuit Board — Andrew is Head of Communications for 600+ staff music technology leader, Native Instruments in Berlin, a company with a vision to democratize digital music creation. After training as a journalist in London, he spent over a decade consulting for leading technology companies in Europe and Australia. In 2018 he founded The Circuit Board, a virtual communications consultancy. Andrew graduated from City University with a BA in Journalism and Psychology in 2008.

In March 2019 IKEA was praised for partnering with nonprofits to develop accessories that make its products more accessible for people with impairments. It’s a novel step forward but I can’t shake the feeling we need to reframe the conversation on accessibility in technology entirely. Accessibility should be a topic at the forefront of design. Here’s why:

Roughly one in five people in the US have registered with a disability, with a similar figure for the UK. But when creating new products or services, investing resources to make technology accessible for impaired users can seem like taking the scenic route to market. An expensive deviation from a lean go to market strategy.

accessibility considerations

It’s easy to toss accessibility considerations in the ‘nice to have’ bucket. ‘Accessibility as an afterthought’ is a frustration I’ve heard on repeat for the last decade. But to do this is to abandon a unique opportunity to unlock true innovation and realize a much bolder ambition.

The traits separating tasks that AI excels at, and those that remain distinctly human, are consistently cited as creativity, empathy, imagination, and vision. Indeed the Gospel of Jobs clearly states: “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” So before we hand over the reins to AI, why don’t we focus on perfecting the human side of technology solutions.

If you’ve even dabbled in brainstorming techniques — or the hyper-trendy ‘design thinking’ — you’ll be familiar with the art of reframing a problem to see new solutions. What better way to do this than looking at new tech through the lens of our senses, with varying degrees of physical or sensory ability?

Thinking about impairments of sight, hearing, or touch from the outset forces designers, creators, and technologists to ‘look at’ problems from very different perspectives, and that brings opportunity for untold and exciting innovation.

Read full story at the TheNextWeb

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What accessibility looks like 30 years after the ADA passed

Posted on kma.global May 2019 from Denver Post

Excerpt from The Denver Post May 2019

It is also a reminder of why it’s important to keep the pressure on government and private entities to make public places accessible to all.

“The sort of run-of-the mill storefronts, restaurants, retail store, those really should be accessible now and a lot are but too many still are not,” said Kenneth Shiotani, senior staff attorney for the National Disability Right Network, which is based in Washington, D.C.

He said outdoor spaces, such as beaches and trails, pose more challenges than man-made structures when it comes to accessibility and for that reason, new guidelines were set for them in 2013. But Meridian Hill Park, which boasts of having the largest cascading fountain in the country, seems much more structured than other outdoor spaces, he said.

“I think the wedding party had reasonable expectations that 30 years later [after the ADA was passed] a federal park would be accessible,” Shiotani said. “It’s a public park, it’s paid for by public dollars, it should ultimately be accessible for everybody.”

How Companies Can Prevent ADA Website Accessibility Lawsuits

Reprinted from KMA Global

Every day, websites and mobile apps prevent people from using them. Ignoring accessibility is no longer a viable option.

How do you prevent your company from being a target for a website accessibility ADA lawsuit?

Guidelines for websites wanting to be accessible to people with disabilities have existed for nearly two decades thanks to the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative.

A close cousin to usability and user experience design, accessibility improves the overall ease of use for webpages and mobile applications by removing barriers and enabling more people to successfully complete tasks.

We know now that disabilities are only one area that accessibility addresses.

Most companies do not understand how people use their website or mobile app, or how they use their mobile or assistive tech devices to complete tasks.

Even riskier is not knowing about updates in accessibility guidelines and new accessibility laws around the world.

Investing in Website Accessibility Is a Wise Marketing Decision

Internet marketers found themselves taking accessibility seriously when their data indicated poor conversions. They discovered that basic accessibility practices implemented directly into content enhanced organic SEO.

Many marketing agencies include website usability and accessibility reviews as part of their online marketing strategy for clients because a working website performs better and generates more revenue.

Adding an accessibility review to marketing service offerings is a step towards avoiding an ADA lawsuit, which of course, is a financial setback that can destroy web traffic and brand loyalty.

Convincing website owners and companies of the business case for accessibility is difficult. One reason is the cost.  Will they see a return on their investment?

I would rather choose to design an accessible website over paying for defense lawyers and losing revenue during remediation work.

Another concern is the lack of skilled developers trained in accessibility. Do they hire someone or train their staff?

Regardless of whether an accessibility specialist is hired or in-house developers are trained in accessibility, the education never ends.

Specialists are always looking for solutions and researching options that meet guidelines. In other words, training never ends.

Many companies lack an understanding of what accessibility is and why it is important. They may not know how or where to find help.

Accessibility advocates are everywhere writing articles, presenting webinars, participating in podcasts, and writing newsletters packed with tips and advice.

ADA lawsuits make the news nearly every day in the U.S. because there are no enforceable regulations for website accessibility. This is not the case for government websites.

Federal websites must adhere to Section 508 by law. State and local websites in the U.S. are required to check with their own state to see what standards are required.

Most will simply follow Section 508 or WCAG2.1 AAA guidelines.

If your website targets customers from around the world, you may need to know the accessibility laws in other countries. The UK and Canada, for example, are starting to enforce accessibility.

In the U.S., there has been no change in the status of ADA website accessibility laws this year.

Some judges have ruled that the lack of regulation or legal standards for website accessibility does not mean that accessibility should be ignored.

Read complete article at Search Engine Journal May 2019

Appetize POS Boosts Consumer Spend, Driving Demand for Self-Serve Kiosk

Press release from BusinessWire May 09, 2019

Self-Service Kiosks Drive Up to 40% Lift on Orders; Company Brings on New Customers AT&T Center, LSU, Museums

PLAYA VISTA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Appetize, the modern Point of Sale (POS) and enterprise management platform, today announced strong results from its self-service kiosk technology seeing up to 40% increase in order size across its customer base. Appetize is at the forefront of a growing industry shift toward self-service kiosks and has recently expanded its kiosk reach with new customers Louisiana State University (LSU), AT&T Center, home of the San Antonio Spurs, and SSA (Service Systems Associates), foodservice provider for the Cincinnati Museum Center and other attractions.

Self-Service Kiosks from @appetizepos Deliver Up to 40% Lift in Orders. Announces New Customers @Attcenter, @lsu and more

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Appetize’s Interact self-service platform offers embedded upsell functionality and data shows that consumers are 47% more likely to add an item on a kiosk than when asked to do so by a cashier. The company is seeing consistent results from kiosks across multiple industries, including attractions, education campuses, restaurants, and sports and entertainment facilities.

Some recent data shows customers are experiencing both an increase in order size and items per order, including:

  • AT&T Center selected Appetize to be its point of sale platform arena-wide in 2018; in 2019, it deployed self-service kiosks and has seen an 18% increase in average order size.
  • SSA (Service Systems Associates), a foodservice provider for leading cultural attractions, deployed Appetize self-service kiosks at Cincinnati Museum Center and saw a 40% adoption rate in less than six months and a 20% increase in average order size.
  • LSU deployed Appetize self-service kiosks in its arena and has seen a 16% increase in average order size and 25% more items per check at kiosks compared to terminals at point of sale counters.

“We have been working with Appetize since 2017 and recently deployed kiosks to enhance our food service and offer a more convenient and frictionless experience for our students and guests,” said Matthew LaBorde, Assistant AD from LSU. “Appetize made it extremely easy for us to deploy a self-service platform and shift toward the future of ordering at athletic events.”

“Our customers are focused on two things: guest experience and financial performance. The Appetize Interact platform offers a modern and dynamic digital experience for guests while driving increased share of wallet for the business,” said Max Roper, Co-founder and CEO at Appetize. “In the past six months, over 45% of our deployments have included self-service kiosks, and we expect this trend to continue as businesses require more automation and consumers desire a more frictionless experience.”

Designed to enhance the guest experience and increase staff productivity, Appetize’s cloud-based self-service platform, Interact, gives businesses an intuitive checkout interface with custom menu ordering and branding for both Quick Serve and Retail environments. The platform also includes a back of house management suite, real-time connectivity for fulfillment and cashless payment experience, and more.

About Appetize

Appetize is a modern Point of Sale, inventory and analytics platform transforming how enterprises manage and process guest transactions. With an omni-channel approach, Appetize makes front of house transactions more intuitive through fixed, self-serve and handheld form factors, while providing robust kitchen and back office tools. Appetize is trusted by some of the largest and highest volume businesses in the world, including sports and entertainment properties, education campuses, theme parks, travel and leisure sites, and national chain brands. For more information, please visit getappetize.com.

