Self-Service Kiosk Solutions for Micro Markets

Just yesterday we shared an article via Twitter from businessinsider.com – An engineer solved the most annoying problem with ordering lunch at work. It’s an amusing article because of the seemingly inane problem the engineer sought to solve – making the lunchtime delivery process more efficient. The article was referring to lunch orders being placed and the time it would take the person at the front desk to find out who placed the order. Well, I guess when you think about it, it probably wasn’t as amusing or frivolous to the person at the front desk.

 
Especially when you consider that the company received between 50 to 75 lunch deliveries every day, which would entail front desk staff sending out company-wide emails to find out who placed the order. According to an employee at the company, “Stopping everything you’re doing to respond to an email notification takes more time and mental energy than most people think, and when the email has nothing to do with you it’s a waste of precious time.” This employee, Travis Kaufman created an app that allows employees who ordered lunch for delivery to subscribe to lunch alerts, eliminating the need to send emails to the entire organization.

 
Voila! Problem solved. Even the company’s co-founder and CEO was pleased, “Overall, it’s a way for us to maintain productivity and help our employees work efficiently”.

 
I think this is something that all companies hope to achieve – greater productivity and efficiency. This company found the answer in an app. But what if the need to order lunch or leave the building to go out to eat was completely eliminated? Wouldn’t that significantly increase productivity levels? Companies that incorporate micro markets as part of the office lunch/break rooms have definitely found this to be the case.

 

 

An Avanti Markets micro market

An Avanti Markets micro market

Over the years, we have worked with many micro market solution providers, by providing easy-to-use, self-service kiosk options for their operators. The design of the kiosk is similar to those found in other industries, but they must also have the following components:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A self-service kiosk at a micro market

The kiosk can be customized to accept various payment options

• Cash acceptors , debit and credit card readers to facilitate various payment options including cash (bills and/or coins), credit and debit cards
• Card dispensers and issuers that can provide company-sponsored membership cards. These are usually used as loyalty cards where employees can accumulate points and is an incentive for them to make healthy choices
• Low end thermal printer to provide receipts to users

 

 

Some optional components can also be used to provide added services including:

 

 

 

 

Loyalty programs can be incorporated at the micro market

Loyalty programs can be incorporated at the micro market

• A Keyboard and trackball – kiosks can be a great tool for administering surveys or providing general information
• A secondary overhead monitor can be used for advertisements, marketing, or for user instructions.
• Scanner – for coupons or promotions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Micro market kiosks should also be durable and vandal resistant, especially if placed in a high traffic area, and with over 2500 kiosks in the field, we use the feedback we receive to provide the most suitable options for our clients. Our kiosk options include the X6 or C7E kiosk and our recently introduced executive countertop kiosk model, the X2S.

 

 

Our X6 Kiosk model customized for a micro market client

Our X6 Kiosk model customized for a micro market client

The SlabbKiosks X6 Model
This model is ideal for high traffic locations due to its rugged, vandal-resistant, stainless steel enclosure. There are various size options for the standard LCD screen – 19″, 22″, 26″ or 32″ LCD (vertical or horizontal), with or without a touch screen. Protective glass can also be used if a client forgoes the touch screen option.

 
An additional overhead screen, as mentioned before, can be used to provide company updates, nutritional benefits, instructions or any other relevant information.
The X6 model is fully customizable, with a variety of options to suit the needs of any organization or business.

 

 

 

 

Slabb's C7E Kiosk

Slabb’s C7E Kiosk

The SlabbKiosks C7E Model
The C7E kiosk is simple and functional yet rugged, making it perfect for a micro market location. Made with stainless steel, it is vandal-resistant and can easily be used in high traffic locations. There are two screen options for this model – 19″ or 22″ LCD, with or without touch screen. As part of our lower cost kiosk line it is also an affordable option for micro market operators.

 
This model can also be customized to suit the needs of any business.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The X2S Executive Countertop Kiosk

The X2S Executive Countertop Kiosk

The SlabbKiosks X2S Model
This kiosk is a great, cost effective alternative for locations with fewer users or floor space limitations. Due to its size, this kiosk model gives operators the option of using it as a second payment station at a high volume location or as a standalone with some additional features at smaller locations.

 
The X2S comes with a 15” LCD with Sound Acoustic Wave (SAW) touchscreen, a bill acceptor, swipe card reader, barcode scanner, stereo speakers and an active cooling system, with optional components available including a DVR and webcam, headphones and microphone.

 

 

 

 

 

Micro markets have definitely become an option that more employers are considering. A direct result of implementing a micro market is a reduction in employee down time as the hassle and time wasted getting lunch out of the office is eliminated. It is one of the numerous benefits of having a micro market location. Learn about some of the additional benefits. 

Posted in Micro Markets, Self-Service Checkout Systems, Self-service kiosks | Leave a comment

Business Owners Continue to Benefit from Self-Service Kiosks

Self-service kiosks provide many benefits to businesses

Self-service kiosks provide many benefits to businesses

Last year we ended with a blog entry on the benefits of self-service kiosks, especially during the holiday rush (The Joy of Self-service Kiosks and Holiday Shopping). The article focused mainly on the benefits to customers, which should be the goal of any business – providing an enhanced service experience for their customers. However, on the ‘flip side’, self-service check out kiosks also have many benefits to business owners. We thought we would explore some of them in today’s blog.

 
Increased Customer Loyalty
Customers enjoy having a convenient, hassle-free shopping experience. This is even more crucial now with the advent of the various forms of technology that involve interactive self-service functions. Many shoppers are extremely familiar with these, to the point of expecting it as the norm for their shopping experience. Customers who value these services are more likely to shop at businesses that provide them with the convenience they seek, including self-service check out.

 

Knowledge is Power
Kiosks not only provide a straightforward checkout option, but they also provide a great opportunity for businesses to collect data on their customers. This can take the form of short surveys upon checkout or transaction statistics that provide purchase history for customers. This information can allow businesses to better forecast sales and create a more effective marketing plan by providing offers and incentives for particular products during a specific season or shopping period. Once permission is sought, the data can also be used to do further marketing to specific customers via emails or mail outs.
The kiosks can also be used to update customers on new merchandise, prices or general company information.

 

Cart abandonment isn’t only an e-commerce problem
We’ve heard about e-commerce sites having to deal with ‘cart abandonment’ – a situation where a potential buyer places items in their online shopping cart, but never proceeds to check out. The same can happen in a store, and many times the reason may be simply avoiding the hassle of long lines. A kiosk is a great start in preventing this, as they allowing customers to purchase their items in a more efficient way.

 

An additional advertising opportunity
What business does not appreciate any additional opportunity to advertise? Businesses can physically showcase their brand by using company colors and strategically placing their company logo on the kiosk unit, as well as have short ads playing via an overhead screen or on the kiosk’s main screen when not in use. It’s a great way to highlight the company’s products and services or provide company updates.

 

Simple implementation
Most importantly, kiosks are simple to implement, are cost effective and have low transaction fees. Kiosk management is also very straightforward and data can be accessed from any computer through an administrative portal.

 

Increased Return on Investment (ROI)
Kiosks eliminate the need to have a manned station, thereby reducing labor costs as well as overheads. Business owners can also increase their returns by providing additional services via the kiosk including online gift registries, loyalty card programs and an avenue to provide customer feedback or apply for vacant positions.

 

An article in businessbee.com highlighted the pros and cons of self-service checkout kiosks. In the article they cited statistics from Self Service World, which stated that “27,000 self-checkout terminals were shipped to businesses around the world in 2012. This growth is projected to steadily rise and 60,000 terminals will be shipped in 2018. Consequently, more businesses are choosing to integrate this system.”
This is no surprise, as over the years, more businesses have enjoyed and continue to appreciate the benefits of implementing self-service check out kiosks, while their customers benefit from the greatly improved service experience that they provide.

 

Posted in In-store Kiosks, Interactive Kiosks, Self-Service Checkout Systems, Self-service kiosks | Leave a comment

We’ve rebranded to SlabbKiosks!

I know it seems like it’s been a while since we had a blog entry. But we have a really good excuse…Actually it’s a really GREAT excuse because we just added another milestone to the many we’ve had in our 12 years in the kiosk industry.

 

 
We’re now SlabbKiosks! Since the end of last year we’ve been working assiduously to create the various elements for our launch, including a new logo and website. We finally completed it all and are happy and excited to present to you the new Slabb….SlabbKiosks and our new home www.slabbkiosks.com.

 

 
The official launch took place on Monday (February 23, 2015) after months of hard work. The decision came after much thought when we realized that despite being well known for our superior kiosk products and interactive signage, it was time for a change. It is hoped that the rebrand will allow us to continue to benefit from the continued success and name recognition of Slabb, which has become well-known in the kiosk industry, as well as define our brand and product offering even better.

 

 
We think the name change to SlabbKiosks now clearly outlines the company’s business line. But you can let us know what you think!

 

 

Our new logo

Our new logo

The new logo, comprises the company name, SlabbKiosks, our familiar tag line ‘The Public Touch Company’ and three cubes which represent the three factors that are crucial for any successful kiosk deployment – hardware, software and implementation/post production.

 

 

 

 

 

Users of our new website (www.slabbkiosks.com) can obtain more detailed information about the kiosk purchase process including the range of models available from us as well as our various industry solutions. The site also features some of our more recent standard and custom design solutions currently being used by satisfied customers.                  Potential customers can also request a quote or access our online assistant for further information. The site is user-friendly and well-laid out, allowing visitors to easily find the information they need.

 

 

 

We hope the change will enhance your customer experience with us. We are always happy to receive your feedback as we remain committed to providing high quality, affordable kiosks to you.

 

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Our Year of Kiosks 2014

 

Photo courtesy: calendariu.com

Photo courtesy: calendariu.com

It’s always good to reflect. Certain milestones make us more likely to do so, especially when a year has ended. We tend to look at what has happened, the good and the bad, hoping to replicate the good and learn from our mistakes, making a note of what we could have done differently.

 

 
I thought it would be good for us to do the same, as we had a few really good moments over the past year at Slabb. We did this as well last year, so I think we should make it a tradition. Don’t you? So here’s our Year of Kiosks 2014!

 

 

 

Avanti Markets
Over the years we have developed a great relationship with one of the micro-market industry leaders, Avanti Markets. Slabb has deployed over 2,500 kiosks for Avanti Markets so far, and as the industry continues to grow at a remarkable rate, we have committed to continue to provide superior kiosks to Avanti Markets to ensure the success of their operators.

 

 

 

An Avanti Markets micro market

An Avanti Markets micro market

We will continue to provide kiosks that not only look good and can offer high availability to the users, but that are also user-friendly and durable – features that are very important in a high usage environment such as a micro-market.

 

 

It’s a philosophy that has ensured a continued partnership between the two companies and is reflected in the satisfaction of Avanti Markets’ clients who particularly like the look of our kiosks, their ease of use and the low maintenance required.

 

 

 

Avanti Markets Operator Meeting
Avanti Markets also held their Operator meeting in December and we were pleased to be a Gold sponsor at the event. The meeting took place in Phoenix, AZ on December 3rd and 4th.

 

 

 

Avanti Markets Operator Meeting

Avanti Markets Operator Meeting

The company achieved a record attendance at the event with over 190 operators participating over the two-day conference, exceeding attendance of past years. Read more about the meeting here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Executive Countertop Kiosk is Featured by Avanti Markets
It seems that it was the year of Avanti Markets, as the company also announced that it would be featuring one of our three new kiosk models – the Executive Countertop Kiosk. The Slabb X2S is a great, cost effective alternative for locations with floor space limitations. It is one of the main reasons Avanti Markets chose to offer it as an alternative or addition to the traditional freestanding kiosk for which they are known.

 

 

 

Slabb X2S - Executive Countertop Kiosk

Slabb X2S – Executive Countertop Kiosk

The kiosk is being marketed to locations with 75 or more employees, adding a potentially larger install base and giving operators the opportunity to serve clients that may once have been considered ‘too small’. The traditional micro-market site usually caters to companies with 150 employees or more. Operators have the option of using the kiosk as a second payment station at a high volume location or as a standalone with some additional features at smaller locations. It was not surprising then, that within a week of launch, there were over 100 orders for this model.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Launch of Three Kiosk Models
The X2S, as mentioned above was one of three kiosk models that were launched for the year.

