|| The Perspective
Friday, 13 February 2015
Vice President New Business Development - Displays/Merchandisers
Frank Mayer and Associates
With more than 20 years of experience at trade shows, I have attended more than 100 shows. While each show is different, I seem to always take a similar approach to each one.
I’d like to share my 7-part game plan for playing the trade show field with you. Hopefully, this rulebook helps you accomplish your goals in an efficient manner.
1. Know the Playbook: Almost all trade shows have a Pre-Show Planner on their web site. These planners can assist your company in tailoring your game plan for the show.
The amount of companies exhibiting at a show is overwhelming. You want to know which of your targets will be there before the show kicks off so that you avoid leaving a prospect without coverage. At the same time, you don’t want to rush the passers so make sure to work with your teammates. If you and multiple colleagues are going to the same show, be sure to know who will be tackling which exhibitor or event. You don’t want to double up – wasting your time and making your company seem unprepared/non-communicative.
You may be able to set up certain plays before the show by finding information on prospects via LinkedIn, the company’s website or even the trade show’s publication. Finding this information can enable you to leverage the meeting systems within the trade show organization. Consider establishing a quick meeting ahead of time to page through visual examples and capabilities.
2. Get your Jersey Ready: You want to present yourself so that your prospect welcomes you to their booth, is happy to have you on their sideline and introduces you to their teammates.
Dress professionally. If you belong to a world class company, present yourself as a world class individual. This includes comfortable shoes. You’ll need proper support to endure the entire game. My pedometer shows between 7 -10 miles/day at a show.
Practice good hygiene. You are talking to people and shaking hands throughout the day; so never leave the locker room unprepared – carry some mints and wash up after meals.
3. Train for the Big Game: Get the sleep and exercise you will need to keep you at your best. Trade shows are long days – you will want to be in top physical and mental condition.
Practice what you plan to say to each company. You want to be concise and direct; have a list of questions prepared that are focused on that company’s product offerings and be able to convey what it is you’re searching for. Be able to explain your company’s value proposition within 60 seconds. You will want to focus on the prospect but be able to convey your company’s value so that they remember you and what you are about!
Make sure to take care of yourself. Eat right and get plenty of sleep. Avoid staying out late watching the big game on Monday Night Football.
4. Stay on Your Toes: Be ready for anything from Warm-Up to Cool-Down
Always be prepared to show your value. Talk to everyone on the plane, on the shuttles, at the bar, at the restaurant, in the elevator. Trade shows typically have 1,000’s of people attending them. You never know when the big score is right around the corner.
Be creative. The last thing brands and retailers want to deal with is the “pesky” sales representative who is there to get business from them. You’ll need to present your company in an interesting way. Bring something of value that is relevant and captures the extensive knowledge base in their specified vertical market.
GlobalShop trade show5. Scope the Field: Know the show floor and detail your route so that you use your time most effectively and ensure you don’t miss a prospective company.
If you walk into a trade show without a path of execution, you will wear out long before the second half. Print a floor plan and highlight the people you want to see – making a route for the day.
Walk the floor several times. Try to come in and address their sales growth needs through the use of your company’s goods and services.
6. Watch the Play Clock: manage your time wisely, and remember – it is a marathon and not a sprint.
Manage your time from one company to another. Exhibitors are there to sell and they will keep detailing their products and benefits for hours if you let them. If they do not meet your requirements or help to advance your goals, swap business cards and move along.
Budget time to allow for follow-ups and re-visits you may need to get that contact or business card. Show respect for their needs and they will show respect for yours in return.
7. Review the Tape: Review and follow up with every contact you make.
When you sort through the business cards remind yourself of every detail that is important to fostering a lasting relationship with them. Each night at the show, write a review of the prospect’s needs and follow-up specifics.
Follow up with the individual. Don’t leave it up to the companies you met with to reach out to you.
Overall, remember – the prospect doesn’t owe you the time they are taking away from their important business at the show. Greet them with a smile, and leave them having a smile for meeting with you!
Wednesday, 13 July 2011
Since Customer Engagement Technology World is the Digital Screenmedia Association’s official trade show, we have all been working diligently to ensure DSA is actively involved with the strategies and plans for the show.
As we continue to develop a closer working relationship, there are many ways for DSA members to get actively involved in leading the industry and positioning DSA’s leadership throughout the show. Volunteer today
and make a difference!
Join us as DSA demonstrates why its membership makes DSA the leading association dedicated to bringing together the people, technologies, and expertise to help businesses capitalize on the changing marketing and technology landscape. DSA is an association designed to educate, connect and understand the application of these technologies in the customer engagement process.
Do your clients have a great story to tell? Have you recently completed any interesting projects? Join us as we recruit speaking professionals to educate attendees, and make their deployments more successful.
Did you know that DSA members get special rates to exhibit at CET World? And on top of that, a portion of exhibit booth revenue is donated to DSA for use in developing educational platforms and opportunities to grow the industry.
Whether getting involved in developing the educational conference, helping plan special events or promoting DSA and CET World, the opportunities abound.
Join us in this process and help improve CET World and make the DSA’s involvement in the event bigger and better each year. To get started, place your comment below.
We look forward to working with each and every DSA member.
CET World General Manager
DSA Executive Director
Tuesday, 24 May 2011
We have now uploaded photos of DSA activities at the recent Customer Engagement Technology World show in San Francisco to our photo gallery and to our newly created Flickr account.
In our photo gallery, you will see hand-picked photos from:
- DSA Advisory Board Meeting
- DSA Dinner Cruise
- DSA Member Lounge at CETW
- DSA Industry Excellence Awards
- Customer Engagement Technology World
If you want to see all the photos (and download ones of yourself), check out our Flickr photostream.
Monday, 28 March 2011
Public Relations Manager
About 10 years ago, digital signage first appeared in the Russian market. Currently, digital signage systems are widely used in metropolitan cities and are being actively introduced in regional areas.