Appetize Contacts

Kathryn Kelly

Global Interactive Kiosk Market Report, Forecast to 2022

Global Interactive Kiosk Market Growth

New report just released by Frost and Sullivan who has issued multiple reports over the years, now with updated 2018 Edition.  The KMA has reviewed the report and recommends it. It is the most accurate report that we have seen in the last 6 years. So many of the data warehouse reports are woefully inaccurate.

The report is priced at $2995.

Excerpt edited — A partial list of companies mentioned or interviewed includes:   Pyramid, Frank Mayer and Associates, Inc.Kiosk Information SystemsOlea Kiosks, DynaTouchZivelo, Qwick Media, Meridian/ KING Products, IBM, Photo Finale, ELO,  Rosendahl Conceptkiosk, Diebold Nixdorf, NCR, Outerwall, Nautilus Hyosung, Fujitsu/ PFU, TravelersBox, Embross, Eastman Kodak Company, Glory Limited, Box Technologies, OKI, Flextronics, Zebra, Hitachi, Advanced Kiosks, GRGBanking, Fabcon Creative, NeoProducts, Nautilus, ADUSA, Fujifilm, RedyRef, Advantech, Lucidiom, Kontron, TIO Networks, TCN, Transaction Network Services, Honeywell, RedyRef, SeePoint, Unicum, Peerless-AV, Friendlyway AG, King Star, Source Technologies, IER Group, Optical Phusion, Palmer Digital Group, Phoenix Kiosks,  Southern Specialties, Advanced Kiosks, Panasonic System Communications. Many more are listed.

Editors note:  On the competitors’ market revenues- Frost only publishes ballpark figures of their estimates for all the private companies. This is a standard practice for Frost researches. 

More Information

kiosk market research Frost

Customer Engagement and High Customer Satisfaction are the Key Factors that will Lead to Growing Adoption of Self-service Kiosks
Published: 12 Nov 2018

This study analyzes the global self-service kiosks market. Increased demand for automation and customer service/satisfaction is driving the growth of self-service kiosks globally. The market will witness key growth opportunities in the retail, transportation & logistics, and hospitality verticals. North America and EMEA will be the leading contributors to growth and will continue to dominate the market during the entire forecast period. APAC is also expected to grow at a fast rate as countries in the region are seeing increased adoption of self-service kiosks across their retail and hospitality sectors for enabling better customer engagement. End users are increasingly looking for bigger display sizes to engage customers with high quality and 3D content. The kiosks are increasingly becoming a medium of customer satisfaction and customer engagement. The market had revenue of $8,916.8 million in 2017 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 3.0% between 2017 and 2022. The unit shipment of self-service kiosks was at 2,277,523 in 2017 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.7% between 2017 and 2022.

Kiosk Market Research Highlights

This study focuses on the drivers, restraints, and market trends. It also includes revenue and unit shipment forecasts by form factor, region, vertical market, and application. A list of key market participants and their respective market share is also provided. The market is fragmented and sees the participation of about 100 global players.

This research service provides the necessary business intelligence to accelerate growth in a fast-paced market. It provides revenue and unit shipment breakdown by vertical markets which include retail, hospitality, manufacturing, government, healthcare, transportation & logistics, education, and professional services. It also provides revenue and unit shipment breakdown of applications that include check-out/check-in, card printing/ renewal, information, photo/ printing, product rental, financial, ticketing, and others (for example,  email, gaming, Internet, office applications, and so on).

This study will allow kiosk manufacturers, component manufacturers, and display manufacturers to understand the fragmented and competitive market scenario and make informed business decisions.

Key Issues Addressed

  • Is the market growing, how long will it continue to grow, and at what rate?
  • What are the product types that will grow at a faster rate?
  • Which applications offer high growth opportunities?
  • What vertical markets have high demand and will offer high growth opportunities?
  • What are the regional and market trends?
  • Are the vendors in the space ready to go it alone, or do they need partnerships to take their businesses to the next level?
  1.  

Craig is a  senior staff writer for Kiosk Industry Group Association. He has 25 years of experience in the industry. He contributed to this article.

News from the U.S. Access Board – March/ April 2019

access-board.gov  •  contact us

Access Board logoAccess Currents 
News from the U.S. Access Board  •  March/ April 2019

 

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Access Board to Hold Town Hall Meeting and Training in Indianapolis on May 21

Indianpolis skylineThe Access Board will hold a town hall meeting in Indianapolis on the afternoon of May 21 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The event will provide an open forum where members of the public can pose questions to the Board or share comments or concerns about accessibility for people with disabilities. There also will be panel discussions with area speakers on accessible recreation and outdoor environments, the Indiana AgrAbility Project, and local compliance initiatives under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The event will take place in the Pacers Square Room at Bankers Life Fieldhouse from 2:00 pm to 4:30 pm. Registration is not required. An assistive listening system, computer assisted real-time transcription (CART), and sign language interpreters will be available. Attendees are requested to refrain from using perfume, cologne, and other fragrances for the comfort of all participants. The meeting will not be streamed online, but there will be a call-in option and streaming CART.

Earlier in the day, the Board will also offer free training sessions on the ADA Accessibility Standards at the town hall site. There will be a program on how to apply the standards and common sources of confusion (9:00 am – 10:30 am). This will be followed by a session on recreation facilities and outdoor sites (10:45 am – 12:15 pm). Advance registration is not required, and participants can attend either or both sessions. Qualified attendees can earn continuing education credits (1.5 per session) from the American Institute of Architects.

For further information, contact Dave Yanchulis at yanchulis@access-board.gov, (202) 272–0026 (v), or (202) 272–0027 (TTY).

Bankers Life Fieldhouse logoU.S. Access Board Training and Town Hall Meeting, May 21
Pacers Square at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
125 S. Pennsylvania Street, Indianapolis, IN

Training Session on the ADA Accessibility Standards (free)
• 8:00 – 9:00 Registration & Welcome
• 9:00 – 10:30 Application of the Standards & Common Sources of Confusion
• 10:30 – 10:45 Break
• 10:45 – 12:15 Recreation Facilities & Outdoor Sites

Town Hall Meeting
• 2:00 – 2:15 Opening Remarks
• 2:15 – 3:30 Panel Discussions
• 3:30 – 4:30 Overview of the Access Board & Open Forum

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Karen Tamley Elected Access Board Chair

Board Chair Karen Tamley and Vice Chair Lance RobertsonAt its March meeting, the Board unanimously elected Board Member Karen Tamley as its new Chair. Tamley just completed a term as Vice Chair of the Board and has served as the Commissioner of the Chicago Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities since 2005.

“I am honored to serve as the Chair of such a dedicated agency that is a true force for change and that has done so much to advance accessibility both in the U.S. and abroad,” she stated after the vote. “I look forward to working with Board members and staff in the year ahead.”

Tamley joined the Board in 2015 as a public member. As head of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, she leads numerous disability policy and compliance initiatives in transportation, city infrastructure, emergency preparedness, housing, schools and technology, and other areas. She also oversees the delivery of independent living services to city residents.

She succeeds Lance Robertson who represents the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on the Board and who was named Vice Chair by acclamation. He serves as Assistant Secretary for Aging at HHS and heads its Administration for Community Living and previously was Director of Aging Services at the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.

Board officers serve for a term of one year. The Board is structured to function as a coordinating body among Federal agencies and to directly represent the public, particularly people with disabilities. Half of its members are representatives from most of the Federal departments. The other half is comprised of members of the public appointed by the President.

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Upcoming Board Webinars

laptop with Access Board seadEnsuring that public streets and sidewalks are accessible to people with disabilities can be a challenge, especially since accessibility guidelines for public rights-of-way have yet to be finalized. The next webinar in the Board’s free monthly series will take place June 6 from 2:30 – 4:00 (ET) and will be devoted to answering the various questions that come up in addressing access to sidewalks and street crossings, pedestrian signals, on-street parking, roundabouts, transit stops and other components of public rights-of-way as well as shared use paths. Board Accessibility Specialists will answer questions submitted in advance or during the live webinar and offer guidance, solutions, and best practices based on guidelines the Board proposed for public rights-of-way. Attendees are encouraged to submit their questions in advance.

Visit www.accessibilityonline.org for more information or to register for the webinar. Webinar attendees can earn continuing education credits. The webinar series is hosted by the ADA National Network in cooperation with the Board. Archived copies of previous Board webinars are available on the site.