 

 

 

Slabb's New Kiosk Models: X2S; X4T; X6A

Slabb’s New Kiosk Models: X2S; X4T; X6A

The other two models were the X6A and he X4T. The X6A though sleek, rugged and vandal-resistance, as is the norm with all Slabb kiosks, is unlike any of Slabb’s other models. Ideal for self-check in, its design is versatile and can easily fit at any location due to its compact size. The kiosk comes with a 19” LCD display with touchscreen, credit card reader, barcode scanner, laser printer (b4600) and thermal receipt printer. The design also ensures wheelchair accessibility.

 

 
The X4T is a mounted version of one of Slabb’s more popular wall mount interactive digital signage models. Like the Q5, the X4T is rugged, robust and vandal-proof and available in any color with standard HD resolution and no external wiring. It comes with a 42” horizontal LCD screen display with or without a touch screen.

 

 

 

 

 

We hope to introduce a few more models this year. We are definitely looking forward to the year ahead and want to take this opportunity to thank you for your ongoing support as we continue to provide you with the best the kiosk industry has to offer in the year ahead.

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The Joy of Self-service Kiosks and Holiday Shopping

christmas shoppingIt’s that time of the year when your fingers tingle from the cold air (depending on where you live) and/or from the pure excitement this season brings, no matter how old you are. However, despite the warm and fuzzy feeling that the holidays bring, unless you’re super organized and complete your shopping online by the end of November, let’s face it, most of us dread what awaits us at the shopping malls and retail outlets, starting the day after Thanksgiving.

 

 
Wouldn’t it be great to maneuver through the crowds, select our items and not have to stand in a long lines? While self-service kiosks may not be able to lessen the crowd, they certainly can make the shopping process a little easier. Here are some benefits of using self-service kiosks during the holidays.

 

 
They’re easy to use
‘Easy’ is exactly what most of us look for while shopping during the holiday season – uncomplicated deals along with ease of access to products and services. Self-service kiosks provide an easy alternative to purchasing your items.

 

 

 

They provide additional services
Our lists seem to multiply during the holiday season, including our ‘to do’ lists. During the excitement of the season, it’s easy to forget that they are still bills to pay, coupons to redeem and gift cards to access. Many self-service kiosks provide these extra services allowing you to top up prepaid credit cards or gift cards, pay utility bills and even access loans. Some of these, such as the gift cards and prepaid cards are great, hassle-free gift options, as well.

 

 

 

No Cash? No problem
Self-service kiosks provide various payment options so you can purchase your items with credit and bank cards or cash. There is no longer the need to look for an ATM before purchasing your items.

 

 

 

They’re convenient
This goes without saying, as any device that allows you to avoid long lines when you have a long ‘to do’ list, is always convenient.

 

 

 

They enhance the shopping experience
If you’re a frequent shopper at a store that has a loyalty program, based on your past purchase patterns, the kiosk can highlight promotions, offer options and provide coupons based on your preferences.

 

 

 

They can help you get exactly what you want
Doesn’t it sometimes seem that particularly during the holiday rush, you see the item that you want advertised, but can’t locate it at the store? A self-service kiosk can locate it for you. It can also provide additional information about the store branches that have the item in stock, along with details such as color and size options.

 

 

 

They may assist you in making a final decision
If you are uncertain about a product that you wish to purchase, a kiosk can provide you with product specifications and additional details that may not be apparent by just looking at the item, including warranty information, along with product and price comparisons.

 

 

 

A Slabb X6 self-service kiosk at a mall

A Slabb X6 self-service kiosk at a mall

Self-service kiosks provide many benefits, benefits that are great throughout the year, but are even more appreciated during the holiday rush. The great thing about self-service kiosks is that they simply provide an alternative; so if you’re one of those exhilarated by the rush and long lines, or simply feel more comfortable with face to face contact, the option of interacting with a sales representative is always there. The choice is yours.

Posted in In-store Kiosks, Informational Kiosk, Interactive Kiosks, Loyalty Card Kiosk, Self-Service Checkout Systems, Self-service kiosks | Comments Off

Pay phones get a second life as internet kiosks

NYC pay phone (Photo courtesy phonearena.com)

NYC pay phone (Photo courtesy phonearena.com)

It’s interesting that we first came across this idea back in July 2013 when we wrote our blog In with Recycled Interactive Kiosks, Out With Red Phone Boxes. The story highlighted the repurposing of Britain’s iconic red phone boxes/booths for use as interactive kiosks with built-in Wi-Fi.

 

 
And now, New York City has announced the launch of the LinkNYC project that beginning next year, will transform the city’s pay phones to “Wi-Fi hot spots across the city, providing free Internet access, free domestic calls using cell phones or a built-in keypad, a charging station for mobile devices and access to city services and directions”, according to an article in the NY Times. They will also provide standard pay phone services including 311 information and 911 emergency hotlines.

 

 
It is hoped that this new offering, which will be available to the public, free of charge, will bridge the digital divide. Low income users whom may have previously relied on their cell phones to browse the internet, will now have access to what is being touted as “the fastest and largest municipal Wi-Fi network in the world.” It promises to be 20 times as fast as an average home internet connection.

 

 
It is expected that about 10,000 kiosks will be installed, allowing up to 250 devices on the network at any given time, without compromising service quality due to the Wi-Fi range which will extend 150 feet in any direction from the kiosk. Access points can also be added in high traffic areas. They won’t quite look like the traditional payphone, but will be sleek and tall – approximately 9.5 feet high and less than a foot wide with touchscreen interfaces.

 

 
According to Time.com the project is estimated to cost over $200 million. However, there is no additional cost to taxpayers, as advertising will be one of the key ways that the project will generate revenue. The kiosks will accommodate large digital advertising displays that could generate as much as $500 million over the next twelve years. The displays are a great medium for public service announcements in the event of an emergency or during major events.

 

 
It is a project that will provide many benefits to the City as it is not only expected to generate over 700 jobs (both full-time and support), but it is also a great step toward making the internet accessible to the public, an initiative that can be replicated around the world.

Posted in Digital Signage, Interactive Kiosks, Internet Kiosks, Internet Kiosks, Public Kiosks and Custom Kiosks, Public Kiosks | Comments Off

The Future of Travel: Self-service Technology

It seems as though for the past year, or so, not a month has passed where another US airport hasn’t announced the launch of automated passport control kiosks (APCs) to assist in expediting the customs and immigration process. APCs, as they are becoming commonly known as, are self-service passport control kiosks that replace the traditional immigration process of completing declaration and customs forms.

 

 
According to information provided on the SITA website, the kiosks uses three steps when processing travellers. They allow passengers to:

 

 
1) Answer a set of regulatory questions via a touchscreen
2) Have their passport read and verified
3) Have their identities verified.

 

 

 

US Global Entry Program (Photo Courtesy: association.com)

US Global Entry Program (Photo Courtesy: association.com)

These three simple steps, have now made a once time-consuming process, quick, efficient and beneficial to not only travelers but to the US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) and airlines as well. The United States CBP can now boast faster processing times that reduce queues while increasing processing capacity with the same number of agents. This allows agents to focus on persons of interest. The system also provides high accuracy biometric matching. The kiosks enable airports to use their space and resources more efficiently, reduce queues and clear immigration and customs faster, thereby improving the overall service experience for passengers. The incidence of missed connections is also reduced.

 

 
There are APC kiosk at over 20 airports in North America including Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), Boston Logan International Airport (BOS), and Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW), to name a few.

 

 
Recently, countries such as Aruba and the Bahamas also announced the introduction of APC kiosks. Nassau has plans to purchase 20 of the kiosks. It is expected the trend will continue with the introduction of these kiosks in other major international airports as well.

 

 
But even before the use of APC kiosks, the aviation industry had adopted self-service technology in an effort to enhance the travel experience from arrival at the airport, to the check-in and boarding process. There are many examples of this technology currently at work, many of which utilize the self-service kiosk. Here are a few examples we found:

 

 

 

SITA Beacon Registry (Photo courtesy: developer.aero/BeaconRegistry)

SITA Beacon Registry     (Photo courtesy: developer.aero)

• SITA has also launched the SITA Common-use Beacon Registry. It is a global beacon registry for airlines who wish to communicate with passengers as they enter an airport. The system can communicate with mobile devices within a radius of 100 feet, identify the location of the passenger and send regular updates including estimated walk time to the gate, boarding alerts and if the boarding gate changes.

 

 

 

Canoe.ca ranked the top 10 airport terminals in the world, #1, Hong Kong International Airport, has won several best airport awards. The airport features amenities such as a shopping mall and gourmet food options as well as internet kiosks.

 

 

 

MegaNews Magazines 'Print on Demand' kiosk (Photo courtesy: airportsinternational.com)

MegaNews Magazines ‘Print on Demand’ kiosk           (Photo courtesy: airportsinternational.com)

• Sweden’s airport is the first to offer Print on Demand kiosks to passengers. Described as the first ‘automatic newsstand’, these kiosks are simple to use – passengers can choose from hundreds of titles, browse the magazine they would like and once they’ve made a decision on the publication they want, they simply pay with a credit card. The publication is delivered in 2 minutes.

 

 

 

• Poland’s Chopin Airport has taken it a step further by providing a virtual assistant to help passengers with self-service check-in. The assistant responds in both English and Polish, to queries that include how to use the self-check-in kiosks, which documents need to be prepared and how to print a boarding pass. It’s the first of its kind in Poland.

 

 

 

Russia's Domodedovo Airport (Photo Courtesy: domodedovo.ru)

Russia’s Domodedovo Airport (Photo Courtesy: domodedovo.ru)

• Moscow Domodedovo Airport has installed self-service kiosks that allow passengers to report lost or in transit bags. It eliminates the need to queue up to speak with an agent, instead, passengers simply scan their bag receipt barcode at the kiosk to file a missing bag report. The kiosks are linked to WorldTracer, the global tracing system for mishandled baggage developed by SITA and IATA. The system then matches found bags with lost bag reports.

 

 

• Austrian Airlines has introduced self-service bag drop units at Vienna Airport. The units being used during this trial phase, allow passengers who have already checked-in for their flight to go directly to the bag drop counter to print and attach their bag tags and deposit their luggage into the baggage handling system, without the need for an airline agent.

 

 

 

Hamburg's self-service infrastructure (Photo courtesy: airport-world.com)

Hamburg’s self-service infrastructure                  (Photo courtesy: airport-world.com)

• Hamburg recently revamped their airport with the launch of new self-service infrastructure which gives passengers the option of checking in and dropping off baggage at self-service kiosks.

 

 

 

• London’s Tesco offers a virtual grocery store at the North Terminal of Gatwick Airport. After arrival, travelers can order groceries via a digital signage kiosk.

 

 

• Malta International Airport allows passengers to purchase travel insurance via a kiosk.

 

 

 

These are just a few examples of self-service technology at work. It is expected that the trend will only continue with predictions of investments in smart airport technology surpassing $13 million by 2020. According to an article on kioskmarketplace.com, “The current market, estimated to be $9,718.07 million in 2014, is focusing more on passenger satisfaction by implementing self-service solutions. For example, two-thirds of airports have programs to deploy kiosks and Wi-Fi. Improving passenger satisfaction is the primary reason for airport IT expenditures…”

This comes as no surprise, as passengers continue to demand value for their money with the expectation that they spend less time in queues and at airports, in general, and more time spent enjoying their journeys.

Posted in Airline kiosks, Informational Kiosk, Interactive Kiosks, Internet Kiosks, Public Kiosks and Custom Kiosks, Public Kiosks, Self-service kiosks | Comments Off

6 Advantages of Countertop Kiosks

The Slabb X2S

The Slabb X2S

A countertop kiosk, also known as desktop kiosk is a kiosk built to sit on a counter or desk(as its name suggests), similar to a desktop/personal computer (PC). Despite being smaller in size than a traditional kiosk, it has the same functionality. Although often overlooked because of the popularity of the traditional, full sized kiosk, the countertop kiosk has many benefits including:

 

 
Good things come in small packages – Excuse the cliché, but where the countertop kiosk is concerned, this provides an accurate description. Despite its size, the countertop kiosk can still house all the components found in a traditional kiosk, allowing it to provide the same functionality in a more compact unit.
This makes it a great option for offices or retail outlets where space is limited.

