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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
3rd place Product Advisor Kiosk at OfficeMax Inc., by Active Decisions Inc.
Best Financial Kiosk
2nd place Self-Service Branch at credit unions, by Ensenta
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
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.
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
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.