News Archive 
SSKA Industry News
Friday, 31 July 2009
NCR Corp. today announced its SelfServ Checkout solution has won a bronze award in the 2009 International Design Excellence Awards, or IDEA, competition. According to a news release from NCR, the product won in the Commercial and Industrial Products category.
 
Jeff Cegalis, vice president of NCR engineering and development, says the recognition honors the work of many different contributors at NCR:
 
   
"This IDEA award is further testimony to NCR's leadership and competitive advantage in self-service technology, built on our years of experience and extensive knowledge base, both of which are unmatched in the industry. It reflects outstanding teamwork among talented and dedicated NCR employees in solutions management, hardware design, software design and human factors engineering."

 
According to the release, NCR's SelfServ Checkout is the only self-service technology solution named in this year's IDEA competition.
Posted by: Caroline Cooper AT 02:48 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, 31 July 2009
Vienna, Va.-based Lucidiom has introduced its newest photo kiosk model, the APM 3700.

Lucidiom president Steve Giordano Jr. says the new model incorporates features that the company's retail customers have indicated are important to them:
   
A major issue for retailers today is the look and feel of their shops, and the sleek and skinny APM 3700 is designed with that in mind. Space, security, aesthetics and noise levels were all considerations for this latest APM model. For instance, the APM 3700 is 30 percent smaller in depth and will accommodate just about every retail fixture. It also boasts cable control — all the cables and cords can be contained within its shell, allowing retailers to better merchandise their fixtures without concern for bothersome cables.

According to a news release from Lucidiom, the APM 3700 also features mounting screws for extra security, a built-in magnetic stripe reader, and a brighter screen and larger hard drive than previous models.
Posted by: Caroline Cooper AT 02:41 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, 29 July 2009
According to Minneapolis “Examiner" Mark Friedman, Southwest Airlines has added advanced features to its airport check-in kiosks. Friedman says Southwest travelers now can modify flight itineraries, change flights and add themselves to stand-by lists at the kiosks on the days of their flights.
 
Friedman reports the airline also has made premium services and upgrades available on the kiosks:
 
   
"Additionally, full-fare passengers who have unrestricted reservations can now upgrade to Business Select, Southwest’s premium booking category, which includes priority boarding, bonus Rapid Rewards frequent traveler credits, access to the “Fly By” priority security screening lane, where available, and a complimentary in-flight beverage of their choice."
Posted by: Caroline Cooper AT 03:07 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, 29 July 2009
Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Hypercom Corp. has announced that its Artema Modular unattended payment terminals are being deployed by three of Germany's major regional rail transit operators. According to a news release, the solution is PCI-approved and accepts debit and credit cards.
 
Christian Jurs, vice president of sales for Hypercom Germany, says the deal will help build awareness of the company's solutions in the transportation and self-service industries:
 
   
"This deployment strengthens our leadership position in self-service technology (and) our leadership in mobile rail ticketing systems and brings new levels of speed and convenience to hundreds of thousands of travelers."

 
Hypercom says installation of the payment solution in self-service devices was recently completed at key transit hubs served by Abellio, Rheingahn and Westfalen Bahn-operated trains. The technology will help speed ticketing in more than 370 trains serving more than 200 million commuters and travelers per year.
Posted by: AT 03:03 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, 29 July 2009
U.K.-based Zytronic has announced the incorporation of its Projected Capacitive Technology for touchscreens in an innovative new marketing scheme from Australia-based bCODE.
 
According to a news release from Zytronic, bCODE has created a concept that allows marketers to interact with customers via SMS messaging and an integrated MediaPlane self-service kiosk:
 
   
"The bCODE concept allows marketers to communicate with customers via their mobile phones by sending a unique encrypted code (or bCODE) via the normal short message service (SMS). This enables owners of standard handsets to access services that would usually require a Smart Card, RFID, or near-field communication device. The compact MediaPlane terminal, which incorporates the bCODE scanner, a printer and a touchscreen interface based around a 10.4-inch ZYPOS PCT sensor, is deployed either in-store or on-location. Customers who have received a bCOEDE on their phone can instantly access the service provided by placing the phone's display in front of the optical reader and making selections using the stylish touch-enabled display."

 
The companies say the system also provides valuable marketing data by feeding information on consumer choices (e.g., a free download or printed discount voucher) to the service provider.
 
Michael, Mack, bCODE's CEO, says the flexibility of Zytronic's ZYPOS product helped close the deal:
 
   
"MediaPlane is designed for use in public spaces, and we needed a cost-effective touch-interactive display that not only offered our industrial designers unlimited styling flexibility, but also the high level of durability necessary for deployment of the terminals — in frequently unsupervised areas — with total confidence. The ability of ZYPOS to operate through our purposely designed protected printed-cover glass, coupled with drift-free operation, contributes significantly to bCODE's customer return on investment. Using ZYPOS has also allowed to write our own customer touchscreen driver software. This compelling combination has enabled us to meet all our performance and functionality goals for MediaPlane."
Posted by: Caroline Cooper AT 03:01 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, 29 July 2009
Germany-based printer manufacturer HECON/Hengstler has announced a new 12-volt version of its C-56 thermal printer. In a news release, the company says the popularity of its original C-56 model led to the upgrade:

   
"The popular HECON/Hengstler C-56 thermal printer is used extensively in gas dispensers, kiosks, car washes and any other application where a robust, reliable receipt printer with a wide temperature range is needed. Now, due to customer demand, HECON/Hengstler has created a 12-volt version of this workhorse printer."


HECON/Hengstler says the printer is especially useful for mobile or battery-powered applications, such as remote or solar-charged kiosks.
Posted by: Caroline Cooper AT 02:58 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, 29 July 2009
The vending technology inside DVD-rental kiosks has long been a mysterious concept, particularly when considered in light of the often limited selection offered on the machines. Entertainment kiosk maker e-Play recently began a test rollout with Wal-Mart and touted its naked disc-dispensing technology, which it says allows for a selection in the thousands, versus the few hundred choices typically available from other brands.

DVDNow Kiosks Inc. says in a news release that it also often sees customers complain about long lines and a slow selection process. To speed up the rental process and give customers a glimpse of what goes on inside a DVD-rental kiosk, the company has equipped each of its kiosks with a clear glass front panel, allowing customers to directly view the available selections.

"Since consumers can immediately tell how many DVDs are in the machine and which titles are available, the selection process occurs faster, and line-ups are significantly reduced."

In addition to the glass panel, DVDNow's 250 Touch model now also features a 15-inch LCD screen for browsing selections and a second high-definition display that plays movie trailers.

Scott McInnes, CEO of DVDNow, says the faster rental process facilitated by the glass panel enabled the company to introduce these additional features:

   
"The problem with other kiosks is that you may hope that a particular movie is available, but you have to wait in line in order to find out. Kiosk rentals are driven in large part by convenience, and if you have to wait in a long line to rent or return a movie, the appeal starts to diminish. Speeding up the average transaction time has allowed us to introduce additional features, such as viewing movie trailers that are very popular with movie renters."


 
Posted by: Caroline Cooper AT 02:55 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, 29 July 2009
Display technology manufacturer Multek, a wholly owned subsidiary of Flextronics, has announced a partnership with Sensitive Object, a France-based user interface technology provider, to enhance Multek's touchpanel solution for its partners and OEM customers.
 
According to a news release, the agreement stipulates that Sensitive Object will provide product engineering and customization services to Multek, as well as production and development support for OEMs in the mobile, computing, industrial and consumer devices markets, and for kiosks and laptops.
 
Werner Widmann, Multek's president and CEO, says the partnership will help Multek provide innovative display technology solutions for OEMs long into the future:
 
   
"By integrating Sensitive Object's attractive, disruptive technology with our current expertise and production services in this area, Multek will provide a solutions platform to enable generations of touchpanel products. Sensitive Object's unique technology matches our aggressive requirement to develop cutting-edge touchpanel technologies, and we are eager to begin working with the Sensitive Object team and look forward to providing OEMs with our enhanced touchpanel solution."
 

 
Multek is based in Northfield, Minn., and has facilities in the Americas, Europe and Asia.
Posted by: AT 02:51 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, 27 July 2009
"Clear lanes are no longer available."
 
That's the message that confronts former members of the Clear registered traveler program upon their visits to its Web site, following the sudden news last month that the company was ceasing operations.
 
Clear began at the Orlando International Airport in 2005 and served 250,000 people in 18 U.S. airports at the time it shut down. The outfit claims on its Web site that its parent company, Verified Identity Pass, was "unable to negotiate an agreement with its senior creditor to continue operations."
 