 

 

 

An enhanced the customer experience – The countertop kiosk provides the same convenience as any other kiosk but it provides a seating option due to its placement on a counter or desk. This is important for applications that require extensive input of data where a customer would feel more comfortable if seated while using the unit. Customers may actually be more inclined to use the kiosk, as a result, so this model would be suitable to attract potential users to fill out surveys or supply detailed information. It is also great for use as a human resource tool where employees can access HR functions such as employee benefits and job applications.

 

 

 

Easy to use – The use of customized software and the option of a touchscreen provide an interactive element that makes them easy to use. The countertop kiosk is easy to use. Customers can choose components based on their industry-specific needs. It also gives companies a convenient way to provide relevant company information while allowing users to input data, if needed.

 

 

 

No complicated logistics involved – This kiosk model facilitates easy implementation and installation. It’s as simple as finding a suitable location, plugging the unit in, checking functionality if connected to external databases and finally, using the unit for its intended purpose. Kiosk management is also very straightforward and data can be accessed from any computer through an administrative portal.

 

 

 

The price is right – Due to their size the kiosks have less material requirements, making the cost to manufacture them much less than a freestanding model. They also weigh less which positively impacts shipping costs. It allows the end user to buy the unit at a lower cost than a freestanding kiosk. This proved to be a major factor for one of our micro market clients who can now offer a countertop kiosk to their operators, increasing the size of the market that they service.

 

 

 

Again, don’t let the size fool you – The size of the kiosk does not denote fragility. As is the norm with all Slabb’s kiosks, the countertop kiosk is rugged and vandal-resistant without compromising quality. It can be used in a variety of environments while hosting a multitude of applications to provide an efficient and secure transaction experience for the customer.

 

 

 

The Slabb X2 Kiosk

The Slabb X2 Kiosk

These are just a few of the main features that makes the countertop kiosk an attractive alternative. It can provide the essential elements of a freestanding kiosks including:

 

 
– Convenience
– Facilitation of data capturing
– Customized components
– Customizable software
– Alternative payment methods
– Provision of additional services

 

 

Slabb’s countertop desktop series includes the X2 and the recent addition of the X2S, both of which can be customized to suit the needs of any organization or business.

 

 

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Making the Choice: Micro-market Vs. the Traditional Vending Machine

There’s a new productivity trend developing. It might be considered an inevitable result of the increased demand on an employee’s time with the expectation of high productivity levels to ensure that deliverables are completed in a timely manner and to a preset standard. This new development is not ominous in any way, but actually quite practical. It’s called a micro market.

 

 

An Avanti Markets micro market

An Avanti Markets micro market

A search of the word may result in an economics-based definition, but the micro markets that continue to crop up in various work spaces can be described as a ‘convenience store at the office’, one that provides freshly prepared lunches, healthy snacks and drinks that employees can purchase. What makes micro markets so unique, is not only the convenience of an accessible and healthy lunch option, but the fact that they utilize a self-service model – one that relies on an ‘honor system’ where employees are expected to pay for their purchases with cash, credit or even via their cell phone without an attendant or cashier on-site.

 

 
So why a micro market vs a traditional vending machine? Brad Bachtelle of Bachtelle & Associates, in an article on vendingtimes.com stated it in one sentence – “We’ve created a new channel [that’s] driving more sales, pleasing customers and exciting our industry.” Research done by his firm predicts there will be approximately “13,000 micro markets on location by 2015 and 35,000 within a decade.” The number of micro market locations in 2012 (2,642 active locations with 2,724 active kiosks) represented a sales volume of $90.74 million. Micro markets are becoming a more lucrative investment opportunity because they provide additional benefits than the traditional vending machine:

 

 
• Micro markets tend to attract 18% more visits per day with an average of 1.2 sales per day per visit, as compared with 0.7 sales in a vending area. This figure may be higher depending on the location.

 

 
• The inventory management system is usually web-based, making inventory evaluation much easier, ensuring fresh inventory and up-to-date regulatory practices.

 
• Components can be customized to fit different locations which is a major selling point, especially when there are space limitations.

 

 

• It allows operators to focus on providing an enhanced customer experience with enticing layouts and products that will ultimately increase profits. Operators use retail tools and techniques to ensure the strategic placement of add-on purchase items near to the check-out kiosks.

 

 

• There is less maintenance and downtime of machines and the kiosks provide an easier transaction process especially for multiple items.

 

 

• There is also some pricing flexibility allowing operators to collect sales tax on items purchased unlike a traditional vending machine.

 

 

• The use of prepaid user accounts at micro markets represents a shift from the traditional vending model. Accounts are funded and money collected before goods are purchased which radically shifts the cash flow requirements of operators.

 

 

• Portions of these accounts can be funded by HR, Wellness, or other workplace programs with a mandate directed at healthy eating and increased productivity.

 

 

 

Loyalty programs can be incorporated at the micro market

Loyalty programs can be incorporated at the micro market

Micro market products are often priced higher than products found in a traditional vending machine. They are typically 15% to 20% higher, with sales tax added to that. Pricing is usually set to offset the cost incurred due to theft of items, product spoilage, and the additional equipment, software and supplies that are needed. However, many employers often provide their employees with cards that give subsidized prices for healthy food options – a small price to pay for great convenience.

 

 
So, “build it and they will come…” The benefits mentioned make it seem easy enough, but it takes a little more than that. There are a few elements that should be in place to be successful in the micro market business including:

 

 
• Products that are attractive to the customer – As a society we are more health conscious than ever and providing healthy, fresh food options, restocked daily is one way that micro markets set themselves apart from the traditional vending machine.
• The right layout – Most micro market operators can work with any space to provide a customized, attractive and functional setting that will make movement and payment within the location as easy as possible. Access to a power supply for the kiosk system, coolers and freezers is also required, along with an internet connection.
• Self-service with a difference – And we don’t mean inserting your money in a slot and hoping that the item you want doesn’t get stuck (as is sometimes the case in a traditional vending machine). We’re referring to self-service with options including, type of payment that can be used, level of interactivity (dependent on the interface and software used); choice of loyalty programs (as mentioned above).

 

 

 

A self-service kiosk at a micro market

A self-service kiosk at a micro market

The key element that makes the self-service option possible, the ‘face’ of the micro market, is the self-service kiosk. Unlike the traditional vending machine, the kiosk must allow the user to scan or input items as well as pay for them. There are kiosks that even allow the input of coupon codes and vouchers at the time of purchase. The checkout system must be capable of handling multiple transactions as well as track and record data to provide accurate inventory and revenue reports.

 

 
The design of the kiosk is similar to those found in other industries, but at Slabb, we design our kiosks with the end user in mind. One of our major clients commented that their customers particularly like the look of our kiosks, the low maintenance required and their ease of use for end users.

 

 
Fast becoming another segment of the retail industry, micro markets focus on enhancing the customer experience. It’s the added elements that count, so micro market operators can also consider providing additional services at checkout such as bill payment options, payday loans and check deposits. All of which can be provided through a kiosk. All it takes is partnering with the right institution (bank and/or utility company) to provide a secure link to the company’s system. The micro market then becomes an even more convenient option allowing employees to do so much more in the comfort of their office.

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We’ve added three kiosks to our product line

We recently announced the launch of three new kiosk models – the X6A, the X2S and the X4T. But the names don’t do them justice. Take a look at these new models below. As with all our other kiosks they are vandal-resistant, ADA compliant, UL certified and CE compliant.

 

 

 

The X6A

The X6A

The X6A though sleek, rugged and vandal-resistance, as is the norm with all Slabb kiosks, is unlike any of Slabb’s other models. Ideal for self-check in, its design is versatile and can easily fit at any location due to its compact size. The kiosk comes with a 19” LCD display with touchscreen, credit card reader, barcode scanner, laser printer (b4600) and thermal receipt printer. The design also ensures wheelchair accessibility.

 

 

 

 

The Slabb X2S

The Slabb X2S

The X2S is a desktop model with a 15” LCD with Sound Acoustic Wave (SAW) touchscreen. Some of the components include a swipe card reader, barcode scanner, stereo speakers and an active cooling system. Optional components include a small printer, headphones, microphone and webcam if needed. Due to its compact size, it is an ideal choice when space is at a premium.

 

 

 

 

 

The new X4T

The new X4T

The X4T is a mounted version of one of Slabb’s more popular wall mount interactive digital signage models. Like the Q5, the X4T is rugged, robust and vandal-proof and available in any color with standard HD resolution and no external wiring. It comes with a 42” horizontal LCD screen display with or without a touch screen.

 

 

 

 

 

To find out more about these kiosk models or about any model in Slabb’s product line, visit our website www.slabbkiosks.com or contact us at 702-730-1110. One of our Product Specialists would be happy to assist.

 

 

 

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The Top Ten Things You Need to Know about Slabb’s Kiosks

MockDataSheet4 - 2_0001Here are the most important things you need to know about Slabb’s Kiosks:

 

1. Does Slabb make any, really any, kind of customized kiosk, without any design costs within four to six weeks?

 

Yes! We certainly do!

 
2. How much does a kiosk cost?

 

Slabb’s kiosk models are some of the most affordable kiosks in the industry. Our kiosks are customized to suit users’ needs with prices for our basic interactive kiosks starting from US$1,800. Slabb also has low cost models and offers used kiosks for purchase at a discounted price as well as leasing options.

 

3. Is customized software provided?

 

Yes, we can provide customized software as well as “out-of-box” software. We can meet any software requirements that are requested when an order is placed. We are able to do this because we work with various software providers that specialize in industry-specific software solutions, including SurferQuest for self-check in solutions; Marquis Software, Cashless Systems, Inc. and Genesis Technology for corrections software and PatientWay for healthcare software solutions.

 

4. Does the client own the software after the kiosk is delivered?

 

a. Some applications require yearly licenses, others require a “one off” license.

 
b. Most of the software solutions that are based on framework software, like SiteKiosk, is owned by the client once the kiosk is installed and delivered.

 

5. Do the kiosks come with a warranty?

 

Every Slabb kiosk includes a one year warranty that covers the replacement of defective parts within the kiosk.

 

6. What service and maintenance agreements does Slabb offer, if any?

 

a. Slabb offers a standard one year “back-to-depot” warranty. We also have extended warranties available for the second and third year.

 
b. We also offer a service and maintenance contract with various Service Level Agreements (SLAs), including 24 or 48 hour field service. Some of these services include stocking of spare parts.

 

7. Does Slabb provide renderings of kiosks during the order process?

 
Slabb provides specific renderings, that include the client’s logo, the kiosk color requested and the components required. These renderings are submitted to the client for approval prior to the manufacturing of the kiosk.
Renderings are provided free of charge and are included in the Slabb order process.

 

8. Do Slabb’s kiosks integrate with other systems, for example Point of Sale (POS) systems or databases – information which would be needed at the kiosk?

 

Yes, through our software partners we can integrate the kiosk software to existing POS systems and databases.

 

9. Do Slabb’s kiosks have the ability to track/provide user information?

 

Yes, we provide applications which can do this.

 

10. What is the lead time from order placement to delivery for Slabb’s kiosks?

 

Slabb guarantees one of the shortest lead times in the industry. Our kiosks are ready in four weeks and are delivered directly and installed on site.

 

One of our sales consultants would be happy to assist you. Or simply visit our website to get a FREE quote:  http://www.slabbkiosks.com/contact_us.php

 

 

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Will Self-Service Kiosks Eventually Replace Humans?

I’ve been seeing a lot of articles lately about potential job loss due to emerging technologies, including robots, self-service terminals and even kiosks. It’s an interesting fear that might be rooted in events of the past including the industrial revolution which saw the loss of many jobs due to automation.

 
creative_1027 - Copy - Copy - CopyBut is there enough evidence currently to worry about something like this happening in the near future? Some will argue that there already is. Panera bread recently implemented ordering kiosk which will replace human cashiers. An article on inquisitor.com – Panera Bread Ordering Kiosks to Replace Human Kiosks, reports that these kiosks will be deployed by 2016. The goal is to not only reduce the amount of time that customers stand in line to place their orders but reduce the wait time once the order has been placed as well.