Digital signage advertising networks in the Russian Federation are similar to those in the United States and Europe, but there are differences and varied features. The networks in Russia are mostly from the old generation, in reference to general concept and installations. The majority of the retail and corporate digital signage networks do not use content management systems; instead they utilize USB flash drives or CDs for upgrading and managing the systems. This method appears to work, due to the smaller size of retail and corporate networks compared to Europe and the United States.
The first digital signage advertising network in Russia appeared in the retail sector. Scala’s digital signage network was integrated in the Ramstore retail network. The Ramstore chain features shopping centers, hypermarkets and supermarkets throughout the Russian Federation. Multiple screens were installed throughout stores, displaying advertising content along with entertainment to shoppers. Now, digital signage appears in a variety of retail stores.
The extent of the digital signage expansion also can be seen in the corporate, information and safety sectors. For example, DigiSky, a digital signage network provider, launched a pilot project for the OBI franchise center, a home improvement retailer in Moscow. The OBI deployment included a display with corporate content, Bluetooth capabilities and touch screen kiosks.
In Russia, the main focus of digital signage is in the implementation of interactive technologies and audience measurement tools. Also, there is a clear interest in the innovative information medium, such as interactive kiosks and digital shop windows.
Satellite content distribution systems are another widely used feature in Russia. Due to the country’s massive size, the use of remote access helps minimize operational costs. For instance, DigiSky and City Fitness, a chain of fitness clubs, worked together to develop a content distribution system that is managed remotely from the headquarters in Moscow. Each fitness club has portrait-shaped digital posters and two channel audio devices. The content is then distributed remotely, so every club, even those thousands of kilometers from Moscow, feature the same content.
Digital signage deployers in Russia are eager to learn about the newest technologies and systems. The key Russian industry players include:
• Captivate Media
• Screen Media
The interest in the digital signage industry in Russia is rapidly developing and more international players are planning to start activity in the market, such as Harris, Haivision, XPlace and others.
Furthermore, digital signage events are starting to grow in popularity in Russia. The fourth annual Colours of Digital Signage show, organized by the AV Club, takes place on Sept. 6, 2011 in Moscow. For the past four years, this has been the only show held in Russia dedicated to the use and innovation of digital signage and audio-visual informational systems. In 2010, the conference was attended by 189 industry specialists; representatives of more than 15 companies, including both the world leaders of the market; and well-known Russian companies specializing in digital signage. The first day of the conference was aimed at the corporate sector, and the second day was dedicated to the issues of using digital signage systems in the advertising sector. Lectures presented at the conference described all the aspects of digital signage industry development.
The Colours of Digital Signage is the main Russian conference in the digital signage sphere. For now, there aren’t many digital signage shows or exhibitions in the Russian Federation. This year, Out-of-home Video Advertising Bureau (OVAB) Europe is scheduled to begin hosting seminars in Russia on a regular basis. In November, the Digital Signage Conference (DiSCO) will be a part of an Integrated Systems Russia show.
Tuesday, 15 March 2011
It’s official. DSA will be reaching out to 41,000 attendees at the CTIA wireless and mobile conference in Orlando next week. It won’t be the grand booth, large video wall and hyper-engaging video that we originally envisioned, but it will be a coordinated effort, sponsored by Symon and Intel, to educate the mobile industry on the value of digital signage and kiosks.
What will DSA be doing? The association will be conducting two educational seminars in the CTIA Emerging Technology Pavilion. DSA will be introducing the mobile industry to digital signage, kiosks, the Digital Screenmedia Association and to the Customer Engagement Technology World show. DSA will be talking about how digital signage can create “context” in the mobile world and how wireless carriers, mobile app developers, advertisers, and others can use digital signage to expand their reach. For more information on this topic, see the article I recently published in Mobile Commerce Daily.
Why no digital signage pavilion, video wall and compelling video? The answer is simple: not enough time. By the time DSA received the agreement of all involved, there was simply not enough time to put together the big splash that we desired. Rather than do nothing and wait until next year, we decided to do the next best thing to capitalize on the momentum and CTIA relationship-building that we already had going.
DSA, Intel and Symon are pleased to be on the forefront of establishing linkages and relationships between the digital screenmedia and mobile industries. We fully expect that we will be able to identify and exploit new synergies that will be of benefit to all involved.
Tuesday, 21 December 2010
As 2011 bears down upon us, I would like to pose one simple question to all the brands and venues out there, from retail to travel, healthcare to universities, government agencies to financial services and all the others in the world. What are your strategies to use digital media technology to engage your customers?
Today’s customers – whether consumers, students, patients or employees – are increasingly using technology to perform rudimentary tasks, from check-in to purchase and everything in between. Fifty percent of airline passengers check-in via a kiosk, the Web or a mobile device, with IATA forecasts predicting 70 percent by 2013.
The United States currently has a mobile population of more than 300 million and a mobile Internet user base on the verge of surpassing 100 million. A Lightspeed Research survey revealed that 49 million U.S. mobile users have engaged with an advertisement on their mobile phone. Amazingly, almost 20 million of those mobile users either clicked on the ad and went on to purchase an item directly or ended up buying it online. How will your organization utilize mobile digital media to engage your customers?
With more “on-the-go” consumers in the world, a new opportunity has emerged for organizations to utilize digital media to engage with these potential customers. From a university engaging with students and faculty, to a brand engaging with consumers or a hospital engaging with patients, never before has the opportunity existed to educate, entertain and engage with potential customers in their preferred time and location.
According to an Arbitron study, digital video displays in retail locations (including grocery stores, large retailer/department stores, drug stores, shopping malls or convenience stores) reach more than half of American adults in an average month. Research from PQ Media indicates U.S. digital out-of-home ad spending jumped 15 percent in the first half of 2010 and predicts a 14.8 percent increase in total ad spending from $2.47 billion in 2009 to $3.8 billion in 2014. How will your organization utilize digital out-of-home/digital place-based media to engage your customers?
Brands, universities, hospitals, government agencies and other organizations now can engage their constituents in a far more impactful way. From Facebook to Twitter and myriad other social media channels, people are connecting with each other as the social media wave continues to grow rapidly.