A business losing funding certainly isn't unheard of in this challenging economy, but many former Clear customers and air travel industry experts are troubled by the manner in which the company handled its demise, as well as the factors that may have led, at least in part, to the closure.
Since Clear and Verified Identity Pass have shut down their Web sites and office — phone calls to a listed number were met by a voicemail and not returned — few people know for certain what went wrong. But there are still some important lessons self-service deployers can take from the Clear situation.
 
A self-service program must deliver on the promises it makes. 
 
The Clear program was supposed to make life easier for frequent travelers. Members would simply swipe their Clear card at the program's airport kiosk, which would then read their biometric data (fingerprint and iris scans) and submit approval for the attending Clear agent to take them through a special, expedited security line. But the company never was able to properly implement that model.
 
"The death of Clear has little to do with its kiosks and everything to do with everything else," said airline industry speaker and strategist Steven Frischling.
 
According to Frischling, the kiosk component of the process worked fine. But Clear's original model was such that registered members would not have to go through many of the usual airport security hassles, such as removing computers from carry-ons and taking off their shoes.
 
"The technology that they chose did not meet any of the TSA requirements, meaning that Clear travelers that got to the security checkpoint still needed to take their laptop out, still needed to remove their shoes, because you couldn't integrate Clear into a TSA line," he said. "So if you had a Clear traveler who purchased Clear to save time, fine, they're skipping the line, but they're still going through the same hassles as every other traveler."
 
Frischling says participating airports would have needed a separate, TSA-compliant security line just for Clear passengers, and the organization and airports simply didn't have the manpower to accommodate that requirement.
 
"They kept saying you could walk up there and leave your shoes on and leave your laptop in and not be hassled because you've already been pre-cleared — well, the TSA never signed up for that," he said. "They did not meet the vast majority of the promises that were made to Clear members."
 
Proceed with caution in uncharted territory.
 
Though Clear may have been a pioneer in the registered traveler arena, it seems to have been ill-prepared for some of the challenges of operating in the airport security business.
 
In July 2008, a laptop belonging to a Clear employee was stolen from what was thought to be a secured room at the San Francisco International Airport. The computer was unencrypted, which contravenes TSA regulations for registered traveler programs, and stored on it were credit card numbers, passport numbers and biometric data belonging to more than 30,000 Clear members.
 
The company claimed the laptop was protected by dual passwords and that the data wasn't compromised, but the incident still worried many in the industry and prompted a TSA order for Clear to suspend the enrollment of new customers until an independent audit of its systems could be completed. 
 
"They kept saying it wasn't compromised, but nobody knew that," Frischling said. "Dual passwords, from what I understand from a number of security experts, are fairly easy to get past. If you're an experienced hacker looking for credit card and passport information, chances are you know how to do that."
 
Because registered traveler programs are not mainstream yet, all the issues that go along with storing the biometric data of frequent fliers have not been explored thoroughly. And since the TSA and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security are not affiliated with private registered traveler programs, ensuring the security of that data is up to the companies themselves.
 
"They say they are going to wipe the hard drives and meet all the TSA requirements and the DHS requirements," he said. "But if you contact the TSA and the DHS, there are no requirements for how this stuff is supposed to be dealt with."
 
A little courtesy goes a long way. 
 
What may have been more surprising than Clear shutting its doors was the way it went about doing so. The company ceased operations at 11:00 p.m. June 22, offering only a standard e-mail to customers and a short explanation on its Web site. Clear also stated that its hundreds of thousands of members wouldn't receive a refund of their membership fees. Frischling says the least the company could have done was differentiate the e-mail from its usual correspondence with members.
 
"You know, if you're going out of business, and you're doing it in less than 24 hours, you probably want to have something that says 'urgent' or something," he said.
 
Andy Abramson, a former Clear member and frequent business traveler based in California, says he didn't even know about Clear shutting down until he read it in a newsletter from a travel publication. Because he is such a frequent flier, Abramson believes he achieved a positive ROI on his investment in Clear and isn't upset about the refund issue. But he thinks the abrupt announcement and the unavailability of staff to answer questions and address the refund and data-security topics make for a bad way of doing business. 
 
"I think that was poor," he said. "Normally a wind-down should have 30 to 90 days of grace for the customers. There are many people who either renewed or just recently paid for the service."
 
As Abramson alludes to, not only did Clear cease operations with no notice to its customers, but the company also continued selling new and extended memberships immediately prior to closing its doors. One San Francisco-based law firm has already filed a class-action lawsuit against Clear regarding the issue, citing "conversion, fraud, breach of contract, negligence and unjust enrichment."
Posted by: Caroline Cooper AT 09:35 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, 27 July 2009
In the past, Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings has said the company won’t be expanding its service to include DVD-rental kiosks, despite increasing competition from redbox and other kiosk companies. The Baltimore Sun reports a recent exchange regarding the kiosk issue between Hastings and an attendee to Netflix’s second quarter earnings conference call:

   
"QUESTION: Last quarter you said you had no interest in entering the kiosk business. Has that sentiment changed at all, now that it appears studios are warming up to the concept?

REPSONSE: No, not particularly.

The kiosk businesses are very good vending machine businesses. Coinstar (has) been doing vending machines on a global basis for a long time and they have a wide range of vending solutions and presumably they will come up with more and more vending innovations. So they're organized horizontally as a vending machine company.

We're organized vertically and we happen to be in DVDs now. It's DVD and (Internet) streaming as a movie brand. Netflix will always be in movies, not in various ways to ship or move discs or any other aspect. So the businesses are really organized quite differently and we have no incentive to go into kiosks. We are putting all of our innovation efforts ongoing into streaming."


The paper reports that redbox estimates about 5 percent of its renters are former Netflix subscribers.
Posted by: Caroline Cooper AT 03:12 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, 27 July 2009
The economic crunch is taking its toll on ATM manufacturers. Earlier this week, Germany-based Wincor Nixdorf announced significant income dips for the second quarter of the year, and now Duluth, Ga.-based NCR Corp. reports similar results.
 
At the close of Q2, which ended June 30, NCR’s revenue for the quarter was down 16 percent from the same period last year and down 6 percent for the year. But net income took an even greater hit, falling from $44 million, 26 cents per share, in Q2 2008 to $23 million, 14 cents per share, for Q2 2009. For the year, net income is down 91 percent, from $92 million, 53 cents per share, to 8 million, 5 cents per share.
 
Bill Nuti, NCR’s chairman and chief executive, says the company continues, despite its revenue and net income dips, to see positive results in certain areas:
 
   
"While NCR continues to operate in a challenging environment for the core end markets we serve, our solutions are generating results in the areas where our customers are investing. In the meantime, we are executing on our vision to lead the self-service revolution in customer transactions, as evidenced by our entry into the entertainment kiosk market, and we are winning business in other new industry verticals as well.
 
We have also taken steps to enhance our global competitive position through major investments in our infrastructure in both the U.S. and South America. These initiatives will strengthen our manufacturing and sourcing capabilities and further improve our innovation, productivity and ability to meet customer needs."

 
NCR says the downturn in the global economy and its impact on capital spending in the financial services, retail and hospitality industries is to blame for the year-over-year revenue decreases. The company’s revenues in the Americas was down 13 percent for the year because of decreased product sales, NCR says.
 
In Europe, the Middle East and Africa, revenue is down 25 percent for the year; and in Asia-Pacific, it’s down 2 percent. Overall, however, sales to the retail and hospitality regions increased in Southern Asia Pacific and Japan for the first six months of 2009 when compared with the first six months of 2008.
 
On a positive note, NCR says Q2 brought about a number of internal changes to strengthen the company’s global position through refined infrastructure and sourcing facilities across the entertainment, travel and healthcare industries.
 
NCR says it also plans to create a new global self-service headquarters and a separate clean-energy manufacturing facility in Columbus, Ga., for the next generation of the SelfServ ATM line. NCR plans to open a new manufacturing and research and development center in Brazil, where ATMs for Brazil, Latin America and the Caribbean markets will be manufactured.
 
NCR expects both facilities to be operational by year-end 2009. The company also expects that the facility in Brazil will expand over time to include self-service technologies for a variety of industries.
 