Section 508 Best Practices Webinar
The Board also offers a free webinar series on its Section 508 Standards for ICT in the federal sector. The next webinar in this series will be held May 28 from 1:00 to 2:30 (ET) and will review the Trusted Tester for Web and highlight significant updates. Developed by Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Office of Accessible Systems and Technology in coordination with other agencies, the Trusted Tester Process provides a scalable, repeatable, accurate process for evaluating web and software products for conformance with the 508 Standards.

Representatives from the Board and DHS will review the latest edition (Version 5) which supports the revised Section 508 Standards and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (2.0). Trusted Tester 5.0 improves the format, flow, and construction of the evaluation process and test conditions. Presenters will discuss the new testing tool, the Accessible Name and Description Inspector (ANDI), and how it aids testers with code inspection-based testing. They will also cover the availability of DHS online training and certification. Questions can be submitted in advance of the session or can be posed during the webinar.

Visit the webinar site for further information or to register. The Section 508 Best Practices Webinar Series is made available by the Accessibility Community of Practice of the CIO Council in partnership with the Board. Prior webinars can be accessed on the site.

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Poland Creates Entity Modeled after the U.S. Access Board

National Symbol of PolandThe Polish government has established an agency to promote accessibility that is modeled after the U.S. Access Board. Created in December, the Accessibility Council is responsible for reviewing laws and regulations and making recommendations to the government on implementing a sweeping new law to advance accessibility nationwide. The Council is comprised of 50 members representing ministries and government bodies, disability groups, and academia and meets quarterly. The Council will play a lead role in implementing the Accessibility Plus Program, an new measure that aims to make Poland a leader in accessibility by eliminating barriers in architecture, transportation, education, health care, digital and other services.

Poland’s Minister of Investment and Development Jerzy Kwieciński, who heads the Accessibility Council, credits the work of the U.S. Access Board and a speaking tour by Board Executive Director David Capozzi as the inspiration for the new entity. At the Council’s inaugural meeting in February, he recognized the Access Board’s influence and stated, “I believe that now Poland will become a model for other countries.” He supports a study tour of the U.S. for Council staff, including further consultations with the Board.

Capozzi travelled throughout Poland in 2017 as part of State Department’s speaker program to share the American experience in ensuring accessibility for people with various disabilities. During his weeklong stay in Warsaw, Gdynia, Gdańsk, and Kraków, he met with national and local authorities, advocacy groups, and other representatives, some of whom were instrumental in creating the Council. Capozzi discussed achievements and challenges of ensuring accessibility in the U.S. and shared lessons learned. He participated in dialogues on different aspects of accessibility, including the built environment, information and communication technology, employment, enforcement, and the important role standards play, among other topics.

“It was an honor to travel to Poland on behalf of the State Department and our embassy to meet with those leading the effort to make the country a model for accessibility,” states Capozzi. “The Board looks forward to learning more about their efforts and achievements and exploring how we can further advance accessibility in both our countries.”

In Warsaw, Board Executive Director David Capozzi (right) met with Senate Member Jan Filip Libicki and others.

David Capozzi with Senate Member Jan Filip Libicki

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Congressional Measures Address Airline Accessibility

airplaneLegislation was recently introduced in Congress to supplement the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) which prohibits discrimination in air transportation. Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI) and Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) submitted bills in the House (H. R. 1549) and Senate (S. 669) to amend the ACAA to further improve access at airports and on aircraft. The bills would create accessibility standards for new airplanes, require removal of barriers on existing airplanes where readily achievable, strengthen enforcement mechanisms, including establishment of a private right of action and enhance safety.

Under these measures, the Access Board would be responsible for issuing standards for aircraft and equipment for boarding and deplaning, including seating accommodations, lavatories, stowage of assistive devices, announcements, and in-flight entertainment and video displays. The standards also would address airports, including ticketing counters, gates, customer service desks, audible announcements, kiosks, and websites. The bills were referred to the appropriate House and Senate committees for consideration.

In addition, under a law passed last year, the Department of Transportation (DOT) began reporting data on the number of passenger wheelchairs and scooters that are damaged or mishandled by airlines on a monthly basis. A total of 701 (2.18%) wheelchairs and scooters were damaged last December, an average of more than 25 a day, as reported in DOT’s monthly Air Travel Consumer Report (February issue). The total for January was 681 (2.06%) and for February was 593 (1.7%).

In a statement, Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), who authored the law said, “Every airline passenger deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, but too often they aren’t. Travelers should be able to find out if certain airlines have high rates of breaking wheelchairs and other equipment that people depend on, just like we can find out if certain airlines have high rates of flight delays or cancellations.”

Further information on this reporting is posted on DOT’s website.

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Guidelines for Voting Systems Available for Public Comment

Election Assistance Commission sealFederal guidelines for voting systems implemented under the Help America Vote Act are currently available for public comment. Issued by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), the Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG) provide principles and criteria for assessing the basic functionality, accessibility, and security of voting equipment.

The EAC released the document, referred to as VVSG 2.0, on February 28 for a 90-day comment period, as indicated in a notice published in the Federal Register. The VVSG 2.0 updates guidelines first issued in 2005 and revised in 2015 and features a new streamlined structure comprised of high-level system design goals with broad descriptions of the functions that make up voting systems. The proposal also includes moving technical requirements and test assertions to separate documents that detail how voting systems can meet the new Principles and Guidelines in order to obtain certification. Those requirements and test assertions will be made available for public comment at a later date. The EAC seeks comments on all sections of the Principles and Guidelines including the proposed restructuring. Comments are due May 29.

For further information, visit the EAC’s website or contact Ryan Macias at (301) 563-3931 or votingsystemguidelines@eac.gov.

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Updated VPAT Now Available from the IT Industry Council

Information Technology Industry Council logoThe Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) maintains a free reporting tool known as the Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) to help determine whether information and communication technology products and services satisfy accessibility requirements, including the Section 508 Standards. ITI recently released revised editions of the VPAT (2.3) based on the Board’s revised 508 Standards (VPAT 2.3 508), including the referenced Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0). It also offers VPATs for WCAG 2.1 (VPAT 2.3 WCAG), the European Union’s ICT requirements (VPAT 2.3 EU), and another based on all three (VPAT 2.3 INT).

Visit the ITI’s website for further information or send a message to info@itic.org.

NRF Forrester “State of Retail 2019” report

Excerpt from new report by NRF and Forrester covering Retail in 2019
NRF Research

The State of Retailing Online 2019

Developed in partnership with Forrester Research, the annual State of Retailing Online report provides an overview of metrics from the previous year as well as retailers’ key priorities, investments and challenges for this year. For the first time, the report also details retailers’ challenges and strategies surrounding personalization.

Top Findings from the SORO report

NRF Forrester Retail 2019 Report

Omnichannel Still Work in Progress – Mobile Dominating

 

NRF Forrester Retail 2019 Report

Social Marketing Surpassing Search?

NRF Forrester Retail 2019 Report

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Retailers Report Mixed Performance In Stores And Online

“The State Of Retailing Online” is an annual survey conducted by the National Retail Federation (NRF). The survey examines retailer and digital business professional attitudes and focus areas for critical digital commerce issues. Some notable additions to this year’s survey are several questions related to
omnichannel fulfillment and personalization. We conducted the survey for the 2019 study in Q4 2018 and received 69 complete and partial responses from retailers. Respondents in this annual survey were (see Figure 1):

› › Split between pure plays and store-based merchants. Fifty-five percent of survey respondents were employees of traditional brick-and-mortar retailers with web divisions or branded manufacturers with largely wholesale businesses. Another 45% were pure plays or online retailers.

› › Large retailers. Most of the survey respondents were employees of relatively large retail companies. Sixty six percent of respondents were at companies that generate more than $500 million in revenue annually, and 43% of the respondents’ companies make over $1 billion in revenue.

› › Senior executives with marketing or eCommerce. Fifty-nine percent of respondents were at the VP level or above in their organization. Another 23% described themselves as C-suite leaders. Additionally, 48% of respondents were part of their company’s eCommerce or marketing teams (see Figure 2).

nrf forrester retail report 2019
Click to expand

 

 

Walmart IRL Lab Showcases AI and Inventory Management

Excerpt from very nice article on Fast Company covering Walmart and its IRL lab stores. Great example of inventory management and fulfillment via AI and cameras

 

When Amazon launched its first Go store in 2018, the public lined up around the block to see the future of retail: a new experience where you could walk in, grab something off the shelf, and walk out. Sure, there were cameras on the ceiling and AI on computers tracking silently from above, but the promise was convenience through automation–maybe not The Jetsons, but a better 7/11 for certain.