Research from Empathica Consumer Insights shows 40 percent of consumers are most likely to search for coupons or promotions when interacting with a brand via social media. And IDG Research Services’ IDG New Media Study reveals 64 percent of respondents interacted with a brand through social networking within the past six months, and this percentage is increasing. How will your organization utilize social media to engage your customers?
These statistics simply prove how important it is for your organization to integrate multiple technologies, creating a cohesive and impactful digital media customer engagement program. But they also beg the question: What resources exist, and where can you go to get the insights, strategies and technologies needed to make a successful program your first time out?
Customer Engagement Technology World, April 27-28 in San Francisco, allows organizations to understand the strategies and technologies necessary to better engage customers through digital media technologies. Attendees hear directly from leading DOOH advertising, kiosk/self-service projects and mobile experts representing major brands, agencies, venues and out-of-home media networks.
As the official show of the DSA, we are excited to offer more than 50 unique educational sessions that enable attendees to better understand the different customer engagement technologies available and how to best integrate them seamlessly into an overall strategy. Sessions include:
Digital signage/digital out-of-home/digital place-based media:
- What Agencies Need To Know About Integrating DOOH Into Campaign Strategy
- Understanding The Lines of Revenue: The Difference Between Shopper Marketing Budget and DOOH Advertising Budget
- Communicating Your DOOH Network's Performance Metrics To Current & Prospective Advertisers
- Converting Customers And Driving Sales Lift Through Contextually Relevant Content
- Understanding How To Use Available Research For DOOH Ad Buys
- How To Raise Funds to Start, Grow and Expand Your DOOH/In-Venue Network
- SPEED 2.0: A 2-part series focusing on Enterprise Media and Media as an Enterprise
Content strategy, engagement and deployment:
- Cooking Up Content provides agencies, brand marketers, network operators, end-user venues, resellers and integrators with real-world examples and insights, highlighting projects that have demonstrated positive customer engagement and led to improved ROI. Critical elements for creating content will be discussed, including:
o Content Strategies for Engagement: Understanding your Customer’s Mindset
o How to create engaging, contextual, ROI driven content
o Tying your content to overall campaign goals
o How to measure the effectiveness of your content
o Content refinement strategies
o Content Creation Strategies for Multiple Platforms
- Turning Prospects To Customers: Measuring The Action And Effectiveness Of Mobile Marketing Campaigns
- Integrating Mobile Into Your Customer Engagement Strategy
- Location-Based Mobile Marketing: What It Is, How to Use It, and How It Will Drive Traffic To Your Venue
- Aligning Self-Service with Business Objectives
- Intuitive Self-Service: Creating a Sticky User Interface to Increase Kiosk Usage
- Maximizing Your Kiosk Project's ROI And Value
- 6 Things You Need to Know About Accepting Cash In Your Kiosks
- 6 Things You Need to Know About Accepting Credit & Debit In Your Kiosks
- Integrating Electronic Payment Processing Into Your POS Kiosk
- Integrating Social Media Into Your Customer Engagement Strategy
- Location Based Marketing: What It Is? How to Use It? And How It Will Drive Traffic To Your Venue
Multichannel and business strategy issues:
- Best Practices in Customer Engagement Technology
- Creating In-Store Experiences That Matter – Tips, Trends & Technologies
- Creating Successful and Engaging Brand Stories through Emerging Technologies
- Inter-departmental Communication Strategies To Avoid Project Death
- Understanding The Critical Ingredients To Eliminate Deployment Headaches
- Why Technology Is Like a Good Referee - You Never Notice It
- How Connectivity Can Cripple Your Project: The Top Five Pitfalls to Avoid
- Meeting PCI Compliance
- Keeping Your Technology Running - The Overlooked Fundamentals of Servicing Your CET Projects
- Choosing the Right Partners for Project Deployments
- Utilizing QR Codes to Increase Customer Engagement and Action
To understand more about these sessions, to volunteer your organization to speak or to give your company the opportunity to meet with the thousands of pre-qualified organizations that attend Customer Engagement Technology World, visit www.cetworld.com or email me directly at .
Wednesday, 03 November 2010
As executives and managers, we all know planning for the future in an uncertain economic environment is a headache at best. But it’s necessary. And with the wealth of opportunities trumping the challenges in the digital out-of-home media industry going forward, now is the time to decide whether you’re ready to do what it takes to be among the leaders in this industry when the shakeout ends and the breakout begins, or if you’re ready to move on to challenges in another industry.
While the economy has begun to recover and media spending is accelerating, the likelihood is that most economic sectors are in for a long, slow recovery. PQ Media doesn’t believe this will be the case in digital OOH media. So, the question is, are you ready to take advantage? Are your company’s growth strategies keeping up with a fast-changing media landscape? What about technology fragmentation, platform convergence and shifting consumer behaviors?
If these questions are keeping you up at night, I plan to address them on Day 1 of CETW on November 10. Providing a first-look at PQ Media’s renowned Global Digital Out-of-Home Media Forecast (4th edition), I will share exclusive data and insights on 2009 and first-half 2010 actual spending, growth and trends; second-half 2010 pacing estimates; and I’ll walk you through my preliminary view of what lies ahead for digital place-based networks and digital billboards in 2011.
In short, I will offer session attendees valuable perspectives and insights, such as:
• Key trends by major platform, venue and brand category
• Economic realities of DOOH networks and billboards
• Growth drivers of DOOH and the forecast trajectory
• Mobile media’s impact on DOOH
• And an inside view of what major industry stakeholders are saying
So, if this is the industry in which you plan to stake your claim and make your name, I look forward to seeing you at 10:30 a.m. Nov. 10.
Patrick Quinn is President and CEO of PQ Media, the leading provider of custom media econometrics and the pioneer of alternative media research.
Wednesday, 15 September 2010
It’s hard to believe, but the third quarter already is coming to an end. With the fourth quarter looming large, it won’t be long until many business leaders are engaged in the annual dance we love so much - "the budget two-step.”