NCR says other highlights for the year, such as the company’s acquisition of TNR Holdings and a self-service deal with Delta Airlines, should not go unnoticed:
 
   
"NCR made further progress implementing its entertainment kiosk strategy during the second quarter. In April, NCR purchased TNR Holdings Corp., the second-largest DVD kiosk operator in North America, with the goal of expanding the NCR SelfServ Entertainment portfolio across the continent as part of its strategic partnership with Blockbuster Inc. In addition, another kiosk business in which NCR is invested, e-Play, has made strategic progress in its efforts to move beyond movies and leverage its self-service capabilities to enter the video game trade and resale market. Delta Airlines, a long-time kiosk customer, became the first airline to shift to NCR’s highly advanced TouchPort 70 check-in kiosk, which greatly accelerates the check-in process. NCR also saw the first deployment of its TouchPort airline kiosks in China, as China Southern Airlines deployed kiosks across several of its major hubs. The partnership strengthens NCR’s global airline check-in business and establishes a presence in the world’s second largest airline market and one where passengers exhibit a strong preference for interacting via self-service channels."

 
Conifer Health Solutions also began deploying NCR MediKiosks and the NCR Patient Portal across its hospitals and health systems.
Posted by: Tracy Kitten AT 03:09 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, 27 July 2009
Lynchburg, Va.’s Liberty University has announced the launch of self-order kiosks in three of its campus dining locations, just in time for the start of the school year.

"LU Dining is introducing Webfood, a Web-based ordering service. Complete with touchscreens, card readers and receipt printers, Webfood kiosks take orders and act as cashiers, which will decrease lines for customers. Kiosk orders are transmitted to dining staff, who can begin preparing the meals immediately. The system boasts that a full meal can be ordered in 10 seconds or less."   
 
The university says students also can use the Webfood kiosk to view nutritional information, meal deals and favorite orders, and that school dining administrators can use the platform to edit menu items and prices and track trends and customer feedback. The university plans to eventually expand the service to include online ordering, so students can order a meal from any computer and pick it up at their convenience.
Posted by: Caroline Cooper AT 03:04 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, 23 July 2009
Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium has implemented a $50 million renovation to its popular Oceanarium exhibit, which now features two interactive kiosks developed by media design firm Mightybytes.
 
According to news from the Digital Signage Expo, one of the kiosks features a maneuverable claw that visitors can use to pick up items such as shells and stones embedded with RFID tags that trigger education animation on the kiosk’s screen. The other kiosk is housed in a small submarine and allows visitors to select different ocean animals, which activates a sonar screen that produces an educational video about the animal.
 
Tim Frick, the founder of Mightybytes, says the company was thrilled to have participated in the renovation:
 
   
"When you’re working on a project-within-a-project such as this, there are so many variables to work with — it can get really complicated. But that’s also what makes it so fun. We’re proud to have had a part, even a small part, in this exciting renovation."

 
In addition to the kiosks, Mightybytes developed an animated video of a South African penguin habitat that is displayed on a 25-foot by 15-foot screen on a custom rockscape.
Posted by: Caroline Cooper AT 03:22 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, 23 July 2009
AVinci Media Corp. today announced a deal with Walgreens that will add aVinci’s photo DVD application to photo kiosks to 7,000 Walgreens stores nationwide. The product, called My Personal Movie, allows customers to transform their digital images into personalized DVDs in minutes.
 
Mona Kelly, divisional merchandise manager of Walgreens’ photofinishing and front-end services, says shopper response to the new technology has been “sensational.” She shared one example from a customer:
 
   
"Thank you for creating a beautiful testament to our family! I viewed it by myself before giving it to my husband, and I cried my eyes out! When the girls gave it to their dad, he cried, too! It turned out perfect! This is a wonderful service — especially for us novices, it was easy and affordable."

 
The product includes customization options for weddings, vacations, holidays and baby themes and popular music to lay over the movie. Each DVD can hold up to 100 photos and comes with a personalized case.
Posted by: Caroline Cooper AT 03:21 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, 23 July 2009
Earlier this month, Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell temporarily shelved the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board's plan to test a wine-vendig kiosk. The move looked to be an early sign of a brewing controversy, as the Liquor Control Board had already issued a news release announcing the pilot.
 
Now, though, Gov. Rendell has approved the test, and the PLCB will move forward with the pilot installation, according to an article from Supermarket News. The organization's goal is to determine whether it can use the kiosks to successfully prevent the illegal purchase of alcohol.
 
The device, developed by Pennsylvania-based Simple Brands, will use face-recognition technology and a breath sensor to verify the buyer's age and sobriety. Upon successful completion of the pilot, the kiosks will be placed in up to 100 grocery stores across the state.
 
The fate of the pilot will likely be followed closely by those in the self-service and supermarket industries, considering recent news of a Los Angeles organization's self-checkout and alcohol study and the pending legislation it has prompted in California. If passed, the bill would ban the purchase of alcohol from self-checkout lanes in the state.
Posted by: Caroline Cooper AT 03:19 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, 23 July 2009
News of Sony Pictures' distribution deal with redbox has been widely reported this week, and now Reuters is reporting that the movie studio is set to make $460 million under the terms of the multiyear deal.
 
Coinstar, redbox's parent, issued a regulatory filing Tuesday outlining the terms of the deal. In the filing, the company also noted that Sony will have discretion to terminate the agreement early.
Posted by: Caroline Cooper AT 03:16 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, 23 July 2009
Germany-based ATM manufacturer and IT solutions provider Wincor Nixdorf AG says the global economic crisis has had an adverse impact on its financial results for the first nine months of fiscal year 2008/2009. Wincor Nixdorf posted net sales of €1,729 million, down 1 percent from the previous year. The close of the third quarter revealed the greatest losses, the company says, with net sales falling 11 percent to €496 million. Net sales from business with banks increased slightly, 1 percent, in the first three quarters, but fell 10 percent in Q3. Net sales from retailers have fallen since the beginning of FY 2008/2009 by 4 percent, with net sales dropping 13 percent in Q3.
 
Germany remains Wincor Nixdorf's strongest market, with net sales for the first three quarters up 17 percent from the previous FY. Business in Germany accounted for 28 percent of total net sales. Net sales in Germany for Q3 totaled €149 million, up 3 percent from Q3 2007/2008.

Net sales throughout Europe fell 13 percent for the year, though Europe continues to contribute the largest share of net sales, 47 percent. Net sales in Europe for Q3 fell 21 percent.
 
Net sales in Asia-Pacific and are up 13 percent for the year, but down 5 percent for Q3. Business in the Americas increased slightly, 1 percent, for the year and were up 5 percent in Q3.

The results are not surprising, says Wincor president and chief executive Eckhard Heidloff:
 
   
"Slower growth at the end of the good first half had already made it clear that we would feel the effects of the global economic crisis. We will have to get used to a shrinking hardware market for the duration of 2009."

 
Delayed hardware investments from banks and retailers have contributed to the losses, Heidloff says. Thus, the company expects to continue focusing more heavily on its software and services businesses.
 
Net sales from hardware dropped 7 percent year-over-year, while software and services net sales jumped 10 percent. Hardware, however, still accounts for the majority (55 percent) of Wincor Nixdorf’s overall net sales.
 
Corporate realignment expected to help
 
Since September, Wincor Nixdorf’s workforce has dropped by 69 employees. The company has launched the ProFuture program to prepare and position the company for the current and post-crisis market. The program aims to reduce the company’s cost levels by enhancing internal operational efficiencies. 
Posted by: Tracy Kitten AT 03:15 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, 21 July 2009
Coinstar will announce its second-quarter earnings Tuesday, August 4, the company has announced in a news release. The company will hold a conference call the same day to discuss its performance and comment on recent developments. The call will be simulcast on Coinstar’s Web site and will be accessible following the live event.
 
Coinstar has been busy in recent months. The company acquired the redbox brand earlier this year, and the DVD kiosk operation has experienced impressive growth since. Coinstar and redbox are reportedly exploring new functionality in the face of increased competition from other DVD-rental kiosk makers.
Posted by: Caroline Cooper AT 03:28 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, 21 July 2009
Optus, an Australian communications company, and iCash Payment Systems Ltd. have teamed up to deploy Symstream’s wireless technology on Optus’ Australia-wide ATM fleet.
 
According to a news release, Symstream’s technology uses voice channel to process transactions faster and provides multiple redundancy links from the carrier networks into iCash’s host processor network, making the transactions more secure. The company also offers a remote management platform.
 
“ICash processes millions of ATM transactions annually, and the adoption of Symstream by iCash will reduce communications costs, significantly increase the speed of transactions and facilitate faster ATM rollouts,” said Kim Stewert, CEO of iCash’s Australian operations, in the release.
Posted by: Caroline Cooper AT 03:26 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, 21 July 2009
The nonprofit organization Secure POS Vendor Alliance, or SPVA, has announced five new member companies. The SPVA was created by Hypercom, Ingenico S.A. and VeriFone to encourage security standards compliance and the defense of security breaches in the payments industry.