Now Walmart has shared its version of the future of brick-and-mortar retail, the Intelligent Retail Lab, or IRL for short. Unlike Go, it doesn’t feature any futuristic user experience. There’s no automated checkout or similar whiz-bang head turner that people will Instagram about. Instead, IRL can track Walmart’s inventory in real time with unprecedented efficiency, making sure every item on every shelf is always in stock.

Rethinking the entire shopping experience, as Amazon Go has done, was not on the table. “It’s just not a priority for us right now, as we think about it,” says Mike Hanrahan, CEO of IRL (which is technically a startup within Walmart itself). Instead, the IRL store has 1,500 cameras hanging from the ceiling to ensure that when you walk up to the meat section, there’s in stock. “If you have really good inventory, it leads to a better managed store,” says Hanrahan. And a better managed store is a more profitable one.

Cashless Restaurants – Sweetgreen Will Start Taking Cash

Excerpt from Restaurant Business 4/1/2019

Washington, D.C.-based salad chain Sweetgreen will also start accepting cash again at all of its 94 locations by the end of the year following backlash cashless stores have faced for excluding people without credit cards or bank accounts, the company said last week.

‘Going cashless had positive results, but it also had the unintended consequence of excluding those who prefer to pay or can only pay with cash.’

—Sweetgreen salad chain
From the Sweetgreen Blog

We’ve made the decision to accept cash in all our restaurants nationwide by the end of 2019.

When we decided to go cashless it was based on our core value of win win win — the customer wins, the community wins, the company wins. We believed there were many advantages that would benefit the sg community, including employee safety — reducing incidents of robbery, sustainability — fewer armored cars and less paper, and efficiency — it would speed up service in our restaurants. If you want to read more about why we decided to go cashless, please read this article we published in 2016. Going cashless had these positive results, but it also had the unintended consequence of excluding those who prefer to pay or can only pay with cash.

Ultimately, we have realized that while being cashless has advantages, today it is not the right solution to fulfill our mission. To accomplish our mission, everyone in the community needs to have access to real food.

McDonalds Mobile Hack – Canadien Uses McDonalds Mobile App To Run Up Bills

The Canadian McDonald’s app, called My McD’s, is just the latest target for cyber criminals. Last year, they were busy stealing Aeroplan and PC Optimum rewards points from some members’ online accounts. Many of the fraudsters involved in PC Optimum cases also carried out their crimes in Quebec.

Cybersecurity expert Ritesh Kotak said that in the digital era, companies need to pull out all the stops to protect consumers from cyber criminals.

“We’re moving to a cashless society,” said Ritesh who’s based in Toronto. “They put all this money into app development, are they putting the same amount of money and rigour and research into the security component of it?”

Mass Notification System (MNS) & Emergency Alert Systems

Apr 28, 2019 (Westminster) by Craig Keefner and Kiosk Industry Manufacturer Association

We see more and more of RFPS for Mass Notification Systems (MNS) and Emergency Alert Systems.  These include Crisis Alerts and Alert Systems.  Many schools.

Below are a couple for review.

Seems like it would be a great adjunct function for digital signage and CMS systems to offer.  They generally are in search of ROI and this would satisfy that requirement and minimize liability for customers with many public customers in mainly unprotected public areas. An idea.

Mass Notification RFPs


SCOPE OF WORK

The City of Saint Charles, Missouri (hereinafter, the “City”) is a local government in the St. Louis
metropolitan area with a population of approximately 65,000. The City is seeking a vendor to provide a Mass Notification & Emergency Alert System (hereinafter, the “System”) that has the capability of mass notification to individuals, as well as targeted messaging to individuals and groups through customized lists and geographic selection.

The proposed solution shall be a single, integrated solution offering comprehensive security and
built-in redundancy of operations based on the concept of a unified messaging and communication
application. It should provide for a single, common process to issue alerts or other communication
requests over multiple protocols and devices.

SYSTEM FEATURES
Any proposed System shall, at minimum, include the following features:

  • Integrated Public Alert & Warning System (IPAWS)
  • Multiple Groups for Messaging (i.e. General Public, Employee Groups, Other Internal Groups, etc.)
  • Public will be allowed to opt-in and/or opt-out at any time, editing their own information and desired alert types
  • Emergency & Non-Emergency Messaging via Text, Mobile App, Phone Call (Cellular & Landline), Email, and City’s Social Media
  • Geo-Targeting Capability (at minimum, point with radius; City prefers free form selection
    for targeted distribution)
  • Unlimited System Users
  • Unlimited System Administrator Users
  • Unlimited Calls and/or Text Messages
  • Initial Training for Administrators (Train the Trainer Approach)
  • Capable of Creating & Storing Template Messages
  • Reporting Capabilities (i.e. Pre-Formatted & Ad Hoc Reporting Tools)

SYSTEM ARCHITECTURE, INFRASTRUCTURE & SECURITY

  • System shall be fully hosted by Vendor requiring no additional hardware, equipment, storage, etc. by City
  • System shall be web-based providing the City the ability to access the System via a secure internet connection from any computer, tablet, or smartphone to send alerts and notifications.

The Christina School District is soliciting competitive proposals to provide a modern, robust communication and engagement solution. This solution must include website design, development and hosting, a mass notification system, and a mobile application.

This request for proposals (“RFP”) is issued pursuant to 29 Del. C. §§ 6981 and 6982.


Issued By:Virginia Community College Shared Services Center
Type:Request for Proposals (RFP)
Category:Non-Professional Services – Technology
Work Location: Various
Description:The purpose of this RFP is to solicit sealed proposals to establish a contract(s) through competitive negotiations for the purchase of a commercially available web based emergency alert notification system including implementation and training for the Virginia Community College System including its 23 colleges.

Fire and Medical Alert Systems (34015)
Emergency Radio/Telephone Systems (411, 911 etc. Dispatch) (83845)
Audiotex Voice Response Systems (88316)
Voice Mail Systems (88390)
Telecommunication Services (Not Otherwise Classified) (91579)
Warning System Services, Citizen (91595)
Alarm Services (99005)
Disaster Preparedness/Emergency Planning Services (99029)


Summary

Emergency Mass Communications Solution Bid Solicitation: S-16500-00000005 Header Information Bid Number: S-16500-00000005 Description: Emergency Mass Communications Solution Bid Opening Date: 05/13/2019 02:00:00 PM Purchaser: Erin Smith Organization: Secretary of State Department: 16506 – Information Systems Location: ISCIO – Office of the CIO Fiscal Year: 19 Type Code: Allow Electronic Quote: Yes Alternate Id: Required Date: Available Date : 04/22/2019 02:00:00 PM Info Contact: Contact Erin Smith at 503-986-2270 or via email at erin.m.smith@oregon.gov Bid Type: OPEN Informal Bid Flag: No Purchase Method: Open Market Pre Bid Conference: Bulletin Desc: Proposers are required to submit a written proposal covering the content requirements specified in the attached solicitation document. Vendors proposing qualifying products may be invited to perform a virtual demo for the agency. See the Attachments tab for complete information. Ship-to Address: Information Systems Division 255 Capitol St. NE Suite 180 Salem, OR 97310 US Email: servicedesk.sos@oregon.gov Phone: (503)986-0505 Bill-to Address: Business Services Division 255 Capitol St. NE Suite 180 Salem, OR 97310 US Email: purchasing.sos@oregon.gov Phone: (503)986-2204 Print Format: File Attachments: Intermediate RFP – Emergency Mass Communications Solution.pdf Form Attachments: Item Information Item # 2: ( 990 – 39 ) Vendors must attach their pricing, as per the Proposal Content Requirements (see the Attachments tab). Agency is seeking a web-hosted, software-based Emergency Mass Communications Solution, and is requesting pricing and proposed costs for software and support. (Note that pricing has been disabled for this item. All pricing must be included as an attachment to your Quote.) NIGP Code: 990-39 Emergency Systems Monitoring Service to include Alarms and Operational Readiness Reporting Qty Unit Cost UOM Total Discount Amt. Tax Rate Tax Amount Total Cost 1.0 LUMP SUM – Lump Sum Manufacturer: Brand: Model: Make: Packaging:

Craig is a  senior staff writer for Kiosk Industry Group Association. He has 25 years of experience in the industry. He contributed to this article.

42 LinkNYC Kiosks Vandalized by Brick Thrower

Surveillance video taken on April 16th, from 771 8th Ave (Midtown North Precinct) is attached and available at DCPI. Anyone with information in regard to the identity of this male is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the CrimeStoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM, on Twitter @NYPDTips.