Yes, as the months bring that cool nip of autumn – or in the case of Texas, temperatures finally falling into the upper '80s – we begin looking at how we’ll spend our money in the upcoming year. For our company, and I suspect many others as well, one line item that always gets a lot of attention is our tradeshow budget.
Ahhh, the tradeshow budget ... that’s one category that pits our otherwise cordial CFO and CMO into a near life-and-death struggle for supremacy. On one hand you have Finance saying, "Why do we spend this money? What do we ever get out of this?" On the other you have Marketing saying, "You want sales? Then you need leads. You want leads? Then you need tradeshows."
Leads! Yes, that’s what it’s all about. Leads are the lifeblood for every sales organization. As Marketing says, if you don’t have leads, then you don’t have sales. But is the current approach to tradeshows the best lead generator for the digital signage industry? Do we get enough leads from attending the current crop of shows? Is there a way to get more? One would probably agree that the answers are "maybe," "no" and "yes" respectively. So what is the solution?
Before one can craft a solution, one has to look at the current tradeshow paradigm. In the current tradeshow model, we spend a lot of money setting up our booths, preparing our marketing materials and honing our pitches. But who is the audience? In many cases, the audience is a semi-qualified group of prospective buyers – the vast majority of whom are already generally aware of digital signage. In most cases however, we end up strutting our stuff for our competitors. Lots of fun, but not much benefit for generating leads. Thus, that is why the Digital Screenmedia Association (DSA) is working hard to select a specific tradeshow that will be the “The Officially Sponsored” tradeshow of the DSA.
In addition to an “Officially Sponsored” tradeshow, I would also propose that we also look at tradeshows in a completely different light. Rather than only "preach to the converted," I believe the industry would be better served by also showing its wares to those who are unaware of the technology and benefits of digital signage. Yes, yes, I know what you’re saying. We should exhibit to those who already know about signage and are therefore more likely to buy. But I think we’d all agree that the audience of those who know about digital signage is much smaller than the audience of those who do not.
So how does the industry go about presenting to this larger, unschooled audience? Well, the recent work the DSA has been doing with the Specialty Graphics and Imaging Association, or SGIA, is a perfect example. The SGIA sponsors one of the largest tradeshows for companies in the wide-format printing industry. Show exhibitors are companies that print signs, posters, banners, etc. for virtually every industry segment on the planet. The DSA has worked with the SGIA to sponsor a digital signage pavilion within SGIA’s October tradeshow. Several digital signage suppliers will participate in this pavilion.
Can you think of a better opportunity for digital signage exhibitors? They get to show their wares to two audiences: The buyers of print signs and the suppliers of print signs. When presented with the benefits of digital over print, the prospective buyers of print may choose digital signage, and the suppliers of print may choose a reseller relationship that may ultimately broaden the reach of digital signage. In the end, the entire audience of SGIA’s show represents a rich pool of new prospects.
Another example of an opportunity to reach a larger audience of prospective buyers can be found in the discussions the DSA is having with the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA). The CTIA sponsors one of the world’s largest tradeshows for the wireless and mobile industries. The CTIA is attended by more than 40,000 people, more than 8,000 of whom are from the retail industry. These people are looking for ways to leverage mobile to help their business.
The DSA is in discussion with the CTIA about sponsoring a digital signage pavilion within CTIA’s retail pavilion. "Where’s the synergy?" one may ask. Simply put, digital signage represents one of the greatest opportunities for retailers and other venue owners to promote the existence of their wireless and mobile services. With over 350,000 applications now developed for smartphones – many of which are developed to promote a venue's services or amenities - venue owners are starting to ask themselves; “How do I promote my apps? How do I let my customers know that my app can help them enhance their visit experience?” Digital signage does this for them. Digital signage also helps the exhibitors, many of whom have retail operations that sell mobile products.
In summary, tradeshows represent a significant cost to most of our businesses. The digital signage industry will be better served in the long run by two approaches: 1) having the DSA sponsor a premier tradeshow where the real users and key buyers can focus their attention and resources, 2) exploring shows that expose the technology to new audiences of both buyers and prospective channel partners. These two approaches in combination just may be the lead engine that the industry has been looking to exploit.
Charles Ansley is the president and CEO of Symon Communications Inc and serves as executive vice president for digital signage for the Digital Screenmedia Association.
Monday, 04 June 2007
In a span of three weeks I recently attended three major shows. Traveling between Las Vegas, Chicago and Essen, Germany, it got a good view of the state of the market in terms of self-service, kiosks and digital signage.
(For additional show coverage click here.)
Companies exhibited many practical yet innovative uses of self-service at Self Service Expo, formerly known as KioskCom. Flextronics’ Smart Auto Management (SAM) kiosk, for example, connects to a car’s onboard diagnostics and checks more than 2,000 fault codes and can make vehicle owners aware of applicable recalls or technical service bulletins.
I’ve heard self-service described as “turning the screen around” to the customer, and two kiosks I saw particularly reminded me of this point: United Tote’s convertible POS system specifically for pari-mutuel wagering and Apunix’s perfume kiosk for Nordstrom, which can be used by employees for assisted selling or by consumers for self-service.
Alamo Rent A Car’s new ad campaign is does something fresh: It highlights kiosks as a point of differentiation.
From what I’ve seen, I believe that many companies in the United States — especially retailers — are not asking themselves if they should implement some form of customer-facing technology, but when and how. Whether it’s to save costs or differentiate from their competitors, they don’t want to be left behind.
Although I think most would agree that the market is more mature in North America — its 11-year history of self-service and kiosk trade shows is a strong argument — the European market is definitely coming into its own. This year, Germany’s Kiosk Europe Expo featured approximately 120 exhibitors from 26 countries, attracting companies from across Europe, Russia, China, Australia and North America.
At the show, it was exciting to see that companies were trying new things. I saw a new form of gesture technology, a battery-powered kiosk on wheels, large-format interactive digital signage, even a kiosk that was shaped like a pet. I saw plenty of the elegant European design we always hear about in the United States, and I saw great software applications. One, called MusicGenome, could predict a user’s music tastes with 80 percent accuracy after having the user rate a couple of sample songs.