The new member companies are Atos Worldline, Heartland Payment Systems, Moneris Solutions, Radiant Systems Inc. and Witham Laboratories.

Princeton, N.J.-based Heartland Payment Systems experienced one of the biggest data security breaches in history last year when its servers were hacked.

“Membership in the SPVA reinforces our commitment to advancing security within our industry (and) enables us to gain firsthand knowledge of current security threats and proactively shape future security guidelines,” said Antoine van Diem, general manager of technologies and products for Atos Worldline, in a news release from SPVA.
Posted by: Caroline Cooper AT 03:24 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, 20 July 2009
When one envisions the preparation it must take to put on an industry tradeshow or conference, chances are the scene involves much more than a single person.
 
Not so for South Africa’s first-ever kiosk conference. JustTouchIt 2009 will take place July 29-30 at the Eskom Convention Centre in the country’s Midrand province, and industry veteran Frank Nunan is the event’s one and only driving force.
 
Nunan’s resume features a long list of self-service industry experience in the South African market, including projects with the country’s Absa Bank and a groundbreaking partnership with IBM. He is now the founder and owner of The Kiosk Shop, an industry consultancy and services company.
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Though self-service has existed in Africa in the form of ATMs, the kiosk market by and large has failed to expand beyond the ATM in Africa. Nunan says he started seeing increased activity in South Africa’s kiosk market last year in the form of growing numbers of RFPs from the government, financial and retail verticals, but it was actually a sporting event that convinced him to move forward with a venture he had long felt was needed in the region.
 
“Much of the increased activity centered around the soccer World Cup for 2010, (and) it was this that was the final catalyst for the idea of a conference,” Nunan said. “I felt that with 2010 coming up, people needed to have a better understanding of what self-service technology was capable of.”
 
Nearly 70,000 people attended the last FIFA World Cup, held in Germany in 2006, and Nunan believes the event’s presence in South Africa next year may represent a turning point for the country’s self-service industry.
 
“(It) has prompted a great deal of interest in the technology, and self-service ticketing kiosks were used in the recent soccer Confederations Cup tournament here,” Nunan said. “Certain international brands which use kiosks in the U.S. or Europe are beginning to extend their self-service offerings into this country.”
 
Mike Lee, CEO of the ATM Industry Association, is based in South Africa and agrees that the region is ripe for expansion, particularly when it comes to financial self-service and transactional kiosks.
 
“Africa, the world’s second largest continent, is made up of 54 countries containing a total of well over 900 million people, about 10 percent of the world’s population,” Lee said. “The rising middle class in dozens of African countries is embracing modern technology. It is safe to predict that self-service retail banking will experience steady and even impressive growth in the coming years.”
 
What to expect from the conference
 
Nunan says his biggest challenge has been developing an impactful slate of content and programming for the event. 
JustTouchIt 2009 exhibitors
 
The conference’s exhibitor list is a relatively small one, but Nunan is more than pleased with what it will offer show attendees.
 
“This has been the most surprising element – when I set out to organize this event, I never expected the exhibition side of it to be bigger than a few of the major players,” he said. “I now have nearly 18 exhibitors and sponsors, with more still waiting to come onboard.”
 
Exhibitors include:
 
IBM Corp.

GijimaAst
Crystal Touch
Microsoft
Epson
Heartwood Craft
Euro Kiosks Network
Photo Marketing Association International
Digital Media Association
Wincor Nixdorf
Business Connexion
Questek Advanced Technologies
Laxton Touchscreen and Kiosk
CashAccSys
Online@ccess Internet Kiosks
Imajinn
 
“One of the functions I see for myself as a kiosk consultant and service provider is education on the merits and benefits of kiosks and self-service,” he said. “The industry is so small and so young in this country that I have tried to include as broad a spectrum of information as possible, in keeping with my basic theme of educating the market.”
 
So he’s tried to focus the show’s schedule of events on the basic technological aspects of the self-service world — kiosk management and interface design, for example — as well as a look at a broad range of possible applications.
 
“You will see presentations on photo kiosks, human resources, community deployments, retail and so on,” he said. “I have even incorporated some digital signage into the mix — an industry that is also growing quite fast here.”
 
His reputation as an industry pioneer in South Africa has enabled Nunan to line up an impressive roster of speakers and presenters, as well. The conference’s keynote speakers are Robert Porter, co-CEO of kiosk manufacturer Euro Kiosks Network; and David Ives, director of Microsoft South Africa’s Developer and Platform Strategy Group. Other presenters hail from industry giants such as IBM and Wincor Nixdorf South Africa, both of which also are sponsoring the show, as are Epson, the Digital Media Association, the Photo Marketing Association and several others.
 
“Being the first (conference) of its kind, the fact that major names such as IBM, Epson and so on are involved has given it much needed credibility,” Nunan said. “It has also indicated to me that I am not the only one who sees this market expanding. In terms of relevance to the attendees, the presence of such a diverse group of exhibitors will enable them to experience firsthand what is available to them in this country.”
 
Posted by: Caroline Cooper AT 09:36 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, 18 July 2009
Reuters: U.S. antitrust authorities said July 17 that they approved plans by Flextronics International Ltd. to buy rival Solectron Corp. Officials have completed their investigation of the deal without taking action to block it, the Federal Trade Commission said in a notice.
 
Posted by: AT 04:39 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, 17 July 2009
ATLANTA — SoloHealth, maker of the EyeSite vision-testing kiosk, has announced it will team with Eyemaginations, a leader in eye care education, to enhance the educational experience featured in the kiosks. The EyeSite kiosks offer free, simple and quick vision assessments and drive consumers to local eye care professionals for comprehensive eye exams.
 
"Our goal is to get people to think about their eyes when they think about their overall health, and to take the appropriate steps to minimize their eye health risks," said Bart Foster, CEO & founder of SoloHealth, in a news release. "In line with this goal, Eyemaginations provides a wealth of educational content and 3D animations, which will enhance the EyeSite kiosk experience to educate people about various eye conditions and diseases and encourage them to continue the eye health dialogue with an eye care professional."
 
According to the release, some of the kiosks are being sponsored by Transitions Optical Inc., Optos, and other leading eye care companies who demonstrate a mission to educate consumers on the importance of eye health.
 
Using the kiosks, patients answer a series of lifestyle questions on a touchscreen and are presented with various-sized letters to determine near- and far-distance acuity, all in less than five minutes. They are then given a printout with basic results and are encouraged to schedule a full, comprehensive examination with a local eye care provider who is listed in the system or located via zip code. The EyeSite system can advise the selected eye care practice to follow up with the prospective patient, or the consumer can contact the practice directly.
 
"Healthcare is changing rapidly, and people need a reliable and trusted means to receive information," said Jeff Peres, CEO of Eyemaginations. "By collaborating with SoloHealth, we are able to heighten eye health awareness among the public. We believe that this empowers consumers to make increasingly educated healthcare decisions, such as seeing an eye care practitioner for their specific eye health needs."
Posted by: AT 03:36 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, 17 July 2009
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Eastman Kodak Company and Kinney Drugs, a leading community pharmacy and retail brand in New York and Vermont, today announced the deployment of KODAK Picture Kiosks and KODAK Adaptive Picture Exchange thermal dry lab systems into all Kinney Drug Stores.
 
The agreement enables Kinney Drugs to operate its in-store photofinishing services more cost-effectively and create a more sustainable retail environment, while allowing its customers to enjoy top-of-the-line print and photo-creation products.
 
Kinney Drugs has taken advantage of Kodak's scalable suite of photo processing and photo creation solutions, selecting specific equipment configurations to meet each store's volume and available space requirements. Kinney Drugs will be leverage a combination of Kodak's Multi-Station Kiosk technology, Kodak's APEX dry lab system, Kodak Print Stations, and G4x order stations.
 
"Kodak technology provides us with the most innovative solution to offer customers the highest quality photo-finishing products and services on the market," said Richard A. Cognetti Jr., vice president of retail merchandising for Kinney Drugs. "Replacing our existing fleet of wet lab printing systems with faster, more cost-effective Kodak APEX systems and instant kosks will improve photo center operations and is better for the environment."
Posted by: AT 03:34 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, 17 July 2009
WLNE-TV, Providence, R.I.: The Massachusetts State House has plans to construct an interactive memorial, meant to honor local servicemen who have died in combat. The memorial will include a large-format, flat-screen display and an interactive touchscreen kiosk on which visitors can search for the names and hometowns of past soldiers. The state is expected to debut the memorial in 2010.
 