Kiosk Strategy – Minimum Value Product or MVP Kiosk Project

Reprinted with permission from KioskSimple website 4/23/2019

Today you’ll learn how you can get your first kiosk to market faster and for a smaller initial investment by creating an “MVP kiosk”.

Let’s talk about what an MVP is and why you should create an MVP kiosk.

minimum viable product (MVP) is a product with just enough features to satisfy early customers, and to provide feedback for future product development

Wikipedia

The benefits of building an MVP kiosk include…

  • Get to market faster
  • Smaller initial investment
  • Prioritize the features your customers care about
  • Avoid wasting time and money on the wrong features

Companies overbuild their first kiosk all the time. They assume they know exactly what their customers need and proceed to invest heavily, without gathering early customer feedback. Then they build the wrong thing and waste a bunch of time and money in rework.

If you want to avoid this common pitfall, keep reading…

MVP Kiosk vs. a Pilot Kiosk, what’s the difference?

A “pilot kiosk” refers to the first kiosk you deploy to production to work out the kinks. With any pilot, the tendency is to “overbuild” your feature set and try to get everything perfect on the first release.

An “MVP kiosk” also refers to your first kiosk, but the objective is to gather early customer feedback with a minimum viable feature set.

The MVP prioritizes gathering early customer feedback and helps prevent overbuilding the feature set in your initial kiosk.

You don’t know exactly what you should build until you’ve gathered customer feedback. Starting with an MVP kiosk allows you to learn from your mistakes earlier and with less upfront investment.

Step 1: Start with the end in mind

The first step before we even start building our MVP kiosk is to define your success criteria.

We begin this process by listing all our key objectives and goals for our kiosk deployment. For example, lowering staffing costs, decreasing customer wait times, building our customer mailing list, etc.

Next, we list all the metrics we’ll be measuring to determine the success of our objectives we just defined. These will be specific, quantifiable metrics like reducing the number of cashiers on staff by 25%, increasing sales by 30%, adding 1000 new email subscribers per month, etc.

It’s important to have quantifiable metrics in order to objectively measure the success of our kiosks.

Step 2: Define your MVP kiosk feature set

Our MVP feature set is the list of features that will make it into our MVP kiosk. Warning, this will be a hot topic that will have much debate internally.

The easiest way to define your MVP kiosk feature set is to outline all the features you want in your kiosk.

Here’s an oversimplified example of what your entire kiosk feature set might look like…

All features:

  • Allow customers to order their meal
  • Accept credit, cash and coin
  • Dispense change in cash and coin
  • Print, email and text customer receipts
  • Display an attract screen to encourage engagement
  • Display ads when the kiosk idle

Here is an example of separating the MVP feature set…

MVP features:

Future features:

  • Accept cash and coin
  • Dispense change in cash and coin
  • Email and text customer receipts
  • Display ads when the kiosk idle

What we’ve done here is separate the MVP features that MUST be in the MVP kiosk, from those that could be added later to subsequent releases (aka version 2 features).

Less engineering in the MVP means we get to market faster and for less upfront cost, so we can start gathering customer feedback earlier.

Step 3: Build and deploy your MVP kiosk

It’s time to build your first kiosk and develop your kiosk application. By only building your MVP feature set, your development timeline will naturally shrink, as will your development costs.

Resist the temptation to overbuild your MVP kiosk.

You can save money on your kiosk hardware by going with an off the shelf kiosk model. Most kiosk manufacturers will have standard kiosk builds with their recommended payment devices. The kiosk manufacturer can help you “wrap” your kiosk with your artwork, so it matches your company brand.

Building a custom kiosk is always more expensive than their standard turnkey kiosks and can add significant lead time.

Go with the standard kiosk build for your MVP kiosk and only customize later AFTER you’ve gathered customer feedback from your MVP kiosk.

Step 4: Offer concierge service

Concierge service refers to placing a real-live human being at your MVP kiosk in order to help customers and gather their feedback.

You’re probably thinking that this is a self-service kiosk and placing a person by the kiosk defeats the entire purpose of offering a self-service alternative.

It’s easy to get ivory tower syndrome and think customers will know exactly how to use our shiny new kiosk. When in reality, this is probably the first time they’ve ever encountered your kiosk and it’s probably not as “user friendly” as you think.

You’ll learn a lot by listening to your first customers and be able to quickly incorporate their feedback and pivot. Which leads us to our final step…

Step 5: Learn from customer feedback and pivot

Here is where taking the MVP approach really starts to pay off. Remember how your team fought over delaying those features until after the MVP release?

Since we’ve listened to our first customers, we know exactly what features they care about and what to add in the next release. We also didn’t waste time overbuilding by adding the wrong features.

It might turn out that adding support for Spanish is way more important than adding support for accepting cash and coin. Or maybe accepting cash is important, but hardly any customers are trying to pay with coin. By offering concierge service, you know what your customers care about and what challenges they’ve encountered.

You don’t know what features your customers really care about until you’ve given them a kiosk to interact with and collected their feedback.

In Conclusion

The MVP strategy applies to more than just kiosks and can be utilized by any size organization, not just budget strapped startups.

Building your first kiosk is not like building a custom home, where you have a clear blueprint. A kiosk, and most software projects for that matter, evolve as customers start interacting with them.

The common mistake most organizations make is to assume they know exactly what their customers want in a self-service kiosk. Don’t fall prey to this common pitfall.

This article was largely influenced by one of my favorite startup themed books The Lean Startup by Eric Ries.

Andrew Savala
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Andrew Savala

Andrew Savala is the CEO of RedSwimmer, with a background in designing and deploying complex payment kiosk systems.Andrew offers high-value, strategic consulting services to companies looking to develop their payment kiosks.

 

ADA Accessibility and Self-Service For All

Touchscreen-based self-service technology is changing the way we do business, but one of the key challenges to widespread adoption is finding a way to make that technology useable by everyone.

Self-Service For All – ADA Kiosk

By Richard Slawsky contributor

ADA KioskInteractive touchscreens are quickly becoming a key player in the kiosk world. Businesses ranging from fast-casual restaurants to health care facilities and mall makeup stores are finding uses for touchscreen-based kiosks, offering services ranging from food ordering to patient check-in to complexion matching.

kiosk research
Combination of several reports (including Frost & Sullivan, Gartner, and IHL) + our own KI analysis. Hybrid POS checkouts and ATMs are not included unlike most reports..

The latest of the many reports forecasting the growth of the kiosk industry predicts the market will increase at a 9.7 percent compound annual growth rate, reaching $88.3 billion by 2022 from $46.1 billion in 2015. Drivers of that growth include increased customer’s interest towards self service, development in the retail and entertainment industries and innovations in touchscreen display and glass technology. The retail industry holds the lion’s share of the market, with about 40 percent of the overall revenue.

The growth of touchscreen-based self service hasn’t been without its challenges, though. Foremost among them has been the issue of making that technology available to all users, including those with disabilities. Another has been the expanded form factors such as tablets on the low end and large 85-inch touchscreens on the high side.  That’s a shift from the mostly 17-inch and 19-inch screens that dominate the ATM, airline and POS self-checkout precursor worlds.

The compliance conundrum

navbar kiosk
Example of navbar on outdoor ticketing kiosk. Click for full size image. Courtesy Olea Kiosks

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that about 19 percent of the country’s population, or about 57 million people, have some form of disability. Those include 8.1 million people who have difficulty seeing, including 2 million who were blind or unable to see. In addition, about 7.6 million people have impaired hearing. Roughly 30.6 million have problems walking or climbing stairs, or use a wheelchair, cane, crutches or walker, and 19.9 million people had challenges lifting and grasping. This includes difficulty lifting an object or grasping a pencil (or pressing buttons on a touchscreen interface).

To ensure those with disabilities can enjoy the same rights as everyone, in 1990 Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The law was designed to afford protections against discrimination similar to those of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the ADA prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in several areas, including employment, transportation, public accommodations, communications and access to state and local government programs and services.

For a business that incorporates kiosks into its operations, that generally means that a kiosk needs to be useable by all of its customers, no matter what their physical challenges may be. In many cases meeting that standard is easier said than done.

Click for full size

“ADA concerns are pretty much the same concerns that one would have for any type of a consumer self-service interactive solution,” said Ron Bowers, senior vice president of business development at Grafton, Wisconsin-based kiosk vendor Frank Mayer & Associates. “Some individual deployments are only adhering to the accessibility-by-wheelchair aspect.”. “Some individual deployments are only adhering to the accessibility-by-wheelchair aspect.”

Unfortunately, those basic accommodations can result in a business overlooking more than 35 million potential customers.