Though self-service was born in Europe, with the first ATM created in England, it has thrived in North America. The United States, in particular, knows how to mass-market good ideas. Still, neither shore is a clear leader.
For years, Europeans have used machines to purchase train and subway tickets, as well as pay for parking, while some U.S. cities only are beginning to move in that direction. On the other hand, pay-at-the-pump has been around for years in North America, but has been slow to catch on in Europe. In the United States and Europe many service industries, such as restaurants and hotels are slow to adopt for reasons varying from language, culture, currency and user attitudes.
On the digital signage front, while most of the industry is still involved in broadcasting, a growing number of digital signage applications are becoming interactive by using various triggers, be it touch, motion sensors, RFID, mobile phone or others. Nanonation showed off a 65-inch touchscreen application it developed for Royal Caribbean. GestureTek also continues to develop non-traditional methods of interaction.
From what I’ve observed, what the self-service and digital signage industries in the United States and Europe have most in common is that they are limited only by imagination. The technology is there, or will be soon. The best applications anywhere, however, are those created to solve a problem.
Monday, 19 March 2007
The writer is managing director, International Kiosk Group, for KIOSK Information Systems.
This was the first year KioskCom came to the Middle East venue, drawing a large crowd from all disciplines, from airlines, banks, retail and government agencies. The vast majority of attendees were decision makers and individuals very interested in employing kiosks and generated a great deal of interest in kiosk hardware as well as software.
From the perspective of kiosk acceptance, the Middle East is anxious and willing to use kiosks in a wide spectrum of vertical markets. Middle Easterners are not prone to wait in line and find kiosks as a useful tool in providing efficient service. Moreover, they are after quality kiosk solutions, having already been burned by Far Eastern companies providing relatively unsophisticated and lower quality kiosks.
In terms of kiosk implementation, the Middle East is in the early stages of kiosk deployments, though APTEC and KTS have positioned themselves as providers of kiosk hardware, installation, maintenance services, parts and remote monitoring services throughout the Gulf region.
Some of the larger booths at the show were those of APTEC, KTS and SelfTech. APTEC and KTS showed the full range of standard kiosk offerings from KIOSK Information Systems while SelfTech showcased their program management support solutions for kiosk projects. APTEC and KTS also highlighted their kiosk installation, on-site maintenance and kiosk remote monitoring capabilities.
APTEC showed photo kiosks, a PC gaming kiosk, public information kiosks and HR solutions. In addition, they had very attractive digital signage solutions for customer preview. The staff at the booth was most professional and knowledgeable.
Both APTEC and KTS were exceptionally well-versed in the unique aspects of the kiosk deployment cycle and were more than willing to provide the required consultation services, much needed in the deployment of kiosks.
There were many other smaller kiosk exhibitors and component manufacturers present in the 50 booths at the exposition. Friendlyway from Germany had a small presence while Slabb Kiosks of the USA and Ultimedia of France had booths showing their lines of kiosks.
Several booths offered single focus solutions such as self service photo processing. Among the most prominent of component suppliers was Hemisphere West of Europe who showed a wide range of kiosk components include bill acceptors, coin acceptors, bill dispensers and printers.
As mentioned earlier, the Middle East is relatively new to the kiosk world. Yet, the prospects are significant given the desire for kiosk solutions and the willingness to look at all possible venues for use of kiosks. Since there are no kiosk manufacturing facilities in the Middle East at this time, kiosks are going to have to be shipped into the region from Europe, the USA or Asia.
I anticipate that kiosk projects will initially be of smaller size and typically focus on self service or time savings applications. Application software developers will absolutely need to be both aware of and sensitive to the cultural issues surrounding the use of kiosks.
Wednesday, 24 January 2007
Those who didn’t go to the National Retail Federation show last week in New York missed a great moment for the self-service industry. Whereas at last year’s show self-service and customer-facing technology were asides to POS and back-end technology, this year they were everywhere.
The crowning achievement of the show was the X07 concept store’s Social Retailing application, built by IconNicholson. It not only uses high technology, it uses it to solve a problem, making it one of the best and most interesting self-service applications built to-date.
Digital signage was so pervasive, both from companies selling it and companies using it in their booths to sell other products and services, that it obviously has pervaded the retail industry and will become a ubiquitous merchandising tool very soon.
One of the best applications at the show didn’t get much press at all. Freedom Shopping’s RFID-enabled unmanned store solution, which I was shocked to learn is already active in the field, is one of those applications that really does do what a lot of companies say they could be doing. For example, we often hear hopeful things like “with our payment solution, you could even do biometric payment” and “with our RFID solution, you could automatically charge for goods when the person walks out of the store with them.” Well, Freedom Shopping is doing it. Twenty-one percent of their unmanned stores’ sales are actually fresh foods, which might seem hard to manage in a self-service operation. And they’re doing it for a price that I’ll just characterize as ridiculously cheap for what they’re selling.
As is often the case at tradeshows, it was great to see friends doing well. Netkey and Eurotouch both played key roles in the X07 store. Nanonation, a company that lives at the intersection of space-aged and practical, had their usual suite of forward-thinking interactive solutions. Slabb had a rebranded booth that was a little less like a kiosk-maker and a little more like a Gucci store. And a group of self-service companies, who aren’t yet discussing the details publicly, are involved in Circuit City’s 50-store live-assisted kiosk project.
Monday, 25 September 2006
On Friday, it was announced that JD Events, owner of KioskCom, will purchase the Self-Service & Kiosk Show from NetWorld Alliance. The agreement not only transfers ownership of the show, but forges a strategic partnership between the two companies.
NetWorld, which publishes online and print publications for the self-service and food service industries, including this website, had entered the show business two years ago with the acquisition of Kiosk magazine (now Self-Service World) and The Kiosk Show (now The Self-Service & Kiosk Show) from industry pioneer Lief Larson.