Click to continue
Posted by: AT 03:32 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, 17 July 2009
TEMPE, Ariz. — Phoenix Kiosk Inc. is pleased to announce the completion of a joint venture with the Arizona Beef Council to create a kiosk solution that focuses on education, nutrition, retail and foodservice promotion at the Pheonix Zoo.

“The Arizona Beef Council project allowed us to demonstrate several areas of expertise, including outdoor technology deployment, software development and interactive marketing content development,” said Alan Work, president and chief executive of Phoenix Kiosk Inc. “Marketing the health benefits of beef products using educational games is another great example of the nearly limitless possibilities of self-service kiosks and their application.”
 
According to a news release, the Arizona Beef Council partnered with Phoenix Kiosk to produce both the hardware and software for the project. The end result was the installation of two Pravannt wall-mounted kiosk units in the Phoenix Zoo Harmony Farm to promote education to children. The kiosks allow children to interactively receive education about the zoo’s animals while navigating through the many different animated games created by Phoenix Kiosk.
“Working hand-in-hand with Phoenix Kiosk enabled us to market creatively and directly to the people we want to reach,” said Anna M. Aja, director of public relations and marketing for the Arizona Beef Council. “This was my first experience with interactive marketing technologies, and Phoenix Kiosk helped to make the process very easy and the final product very effective.”
Posted by: AT 03:31 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, 17 July 2009
DUBLIN, Ireland — Ingenico, a global provider of payment solutions, has announced a three-year partnership with Ryanair, Europe’s largest low-fares airline, to develop the world’s first self-service passenger kiosks with chip and PIN technology to allow passengers to purchase optional services, such as priority boarding, when they arrive at the airport.
 
According to a news release, Ingenico and Ryanair will initially install the chip and PIN payment system in all its London-based kiosks and will continue to roll out the development across its Barcelona, Belfast, Frankfurt and Marseille bases.
 
As part of a three-year contract with Ryanair, Ingenico has provided a complete transaction-management system for the initial rollout of 250 unmanned kiosks, with plans to grow to 450 kiosks. It comprises the AXIS electronic payment system, centralized hosting of the transaction-management system and PIN pads. The solution enables the kiosks to be fully compatible with PCI-DSS guidelines, as well as those set by Visa and MasterCard for secure payments.
 
“Ingenico’s unique partnership with Ryanair demonstrates Ingenico’s commitment to being at the forefront of innovation and the technological advances in the sector,” said Philippe Lazare, CEO of Ingenico. “We continue to expand our international footprint and are dedicated to ensuring that customers and retailers have access to the highest levels of convenience, security and simplicity in their transactions.”
Posted by: AT 03:29 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, 16 July 2009
The Bangkok Post: In a partnership with CAT telecom, Thailand’s Suvarnabhumi Airport will install more than 120 high-speed Internet kiosks featuring 10 Mbps service for no charge to travelers. The project is part of the airport’s effort to rank among the world's top 10 airports by the end of the year, said Sereerat Prasutanont, the president of Airports of Thailand PLC. The kiosks will be available for both international and domestic travelers. Four terminals already have already been installed.
 
Click to continue
Posted by: AT 03:38 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, 15 July 2009
CLEVELAND, Ohio — Agilysys Inc., an IT solutions provider, and Wine Market Assistant LLC, a software solution provider, today announced a partnership to deliver a turnkey kiosk solution to grocery and beverage retailers. The solution will assist customers with ratings and reviews for wine, beer and spirits.
 
"As we continue to experience difficult economic conditions, it is extremely important for retailers to differentiate themselves from their competition and focus on enhancing the overall customer experience," said Paul Civils, senior vice president and general manager of Agilysys Retail Solutions Group. "Agilysys understands the issues our customers are facing today, and by partnering with Wine Market Assistant we are able to provide our customers with another great offering aimed at increasing cross-departmental sales and the bottom line."
 
According to a news release, the enterprise-class merchandising solution is multifunctional, suggesting complementary items, offering product ratings and reviews, proposing recipes or recommending a retailer's targeted promotional opportunities to customers. Using this solution, customers can either scan an item such as a wine bottle, meat or seafood or browse the kiosk to seek suggestions on product pairings or recipes. Additionally, retailers are able to utilize the solution to offer promotional opportunities to their customers.
 
"We are excited to partner with Agilysys to deliver this valuable solution," said Jon Holland, partner of Wine Market Assistant. "By combining our software offering with Agilysys' hardware, integration and support services offerings, we are able to supply a complete, self-service, multiuse kiosk solution to grocery and beverage retailers."
 
The kiosk’s additional functionalities include real-time updates on product information and the ability to provide store managers with usage reports detailing customer shopping inquiries and trends.
Posted by: AT 03:42 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, 15 July 2009
TORRANCE, Calif. — Showcase Technology, a provider of automated Internet and office services, recently announced that it has acquired Kiosk Logix, provider of NetStop secure kiosk software.
 
According to a news release, NetStop software is secure, reliable, easy-to-use, and tamper-proof, making it an ideal solution for unattended kiosks. The software’s Web-based database and remote-management tools give administrators complete computer usage and sales statistics. NetStop is effectively used in kiosks worldwide in the retail, hospitality, education, healthcare, human resources, entertainment and financial industries, as well as in the government sector. There are currently 23,000 NetStop licenses in more than 60 countries around the world.
 
"The acquisition of Kiosk Logix positions Showcase within the global marketplace and leverages Showcase's suite of proprietary products and services," said Paul Rajewski, CEO of Showcase Technology. "Showcase will continue to enhance Netstop's capabilities with innovative features in order to meet the future requirements of our new and existing clients."
Posted by: AT 03:41 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, 15 July 2009
DULUTH, Ga. — NCR Corp. today announced the results of a global survey commissioned from BuzzBack Market Research regarding consumer preferences for multichannel self-service offerings.
 
According to a news release, the survey’s results show that 85 percent of global consumers, and 79 percent of Americans, are more likely to do business with companies that provide multichannel self-service via a mobile device or at self-service kiosks. The survey’s results suggest consumers prefer the flexibility of self-service as they change their purchase decisions and behavior in the midst of a challenging economy.
 
Survey respondents were asked to reveal their thoughts and preferences regarding self-service options in a variety of verticals:
 
• 49% would welcome a self-service kiosk in stores to locate products.
• 43% would enjoy large-screen displays that provide product information or alert them to discount offerings.
• 76% were likely to choose a travel company that provides the flexibility to interact easily via multiple channels through online, mobile and kiosk solutions over one that doesn’t.
• 44% like the convenience and flexibility of a kiosk for self check-in and printing of their boarding pass.
• 39% also welcome the convenience of a kiosk for checking in and out of their hotel room.
   
Among American respondents:
 
• 40% said self-service creates a more positive view of a company’s brand.
• 43% said their likelihood to use self-service has increased over the past year.
• 70% were more likely to choose a healthcare provider that reduced frustration by providing the flexibility to interact easily via online, mobile and kiosk.
• 61% would also choose a provider who offered appointment scheduling and prescription refills.
• 54% would welcome the flexibility to book appointment on the Internet and obtain test results or follow-ups securely on the internet.
• 43% want to mange their personal information online.

“Our research shows consumers are seeking out those companies that can offer both value and service by adapting quickly to their changing needs in these uncertain times,” said John Bruno, NCR’s executive vice president of industry services. “Multichannel self-service is a smart capital investment. It provides the choice that consumers are demanding while being cost-effective to companies …. As consumers experience these benefits of self-service across multiple industries, they will come to expect the same levels of interaction in more aspects of their lives. ”
Posted by: AT 03:40 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, 14 July 2009
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Hypercom Corp., a global provider of secure payments products and services, today announced that one of Germany’s leading retailers with more than 10,000 outlets is successfully using Hypercom’s Artema Modular as part of IBM’s self-checkout system in five test sales outlets in Bavaria.

According to a news release, the first phase comprises 20 self-checkout systems. Following the pilot, IBM’s self-checkout system with Artema Modular will be rolled out to several of the retailer’s larger stores in Southern Bavaria. IBM Germany selected the Artema Modular in competition with other global payment providers.

"IBM’s selection of Hypercom speaks to the operational efficiency, flexibility and security of our technology and reinforces the leadership level we have established in Europe’s fast-growing unattended card payment sector,” said Christian Jürs, vice president of sales for Hypercom Germany. "This deployment is a major step forward in support of Germany’s retail sector, bringing new levels of speed and convenience to shoppers who want to pay for their purchases quickly and move on to other things.”