It’s worth noting that a large percentage of customers in wheelchairs also suffer from physical impairment.

Some of the biggest challenges kiosk deployers face is the degree of interpretation that must be applied to some of the regulations.  How many accessible units and what level of accessibility constitutes acceptable access?  Another is new regulations and retrofitting existing units can be problematic, said Craig Keefner, manager for Olea Kiosks.

“Complicating retrofits can be the issue of recertifying for UL,” Keefner said. “One change to the overall machine can require the new configuration to be recertified. If Walmart has to change all of its self-checkouts, that’s a big change.”

To help add clarity to exactly what kiosk deployers must do to be ADA compliant, in mid-September the Architectural and Transportation Barriers and Compliance Board released a final rule for electronic and information technologies used by federal agencies as well as guidelines for customer premises equipment and telecommunications equipment, including kiosks. The Access Board is an independent federal agency devoted to accessibility for people with disabilities.

A sample of the guidelines for kiosks outlined in the Access Board rule

  • In general, devices with a display screen shall be speech-output enabled for full and independent use by individuals with vision impairments.
  • Speech output shall be provided for all information displayed on-screen.
  • Where speech output is required, braille instructions for initiating the speech mode of operation shall be provided.
  • Devices that deliver sound, including required speech output, shall provide volume control and output amplification.
  • At least one mode of operation shall be operable with one hand and shall not require tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist. The force required to activate operable parts shall be 5 pounds (22.2 N) maximum.

The final rule is listed in the Federal Register. Covered organizations must meet compliance standards by Jan. 18, 2018.

Although much of the language in the final rule will likely keep lawyers busy for years to come, there are some guidelines that are easy to interpret. In general, the rules say that the technology with a display screen shall be speech-output enabled for full and independent use by individuals with vision impairments. Input controls shall be operable by touch and tactilely discernible without activation.

Running the risk

Missing out on revenue from millions of customers with disabilities is just one of the pitfalls of not complying with ADA regulations, or at least making every effort to make sense of the standards.

For violations that occurred after April 28, 2014, the maximum civil penalty for a first violation of ADA regulations is $75,000. For a subsequent violation, the maximum civil penalty is $150,000.

In addition, self-service kiosks are increasingly a target for ADA lawsuits. In March 2017, for example, the American Council of the Blind filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against fast casual restaurant chain Eatsa on behalf of a blind customer. Under Eatsa’s business model, customers order from tablet-based kiosks and pick up their food from a cubicle when it’s ready.

Customer Michael Godino claims he was unable to use a self-order kiosk in an Eatsa to place an order because the kiosks weren’t accessible for blind customers.

“Because the self-service mobile applications, touchscreen tablets, and visually-marked cubbies Eatsa utilizes rely on exclusively visual displays and do not provide any form of audio output or tactile input, Eatsa’s design is entirely inaccessible to blind customers,” according to the lawsuit.

click for full size image

Restaurants aren’t the only businesses open to ADA lawsuits. A proposed class action suit against mall operator Simon Property Group claims a Proactiv skincare products kiosk, located in the Simon-run Miami Mall in Florida, discriminates against blind and visually impaired individuals. The lawsuit argues the Proactiv automated retail kiosk, which uses a touchscreen display, doesn’t offer a way for blind consumers to purchase its products.

“Sighted customers can independently browse, select, and pay for Proactiv brand skincare products at the Miami Mall Proactiv kiosk. However, blind customers are denied the opportunity to participate in this retail service,” the complaint reads. “Moreover, [the defendant] has failed to provide an alternative channel for blind customers to enjoy the retail service provided through the Proactiv kiosk, such as the training of qualified readers to assist visually impaired and blind customers.”

There are about 1,000 Proactiv kiosks in malls in the United States, Canada and Japan.

And just in case a business operator thinks having a staff member on hand to assist disabled customers with using self-service technology, chances are that’s not enough to keep from running afoul of the ADA.

More: consider for wall mount units the ADA requirement for  blind & partially sighted to be able to detect protuberances from walls with their canes. Click for full size

“It depends on the application and if the assistant is as available as the kiosk to provide services,” said Adam Aronson, CEO of San Rafael, Calif.-based Lilitab Tablet Kiosks. Lilitab designs, engineers and markets a range of tablet kiosk products. “If the cashier typically has longer lines than the kiosk, that’s not the same service level,” Aronson said.

While lawsuits against kiosk deployers related to ADA compliance are always a concern, other dangers include the negative publicity from being perceived as a business that is insensitive to the needs of disabled customers. Just a few months ago cable news was filled images of U.S. Capital Police forcibly removing disabled demonstrators from a protest over the Senate’s now-defunct health care bill. Nobody wants their business to be featured in similar reporting.

Of course, things are rarely simple when it comes to government regulations and the ADA is no different. Complicating the landscape is HR 620, the “ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017,” currently making its way through Congress. According to the Center for American Progress the bill, sponsored by Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas), would require anyone seeking to file a lawsuit against a business for ADA violations to first provide written notice to that business, outlining the provisions of the law that apply to the violation. Business owners would then have 60 days to acknowledge the violation and another 120 days to at least make “substantial progress” towards rectifying it.

Opponents of the bill claim it would gut enforcement of the ADA by allowing businesses to stall the correction of violation for months or years, while those in favor say it would prevent the “drive-by lawsuits” that end up forcing business owners to pay settlements to lawyers who make a career out of filing ADA suits. The ADA bars the awarding of monetary damages in successful lawsuits, but does allow the awarding of “a reasonable attorney’s fee.”

Meeting the challenge

In an effort to sort through the confusion over ADA guidelines, kiosk deployers are taking their own steps to accommodate disabled users.

The easiest steps to take are those that offer access to individuals in wheelchairs or who are otherwise vertically challenged. That includes offering at least one kiosk with an adjustable height or a lower point of access.

VFO project by KioWare and URway. Click for full story.

“Swiveling mounts or adjustable height mounts may assist in accessibility – but they don’t solve the problem just by being available,” said Laura Miller, director of marketing with York, Pa.-based KioWare Kiosk Software.

“The physical placement of the kiosk is just as important as the presence of accessibility features and testing is needed even with the purchase of an accessible kiosk,” she said. “If the path to the kiosk is too narrow to approach head on, for instance, it becomes moot that the kiosk itself is accessible because getting to the kiosk is too challenging or the space too constricted. Vertical and horizontal reach must be considered.”

Ticketing unit for Universal with ADA. Photo courtesy Olea Kiosks. Click for full size.

As mentioned earlier, though, making the kiosk available to those in a wheelchair isn’t enough.

“No longer can you get away with a kiosk just being ‘reachable’,” said Frank Olea, CEO of Cerritos, Calif.-based Olea Kiosks. “Most companies will say their product is ADA compliant, but they fail to mention they’ve only covered a very small spectrum of individuals with disabilities. Sure, someone in a wheelchair can reach the screen, but serving people with disabilities goes far beyond that.”

As demonstrated by the Eatsa scenario, one of the biggest challenges in deploying interactive self-service technology is accommodating visually impaired users. A touchscreen relies heavily on users being able to see the screen, so deployers need to find ways to communicate that information in other ways.

“Without access to speech feedback for on screen contents and a method for determining what item the user is activating, a person who is blind or visually impaired cannot effectively make use of a touchscreen or tablet based kiosk,” said staff at the American Foundation for the Blind.

“For those with low vision, small or ornate fonts are difficult, if not impossible, to read,” AFB officials said. “Low contrast between the foreground and background can also make on-screen and print-labeled items difficult to read.”

In addition, glare on the screen and on any print-labeled areas of the machine can cause readability barriers for people with low vision, the AFB said.

“What I advise people to do is to recreate a version of the kiosk software that can be used by people with visual problems,” said Mike James, CEO of Washington D.C.-based Kiosk Group Inc.

“Information can be presented in large text and contrasting colors for people who are marginally blind, and to have a system for audio feedback for those who are completely blind,” James said. Those prompts can be used in conjunction with Braille keyboards to assist with navigation.

Storm Nav-Pad. Click for full size image

Accommodating users with hand mobility issues is a concern as well. An ‘Automated Passport Solution’ Olea built for deployment in the Dallas Fort Worth Airport incorporates the Nav-Pad, a keypad designed by London-based Storm Interface that provides accessibility to a kiosk’s functions for those with physical or sensory impairments. The APS kiosk shortens the clearance process for international travelers by collecting biographical and passport information from passengers before they are seen by a customs officer.

audio nav ada device
Audio navigation device. Click for full size. Courtesy Storm Interface

The Nav-Pad, developed in partnership with the Trace Research & Development Center, was originally designed for use in military and industrial applications where the user might be wearing heavy gloves. One of the pioneers in the space, Storm Interface also offers the Audio-Nav Keypad, an assistive USB device offering menu navigation by means of audio direction.