In 2005, KioskCom and NetWorld held two shows, which meant there were four shows in one year specifically for the kiosk and self-service industry. Some exhibitors complained that this was too many, especially since they were also participating in vertical market shows. Shortly after JD Events bought KioskCom from IQPC in mid 2005, NetWorld CEO Dick Good and JD Events President & CEO Joel Davis got together to discuss the situation.
Sorting out the complexities of this situation took time, but Good and Davis kept up discussions, culminating in Friday’s announcement. There were more details to work out than what might be readily apparent: media coverage, awards, conferences and the Association.
Good informed the officers of the Association via conference call two hours prior to the distribution of the press release. The officers welcomed news of the agreement as they could see the benefits to both the industry and the Association.
At the beginning of this year, JD Events worked hard to recruit deployers to join the KioskCom Professional Society, an organization announced at its spring 2005 show. Part of the agreement is that the 65 members of the KioskCom Professional Society will be integrated into the Self-Service & Kiosk Association to form the basis of a user group. This is not the only good news for the Association. KioskCom will recognize the SSKA as the industry’s Association and will provide a booth and meeting space for annual membership meetings and advisory board meetings at each of its shows.
As part of the strategic partnership, Davis will join the Association’s board on Wednesday in San Antonio. Lawrence Dvorchik, well known in the industry as general manager of KioskCom, will be joining the Membership Committee as it meets Wednesday night to discuss the plans and launch of our deployer membership program, which includes assimilating the members of the KioskCom Professional Society.
The self-service industry will now be unified like never before: There will be one recognized show (KioskCom, held twice a year), one recognized Association (SSKA) and the full force of NetWorld’s media to support both.
I look forward to seeing many of you in San Antonio. For those of you who are attending, don’t forget to stop by the Association’s booth to learn more about our new program for deployers and our marketing campaign, “The Best Service is Self Service.” Please also join us Friday morning for breakfast and the Association’s annual meeting. Prospective members are welcome to attend. There you will learn about the SSKA’s accomplishments over the past year and plans for the coming year.
Monday, 05 June 2006
Over the past three-plus months, I have been to trade shows in Orlando, Las Vegas and Chicago and have visited with companies in the Midwest, New England and (old) England. An observation: people tell me the grass must be greener on the other side.
They don’t use this expression, but essentially this is what they’re telling me. In the U.S., people have wondered out loud why America is slow to adopt things already seen in Europe. Well, I have a surprise for Americans: people I met recently in England thought that the European kiosk industry was generally behind the U.S. “What happens in America will eventually happen here,” I was told by Louise Janeway of Hemisphere West Europe. Case in point: the U.S. has had a kiosk show for 10 years and kiosk shows are now only starting to crop up in Europe.
So who is further along? I would say each is more advanced in certain areas. Obviously, citing the number of shows and how many years they have been in existence, the industry in North America is more mature than Europe. But that doesn’t mean Europe hasn’t been more innovative in some ways. It could certainly be argued that kiosk design in North America has been strongly influenced by sleek European design. And where would we be without engineering and manufacturing innovations from Asia?
It seems the U.K. at least is further along in protecting credit card users from fraud. On February 14, the U.K. government rolled out an initiative to implement chip and PIN (or smart cards) across the country. (Exceptions are being made for residents who have not received their new card and overseas visitors.) Several restaurants I’ve visited in the U.K. bring the PIN pad to the table so that the credit card never leaves the consumer’s hand.
According to a press release, fraud fell by 80 percent after introduction of smart cards in France. So while mass chip and PIN introduction in Europe is ahead of North America, some parts of the U.S. are leapfrogging to biometric technology (see related story: Misplaced fears impede biometric adoption). Jewel-Osco stores in the Midwest U.S., for example, have implemented biometric payment systems.
This “grass must be greener” theory also exists in vertical markets. While at the Retail Systems show in Chicago recently, a visitor to our booth commented that retail has been slower than other indutries to implement self-service. I also heard a similar refrain about the restaurant industry at the National Restaurant Show.
So which industry has adapted more self-service? It depends on your perspective. The financial industry really kicked this thing off with ATMs, which is the most widely-deployed kiosk, but did little other self-service until recently. Pay-at-the-pump, not usually seen as a kiosk, but is certainly self-service, has been around for decades. Check one off for the petroleum industry.
Who would have guessed that the airline industry, with all its troubles, would have been so pioneering in deploying self check-in? Or that supermarkets would lead the way with self check-out?
Different industries have different strengths and weaknesses. There are bright spots and innovations in all areas. You may find that you are surrounded by green grass in your part of the world or your sector of the industry once you take a closer look.
Friday, 21 October 2005
MEI announces support for new $10 bill
WEST CHESTER, Pa. — MEI, developer of unattended payment systems, announced in a news release plans to seamlessly transition retail customers to accept the soon-to-be-released U.S. $10 bill in kiosks, self-checkouts, and other self-service retail systems. The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) will begin releasing the new $10 bill in early 2006.
MEI will offer customers several options to upgrade their bill acceptors in the field so that they will recognize and accept the new $10 bill immediately upon release. Upgrade and pricing options differ according to the bill acceptor model. Most products can be easily upgraded with a simple software change using a handheld device. MEI customers will receive detailed upgrade ordering information from MEI via e-mail and service bulletins that will be issued to service centers, distributors and direct to customers.
Systems with either an MEI CASHFLOW SC or a Series 2000 (AE2800) bill acceptor can be upgraded by remote FLASH download through the interface or by using an MEI handheld tool (CPM/BPM). Most product lines that have been discontinued but are still in operation out in the field will be supported with this upgrade.
Based on its close working relationship with the U.S. Treasury BEP, MEI designed its upgrade technology to ensure that retail kiosks and self-serve systems could be updated to accept the new $10 bill even before its official launch. All upgrades should be in place by December 2005.
Subway selects Pro-Tech kiosks
ATLANTA — According to a news release, Subway has selected Pro-Tech as the global provider of kiosks for customer self-ordering and pre-payment within their chain of 24,000 Subway stores worldwide.