 
The new technology, which is already being used at the company’s Boston and Charlotte locations, will be implemented at an additional 150 Panera restaurants this year. This means there will be a reduction in the number of cash registers at each store and customers will have the option of also placing orders via smartphones, laptops or tablets while at a Panera restaurant for either eat in orders or takeout. The company insists that despite the introduction of the kiosks that there will be no job loss as employees will now be delivering food directly to customers’ tables. It’s being done to improve service and order accuracy.

 
McDonald’s restaurants also introduced 7,000 touchscreen kiosks at some of their European outlets that will allow customers to place and pay for orders using cash or credit. It is no surprise then that according to a report, three in ten Britons believe their jobs will be replaced by a robot. In an article by Rhiannon Williams “Almost half of the 2,000 members of the British public surveyed (46 percent) admitted they are concerned that technology is evolving too quickly and is undermining traditional ways of life.”

 
Maybe it’s a development that is inevitable, with the increased need for us to stay connected – always having a device that allows us to quickly access information, complete transactions and just generally do things faster and more efficiently. It seems that self-service technology and gadgets associated with it would be a natural progression given our growing dependence on technology.

 
However, the jury is still out, especially with regard to self-service kiosks eliminating workers. Kiosks provide an easier way to serve customers and improve a company’s ability to provide an enhanced service experience. But they can never replace the human interaction which is still important in situations where a customer may be frustrated, lack knowledge or be averse to using technology and businesses must still attempt to cater to all.

 
As Martin Smith, Professor of Robotics at University of Middlesex, so aptly puts it in Ms. Williams’ article, “Though many fear their jobs will be taken over by machines, it is more likely that robots will be used as assistants, and the future workforce could have the benefit of avoiding hazardous and repetitive tasks rather than suffer mass redundancies.” We couldn’t have said it better.

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A Great Way to Reward Loyal Customers

It can be assumed that one of the main goals of any business is to make or increase profit. In order to do that, a business must have customers. We’ve all heard the many sayings about the importance of satisfying customers by providing optimal customer service. One of my favorites is from James Cash Penny who said, “Courteous treatment will make a customer a walking advertisement.”

 

 

It seems easy enough, but it also requires knowing what customers want and very often companies seem to get something this simple, so very wrong. Business owners are customers themselves and should think of what they expect as a customer and take a step further…What would they expect as a loyal customer?                                                                       How often have you been a loyal customer of a particular company, only to see them focus their efforts on only acquiring new customers, as you seem to fade or become almost invisible because you regularly purchase from them or frequently use their service?

 

 
It’s a mistake many companies make that can easily be avoided with a dedicated loyalty plan or program. Incidentally, loyalty programs go back as far as the 1700s, when an American merchant distributed copper tokens to consumers in exchange for store items. Similar programs continued to be developed over the years with the distribution of certificates that could be redeemed for specific items, box top offers, prizes, promotional items such as a toy in a kid’s meals and coupons.

 

 
Today, many loyalty programs use cards that track rewards and allow customers to easily redeem points earned. Their benefits have been proven and include:

 

 
• The acquisition of new customers
• The retention of existing customers
• They can be used to segment customers by using grading rewards. The level or type of reward is dependent on the amount spent by the customer. This allows customers to move up the various spend segments.
• Computerized loyalty cards allow businesses to access important data about customers including spending habits and customer demographics.
• The data obtained from loyalty cards can assist businesses in better targeting customers with more relevant advertising and well planned in-store merchandising.
• It can provide an incentive for ‘lost’ customers to return.
• It is a great opportunity to build relationships with customers
• A loyal customer is more likely to become a brand advocate
• In the case of micro-markets some employers provide loyalty cards that allow employees to get a discount on items when they make healthier purchases.

 

 

 

Loyalty Kiosk - Customized Slabb X6

Loyalty Kiosk – Customized Slabb X6

Implementation of loyalty programs has also become easier through the use of loyalty card kiosks. They are easy to use and provide a convenient way for customers to purchase and activate cards as well as redeem points or rewards. They typically require a card dispenser, ID reader and authenticator and card reader and require little or no staff supervision because they are so easy to use. These kiosks can also allow businesses to provide users with additional information on current promotions and company information as well as the ongoing advertising of products and services.

 

 
Slabb provides various options for businesses interested in loyalty card kiosks. For additional information on an easy way to reward your loyal customers, visit our Solutions page.

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The Benefits of Bill Payment Kiosks

In the retail industry, competition has forced many business owners to differentiate themselves from their competitors, by offering unique products and services. If not operating in a niche market, companies should then focus on enhancing their customer experience, something that makes them the consumers preferred choice despite having a product or service offering that is widely available.

 

 

 

Customized X6 Payment Kiosk

Customized X6 Payment Kiosk

It’s all about adding value, and businesses striving to do this often overlook an affordable, low maintenance alternative – the bill payment kiosk. Bill payment kiosks allow customers to pay utility bills including phone, electricity, cable and water bills. They provide a secure, convenient, self-service alternative for users because they are easily accessible and depending on their location, they can be accessed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They are usually placed at convenience stores, retail outlets and groceries and are a great source of additional revenue for businesses wishing to provide this additional service to their customers.

 

 
There are many benefits to businesses that provide bill payment services via a kiosk:

 

 
• They are easy to use and require little or no service from customer representatives.
• It provides additional revenue with each transaction, as there is usually a minimal charge to the consumer for each transaction completed.
• It increases traffic to the location, often attracting users that are not even customers, but who take advantage of the convenient bill payment option, providing a great opportunity to entice these potential customers and ultimately increase revenue. Stores can easily plan around bill payment due dates (mid-month and end of month), arranging promotions to attract kiosk users while they are in the store.
• The machines are low maintenance, as they can be monitored remotely and require minimal training for staff. They therefore do not add extensively to training, overhead or inventory costs.

 

 
There are also benefits to customers:

 

 
• They provide a great alternative for customers that are still skeptical about making payments online, as well as under banked customers that must make cash payments.
• They provide the convenience of 24/7 access to bill payment services.
• Kiosks are easy-to-use allowing transactions to be conducted quickly, eliminating the inconvenience of waiting in long lines.

 

 
Bill Payment Kiosks are definitely an option for businesses wanting to increase revenue and customer satisfaction. The success of operating a bill payment kiosk may also open up the possibility of providing additional services such as payday loans, check deposits, prepaid cards or even checkout services. All it takes is partnering with the right institution to provide the ultimate in convenience for customers.

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Wayfinding: Interactive Signage

We can’t deny that digital signage plays a crucial role in product promotion. There is no better way to grab the attention of consumers than by installing a moving, flashing digital sign to advertise your product. This doesn’t mean that we should discard the traditional, ‘tried and true’ mediums, but studies have shown the great and lasting effect of digital signage on consumers.

 
A study conducted by SignAd Network found that “digital video in public venues reaches more Americans each month than online videos” (70% digital signage vs. 43% for online videos). Also the same study showed that “nearly 1 in 5 of those who have seen an ad via digital signage have made an unplanned purchase after seeing an item featured on a screen.” It’s no surprise then, that many have taken this effective advertising medium and utilized it in an alternative way to provide a new service – wayfinding or directional signage.

 

 

 

Slabb's X10 Wayfinding Kiosk used at a healthcare facility

Slabb’s X10 Wayfinding Kiosk used at a healthcare facility

Wayfinding, as its name suggests, is a solution that assists people in finding their way in public spaces by depicting clear directional guidelines to various destinations. Some wayfinding units also give additional information about the facility and even information about the location including city/town parking, landmarks, etc. It’s a great use of digital signage and its effectiveness has resulted in increased usage in various industries including healthcare, retail, for event and recreation venues such as concert halls, parks and stadiums. It can be used by a single business or cover several mulit-purpose buildings on one site such as on a university campus.

 
Some of the benefits include:

 
• Reduction in the time spent looking for a particular location

 
• Eliminates the cost of printing wayfinding maps every time an update is needed

 
• There is no deterioration as is common for traditional wayfinding static maps due to weather (if outdoors) or expected ‘wear and tear’

 
• Digital wayfinding allows information to be updated easily (information about construction, closures or rerouting can be given almost immediately)

 
• It provides a great branding opportunity for organizations, utilizing brand colours and logos

 
• It can provide additional information about the company, products and services, or general information about the weather or location-specific news, etc.

 
• It can provide relevant purchase information such as restaurant menus, venue seat layouts, wait times for a particular service or event

 
• Some units can also facilitate the printing of directions

 
These benefits have increased the use of digital wayfinding solutions by many organizations seeking to enhance their customer’s experience. It is just another way that digital signage has become an effective way to provide additional information and services to customers.

 
For more information on quality digital signage solutions, visit www.slabbkiosks.com. Slabb also works with PatientWay to provide specific solutions for the healthcare industry. Learn more.

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Learn about Slabb, Inc. – Kiosk Manufacturer & Distributor

Even though we started off in the kiosk business in 2002, I thought I would take this opportunity to reintroduce our company. We have recently gain new followers on our various social media platforms, as well as great interest from those interested in a kiosk solution for their business, for them and to our loyal customers who may not know our full history…Here’s a snippet of what we offer.

 

 
Since starting off as an internet-based kiosk retailer in 2002, we have continuously strived to offer the most effective hardware manufacturing and kiosk installation service on the market. We can now proudly say that after a decade, we are currently represented in six continents by over 50 resellers. We’ve worked with many clients in various industries including the government sectors, national universities and colleges, famous casinos, leading financial institutions and healthcare providers with a successful track record that guarantees the satisfaction of our corporate customers as well as the end users of our products.

 

 
We sell a series of series of kiosks that includes interactive digital signage options along with installation, maintenance and service. Our products are innovative, affordable models including our Freestanding X-Series, Outdoor O-Series, Wallmount X-Series, Desktop X-Series and our range of interactive digital signage options. Here’s a quick glance of some of our more popular models:

 

 
Some of our X series models

Slabb's X5 indoor kiosk model

Slabb’s X5 indoor kiosk model

The X5 – An informational kiosk that is a smart blend of stainless steel, simplicity, elegance and functionality with a rugged design suitable for high traffic areas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Slabb X6 Kiosk

Slabb X6 Kiosk

The X6 – A transactional kiosk with an ultra-modern design that despite its high-end kiosk technology is extremely affordable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Slabb's X3  Wall-Mountable kiosk model

Slabb’s X3 Wall-Mountable kiosk model

The X3 – Is our solution when floor space it at a premium. It is a wall-mount model that can be used in any environment while hosting a multitude of applications.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is just a sample of what we offer. I am sure you  would have noticed the interesting colours. We not only customize your kiosk using specific hardware and software but we also brand them to your liking…Just choose your color and add your logo! We do the rest.

To see our full product line, peruse our website, where you can find all the information you need.

 

 
Our team is composed entirely of specialized professionals that are uniquely qualified in providing kiosk installation as well as related services. They are able to assist companies with consultation, kiosk installation and maintenance, OEM manufacturing, custom kiosk design and hardware leasing programs. We can create customized quotes for any order, providing the perfect solution for any business. You will experience the difference that comes with a professional manufacturer, retailer and kiosk installation business.

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Our Year of Kiosks

Every year brings a spate of resolutions, promises and hopes for the twelve months ahead. I think it’s a great opportunity to look back at the year that has passed – the highs, the lows and most importantly the lessons learned. It’s one of the best ways to move forward, learning from past mistakes and setting new goals.

 

 
Here at Slabb, Inc., we’re no different. So I’ve decided that for this blog, I will look back at some of our great moments from 2013 so that we can start out 2014 on a positive note. We’ll focus on four of our major projects for the year:

 

 
Clark County

Customized X6 Clark County Kiosk

Customized X6 Clark County Kiosk

In April, we provided customized kiosks, based on our X6 model that would assist in delivering an essential service to the County’s residents and visitors. The kiosks allow users to request certified copies of marriage certificates, thereby eliminating the need for these customers to engage county personnel for this repetitive task. There have been over 1,000 transactions completed at the kiosk, to date, saving over 350 hours of staff time. Due to the success of this pilot project, the County hopes to have additional kiosks installed that can provide similar services.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SHRM 2013 with Avanti Markets

Avanti Markets Booth at SHRM 2013

Avanti Markets Booth at SHRM 2013

We continued to work with Avanti Markets, one of the leaders in the micro-market industry, and joined them at the Society for Human Resource Management’s Annual Conference and Exposition, held in Chicago, Illinois in June. Avanti Markets showcased one of several models of its self-checkout, unmanned kiosk systems at the conference, which included our X6 kiosk model. The booth received a lot of traffic at the event, not only because of its promotional wheel that gave participants a chance at winning great prizes, but because of the many HR executives wanting to learn more about the product, as well as those that wanted to share their experiences of having Avanti Market’s micro-market solutions at their own workplace. It was a truly successful event.