The work continues

As ADA compliance becomes a bigger and bigger issue for hardware manufacturers, software developers and kiosk deployers, a variety of industry groups are working to develop solutions that can meet the needs of disabled users.

The Kiosk Industry Association, for example, has formed an ADA working group  and committee expressly for ADA to try and standardize guidelines for the industry. A big initiative for the association is meeting with the US Access Board directly to help communicate industry information and context to the standards body directly.

Other organizations with ADA initiatives include the Electronic Transactions Association, which has also formed a working group. The ETA represents more than 500 companies worldwide involved in electronic transaction processing products and services, working to influence, monitor and shape the payments industry by providing leadership through education, advocacy and the exchange of information.

“The purpose of the group is to promote compliance and the development and deployment of products and services to help ensure access to the payment system,” said Meghan Cieslak, ETA’s director of communications. “The group is comprised of industry experts, start-ups, as well as ISOs and VARs – all focused on helping disabled Americans access the payment system.”

The Kiosk Industry Association is consulting with the ETA on access initiatives and has also enlisted the assistance of the ATM Industry Association which already has a formal ADA document via EFTA for their members.

It’s also critical for deployers to think about accessibility from the very beginning of a kiosk project. A paper co-authored by Peter Jarvis and Nicky Shaw, both from Storm Interface, along with Robin Spinks from the U.K.’s Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) included the following recommendations:

“Accessibility is most effectively achieved when adopted as a primary system specification,” the group wrote.

“It is most successfully implemented if considered during the concept design process,” they wrote. “Accessibility should be a primary objective during the origination of hardware solutions, application software and content to be delivered.”

In addition, consideration should also be given to the environment in which the system will be installed, they wrote, and that terminals located in public or unsupervised environments will need to survive regular cleaning and sanitization procedures using sprayed liquid disinfectants and other cleaning agents.

Along with providing hardware designed for accessibility, the application or website on the kiosk must be built with more than a cursory nod toward compliance in order to have these other components “work” in a successful and accessible deployment. The kiosk system software can utilize accessibility features and the hardware can provide sound, include keyboards and be height adjustable, but if the application isn’t built with accessibility in mind, or modified to make sure accessibility features are fully integrated, usability and accessibility will suffer for it.

These concerns, and others, are driving the various partnerships on ADA issues.

“It was pretty much a no-brainer for us to go ahead and work together on standardizing,” Keefner said.

“I’ve been really passionate about it and I’ve talked to kiosk manufacturers about binding together to create standards on kiosk design so people who walk up to a kiosk know where to find the audio jack, know where to find the braille keyboard or whatever,” said Kiosk Group’s Mike James. “Those features could be the same for every project.”

Unfortunately, despite the additional clarification on access rules it’s likely that in the short term it’s likely that many compliance issues are likely to be hashed out in court.

“It seems that there are a few people out there who have made it their job to litigate any non-ADA-compliant situations that arise,” Miller said. “This is not exclusive to kiosks, but they have not been completely spared, and while it seems relatively obscure at this point, those individuals looking for violations will likely eventually hit on the existence of kiosks as fodder for their litigious pursuits.”

Resources for kiosks and ADA compliance

ADA Committee and ADA Working Group for Kiosk Association

ADA White Paper on Kiosk Industry

Access Board final rule for information and communication technology

Trace Research and Development

National Council on Disability Report

Interactive Accessibility   – accessibility consulting firm

Digital Business kiosk consultants

COMMENTS

Richard and Craig

I wanted to congratulate you both on an excellent and  informative article. Thank you for helping to bring the importance of ADA and ACAA mandates to the attention of the Kiosk Industry and to those agencies deploying and operating ICT in public environments. Thanks also for recognizing Storm Interface in the text of the article and for including some of those images showing deployed installations. We are constantly working to improve and add to the range of accessibility and assistive technology products available to kiosk designers. There are some exciting new developments in process which will help to deliver the “multi-modal” methods of system interface that are widely predicted to be the next big step in system accessibility. The priority will be to ensure our partners in the kiosk industry are kept aware of and fully supported in the deployment of Assistive Technology Products (ATP).

Hopefully your article will receive the recognition it deserves and I will have an opportunity to work with you both to maintain awareness of accessibility issues within the kiosk industry.

Best Regards

Peter Jarvis
Senior Executive VP

Cashless Stores Backlash – AP News

Associated Press story published on Oil City News 5/12/2019

Editors note: There should be a way to accept cash without the usual liabilities and the usual ways. Cash for credit conversion machines for example.

By ALEXANDRA OLSON and KEN SWEET AP Business Writers

NEW YORK (AP) — Hembert Figueroa just wanted a taco.

So he was surprised to learn the dollar bills in his pocket were no good at Dos Toros Taqueria in Manhattan, one of a small but growing number of establishments across the U.S. where customers can only pay by card or smartphone.

Cash-free stores are generating a backlash among some activists and liberal-leaning policymakers who say the practice discriminates against people like Figueroa, who either lack bank accounts or rely on cash for many transactions.

Figueroa, an ironworker, had to stand to the side, holding his taco, until a sympathetic cashier helped him find another customer willing to pay for his meal with a card in exchange for cash.

“I had money and I couldn’t pay,” he said.

Read complete story published on Oil City News 5/12/2019

Kiosk Hacking – Tips To Harden Your Kiosk

Breaking into unattended and semi-attended devices should be harder than it is.

Recently McDonalds kiosks were hacked but by users simply using the software installed against itself.

One big rule — employ a lot of QA on your unit and have people try to break. Developers always think they have covered all the contingencies but almost never do.  They defend against what they know, not what happens in the real world.

Great video from LOL ComediaHa illustrating the over-confident developer thinking he has it all figured out, only to find out otherwise…

 

We also published a nice feature on Cyber Security and the implications which you should read. We quote:

Think the risk is overblown? A recent story on ZDNet detailed how a third-party worker inserted a USB drive into a computer on a cargo ship, inadvertently planting a virus in the ship’s administrative systems.

Here is much more advice from Andrew Savala of Redswimmer

It recently came out that a McDonalds kiosk in Australia was hacked. The following video shows two young men tricking the kiosk into giving them free food.

McDonald’s kiosk hack

Kiosk hacking has become common place in the news. In addition to the McDonald’s kiosk hack, HR kiosks have recently been hacked and there have also been incidents with smart city kiosks being hacked.

Self-service kiosks are everywhere from street corners to grocery stores and hackers are gunning for your customer’s data. Payment kiosks in particular are attractive targets because cardholder data is easy to monetize.

In this article I’m going to cover several techniques for hardening your kiosks security. Many of these kiosk hardening techniques involves functional changes to your kiosk application, so you’ll need to get your developers involved.

Prevent PIN theft

It’s frighteningly easy to steal someone’s PIN number using an iPhone and a thermal camera.

Flir makes one such thermal mobile camera that can be used to easily determine the PIN number someone entered.

The following video demonstrates this technique and explains how metal PIN pads, like those commonly found on ATMs, can be used to prevent PIN theft.

Shows how PIN theft works with thermal mobile camera and an iPhone
Password protect the BIOS

The BIOS firmware comes pre-installed on a personal computer‘s system board, and it is the first software to run when powered on.

Wikipedia

The BIOS is the first screen that appears when your computer boots and determines the boot order, among other things. From a security standpoint this is of particular concern because we don’t want a hacker to be able to reconfigure the computer to boot from a USB drive, or other media, instead of the kiosk’s hard drive.

Booting from another media would allow the attacker to run malware instead of the kiosk’s operating system. Fortunately, protecting the BIOS is simply a matter of configuring a password so the BIOS settings cannot be modified.

Here’s a tutorial video of how-to password protect your BIOS.

Tutorial video of how-to password protect your BIOS

Restrict keyboard input

The operating system has many keyboard shortcuts that will allow an attacker to exit out of your kiosk application and access the desktop.

There are many such hotkeys (i.e. Ctrl-Alt-Del in Windows) and we want to restrict the keyboard input to prevent a hacker from exiting your kiosk application.

Avoid the use of a physical keyboard when possible and instead opt for an onscreen keyboard with the system keys removed.

As an added layer of security, you can use a keyboard filter driver to filter out system hotkeys.