Subway has installed Pro-Tech kiosks in a number of Subway stores throughout the United States and in Latin America as a way of improving the customer’s experience by reducing the time customers wait in line, allowing customers to order at their own pace and to customize their sandwich.
The kiosks provide an intuitive touchscreen interface with large buttons, enticing graphics and photos of the food options, from fresh subs to salads, as well as a full array of toppings and assorted condiments. A pleasant and encouraging voiceover assists the customer with the ordering process, each step of the way.
Customers are able to order quicker, minimize order errors from poor communication, choose from a number of upgrade options and pay at the kiosk with their credit or debit card. In addition, the software, text and voiceovers are able to switch to a different language at the touch of a button.
Pro-Tech provides three types of self-ordering kiosks for Subway. The in-store version, mounted at the front counter is the most popular while the remote version allows for kiosks to be placed in "remote" areas, like the lobby of an office building, in a hospital, at a sports venue, so that customers can order from this "virtual" Subway store and arrange for timed pick-up or delivery. The third kiosk option is for the drive-up window.
The Subway kiosks are designed and manufactured by Pro-Tech and are powered by NexTep Systems software.
Infonox launches ActiveKiosk suite
SAN FRANCISCO — Infonox, provider of turnkey solutions for delivering financial and non-financial services to kiosks, has introduced its ActiveKiosk Suite, designed to simplify the transition from clerk-, teller- and cashier-managed processes to self-service kiosks. With the ActiveKiosk Suite, kiosk deployers can offer multiple fee-based services.
According to a news release, ActiveKiosk Suite can be deployed in locations such as retail stores, restaurants, auto rental outlets, malls, bank lobbies and other customer-facing areas. Based on their business requirements, deployers can brand, co-brand, integrate and select service menus. ActiveKiosk Suite interfaces with existing card and EFT payment infrastructure via Infonox's Active Payment Platform.
"By unifying applications, devices, backend providers and business processes we save deployers both time and money," said Safwan Shah, chief executive officer of Infonox. "Additionally, the creation of this suite addresses multiple issues plaguing the industry, including customer retention and compliance."
NCR announces European launch of end-to-end RFID solution
MoreRFID: NCR Corp. launched its end-to-end RFID offer, designed to help European companies achieve a faster return on RFID investment through a one-stop-shop solution, at RFID Journal LIVE! Europe, Oct. 10-12 in Amsterdam. NCR is the first company to cover the whole chain of RFID deployment from manufacturing, through supply chain distribution to back-of-store, center-of-store and through to consumer-facing technology such as contactless payment methods, self-checkout and kiosks.
News from the Self-Service & Kiosk Show
Self-Service & Kiosk Show announces partners, sponsors
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Source Technologies, St. Clair Interactive Communications Inc., Palm Desert National Bank and friendlyway have agreed to be anchor partners for the Oct. 17-18 Self-Service & Kiosk Show in San Francisco.
According to a news release, IBM, Zoom Systems and Whitech Software Solutions have agreed to sponsor the show.
Source Technologies, based in Charlotte, N.C., is expected to feature three standard Concourse hardware platforms. Toronto-based St. Clair Interactive plans to demonstrate its solutions for grocery and specialty retail, quick-service restaurants, telecom, digital entertainment and other vertical markets.
California-based PDNB Electronic Banking Solutions, a division of Palm Desert National Bank, will provide information about its cash services, including cash acceptance, currency management, multiapplication settlement for bill payers and reconciliation and kiosk balancing for ATMs and advance-function kiosks.
Public-access self-service systems provider friendlyway of San Francisco will exhibit its Impress combination digital signage/kiosk and its screen segmentation software, Composer, which enables multiple media to share one screen, as well as five other kiosks.
Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM will display its cart-mounted personal shopping devices and a range of self-checkout and kiosk solutions. Zoom Systems, another San Francisco company, will demonstrate Zoom Shops — revolutionized vending machines.
Sydney, Australia-based Whitech Software Solutions specializes in industry-specific and customized electronic point-of-sale solutions aimed at improving customer efficiency and profitability.
kiosks.org association announces name change
SAN FRANCISCO — kiosks.org association announced today at its annual meeting that it would change its name to the Self-Service & Kiosk Association, effective immediately. The association also announced that the URL for its Web site will change to www.kiosks.org. In conjunction with the name change, the association's Web site has been updated to reflect the industry’s overall evolution from a hardware orientation to a solution orientation.
Read the entire article
Swistak to depart Self-Service & Kiosk Association
SAN FRANCISCO — At Tuesday’s kiosks.org association annual meeting, it was announced that executive director Greg Swistak would step down from his position at the end of the month to take a position with Elo TouchSystems as general manager of its custom products division. (The name of the association was changed to The Self-Service & Kiosk Association at the meeting, as well.)
Swistak has been involved with the association since its first meeting in 2001. In 2004, NetWorld CEO Dick Good invited him to serve as the association’s executive director. Under Swistak the association has evolved from a volunteer organization to one with elected officials, it has become more active within the industry and has increased the quality of RFPs generated by its Web site.
Swistak said his stepping down is by no means "goodbye." "I don’t intend to stop being active with the association in any way," he said. "I’ll be involved with this association for a very long time."
Alex Richardson inducted into Self-Service & Kiosk Association’s Hall of Fame
SAN FRANCISCO — Alex Richardson, managing director of Selling Machine Partners LLC, was inducted into the Self-Service & Kiosk Association’s Hall of Fame at Tuesday morning’s annual meeting.
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Self-Service & Kiosk Show opens in San Francisco
SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 17, — The Self-Service & Kiosk show opens today at the South San Francisco Convention Center. The two-day event not only highlights self-service technology but also features real-world kiosk demonstrations. Show attendees are pre-screened buyers and key industry decision-makers involved with the purchasing or management of self-service/interactive kiosk solutions.
Tuesday, keynote speaker Mohsen Moazami, a retail executive with Cisco Systems, is expected to speak about connected commerce and how it is re-defining the shopping experience and challenging traditional retailing models.
