The Perspective 
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. 
Posted by: Peter Snyder AT 11:07 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  

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