The Artema Modular, Hypercom’s best-in-class unattended card payment solution, was first introduced at the end of 2005 and now can be found in self-service machines in Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and North America.
Posted by: AT 03:47 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, 14 July 2009
VANCOUVER, British Columbia — PNI Digital Media, a provider of digital photography and media solutions for retailers, has announced several new initiatives related to its PNI Connected Kiosk.
 
According to a news release, PNI and Retail Imaging Management Group are working together to distribute the PNI Connected Kiosk to major retail customers across the U.S. Retail Imaging already has enabled PNI to sell the traditional touchscreen, terminal-based version of the PNI Connected Kiosk to Fred Meyer and King Soopers, the companies announced in April.
 
The companies now have teamed up to place the Web version of the PNI Connected Kiosk with Associated Foods Stores' online PixureThis photo solution. Based in Salt Lake City and with more than 500 independently owned supermarkets in eight states, Associated Foods Stores also will distribute a downloadable version of the PNI Connected Kiosk to PixureThis consumers.
 
Additionally, PNI has teamed up with Photo Gift World to launch the online version of the PNI Connected Kiosk to a new range of PGW customers, including small retailers, corporations, nonprofit organizations and schools. PGW, a producer of photo gifts, photo books and calendars for Canadian retailers, is now actively pursuing partnerships in the U.S. The PNI Connected Kiosk enables PGW to offer their thousands of photo gift products in an efficient manner to any number of new customers with ease.
Posted by: AT 03:46 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, 14 July 2009
MONTREAL — ITESmedia, a digital out-of-home solution-development and deployment specialist and creator of the IMMOmedia DOOH system, has announced the launch of IMMOmedia DIRECTORY.
 
According to a news release, IMMOmedia DIRECTORY is an interactive wayfinding directory that is made for deployment in office buildings and allows fast and easy access to building tenants and company employees. Users can search for a tenant or employee by category or name and obtain company information using the kiosk’s touchscreen.
Posted by: AT 03:37 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, 14 July 2009
SHENZHEN, China — Universal Travel Group, a travel services provider in the People's Republic of China, today announced it has increased the number of its TRIPEASY kiosks to more than 200 and significantly expanded its coverage in the Guangdong province in the second quarter of 2009 through strategic partnerships with multiple property-management companies. Universal Travel Group specializes in online and customer representative services to the travel service industry, offering packaged tours, air ticketing and hotel reservation services.

According to a news release, the TRIPEASY kiosk’s initial development and expansion phase, begun earlier this year, was well received by the public. Universal plans to rapidly distribute the TRIPEASY kiosks in Xi'an, Chongqing and Hong Kong throughout 2009.

"TRIPEASY kiosks will be an important market trend indicator and revenue source for Universal Travel Group in the future," said Jiangping Jiang, chairwoman and CEO of Universal Travel Group. "We will leverage our brand equity and awareness in Shenzhen to further expand our market share into other major cities with additional kiosk distribution."
Posted by: AT 03:44 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, 13 July 2009

The most common goal of airports and airlines is to make traveling less stressful for their customers. Touchscreen self-check-in at airport kiosks has proven to be a time-efficient option. However, John Vinelli, IT manager for the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, says there is still a great divide between the ways leisure and business passengers deal with their respective check-ins.

“Airports are struggling with what the airport process actually means nowadays, especially if you don’t check-in a bag,” he said. “I believe that, as time goes on, a larger number of people will be checking in at home, but the kiosk does have a benefit for people who don’t normally check-in. Airlines seem to be pushing away from dedicated check-in and towards self-service.”

With mobile phone check-in being developed as an option, Vinelli thinks that the traditional kiosk also should adjust to provide an improved service in the near future. “Ideas have been suggested where you can get information from your car hire company or hotel check-in at the airport kiosk,” he said. “If you can reduce the number of kiosks and increase the functionality to give them multiple functions, that makes sense.”

Web vs. kiosk

Doug Godard, senior manager of design & strategy, guest services for WestJet, says the company has experienced an annual boost in its check-in options via the Internet — a possible sign that traditional airport kiosks are losing their appeal. Indeed, more and more travelers are giving preference to Web-based check-in than actual airport facilities — a money-saving trend for the airlines.

“From an airline perspective, the Web is definitely the preferred method, due to its low development costs, ease of deploying new product features and operating costs,” Godard pointed out.

Since mobile technologies are becoming increasingly widespread, customers with the compatible phone capabilities can opt not to be so dependent on kiosks as they previously were — at least when they arrive at the airport.

“Mobile check-in with WestJet is still relatively small, but with the rapid technological improvements and acceptance among the various stakeholders, we feel it will grow in popularity over the coming years,” Godard said.

Although e-ticketing and mobile self-boarding passes are limited to computer and mobile phone networks, it is anticipated that kiosks will still play an essential role in other key areas of the process. “Self-tagging baggage is one product change that we are actively pursuing with our kiosk application, and with good results,” Godard said.

The International Air Transport Association’s Fast Travel Initiative, which is working on ways for travelers to check-in via a variety of common-use self-service, or CUSS, options, aims to make sure kiosks achieve their full potential.

“I think the airport kiosk will become far more important,” said Paul Behan, manager of the Fast Travel Initiative. “(What) we want to see in the future is the ‘bags ready to go’ project — the idea that you can process the bag yourself at the kiosk. It can read the passenger’s boarding pass, which would have already been printed at home, as well as printing your bag tag for you to take to the agent to be weighed.”

In a similar trend, Real Time Engineering, which has been investing in the next generation of mobile boarding passes, thinks that kiosks prevail when it comes to passengers with luggage. Alaistair Deacon, Real Time’s technical director, says that the hold baggage customer still must do some form or other of check-in through a kiosk during the bag drop process.

“Where I do see a changing role in the kiosk, I predict it will continue its role with passengers with hold baggage and will move to passengers doing self-tagging. The kiosk may decline, but it will play a key role in the final function in the tagging and dropping off,” Deacon pointed out.

Real Time Engineering and British Midland Airways are now implementing the “first pass” program in association with many of BMI's domestic flights. Rather than printing documents from the Internet, passengers can opt for the “paperless boarding process,” where a barcode is sent as a picture message, ready for verification at the security gate. Following its success, a further roll out to other BMI routes is scheduled for the next year.

As specialists are pushing forward with Web and mobile technologies, check-in without the physical kiosk is a rather improbable scenario, Deacon says.

“The kiosk’s role is not just about being a check-in machine — it’s no longer the first port of call but will be an integrated point for all aspects of booking. The physical things you can’t do on the Internet — that’s where the kiosk comes in.”

Continental Airlines is using the latest technology to provide self-service kiosks. It is the first airline to introduce the baggage service kiosk — used if a bag gets stranded. Continental’s customer self-service director, Jared Miller, said that the self-service kiosk has a crucial role to the airline and should not cease to be in the future.

“The self-service platforms are a really big component to our customer service experience, and we are continuing to invest in those platforms,” Miller explained. “The motivation for kiosks is that, while we’re always conscious of costs, our primary focus is to improve customer service and the kiosk puts more control in the hands of the customer. I think kiosks are playing more of a different role. Most people have already checked in when they get to the airport, but they will still use a kiosk for other functions, such as dropping bags and adding frequent flyer points. The kiosk here is a value-added feature that will improve their experience.”

Ross Falconer is editor of Check-In: The Magazine.

Posted by: Ross Falconer editor, Check-In: The Magazine AT 09:37 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, 10 July 2009
LITHUANIA — Technical engineers at financial institutions can now receive Wincor Nixdorf qualification certificates after completing training hosted by Lithuania-based BS/2.

According to a news release, the BS/2 training center is the first to launch in the former Soviet Union and the second certified training center in the world, trailing one already opened in Qatar.
During the training, engineers get acquainted with software and hardware produced by Wincor Nixdorf.

ATMs, ProCash NDC/DDC application software, banking self-service equipment management and an overview of the ProView monitoring system and Wincor's check cash deposit module are included in the training.

BS/2 offers training in more than 60 countries. The company introduces solutions for banking equipment installation and maintenance.
Posted by: AT 03:50 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, 10 July 2009
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Source Technologies, a maker of kiosks and secure print solutions, has  introduced a global partner program for original equipment manufacturers, value-added resellers, independent software vendors and distributors. The program, designed to give participants a competitive advantage, is built around hardware, software and service solutions for the specific needs of vertical markets, including retail, hospitality, healthcare, government and banking.
 