Other speakers include Brian Slaughter of Dell Inc. and Mark Krogh of NCR Corp.
Slaughter is scheduled to head a seminar on why 2005 is the year for digital signage, how retailers can fund digital signage initiatives and what to look for in retail digital signage solutions.
In his presentation, Krogh plans to detail the key lessons one retailer learned during its self-service implementation and how those lessons can be applied across industries.
Self-Service & Kiosk Show underway with cutting-edge tech, seminars
SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 18, — The Self-Service & Kiosk Show opened yesterday in San Francisco.
Officials with NetWorld Alliance, which owns and operates the event formerly known as The Kiosk Show, said about 600 people were expected to attend, based on preregistration numbers and early check-in rates.
Monday morning was devoted to three tracks of pre-conference workshops, with topics ranging from ROI to systems integration to usability design. Speakers included NCR’s Mark Krogh; Doug Peter of St. Clair; Sylvia Berens of Apunix Computer Services; Alex Richardson with Selling Machine Partners; Summit Research’s Francie Mendelsohn; and Greg Swistak of the kiosks.org association.
Afternoon seminars were devoted to in-depth exploration of specific topics, and most of them were delivered to standing-room-only crowds. While classes were in session, exhibitors were busily preparing the "main event," and at 5:00 pm, that event roared to life. In a special welcome reception sponsored by IBM, the show floors were opened.
On tap for today: kiosks.org Association has its annual meeting, Cisco Systems’ Mohsen Moazami presents the show’s keynote address, panel discussions on digital signage and an "ask the experts" roundtable. Winners of the 2005 Kiosk Awards and Readers' Choice will be announced following the keynote address.
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Wrap-up: The Self-Service & Kiosk Show, day two
SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 18, — The second day of this season’s Self-Service & Kiosk Show started early, with the annual meeting of the kiosks.org association. And one of the key announcements made at that meeting was the official change of the organization’s name to The Self-Service & Kiosk Association. Also announced at the meeting was Swistak’s departure as executive director of the organization, effective Oct. 28.
A massive crowd turned out to listen to the keynote address, "Connected Commerce Drives Customer Satisfaction to a New All-Time High," delivered by Mohsen Moazami, vice president and global managing director, retail — IBSG, Cisco Systems Inc. Moazami stressed the need for an intelligent core structure at the "bottom" of a business IT model, one which would easily allow new channels to be integrated without requiring an entire new infrastructure.
Immediately after Moazami’s presentation, NetWorld Alliance vice president and associate publisher Joseph Grove presented the 6th Annual Kiosk Awards.
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2005 Kiosk Award winners
SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 18, — The winners of the 6th Annual Kiosk Awards were announced in a presentation Tuesday at The Self-Service & Kiosk Show, held Oct. 17-18 in San Francisco.
Winners were …
Best Retail Kiosk
1st place DekkoMatic-AmeriGas Propane Exchange at AmeriGas vending locations, by WebRaiser Technologies Inc.
2nd place Photo.Teller by Whitech USA Inc.
3rd place Product Advisor Kiosk at OfficeMax Inc., by Active Decisions Inc.
Best Financial Kiosk
1st place Express Bill Payment Kiosk at Verizon Wireless, by Source Technologies
2nd place Self-Service Branch at credit unions, by Ensenta
3rd place TIO Bill Pay and Financial Services Kiosk at convenience stores, by Info Touch and Palm Desert National Bank
Best Travel or Hospitality Kiosk
1st place Hilton Self-Service Checkin Kiosk, by Hilton Hotels Corp.
2nd place EasyPoint Xpress Check-In at Hyatt, by NCR
3rd place Virtual Visitor Center at North Carolina Division of Tourism and Department of Transportation, by Technology Portals Inc.
Best Entertainment or Gaming Kiosk
1st place Interactive Entertainment System at KC Hopps Inc./The 810 Zone sports bar & restaurant, by Nanonation
2nd place The Big Red Kiosk at Riviera Hotel and Casino, by Apunix Computer Services
3rd place Kid's Virtual Fun Center at Burger King, by D2 Sales
Best New Kiosk Application
1st place DekkoMatic-AmeriGas Propane Exchange at AmeriGas vending locations, by WebRaiser Technologies Inc.
2nd place The Informer Kiosk at Swift Transportation, by Netkey Inc. and Kiosk Information Systems Inc.
3rd place Product Advisor Kiosk at OfficeMax Inc., by Active Decisions Inc.
Best Digital Display Application
1st place Douglas Theatres Interactive Digital Displays, by Nanonation
2nd place The HomeOwnership Center on DisplayPoint, by SeePoint Technology
Best Demonstration of ROI
1st place Photo.Teller by Whitech USA Inc.
2nd place The Mazda Retail Kiosk, by Nanonation
3rd place SHOW/PRO Promotional Kiosk at Roomful Express Furniture, by Showroom Technology Inc.
Best Kiosk in Categories Not Named Above (General)
1st place The Informer Kiosk at Swift Transportation, by Netkey Inc. and Kiosk Information Systems Inc.
2nd place EasyPoint Xpress Payment at T-Mobile, by NCR
3rd place DukeCard Express Station at Duke University, by Sequoia Retail Systems Inc.
Lief Larson, founder and former publisher of Kiosk magazine
Francie Mendelsohn, president, Summit Research Associates
Tamara Mendelsohn (no relation to Francie Mendelsohn), Forrester Research
Peter C. Honebein, Ph.D., co-author, "Creating Do-It-Yourself Customers"
Gary Pageau, group executive, Photo Marketing Association
Judging comprised two components: evaluation of the devices based on written answers to questions about them, as well as on-site, hands-on use. On-site judging took place Monday, Oct. 17, on the show floor as well as in a room at an adjacent hotel.
In addition to the winners in the above categories, a survey was published online at KioskMarketplace.com, soliciting reader opinions on which kiosk application was the best of its breed. The machine that received the most votes overall was named the Readers’ Choice. That award went to the Express Bill Payment Kiosk at Verizon Wireless, by Source Technologies.