 

 

 

 

 

Arkansas Department of Community Corrections

Arkansas Department of Corrections Customized Slabb X6 kiosk

Arkansas Department of Corrections Customized Slabb X6 kiosk

July saw the installation of customized X6 kiosks to forty one (41) offices of the Arkansas Department of Community Corrections. The interactive, self-service kiosks are located at probation offices throughout the state and are being utilized by selected minimum risk clients to check in with their probation officers at stipulated times throughout their supervision. We partnered with Marquis Software on this project to provide the specialized interface which would facilitate payments to the Information Network of Arkansas (INA) as well as the software which would enable the recognition of the user’s fingerprint and capture their signature and photo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

St. Joseph’s Pilot Project with PatientWay

Customized Slabb X6 patient registration kiosk

Customized Slabb X6 patient registration kiosk

Throughout the year, we continued working with PatientWay ,a provider of emerging technologies for the healthcare system, utilizing our hardware to support their self-registration and way finding solutions. In October, a self-registration kiosk was installed at the heart failure clinic of the St. Joseph’s Ambulatory Care Centre. The kiosk, based on our X6 model, provides a more efficient registration process through an intuitive, check-in process for patients. This has resulted in shorter wait times, not to mention satisfied patients. We look forward to additional projects with PatientWay for 2014.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IT Solutions

Customized X6 Payment Kiosk

Customized X6 Bill Payment Kiosk

We ended the year on a great note with our reseller based in Mexico, IT Solutions, by providing over 80 customized X6 kiosk units to the corporation that controls the largest television network in Mexico. The software for the units was provided by IT Solutions and will facilitate the receipt of payments from over 3 million subscribers. It is the first such venture in Mexico that will ultimately change the way the cable industry serves its customers. This was the second phase of the project which began with two pilot runs in specific areas of the country over a month long period, the success of which prompted the corporate wide rollout. Additional kiosks will also be deployed this year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s definitely a wonderful way to start the year and we hope it reflects a trend that will continue throughout 2014. Our positives are only possible because of our great clients and we take this opportunity to thank them for their business and look forward to the new relationships that will be developed in the future. Happy 2014!

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Micro Markets – Convenience with a Positive Return on Investment

An Avanti Markets micro market

An Avanti Markets micro market

Brad Bachtelle of Bachtelle & Associates (Tustin, CA) once said in an article, “Micro markets are taking us to tomorrow.”

 
It is a statement that is not only supported by the increasing popularity and emergence of micro market locations, but also the return they provide to owners. It can be argued that micro markets offer a “win/win” result, not only for owners but for customers as well. The advantages they provide for end users are well-documented in many vending articles, including our own blog items such as Self-service Kiosks Offer a Convenient Twist to the Office Lunchroom and The Advantages of Self-service Checkout Systemsthe businesses that implement them into their office locations and to those who purchase products from them.

 
• Convenience. Convenience. Convenience. The concept offers a store at the office with a wide selection of choices.

 
• Users can examine items prior to purchase and get the items they pay for, as opposed to losing their money if the item gets stuck, as often happens in a traditional vending machine.

 
• Fresh products, restocked daily that provide healthier options.

 
• Reduced travel time/time out of the office resulting in extended breaks. It’s a great incentive for increased productivity.

 
It is no surprise that the industry has grown so rapidly over the past two years. Research done by Bachtelle and Associates showed that micro market locations in the US rose 170% between 2011 and 2012. In December 2012 there were 2,642 active micro market locations with 2,724 active kiosks, with some high traffic locations having more than one kiosk. This represented a sales volume of $90.74 million. It is predicted that this number will increase within the coming years. Slabb supplied a little over 2,000 of self-service kiosks to micro market clients between 2011 and 2012.

 
Micro markets are becoming a more lucrative investment opportunity because they provide additional benefits than the traditional vending machine:

 
• Micro markets tend to attract 18% more visits per day with an average of 1.2 sales per day per visit, as compared with 0.7 sales in a vending area. This figure may be higher in some environments.

 
• The inventory management system is usually web-based, making inventory evaluation much easier, ensuring fresh inventory and up-to-date regulatory practices.

 
• Customized units can be created to fit different locations which is a major selling point, especially when there are space limitations.

 
• It allows operators to focus on providing an enhanced customer experience with enticing layouts and products that will ultimately increase profits, including the strategic placement of add-on purchase items near to the check-out kiosks.

 
• There is less maintenance and downtime of machines and the kiosks provide an easier transaction process especially for multiple items.

 
• There is also some pricing flexibility allowing operators to collect sales tax on items purchased unlike a traditional vending machine.

 
There is no doubt, however, that micro market products are often priced higher than products found in a traditional vending machine. They are typically 15% to 20% higher, with sales tax added to that. Pricing is usually set to offset the cost incurred due to theft of items, product spoilage, and the additional equipment, software and supplies that are needed. However, many employers often provide their employees with cards that give subsidized prices for healthy food options. It’s a small price to pay for great convenience.

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The Self-service Kiosk – The Backbone of the Micro Market concept

There’s a new trend developing in offices and it might be considered an inevitable result of the increased demand on an employee’s time and the expectation of high productivity levels, ensuring deliverables are completed in a timely manner and to a preset standard. This new development is not ominous in any way, but actually quite practical. It’s what is termed as a micro market.

A search of the word may result in an economics-based definition, but the micro markets that continue to crop up in various work spaces can be described as a convenience store at the office, one that provides lunch, snacks and drinks that employees can purchase. What makes micro markets so unique, is not only the convenience of an accessible and often healthy lunch option, but the fact that they utilize a self-service model – one that relies on an ‘honor system’ where employees are expected to pay for their purchases with cash, credit or even via their cell phone.
It can be argued that the key element that makes the self-service option possible, thereby adding to the effectiveness of the concept, is the self-service kiosk that is required to take payments. Unlike the traditional vending machine, the kiosk must allow the user to scan or input items as well as pay for them. There are some kiosks that even allow the input of coupon codes at the time of purchase.

Just as important as choosing the right layout of the micro market to suit the space available is the choice of a kiosk which will be unmanned but must still be capable of handling multiple transactions as well as track and record data to provide accurate inventory and revenue reports . The design of the kiosk is similar to those found in other industries, but they must also have the following components:

 

 

• Cash acceptors , debit and credit card readers to facilitate various payment options including cash (bills and/or coins), credit and debit cards
• Card dispensers and issuers that can provide company-sponsored membership cards. These are usually used as loyalty cards where employees can accumulate points and is an incentive for them to make healthy choices

 

• Low end thermal printer to provide receipts to users.
Some optional components can also be used to provide added services including:
• A Keyboard and trackball – kiosks can be a great tool for

administering surveys or providing general information
• A secondary overhead monitor can be used for advertisements,

marketing, or for user instructions.
• Scanner – for coupons or promotions.
Micro Market self-service kiosks should also be durable and vandal resistant, especially if placed in a high traffic area/office. Slabb has been providing kiosks to several micro market solution providers for the past four years; with over 2500 kiosks in the field we use the feedback we receive to provide the most suitable options for our clients. We primarily utilize our Slabb X6 or C7E kiosk models (see below) because of their durability, and customize them to customer specifications. Both models provide a user-friendly platform and are ideal for high usage sites.

 

Slabb X6 - note the optional overhead screen

Slabb X6 – note the optional overhead screen

 

 

Slabb's C7E Kiosk

Slabb’s C7E Kiosk

 

 

 

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Department of Transportation’s New Requirements for Airline Kiosks

Last week the Department of Transportation issued new rules to ensure equal access for all airline passengers with disabilities. It is part of the Department’s continued implementation of the Air Carrier Access Act of 1986. The new rules focus on two main areas of service – airline websites and kiosks.

 

 
Airlines are now required to have both their websites and automated airport kiosks accessible to passengers with disabilities. The Department is also allowing airlines to “choose between stowing wheelchairs in a cabin compartment on new aircraft or strapping them to a row of seats”. This option allows the airline to transport 2 manual folding wheelchairs at the same time.

 

 
Kiosks sold in the US must conform to specific physical standards, as set by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Act indicates specific requirements for kiosk designs to ensure that they are accessible by all users. In addition to this, the Department of Transportation rules now state the following for airline kiosks, which are usually used for printing boarding passes and baggage tags:

 

 
• At least 25% of all kiosks at each airport location must be accessible to passengers with disabilities within 10 years even if no new kiosks are installed.

 

 
• Airlines must adhere to the accessibility standards as set forth by the US Department of Justice for ATM and fare machines in the 2010 ADA rule as well as the Section 508 standards for self-contained closed products.

 

 
The rule also sets detailed guidelines for airline website requirements and the transportation of wheelchairs on airplanes.

 

 
Since the announcement there has been disappointment expressed by The National Federation of the Blind, due to the length of time the DOT is giving airlines to implement all changes. The Federation’s President, Dr. Marc Maurer, pointed out that they expected the rule to be stronger instead of providing a seemingly lax timeframe for implementation. He stated that it allows “…ten more years of discrimination and ten more years of missed opportunities for innovators.” The Federation is hoping that the Department will review and amend the rule to reflect its commitment to equal access for disabled travelers.

 

 
Additional information on the new rules is available at http://www.dot.gov/briefing-room/new-dot-rules-make-flying-easier-passengers-disabilities

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Slabb’s Customized Kiosks Help Streamline Arkansas’ Parole Program

Yesterday, Arkansas’ Department of Corrections announced the use of automated kiosks to assist in making the parole process more efficient for some probation and parole officers.

 

Customized Slabb X6 kiosk

Customized Slabb X6 kiosk

 

Signature pad - one of the components of the kiosks

Signature pad – one of the components of the kiosks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More information about this initiative can be found here.

 

 

 

We would have also posted a blog about this project a few months ago. You can read it here.

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Healthcare Solutions Developed with the Patient in Mind

When most people think about the kiosk industry’s healthcare solutions, they either think of the traditional kiosks that can give you a blood pressure reading, found at almost every neighborhood pharmacy, or they imagine a kiosk of the future, that can act as a stand in for a doctor, where symptoms are inputted and possible diagnoses are given, along with a relevant prescription.

 
There are kiosks that are being developed to do some of the latter, and there are more and more articles appearing about them such as, Too few primary care providers? Med-mail, videoconferencing kiosks, and web portals to the rescue by Andrew Litt, M.D. The kiosks actually don’t give a diagnosis, but a licensed physician can, via video chat, along with the help of an on-hand medical assistant.

 
But there’s another area of healthcare that could be greatly improved through the use of kiosks – patient management. It can be argued that the underlying premise of patient management is to provide answers and implement solutions to the question – “How can a patient’s experience of the healthcare system be improved?” As a result, any solutions developed should be based on the patient’s well-being, comfort and convenience.

 
Often as new patients, we find ourselves filling out what seems like numerous piles of paperwork before we can actually see the doctor. Or waiting for hours due to emergencies, or appointment delays. Suppose this could all be eliminated? Is it possible to have a totally efficient patient management system? I don’t have the answer, but there are certainly solutions that can be developed that can greatly assist the process. Some kiosk software solutions address these issues, along with others and include pre-registration (at home), on-site registration and wayfinding solutions. All facilitate a more efficient patient experience.

 
Slabb is always looking for solutions that can enhance our hardware offering. It was one of the reasons why, in developing our healthcare kiosk line, we partnered with PatientWay, a Canadian-based software solutions company that specializes in the development of emerging technologies for the healthcare industry. They believe that patients’ active involvement in the registration and check-in process can increase patient and staff satisfaction while saving healthcare organizations time and money.

 
They provide streamlined patient access through web, kiosk and mobile applications using the following products:

 
PatientWay PreReg
This always patients to schedule appointments and pre-register from their homes using a secure system. It eliminates the need for them to fill out any paperwork when they arrive for their appointment and works seamlessly with PatientWay’s Reminder product.