“Our partners play an important role in our overall corporate strategy, so it’s time we formalized a program that substantiates our commitment to them,” said William Bouverie, chief executive of Source Technologies. “The program is an opportunity to work more closely with our partners. When we work together to create solid business plans, we bring a stronger message to our customers. Ultimately, the objective is to collectively uncover new opportunities and to increase technology offerings.”
 
According to a news release, the program’s infrastructure includes new products that enable participants to achieve attractive sales and profitability levels, a dedicated account-management team, and a plethora of clearly defined benefits.
 
“We’re exited to launch this program at a time when many organizations are looking to strengthen the value proposition they offer to their customers,” said Mimi Bartholomew, director of alliance partnerships of Source Technologies. “With Source Technologies’ full-breadth of products, channel-centric philosophy and dedication to customer satisfaction, our partners will enjoy an advantage in any economy.”
 
Participants in the new program will have access to:
 
• Comprehensive training and sales education
• Incentive funds
• Sales leads eligibility
• Evaluation unit program
• Service expansion opportunities
Posted by: AT 03:48 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, 09 July 2009
PITTSBURGH — Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell has temporarily shelved the state Liquor Control Board's plan to sell wine via vending machines in grocery stores. The wine kiosks would scan a buyer's driver's license and use face-recognition technology to verify that the picture matches the buyer. The machines would also come equipped with breath detectors, to make sure buyers are not inebriated. The governor's office says the governor still supports the idea but wants to further examine the technology.
 
Click to continue
Posted by: AT 03:53 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, 09 July 2009
LOS ANGELES — AV Planners has announced its installation of digital display kiosks on the grounds of the Statue of Liberty. The monument now features Samsung 460DRn-A displays that contain a 46-inch diagonal LCD screen, designed to withstand the elements. The displays, as well as distribution and playback hardware, are incased in glass and carbon fiber housings.
 
“National parks and monuments are a market that AV Planners is excited to be entering into,” said Craig Heiman, president of AV Planners. “We are proud to be part of the new phase of this monuments history.”
 
The Statue of Liberty’s crown was recently reopened to visitors for the first time since Sept. 11, 2001.
Posted by: AT 03:52 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, 09 July 2009
DULUTH, Ga. — NCR Corp. has announced its No. 1 position in the hardware maintenance and support category in retail infrastructure support for 2006-2008, according to Gartner Inc.’s “Market Share: Infrastructure Support, Worldwide Market Share” database, published in May.
 
Gartner also reported that NCR ranked No. 7 worldwide in financial services infrastructure support and No. 10 worldwide across all verticals in infrastructure support for the same time period. More than 175 service vendors were evaluated for the report, and the database’s rankings are based on worldwide revenues.
 
“Maximizing system availability and managing total cost of ownership has taken on supercritical importance in today’s challenging economic and competitive environment,” said Christine Wallace, senior vice president of NCR Services. “These challenges are uppermost in the minds of the NCR Services teams that work with businesses around the world. Our dedication to making things easier for our customers, enabling them to move faster and helping them transform their businesses is reaffirmed, in my opinion, by these latest Gartner rankings.”
 
NCR offers a complete portfolio of services for retail, financial, travel, healthcare, hospitality, entertainment, gaming and public sector organizations. These services help businesses design, deploy, support and manage their technology solutions, whether those solutions are from NCR or other vendors.
 
With customer care centers and field offices around the world and more than 13,000 NCR consultants and technical support experts, the company manages nearly 80 million service actions annually.
Posted by: AT 03:51 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, 09 July 2009
BURNABY, British Columbia — TIO Networks Corp., a multichannel expedited bill-payment processor, has announced that Budget PrePay Inc., one of the United States’ largest networks for marketing prepaid products, will process TIO bill payments at more than 5,000 of its locations in 45 states.

According to a news release, Budget PrePay will leverage TIO’s transactional billpay interface to gain access to TIO’s expedited bill-payment processing capabilities, which include wireless, utility and cable bill issuers.

With TIO’s processing capabilities, cash-preferred customers will be able to pay their wireless, utility and cable bills at Budget PrePay stores throughout the country. Customers will pay a service fee to use the expedited payment services.

The parties expect to activate the locations on the TIO network this summer and implement a marketing campaign to create greater awareness for the new services amongst Budget PrePay’s customer base and build transaction volumes.
Posted by: AT 03:51 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, 07 July 2009
BOURNE END, England — Zebra Technologies Europe Ltd., a global leader in specialty printing and automatic identification solutions, today announced the immediate availability of the Zebra Kiosk Print Station. This all-in-one kiosk solution is a compact enclosure that can house a Zebra TTP 2000 series kiosk printer and a roll of media and has a mounting for a compact touchscreen kiosk computer. It can be integrated with a touchscreen out of the box, without the long lead time and high cost associated with a custom solution.
 
"As customer self-service applications increase over the years, retailers are keen to develop cost-effective solutions that improve store efficiencies and at the same time increase customer satisfaction," said Rod Rodericks, vice president and managing director, EMEA, for Zebra. "Until now, most kiosk enclosures had to be custom built, causing long deployment times, which has led to lost sales opportunities and a decrease in customer confidence. The Zebra Kiosk Print Station allows even the smallest retailers to realize the benefits of self-service solutions immediately."
 
According to a news release, the Zebra Kiosk Print Station can be easily mounted on a wall or pole, freeing up valuable floor and counter space. The Zebra TTP 2000 receipt kiosk printer is kept secure in a lockable enclosure along with the associated media. Retailers can choose from a variety of media options depending on their needs, including four different receipt label widths. The IBM AnyPlace or Motorola MK Series are both compact, interactive self-service devices that can be securely fastened to the Zebra Kiosk Print Station.
 
The Zebra Kiosk Print Station, combined with the Zebra TTP 2000 unit, supports a range of applications, such as extended aisle, wayfinding, deli self-order, gift registry, loyalty and discount vouchers and recipe/wine search.
Posted by: AT 04:01 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, 07 July 2009
The New York Times: Thousands of United Airlines travelers were delayed unexpectedly Thursday as the result of a computer problem that hit the airline’s self-check-in kiosks at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. Flights were canceled throughout the morning, and those that took off were delayed an average of 45 minutes. Although not a peak travel time like Christmas or Thanksgiving, the Fourth of July is one of the busiest periods for airlines. Because O’Hare is a major hub, the problems spread to other airports across the country.
 
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Tuesday, 07 July 2009
The Northern (England) Echo: An Asda supermarket in Whinfield, Darlington, in the United Kingdom was the target of hooded thieves Sunday. In the early morning hours and as store workers were occupied by a delivery, the perpetrators used pickaxes to break into the store and then emptied the contents of the self-checkout machines.
 
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Posted by: AT 03:58 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, 07 July 2009
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Upstart airline and airport specialist media firm InterAir Media has announced a year-long contract with Hotels.com for its airport media placement in Las Vegas' McCarron Airport, which is now on display. The approximately $750,000 media buy includes branded ticketing kiosks, advertising on the back of the boarding passes delivered by the kiosks, and wall wraps. The campaign will last 12 months.
 
InterAir estimates the number of consumer impressions will include 7.6 million tickets, two million views of branded kiosks, and 47 million will view the four wall wraps for a total of 56.6 million views in a single airport.
 
"We are very pleased to be able to show a major advertiser like Hotels.com that their exposure to the right audience is virtually guaranteed by advertising in this manner at an airport," said Drew Stoddard, founder and president of InterAir Media. "This firmly places Hotels.com's brand in the hands — and minds — of flyers."
Posted by: AT 03:57 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, 07 July 2009
ST. PAUL, Minn. — 3M Library Systems has announced the upcoming release of a new version of its library self-checkout station at the American Library Association’s annual conference, held July 9-15 at McCormick Place in Chicago.
 
According to a news release, the newest version of 3M’s Checkpoint EM Self-Checkout Station is value-priced to offer a cost-effective solution for the protection and efficient management of library collections. The company says the lighter weight Universal Self-Service, or USS, Station helps increase ease-of-use and reduce unwanted alarms to improve the user experience. The EM Self-Checkout can help reduce waiting lines for checkout, improve customer service and helps increase patron privacy. The USS Station is exclusively distributed by 3M Library Systems.
Posted by: AT 03:56 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, 07 July 2009
The New York Times: Starting this month, Sprint Nextel is sponsoring a movie theater marketing effort and placing kiosks in around 500 theaters nationwide. Via the kiosks, Sprint customers can scan a code from their phones to receive printed coupons, such as for a free upgrade to a bigger popcorn or larger soda.