Prevent the mouse right-click

Right clicking the mouse will prompt the user with a series of options. Some of which could be used to close or compromise your kiosk application. This is particularly true if your kiosk is running a web browser.

Limiting the user to only clicking the left mouse button will help mitigate this risk.

The easiest way to achieve this is by having your kiosk application filter or ignore the right mouse click.

Block physical access to USB ports

By allowing a hacker access to the USB ports they can potentially load malware to hijack your kiosk.

The following video explains how BadUSB works and suggests some techniques for protecting your USB ports on a laptop.

For a kiosk, all the USB ports should be made inaccessible through the use of a secure kiosk or tablet enclosure. Many secure enclosure options are available for both tablets and kiosks.

Explains how BadUSB works and suggests some techniques for protecting USB ports on a laptop.

Prevent access to the file system

It’s important to ensure that hackers cannot access the file system of your kiosk. There are multiple ways to get to the file system, particularly if your kiosk is running a web browser.

One method is by simply entering the file path into the web browser address bar like shown below. I now have access to browse the file system and access potentially sensitive information.

File system accessed through the address bar in Chrome

Other opportunities to access the file system include, but are not limited to, the print dialog and right clicking the mouse.

You’ll also want to monitor for popup windows and automatically close any dialog boxes.

Restrict access to external websites

If your kiosk is running a web browser then you’ll want to restrict the user to only viewing your website.

The most straightforward way of accomplishing this is through the use of a whitelist.

A whitelist list is an acceptable list of websites or web pages, depending on how granular you want to get, which the browser will allow to be displayed.

If the user attempts to navigate to a page not in the whitelist then the page will not be displayed.

Incorporate a watchdog

A watchdog refers to a service running in the background which ensures that your kiosk application is always running.

If your kiosk application crashes, uses up too much memory, or stops behaving for any reason, the watchdog will restart it.

In Windows the watchdog should be a Windows Service that automatically runs at startup. The watchdog will be implemented differently depending on your operating system, but the underlying objective is the same.

Wrapping Up

Anytime you’re deploying a kiosk, protecting customer data should be a top concern.

Payment kiosks in particular are attractive targets for hackers because cardholder data is easy to monetize. But payment kiosks aren’t the only kiosks at risk.

In order to implement the techniques in this article you’re going to have to modify your kiosk application. It’s time to get your developers involved so you can start protecting your customers and your reputation.

 

In The Wild – Not So Great Kiosk Experience

We are constantly using kiosks and oftentimes we find kiosk implementations are less than best case to put it kindly.


Kiosk Experience 1

This is an email I received from a very experienced kiosk analyst at a Senior Living retirement facility

I used a new kiosk system last week to get a Visitor’s Pass at a big retirement facility where several canasta buddies live and where we were going to be playing that afternoon.. The touch screen was problematic but eventually I got signed up. I was told that once you registered, every subsequent visit would be much easier – you would just enter your phone number and the system would print out your visitor’s pass. Except when I entered my phone number, it said it wasn’t recognized and that I’d have to register all over again.
The people behind the desk said that if you registered at one kiosk (there are 2) you would also have to register at the other one. I was flabbergasted.
I told them that I used to evaluate these systems for a living and this was the STUPIDEST SYSTEM I HAVE EVER ENCOUNTERED. 
Have you ever encountered a system so dumb?

Kiosk Experience 2

Kiosk ExperienceThe next experience took place at a Chili’s and involved the Ziosk. I’m not of a big fan of touching units like these because I am a germaphobe and there isn’t any cleaning supplies or schedule indicated (unlike grocery stores I go into and get carts).
We had a gift card with $20 on it and decided to use it up and went to Chili’s. I had the Rib Eye steak (which reminded me of trip I once took to Abuja) but the steak was fine.
We went to pay and I grabbed the waitress and asked if she would bring the check and take care of us. Gift cards always introduce extra variable into process and I knew how long it would take to complete. I figured 5 minutes in time to catch the news I wanted to see.
Start the clock. It’s 6:00pm.
She asked me if I wanted to use Ziosk and I said not really and she asked if I was sure and I said ok.
The bill came to $37 and the Ziosk took my gift card just fine though I had to swipe it on the likely dirty card swipe three times. It said Fine and I added a $7 tip, said ok and 30 secs later it started to print my receipt out.
I was surprised since I figured there was another $24 to account for.
For a brief moment I considered just walking out and considering it done and maybe I had more on the card than I thought. People like to think they have more money than they have as a rule.
But the print got stuck halfway thru and the red light started flashing. About 4 minutes later the waitress showed up and she said she’d take care of it. I mentioned I was pretty sure I only had $21 on the gift card. She flipped the Ziosk over and opened it up where the printer was and left it on the table.
A few minutes later she came back with receipt for $37. Meanwhile the manager stopped by and wanted to make sure there was no confusion.
My wife looked at her watch and said she had cash so we got that out and waiting for the waitress to return and we just counted out the balance and then added the tip and gave her the money.
Time: 6:20

Kiosk Experience 3

And then there is technical failure. Below is a McDonalds screen on the outdoor ordering kiosk. I believe this was in Los Angeles California. You can see the burnout spots. When an LCD overheats in the sun it goes isotropic. If it happens enough it cannot recover and those pixels die. This monitor is literally fried in those zones.

mcdonalds outdoor kiosk screen


Kiosk Experience 4 “Not So Bad?”

And then there was Australia this week and McDonalds kiosk hack.
In the video, they order 10 burgers for $1 each using the kiosks. Then, they remove the meat from the ten burgers, which discounts each of the burgers by $1.10—leaving enough surplus to cover the cost of a regularly priced burger at McDonald’s.

Travel and Tourism Kiosks – 4 Ways Digital Kiosks Are Simplifying

As the seasons change, the weather gets warmer, and the school year comes to a close yet again, another vacation season is just around the corner. And according to a recent travel survey by AAA, nearly 100 million Americans are planning to participate this year.

The travel and tourism industry, which brought in more than $100 billion in the U.S. alone during the summer of 2017, continues to grow and flourish as Americans continue to make vacationing a priority. However, as the industry and the influx of travelers continues to grow, so does the demand for assistance, information, and other services during their stay—making the need for self-service solutions greater than ever before.

Designed with simplification in mind, self-service digital kiosks can help provide travelers with the information and services they need to allow them to enjoy their hard earned time away. After all, that’s what vacationing is all about, right?

Here are four ways digital kiosks are doing just that:

Car Rental

While not all vacations require a flight, for those that do, travelers’ first stop after they land at their destination is typically at the car rental counter. Designed to reduce long wait times and help kickstart vacations on a positive note, car rental kiosks allow drivers to check-in, select, pay for, and upgrade their rental car selection—all from the kiosk. Drivers receive a printed receipt to take to the counter to retrieve their keys, and then they’re directed to go pick up their car—it’s quick and easy.

Check-In

As the next logical step, travelers typically stop by their hotel to unload their luggage and get settled in. Similarly to the car rental check-in process, travelers can use hotel check-in kiosks to check-in and pay for their room and also retrieve their room key card. The check-in process can be completely unattended, allowing travelers to quickly check-in no matter if they arrive during the busiest time of the day or late into the evening. While check-in kiosks certainly simplify the hotel check-in process, they can also indirectly improve customer service. Employees who were typically tasked with handling check-in can be made more readily available to answer questions and provide assistance as it is needed.

Interactive Digital Signage & Wayfinding

Once travel and arrival logistics are taken care of, vacation can officially begin! However, whether it’s a traveler’s first or fifteenth time visiting a destination, there’s always something new to discover. From shops and restaurants to attractions, tours, and events, interactive digital signage and wayfinding kiosks can help travelers plan their days. With different categories, interactive information, map integrations, calling features, and print-on-demand capabilities, they can help users navigate their destination while also encouraging them to explore the surrounding area.

Visitor Feedback

While the conclusion of a vacation is often the hardest part of the trip for travelers, it’s also an opportunity to reflect back on their experience and to think about what they enjoyed and what they would have changed. Digital kiosks, placed in a hotel lobby or other central location provide a platform on which visitors can respond to surveys, and leave feedback, prior to making their departure. They aren’t limited to use in hotels, though. Restaurants, tours, and attractions of all kinds can implement visitor survey kiosks to help them make improvements and ensure that their visitors are having positive experiences.

From the first steps off the plane or out of the car, to the last steps out of the hotel, self-service kiosks are simplifying different aspects of the travel and tourism industry all across the board.

To learn more about Meridian’s travel and tourism-focused kiosks, visit www.meridiankiosks.com.

Kiosk Manufacturer Self-Service

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