 

 

 

PatientWay Reminder
Once an appointment has been scheduled, PatientWay’s reminder system is automatically triggered and sends an automated voicemail, email, or instant message, reminding a patient of their appointment. It eliminates the need for the healthcare provider to make reminder calls and reduces the number of “no shows” which can cost healthcare providers time and money.

 

 

 

Slabb's X2 is the desktop model that is sometimes used for healthcare solutions

Slabb’s X2 desktop

Slabb's X6 is also a common kiosk model used in the healthcare industryPatientWay Check-in Kiosk
The check-in kiosk allows patients who haven’t pre-registered, to register on-site when they arrive for their appointment. It reduces the amount of time patients have to wait, as it provides a quick and easy registration platform eliminating the need to speak with a clerk. The kiosks are multilingual and facilitate card payments, surveys and provide up-to-date patient information.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Slabb’s Wayfinding Kiosk

Wayfinding Display
PatientWay’s wayfinding kiosk adds another element to the patient management system by providing hospital and healthcare maps that assist patients in getting to their final destination. The wayfinding displays also provide information about locations outside of the hospital including restaurants, parking and hotels.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These systems have all been developed to assist both patients and healthcare facilitates to better manage their time and improve the overall patient experience. Their benefits include:

 

 

 

◦ Patient access to information and services 24/7
◦ Decreased wait times
◦ Value added services
◦ Updated customer database
◦ Customer feedback through online surveys
◦ Reduced staffing costs
◦ A positive ROI for healthcare providers
◦ They provide an excellent branding and advertising opportunity

 

 

 

For more information on PatientWay’s solutions, visit http://www.patientway.comand for information on Slabb’s hardware click here.

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Efficient, Secure and Reliable Healthcare Solutions

One of the sectors that has increased its use of Self Check-In technology in recent times is the healthcare industry. More and more, institutions that provide healthcare services such as hospitals, medical centers and doctors’ offices are realizing the need to use technology that can assist in effective patient management, including reducing the cost of providing services, where in some cases, these savings are being passed on to patients. This technology not only facilitates greater efficiency but provides a more positive experience for patients and their families.

 

 

 

Customized Healthcare Solutions
patientwaySlabb has partnered with healthcare solutions provider PatientWay, champions of patient self-service technology. They provide streamlined patient access through web, kiosk and mobile applications using the following products:

 

•PatientWay PreReg (Appointment Pre-registration)
•PatientWay Reminder (Automatic appointment reminders)
•PatientWay Kiosk (Appointment Check-In, Card Transactions & Wayfinding)

 

 

 

Customized Slabb X6 patient registration kiosk

Customized Slabb X6 patient registration kiosk

 

 

 

 

This week St. Joseph’s Health Centre’s Ambulatory Care Centre (ACC) unveiled it’s new patient kiosk which will assist in providing a quicker and more efficient patient registration process. The hardware for the kiosk was provided by Slabb with software from PatientWay. Read more about St. Joseph’s new kiosk here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To learn more about PatientWay’s Solutions go to www.patientway.com

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Anyone starting a kiosk business, please be aware…

By Mike Masone – Sales Director, Slabb, Inc.

“Because of our position as a top tier OEM, Slabb urges anyone starting a kiosk business to read the story below carefully. Essentially a self-service solutions provider, American Entertainment Distributors (AED), has been forced to repay over $4 million to customer who purchased their DVD rental kiosks. The reason as stated by the FTC:

 

 
‘(AED) deceived consumers into paying $28,000 to $37,500 apiece for video rental vending machines by telling them they could expect to earn between $60,000 and $80,000 a year, or recoup their initial investment in six to 14 months. In fact, according to the FTC, the defendants had no reasonable basis for their claims and all investors lost money.’

 

 
We work with many customers who package our kiosks along with other components for self-service solutions and then offer the total package for sale to consumers and operators. Thankfully, this hasn’t happened with any of our customers. Remember though, whenever there is a wildly successful deployment (in this case Red Box) there will always be customers willing to invest or to jump on the bandwagon. There are complex reasons why sometimes things work out, and sometimes they don’t. Unless you are in a position to control all of these factors take care in your marketing and sales efforts to protect yourself against these types of actions.”
Read more about the case here: http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2013/08/aed.shtm

 

 

Slabb has no relationship or affiliation with AED or any of its customers

 

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How will new technology affect the kiosk industry?

Over the past two weeks, I’ve come across some interesting technology articles on various newsfeeds. Three in particular stood out, especially because they have the potential to change the options available when it comes to kiosk customization.

 

 
The articles were:

 
Venture Beat’s HP’s first 3D printer could come as soon as next year
c|net’s Electronic makeup lets you control gadgets with a wink and along the same lines, two YouTube videos demonstrating Kinect for Windows (the Toy Store Scenario and the Retail Clothing Scenario)
Business Insider’s Researchers Have Discovered A Way For Us To Feel An Object’s Texture Through A Screen

 

 
Let’s examine each in more detail:

 
3D printers
You may wonder why this is on the list, as they’re currently a lot of players in the 3D market, however, HP is not only a household name but is well trusted by consumers and would more or less be the first well-known consumer printer company to enter the market. They have officially announced that there’s the possibility of them providing a 3D printer option as soon as 2014. HP’s reputation may have more businesses and consumers inclined to try the product.

 

 
What is 3D printing?
Short for three-dimensional, 3D is used to describe objects with depth; unlike a flat object that only has two dimensions that occur on the X and Y axis, just as on a graph, 3D objects also occur on the Z axis, which represents depth. 3D printing is therefore, the process of laying down successive layers of material using an additive process to make a three-dimensional object from a digital model.

 

 
The possibilities are endless with a 3D printing kiosk and interestingly, it already exists! Enter the DreamVendor – a 3D printing kiosk at Virginia Tech. It’s made up of four 3D printers with a system that can read designs from an SD card. Imagine being able to create just about anything and just dispensing it from the machine. Think of the marketing possibilities! A movie theatre with a ticket kiosk can, along with dispensing traditional tickets have the added bonus of a promotional item related to the movie like an action figure. It would definitely be an interesting concept.

 

 
RFID technology
Imagine controlling gadgets with the blink of an eye or with your nails. That’s what computer scientist, Katia Vega has been able to do using RFID technology. Her Beauty Technology, as she refers to it, includes the Blinklifier which allows users to turn devices on and off by just blinking, while using metallized false eyelashes and conductive eyeliner. Twinkle Nails uses false fingernails that allow the user to play a virtual piano. Each nail is coded with a different note using an RFID tag.

 

 
What is RFID technology?
Radio-frequency identification (RFID) is the use of radio-frequency electromagnetic fields to transfer data, wirelessly. It allows the automatic identification of objects with tracking tags that contain electronically stored information.

 

 
RFID technology has been around for quite some time and is already used in kiosks and other devices. A perfect example would be a barcode scanner. What makes the technology interesting is that its use is becoming quite extended, as with the example above. Imagine being able to go to a kiosk or a bill payment machine and completing your transaction with the blink of an eye?

 

 
A similar type of technology is the Kinect sensor which uses gestures to control electronic devices. We’ve all played the games, and I can admit that I’m still amazed by this technology. The Kinect videos depicted on YouTube allow users to experience products prior to purchasing. It’s a great concept that would be a great fit for retail outlets that use self-service options such as kiosks.

 

 
Texture on a screen
Business Insider reports that researchers are discovering new ways to enhance touch-based devices by enabling users to feel textures on them. The technology works using electric fields that mimic the feeling of ridges, bumps and edges, generating the illusion of touch in midair.

 

 
Disney has already announced that they have been able to recreate the feel of various surface textures on a smooth object using electrostatic forces. This can be recreated on any smooth surface – a wall, monitor, and tablet or phone screens.

 

 
Imagine being able to feel the texture of clothing when purchasing online. It’s another great feature that can enhance the self-service experience.

 

 
These are just three examples of new technological discoveries. These discoveries, along with other advancements, will continue to provide us with alternatives to the way we currently use devices. This can only be a plus for the kiosk industry as some of these new technologies can be incorporated to enhance the overall user experience.

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In-store Kiosks: A Happy Medium for Traditional Shoppers?

Earlier this week, I recall skimming through an article which indicated that there were still some shoppers (I can’t remember the percentage) that hold fast to the “brick and mortar” experience, even to the extent that they are totally averse to any form of online shopping.

 

 
This is surprising, considering that Forrester’s US Online Retail Forecast, 2012 to 2017 predicts that online retail in 2013 will reach $262 billion — a rise of 13% over last year’s sales. Looking forward, it is expected that “eCommerce will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 9% between 2012 and 2017”. It is evidence that, contrary to the article I read, customers are getting more and more comfortable with online purchasing whether it is via their phones, PCs or tablets.

 

 
Despite these statistics, I do imagine that there are still a number of shoppers that prefer the traditional shopping experience that includes being able to hold and examine potential purchase items, converse with a sales associate and browse for items that may be of interest. It makes me realize that the term “retail therapy” now comes in many forms and one should not discount the peace of mind that strolling through a mall or shopping center, maybe grabbing a bite to eat, or interacting with others in this social setting can bring whether purchasing items or not.

 

 
The percentage of shoppers that fall into this category are still customers, and maybe businesses can create a happy medium by providing them with the option of using online services through an in-store kiosk. In-store kiosks date back to the ‘80s when the Florsheim Express Shop was introduced to all Florsheim retail stores. This innovative in-store computer kiosk allowed customers to order any shoe from the entire Florsheim line, rather than rely on what the physical store had in stock, creating more purchasing options for shoppers.

 

 

 

Some additional benefits of in-store kiosks include:

 

 
The best of both worlds – customers have the option of seeking the assistance of a sales associate or they can make their purchases on their own (whichever they choose).

 

 
A lesson in online shopping – for traditional shoppers it’s a great opportunity to experience how online shopping works within their comfort zone, knowing that assistance can be provided, if needed, while using the kiosk.

 

 
Enhanced shopping experience – Due to the ability of in-store kiosks to store customer data, including purchasing habits, with every use customers have an enhanced experience, as the kiosks can be programmed to highlight promotions, offer options and provide coupons based on customer preferences.

 

 
Say goodbye to illusive items – ever saw an item being advertised online and you couldn’t locate it at the store. This problem is eliminated as the kiosk can provide the item’s physical location at the store. The kiosk may also have items that are out of stock at the store or provide more color and size options.

 

 
Knowledge is power – a kiosk can provide product specs and details that often aren’t apparent by sight. It can also include warranty information, with product and price comparisons.

 

 
Added features – kiosks give retailers the opportunity to provide affiliate services, online gift registries, loyalty card programs and an avenue to provide customer feedback or apply for vacant positions.

 

 

In-store kiosks can provide a self-service experience for those who prefer this method of shopping, while still allowing others to enjoy the personalized service that comes from interacting with a customer representative, while still having an opportunity to try an online option if desired.

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The Advantages of Self-service Checkout Systems

One of Slabb's Self-service checkout kiosks at an Avanti Markets display

One of Slabb’s Self-service checkout kiosks at an Avanti Markets display

In our blog, Self-service Kiosks Offer a Convenient Twist to the Office Lunchroom, we highlighted the new trend of micro markets at the workplace which have become an alternative to the traditional lunch room. It’s not only a convenient, efficient way for employees to get their meals, but it also offers a healthy alternative because of the meal options that are made available.

 

 
One of the unique features of the micro market is that it is based on a self-service model, that not only allows the customer/employee to choose the items they want, but also uses a payment system that relies on the honesty of users to pay for the items they have selected without having a cashier or any personnel to oversee the process. This model is also found in several grocery outlets where customers can scan and pay for items via a checkout machine.

 

 
It’s not a perfect system and there are some users who will not abide by the ‘honor system’. Last year a British report that surveyed grocery shoppers that utilized self-service checkout, found that almost a third of those that used the machines admitted to stealing by trying to take extra items without paying or tricking the machines by inputting incorrect information; while a quarter of those that did not steal admitted that they didn’t do so because they were afraid of getting caught.