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Monday, 06 July 2009

The old adage “The early bird gets the worm” has become truer than ever for those in the kiosk and self-service industry. And by bird, we mean tweet. And by worm, we mean follower.

Confused? You’re not alone. Although it launched publicly in August 2006, Twitter has morphed into the current mammoth version of itself, at least in the business world, only in about the past year. It's increasingly common to get a business card or e-mail from an industry acquaintance with that little @ handle or a link to follow her or her company on the social networking site.

According to digital measurement company comScore, Twitter had 32 million users globally as of April 2009. Even more telling, The Nielsen Co. estimates Twitter’s users grew more than 1,000 percent between February 2008 and February 2009.

So how is Twitter relevant to those in the self-service industry? Its uses vary from sharing and receiving information to keeping a finger on the pulse of consumer sentiment, but one thing is certain: The potential impact of engaging in it cannot be overlooked.
 
“You can’t ignore it,” said David Drain (@daviddrain), executive director of the Self-Service and Kiosk Association and the Digital Signage Association. Drain recently began using Twitter to share association news, post relevant what are you doing-type updates and point followers toward interesting articles. “Social networking can be an extension of your communication to the marketplace, and it can also help you find new customers and business partners.”
 

Twitter’s many uses

Different people use Twitter for different reasons. Many simply want to be engaged and keep up with the times — after all, this is the technology business. But if a user wants it to, Twitter can be a new avenue of communication, both with others in the industry and end-users, and it can function as a treasure trove of consumer insights.

Company information and updates: Similar to the association happenings Drain tweets about, some use Twitter to inform followers about what’s new with their companies. TIO Networks (@tiobillpay) regularly tweets about new deployments and expanded capabilities on its bill-payment kiosks, while Ed Crowley of OneSource Interactive (@kioskgypsy) often tweets about traveling for business meetings and attending tradeshows.

Additionally, companies can tweet promotional codes for consumers, like ePlay (@ePlaySteve) has done for its DVD and video game kiosks, and even conduct contests via Twitter through which users can win prizes — weekend rental vouchers from Hertz Rent-a-Car (@ConnectByHertz), for example.

News and information: Others use the site mostly to share interesting news bits. Francie Mendelsohn of Summit Research Associates Inc. (@franciem) and Craig Keefner of KIOSK Information Systems (@gokiosk) regularly tweet links to industry news. Those who report the news themselves also have taken to tweeting. KioskMarketplace.com (@kioskmktplce), the KioskCom Self Service Expo and The Digital Signage Show (@KioskCom, @Digitalsignshow), Supermarket News (@SN_news ) and many other media outlets tweet headlines throughout the day and point readers toward relevant content from other sites.

Connecting with customers: Perhaps most interestingly, Twitter and the various applications that complement it can be an excellent way of keeping a finger on the pulse of what the public thinks about self-service. It can be done using programs such as the popular and widely recommended TweetDeck, where users can set up columns for specific search terms and see every tweet that includes that term.
Twitter Lingo
 

Twitter and its users have cleverly coined their own phrases for everything from tweeting anxiety (twanxiety) to Twitter spammers (twammers). Some of the more useful terms:

Beetweet: A buzzing tweet; a “hot” tweet.
Retweet: The reposting of an interesting tweet from another Twitterer. This is widely regarded as a great way to attract followers.
Twapplications: Various Twitter-related applications to help users manage and optimize their use of the site. Click here for a list of the top 100 Twitter resources from SelectCourses.com.
TweetCloud: An app that allows users to create a word cloud from a public Twitter user stream or words they choose to input.
TinyTwitter: A Twitter app that works with any Windows Mobile Pocket PC or smart phone.

Source: www.Twittonary.com

For instance, KioskMarketplace.com uses TweetDeck to keep an eye on what consumers think of self-checkout. The tweets range from glowing reviews of grocery store systems to scathing rants about malfunctions and long lines. Regardless of their content, though, keeping up with end-users’ tweets lets businesses know what consumers like and dislike. And it also can be a way to make them feel connected to the companies behind the technology — all it takes is a retweet. Kirk Nelson of ArcaTech Systems (@ArcaTechOEM) regularly replies to and retweets consumers’ comments about self-service technology, whether they’re positive or negative.

Dos and don’ts

For all its benefits, social networking still can be a nebulous and intimidating concept, so for the business that is getting into Twitter, it’s wise to heed a few tips and tricks. 

Connie Chesner, vice president and director of discovery at brandMIND Research Group (@brandMINDRes), offers a list of “dos and don’ts” for business Twitterers. She suggests they “aim for a healthy mix of education, entertainment and promotion” in their tweets and “provide exclusive benefits and promotions just for Twitter users.” However, she says it’s important not to concentrate too much on promoting a company or product. “Don’t be overly promotional. Mix promotional content with other content,” she said. A few more of Chesner’s tips:

• Take time to thank loyal customers and express gratitude when they give you positive buzz via Twitter.
• Don’t over-tweet. Create a schedule to tweet at peak times of the day to reach the largest audience possible.
• Follow others in the industry who are thought leaders.
• Engage in conversation, both with end-users and others in the industry.
• Add personality to tweets, but don’t get too personal.
• Make sure tweets reflect your brand identity and consistently represent what you hope to convey about your company. “This is important when you have more than one person managing your Twitter account,” Chesner said.
• Retweet posts from others when you find them relevant.

Posted by: Caroline Cooper AT 09:38 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, 02 July 2009
The Associated Press: Since February of this year, prisoners at Indiana’s Rockville Correctional Facility have been able to conduct visits with loved ones using kiosks with videophone capability. Through the system, developed by Florida-based JPay, approved visitors can schedule and pay for visits online from their home. Inmates simply log into the kiosk and use its video camera and phone to speak to their visitors, who they can see on its screen. Prison officials say the virtual visits can be less expensive, less time-consuming and more convenient for prison visitors.
 
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Posted by: AT 04:03 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, 01 July 2009
TEMPE, Ariz. — Phoenix Kiosk Inc., an Arizona-based self-service hardware and software developer, today announced the launch of the Celsius kiosk model, the first in a series of outdoor kiosks manufactured by the company.
 
According to a news release, the Celsius can be used in extreme temperatures, enabling self-service and digital signage applications to be placed in a wide variety of outdoor settings. The ruggedized unit can withstand environments ranging from 32 deg. F to 110 deg. F, all while still being fully functional for public use. The Celsius is built with features such as weatherproof speakers and a viewing-area visor, allowing it to be placed in high-traffic outdoor areas without the fear of weather damage.
 
“The Celsius is a breakthrough for our company” said Alan Work, CEO of Phoenix Kiosk Inc. “The market for outdoor kiosks continues to grow, and Phoenix Kiosk is excited to be setting yet another trend in the kiosk and self-service market. The Celsius will change the way people think of open-air kiosks from both a cost perspective and a style perspective.”
Posted by: AT 04:06 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, 01 July 2009
MILFORD, Conn. — EAO Switch, a global supplier of human machine interface systems and components, today announced a line of new options for its Series 61 industrial actuators. The new components provide ergonomic and performance-enhancing solutions for new and existing panels in most industrial environments.
 
According to a news release, the new product offerings include flush-mounting actuators, available in standard mounting sizes and with the ability to be fitted with different illuminated lenses to create an attractive halo-style glow, laser-engraved symbol or central dot. These illuminated symbols enhance the aesthetic design of a control panel and improve industrial ergonomics.
 
An aluminum dome lens also is available in blue, green and red and is ideal for public use applications that require an attractive pushbutton to focus the user’s attention. The company also offers a 30mm mushroom-head pushbutton that is useful for palm-push operation switches, which are found on emergency-help points and access control machines.
Posted by: AT 04:05 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, 01 July 2009
MUMBAI, India — Hashtech, a self-service applications provider, has announced the launch of its Nano line of kiosks. According to a news release, the kiosks are specifically designed for the Indian environment, are rugged so as to withstand extreme conditions and incorporate advanced technology, including thin client and Atom processors. The company claims the kiosks cost between 50 percent and 60 percent less than other kiosks in the market.
 
“We have been able to achieve these prices by taking advantage of new technologies like thin client and the Atom series of processors,” said Harish Sukhwal of Hashtech. “Apart from the low cost of acquisition, the new kiosks also have low overall cost of operation due to their frugality in consuming power.”
 
The four machines launched today include the HSK Nano DW 0901, the HSK Nano DF 0911, the HSK Nano ZW 0921 and the HSK Nano ZF 0931.
Posted by: AT 04:04 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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