 

 
Despite this, there are many advantages of a self-checkout system, many users embrace the convenience it offers and therefore use the service in the way it was intended. Some may even argue that it’s a system that is more suitable for an office setting, with co-workers that know each other and already abide by both written and unwritten codes of conduct which they agreed to when hired. Here are additional pros to self-service checkout systems:

 

 
Did we mention convenience?
There is often a need to have an option that is quick and convenient at the workplace, especially when there’s a project to be finished or deadlines to meet. A micro market with a self-checkout option eliminates the need to leave the office.

A self-checkout lane at a grocery store, reduces checkout wait time and creates a more pleasant shopping experience.

 

 

 

They’re cost efficient
It eliminates the need to have a manned station, thereby reducing labor costs. These cost savings are sometimes passed on to customers and reflected in the cost of some items.

This may not be as obvious in an office setting, but the system reduces employee downtime due to extended breaks and lunches, and encourages a more productive workforce.

 

 

 

A great source of information
Businesses can use self-checkout kiosks as an opportunity to update customers on new merchandise, prices or general company information. It can also suggest offers based on the customer’s purchasing habits.

At the office the kiosk can promote healthy food options or provide reminders about products that might be offered in the future.

 

 

 

• Multiple payment options
No cash? That’s no problem with a self-checkout system, as they are often set up to take multiple forms of payment including debit and credit cards.

 

 

 

No limit
Before self-checkout lanes, the fastest checkout at the grocery store was usually the ’10 Items or Less’ lane; with self-checkout there is no limit to the number of items you can scan.

 

 

 

There are many merits to self-checkout systems but they seem to work best in the office setting where there is more control and a greater likelihood that ‘the honor system’ would be respected. This system in an office is also complemented by the healthy alternatives provided, timely replenishment that ensures freshness and 24/7 security.

But there are also measures that can be put in place, if implemented at a grocery store or retail outlet such as surveillance cameras or employees on the floor that can monitor the stations from time to time.

 

 

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10 Benefits of Donation Kiosks

Slabb's X6 Kiosk

Slabb’s X6 Kiosk

You may have heard them referred to as ‘Giving kiosks’ or even ‘Charity kiosks’ but whatever name they are given, they serve the same purpose – they provide a unique, secure and confidential way for members of a church or group to donate or contribute to their communities. Here are 10 benefits of implementing a donation kiosk in your community.

 

 
1. Ease of use
Donation kiosks are similar to ATMs and can provide an interactive element that makes them easy to use.

 

 

 

2. Convenience
Donation kiosks, depending on where they are located can be accessed at any time so donations are no longer limited to during a service or meeting. Members have the option of giving at any time that is convenient to them.

 

 

 

3. Cash is not the only option
There have been many occasions where I have opened my wallet to find just my credit and bank cards staring back at me, with not even a cent to put in the donation basket during a service. This is no longer a problem, as kiosks can be customized to accept multiple forms of payment including, credit and debit cards.

 

 

 

4. It’s always good to have alternatives
A kiosk can be just one of many donation alternatives that a church or group can provide for their members. It can complement the traditional method of collection of tithes during a service along with online methods of contributing or even via mobile payments. Having a variety of options increases the opportunities to give.

 

 

 

5. Thinking ‘outside the box’
A kiosk can contain many components that can facilitate multiple uses that go beyond the collection of donations. They can provide information about community events and other relevant topics and can be used to generate additional revenue through the sale of church merchandise including books, CDs and DVDs, t-shirts, etc.

 

 

 

6. Collects more than just donations
A kiosk can facilitate the registration of new members and updating of information for current members through personal membership log ins. This will allow members and church personnel to access reports that provide accurate data of the amounts donated and items purchased. Members can also register for events.

 

 

 

7. What’s in a name?
If you’re interested in getting your name out there, showcasing your brand would be a way of doing that. Kiosks provided an ideal opportunity for this and can be easily branded with the church or group logo and colors.

 

 

 

8. Provide and incentive for first time givers
Because of the convenience of a kiosk, the fact that donations can be given at a time when no one else is around thereby allowing the giver to maintain anonymity, this along with security of giving via the kiosk provides an incentive to give, especially for first time givers. Dr. Marty Baker of Stephen’s Creek Community Church in August, Georgia found that 27% of kiosk donations at his home church were first-time givers.

 

 

 

9. It creates a ‘giving trend’
It has been found that both kiosks and online donation options create a trend of giving, simply because they provide the option of scheduled donations that can be debited directly from the member’s account at a specific time.

 

 

 

10. Simple implementation
Most importantly, kiosks are simple to implement, are cost effective and have low transaction fees. Kiosk management is also very straightforward and data can be accessed from any computer through an administrative portal.

 

 

 

Slabb's X5 kiosk

Slabb’s X5 kiosk

The benefits of donation/giving kiosks are reflected in the fourth annual ‘State of the Plate’ survey which showed that “1,360 congregations revealed that 51 percent of churches saw giving increase in 2011, up from 43 percent in 2010 and 36 percent in 2009.” Author, speaker and founder of the “State of the Plate” research concluded that “A better economy, more Bible teaching on finances and generosity and a growing number of online giving options are helping many churches rebound financially.”

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Is there a future for self-service kiosks?

“Our business is about technology, yes. But it’s also about operations and customer relationships. ”

 

 

Today, we posted this quote from Michael Dell, CEO and Founder of Dell, Inc., on some of our social media platforms. I thought it was a great reminder, especially in our industry. We get so caught up in the technology that we sometimes forget that the technology should ENHANCE our operations and customer relationships, not diminish them. This is an important factor, especially with the use of self-service technology, whether it is automated answering/message systems or call centers in lieu of a physical presence in-store, DIY solutions or videos to pre-empt service calls thereby reducing call queues and wait times or self-service systems including kiosks, that allow customers to check in/out or pay for goods and services without the need for assistance from a customer representative.

 

 
Can you remember when there was no other alternative to standing in line at the bank? I’m sure most of us can’t remember the days of sitting in our cars while our fuel was pumped, windscreen cleaned and tire pressure checked. We even paid at the car window. First, Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) made life a little easier, and then consumers never flinched when self-service stations became the norm, and now we have the alternative of self-service systems including kiosks to conduct just about every transaction.

 

 
It almost makes the answer to my question above seem obvious. If we didn’t look back then why should we do so now, as self-service options continue to increase and become the norm? The evolution has been taking place since the ‘60s and hasn’t stopped since then.

 

 
According to the 2013 North American Self-Service Kiosks Market Study, prepared by the IHL Group, “Transactions at Self-Service Kiosks are growing better than 7% per year in North America with transactions expected to grow past $1.0 Trillion per year through the devices by 2014.” This isn’t surprising, with many industries adopting kiosk technology in an effort to provide a more efficient, easier customer experience. Customers are also adapting to these systems because, they too, seek convenience and efficiency, especially now that we live in a world where time is a premium and it just isn’t practical to spend extended periods of time on tasks that could be completed in a much shorter time.

 

 
Some of the industries adopting this technology include:

 

 

 

Slabb's X6 kiosk model for USBank

Slabb’s X6 kiosk model for USBank

The banking industry
It can be argued that the trend started in this industry, and it continues to provide automated, self-service solutions to customers. The kiosks that are utilized are quite similar to ATMs but are capable of providing additional services and transactions that once required interaction with a teller to be completed. Their functions include cashing checks, dispensing money orders, printing official checks, paying bills and withdrawing cash (in increments other than $20 bills) along with other features. The kiosks are either located on-site, in the branch lobby or off-site in a remote location (such as a convenience store).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Global Entry Kiosk

Global Entry Kiosk

The airport industry
This industry has been using kiosks in a number of ways. Many major airports have adopted kiosk systems that assist in making the security check on travelers a lot faster. There are currently 34 airports that have Global Entry kiosks with 98% of all air travelers passing through these checkpoints. The program has been around since 2008 and allows pre-approved travelers to use the kiosks upon their return to the US. In Chicago, these machines have helped shave wait times by a third for arriving passengers. It is hoped that they will also be installed at JFK, one of the nation’s busiest airports – a move that is being strongly advocated by U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer. Read more here.

 

 

 

Airlines have also adopted the technology to facilitate easy check in for customers. They are usually used by specific airlines or are sometimes shared by multiple airlines, allowing passengers to book tickets, change reservations or check in.

 

 

 

Slabb's X6 kiosk for Hyatt Regency

Slabb’s X6 kiosk for Hyatt Regency

The hotel industry
Check in services are not only unique to the airline industry, so it’s definitely not a surprise that check in kiosks are also used in the hotel industry. These kiosks also facilitate guest check out and became more widespread with the travel downturn a few years ago, as a cheaper alternative to staffing.

 

 

 

These are just three examples of industries that have fully adopted the use of self-service kiosks and there are many more. It is a technological advancement that has been adopted by companies out of a need to serve customers better while reducing costs and embraced by customers seeking convenience and efficient use of their time.

 

 
So the answer to the question? Self-service kiosks will be here as long as the demand and need for them exist, but companies must remember that a better customer experience should always be the goal…Providing convenience to your customers while ensuring it enhances, not diminishes your relationship with your customer. It should be an added benefit/bonus to the customer, not an experience that makes their interaction with your company seem cold and impersonal.

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Internet Kiosks and their Role in the Evolution of the Internet Café

I remember when I had to wait in line to use a computer at an internet café. It was often my second option if the computers at my University’s library were occupied, which was normally the case close to final exams when end-of-term projects were due. I guess I’m showing my age.

 

 
We have certainly come a long way since then, but it made me wonder if internet cafés were still utilized and if so, on what scale? I guess not having to use them myself anymore, they’re just no longer on my radar. But a recent court case in California, along with similar cases in other states, made me realize that internet café owners have been forced to reinvent their service offering or otherwise risk going out of business. This is as a direct result of the advancement of technology which has enabled the production of computer hardware at a much lower cost which has been passed on to consumers in the market for PCs, tablets and other devices, the affordability and multiple options of internet packages from various companies, along with free wireless service in many public areas. It is no wonder, that many cafés now offer sweepstakes as an incentive to attract patrons.

 

 
In Bakersfield, thirteen internet café owners are awaiting the ruling of an appellate court judge, who will decide if they actually provide internet access along with other services such as faxing and copying or if they are sites for illegal gaming. The owners argue that their customers come to surf the net and that when they purchase internet time, they are simply entered into sweepstakes with a cash prize. Their argument is that it is similar to a ‘random monkey bonus’ – a Vegas-style slot machine term. I suppose it’s not the best analogy to win their case, but many internet café owners across the country are likening it to McDonald’s offer of the Monopoly sweepstakes game when you purchase a meal or even Coca-Cola promotions involving bottle caps being exchanged for prizes. It will certainly be interesting to see how the ruling will go, as it could mean the decline of internet cafés.

 

 
It’s certainly a deviation from the internet cafés that I knew which provided a straightforward service – cash for internet time with no additions. It was how the first internet café was operated in 1988 in South Korea, connecting users to online service networks through telephone lines. They were at least three years ahead of developed countries. The service only started being offered in the US in 1991 at coffee house locations throughout the San Francisco Bay area, using coin operated terminals. The term Cyber Café was coined in 1994 when the concept of full internet access began. By 2005, the specific niche of Sweepstakes Internet Cafes started offering internet access using sweepstakes promotions.

 

 

 

 

Slabb's X5 Kiosk is often used as an internet kiosk

Slabb’s X5 Kiosk is often used as an internet kiosk

It was around this time, that internet kiosks became more prevalent and were commonly found in public libraries, airports and hotels, providing a convenient option for users. They played an integral part in transforming the perception of the internet as trendy. Their introduction and resulting popularity might have been the catalyst, along with the increased accessibility to hardware and software, for internet cafés to start reinventing themselves. Internet gaming cafés have been extremely popular in Asia and have proven to be a sustainable revenue model due to the strong demand they create. Only time will tell if they will be allowed to continue in their current form or if US internet café owners must once again rethink their product offering.

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Childcare Solutions using Self-service Options

In our blog about educational kiosks (Interactive Kiosks are Making an Impact in Schools), we mentioned some schools that are using self-service kiosks to make school processes more accessible to parents, while enhancing school security by using the units as check-in and check-out systems to keep track of students as well as visitors.

 

 
Unfortunately, in the world we live in, it has become necessary to ensure our children’s safety by safeguarding them from becoming lost or abducted. We’ve all seen the news coverage where some schools have lost track of a child’s whereabouts, sometimes leaving them in school trip vehicles or allowing them to be taken by unauthorized individuals, whether a stranger or estranged relative. We can also hope that the use of a kiosk system, along with other security measures such as surveillance cameras, effective lock systems or panels and doors made from impenetrable material, can act as a deterrent to individuals that may cause harm to our children or school property.

 

 
It has made the use of kiosk check-in systems in childcare management more commonplace. These systems, supported by security cameras that provide a live feed for parents, assist by alleviating some security concerns for parents, while allowing caregivers to manage their students more effectively. Some of the additional benefits of having these systems in place include:

 
• Less paperwork, thereby lessening administrative duties and costs. It gives caregivers more time to focus on the job at hand – the children in their care.
• More effective emergency management providing schools with an accurate headcount, if needed
• The kiosks can be used to provide parents with additional school-related information that they can access when signing their children in and out of the system.
• Parents can print school material from the kiosks including schedules, forms or grade sheets.

 

 
An interesting development regarding the use of kiosks in childcare management is the introduction of Comply Ally by Childcare Compliance in Los Angeles, California. Comply Ally is a kiosk system that allows childcare providers to access compliance tools and business management software, including guidelines for childcare, labor, and family law. Users can download forms and reports and will have access to reliable updates on important childcare regulations and industry standards. It greatly assists the childcare centers with limited internet access while reducing the administrative costs of agencies where the information is normally physically accessed.

 

 

 

Slabb X6 kiosk customized for childcare check-in/out

Slabb X6 kiosk customized for childcare check-in/out

In the past, Slabb has partnered with software companies providing web based, on-demand software solutions, some specifically for churches that use the software in our customized X6 kiosks as a check in system for the church’s daycare. The kiosk on the left is an example of one.

Find out more about our customizable kiosks here.

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10 Interesting Facts about Kiosks

We recently did a blog on the Evolution of the Kiosk, and many articles have been written on this topic by experts in the industry. I’m always drawn to topics like this because I’m always interested in seeing how technology has changed so many products, not only physically but changes in product capacity and capability…Kiosks are no different.

 
There are so many technological advancements that have changed what kiosks can do and the amount of space and components they now require – from card readers to touch screens to multitouch screens that enhance the level of interactivity with the user. There is no doubt that kiosks will continue to evolve with new technological developments.

 
That’s why it’s important to study how kiosks have been redefined to suit consumers’ needs and wants and continues to do so. It’s also a good way to figure out what works and what doesn’t for users, ensuring that the same mistakes are not repeated.

 
So here’s a look at ten interesting facts I learnt about kiosks:

 
1. The word kiosk is derived from the Middle Persian word kōšk and referred to a small center that sold goods or services.

 
2. Interactive kiosks utilize a computer terminal that provides functionality through customized software.

 
3. The main kiosk input devices include a screen (LCD or touchscreen), keyboard and trackball.

 
4. Kiosks can also have optional components such as bill acceptors, card readers, printers and handsets.

 
5. In 1977, Murray Lappe, a pre-med student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign developed the first self-service, interactive kiosk.

 
6. The first successful network of interactive kiosks used for commercial purposes was developed in 1985 by shoe retailer the Florsheim Shoe Co. The network included 600 kiosks that provided images and video promotions for customers who wanted to purchase shoes that were not available at their retail location. The kiosk allowed the user to not only select the style, size and shoe color but also pay for the product via the kiosk.

 
7. The first commercial kiosk with internet connection was displayed in 1991, at Comdex. It was used to locate missing children.

 
8. A tradeshow for organizations looking to deploy interactive self-service kiosks was launched in 1997 by KioskCom. They continue to provide these services hosting tradeshows twice a year and offering companies education and demonstrations for successful self-service deployments.

 
9. The first state-wide deployment of interactive kiosks was done by Imperial Multimedia in 2007. They installed interactive kiosks in 31 Virginia State Parks which provided emergency information, park overviews, way finding services, video tours and printable maps.

 
10. It is estimated that over 131,000 kiosk terminals exist in the U.S. alone.

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A New Meaning to Self-service

In many of my previous blogs,I would have spoken about the importance of convenience, especially in the world we live in today. Our lives seem more hectic than ever and we have access to so much more information that most of us are well-informed enough about the technology available and what it makes possible and we’re definitely not shy about demanding it.

 

 

A lot of our demands for convenience have been answered through self-service options, including self-servic,e interactive kiosks. Technological advancements also makes it possible to access just about anything or any service via a kiosk. I guess with this knowledge, I shouldn’t have been surprised when I encountered some of the more traditional kiosks, or vending machines. Traditional in look and feel – glass cases with products and the option to use cash, coins or credit cards to pay for and select the item you want. Imagine my surprise then when I found out some of the different items being sold from these machines:
 

'Cup-a-noodles' kiosk

‘Cup-a-noodles’ kiosk.

 

 

 

 

 

  • This would have come in really handy during my college years when I lived on Ramen noodles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Egg vending machine

Egg vending machine

 

 

 

 

  • Egg vending machine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flower kiosk

Flower kiosk

 

 

 

 

  •  Talk about facilitating a last minute gesture of love or kindness after all the shops are already closed. Sure to please your significant other.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello Kitty kiosk

Hello Kitty kiosk

 

 

 

  • A young girl’s dream…And you don’t even have to stand in line at the shop in the mall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sushi Vending Machine

Sushi Vending Machine

 

 

 

 

  •  Sushi anyone? Not sure how much I’d trust this one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Car Vending Machine

Car Vending Machine

 

 

 

 

  • Who needs a car dealership when you can purchase your next vehicle from a vending machine?

 

 
Then there were the machines in weird locations:
 

 

Beverage machine on Mt. Fuji

Beverage machine on Mt. Fuji

 

 

 

 

  • Great idea to have water handy while climbing Mt. Fuji

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vending Machine on a Train

Vending Machine on a Train

 

 

 

 

  • This will almost make the commute to and from work a little more bearable.

 

 

 

 
It just goes to show…If there is enough of a demand for something…It can always be facilitated.

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Self-service Healthcare Kiosks: Convenience When Inconveniently Ill

Nothing makes you more aware of your health than the inconvenience of being ill. Last week was a rough week, not only because I seemed to have the debilitating virus that is currently going around, but it also wiped my three year old out. If it’s one thing that’s really difficult when you’re ill, is having to take care of someone else who is also ill. But that’s all a part of parenting.

 
We often take our health for granted; only dreading the consequences when we become ill. Despite knowing this however, I still procrastinate when having to purchase vitamins after having taken the last one in the bottle. I never have the medication I need that can stave off the effects of the common cold or a headache. It’s always an inconvenient rush to the pharmacy or convenience store at the onset of symptoms.

 
Of course I wondered, being in the industry I’m in, if easier access would improve my preparedness for these things. A kiosk that dispenses over-the-counter or prescription drugs, even though not as far-fetched as previously thought (the FDA held talks last year with stakeholders regarding the feasibility of this concept) would need so many approvals that the reality of this is quite a few years away. But there are other kiosks that can assist in our efforts to have healthier lives – kiosks that take your blood pressure, measure your height versus your weight, dispensing Body Mass Index (BMI) stats to make sure you’re on the right track health wise.

 
A recent article by Forbes discussed the many functions of new healthcare kiosks which included vision testing, physician consultations via live videoconferencing, symptom assessment and follow up online programs.

 
The article also listed a few of the benefits that could be derived from these machines including:
• Greater reach – access by individuals who may not visit a doctor regularly for various reasons
• Medications are available on the spot, with the patient more likely to purchase it in a timely manner
• The advertising potential creates an additional revenue stream for businesses hosting the kiosk
• Better access and greater ability to market to a highly targeted audience.

 
It’s definitely an option that would provide added convenience to patients and might even save lives through prevention and early detection.

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Self-service Kiosks Offer a Convenient Twist to the Office Lunchroom

Time is a premium for most of us these days. We try to find ways to do things in the fastest, easiest and most convenient ways possible. It’s one of the reasons that self-service kiosks have become so popular, because they make this possible – offering an alternative that provides quick service.

 

Often, we struggle with the demand to have things done in the shortest possible time frame, not just in our private lives, but even more so on-the-job, with increasing volumes of work and tight deadlines. How many of us have found ourselves forgetting to have lunch? Or opting out of eating just at the thought of interrupting our train of thought, getting into the car and then enduring the long line whether it is at a drive-thru or take away establishment? The end result is usually feeling frazzled when we get back to the office and wolfing down our unhealthy purchase because we’ve now spent almost an hour (our entire lunch break) just trying to get it.

 

 

One of Avanti Markets micro market layouts

One of Avanti Markets micro market layouts

It’s one of the reason micro markets have become so popular and an established feature of the modern office workspace. They can be described as mini-convenient stores that are stocked with healthy options such as salads, sandwiches, juices, soda and water as well as snacks like granola bars, chips, etc. They come in a variety of layouts that provide coolers and open shelves equipped with surveillance cameras for those tempted to disregard the ‘honor system’. Most importantly however, they are equipped with self-checkout, unmanned kiosk systems that allow users to use their cash, credit or debit cards or in some cases, their phones to pay for the items they have selected from the market.

 

 

They offer a convenient ‘twist’ to the office lunch room, providing employees with a healthy lunch option without the hassle of leaving the office. It is a great alternative that promotes a healthier and more productive workplace. Over the years, Slabb has worked with many micro market solution providers including Avanti Markets, a dominant player in the micro-markets industry. We provide customized kiosk hardware and software solutions for Avanti Market’s clients utilizing our X6 kiosk model, providing users with a convenient, easy-to-use system to purchase their healthy lunch alternative quickly and without the added inconvenience of a long line.

 
For more information on Slabb’s micro market kiosks options click here.

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An Easy Way to Get into Sporting Events

The soccer season has begun or should I say my husband is now dominating the television to watch Premier League games! Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy watching soccer or football, as it’s known in some parts of the world, but club football just doesn’t interest me…Sorry avid soccer fans! I think soccer excitement is at a feverish pitch once every four years when the World Cup begins. Now that I enjoy watching!

 
It started me thinking about sports in general, and its impact on the kiosk industry. I must say, I wasn’t able to find much. The closest I came, in terms of soccer kiosks is the Barclays Premier League ticket kiosk – a promotion to win tickets to the games. This isn’t exactly a kiosk, as it’s actually one of those machines that blow air throughout a booth so participants get a chance to grab as many blue tickets as possible to be entered into the final prize draw.

 
I also came across the controversial sports kiosks that were introduced right here in Nevada where users transmit their wagers to the bookmaker’s central office via the kiosk. These met with a lot of opposition by casinos and last month they were eventually barred from being used.

 
Despite my limited results for sport-specific kiosks, it can’t be denied that kiosks have transformed the way we purchase tickets for sporting and other events. Although I can’t begin to imagine what it would have been like if the 2014 World Cup tickets, which went on sale this week, were available via a ticket kiosk.

 

 

One of Slabb's ticketing kiosks

One of Slabb’s ticketing kiosks

Ticket printing kiosks have become one of the most popular applications of self-service technology. Staffing a window gets expensive, especially after hours, and nothing is more of a turnoff to patrons than a long line at a manned ticket booth. These kiosks can and are usually used to create multiple points of purchase, resulting in a sound crowd management strategy, which nicely complements online purchase options as well. Sometimes just seeing a ticket kiosk is an incentive to purchase when you’re out and about, because it’s accessible and quick.

 
At their most simple, these kiosks are designed to take money and give tickets, and usually consist of:

 
• A kiosk body – usually freestanding but wall mount kiosks can be used as well
• A ticket dispenser or printer
• Payment acceptor options – Credit Card Reader, Cash Acceptor, Coin Acceptor, and very rarely a Change Dispenser.

 

 

Slabb's X6 Kiosk is also a great ticketing option

Slabb’s X6 Kiosk is also a great ticketing option

Additional features might include:
• A keyboard + trackball when customers’ details are required (touch screen input for large amounts of data can be tiresome for users, especially those who are used to a keyboard for data entry)
• A secondary overhead monitor can be used to advertise the new showing at a cinema, food specials, upcoming games/events or recent scores
• A barcode or QR Scanner to work with printed offers and mobile devices

 
As is the case with most kiosk applications balancing desired features with specificity and ease of use is most important. For more information on ticketing kiosks, click here.

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Access to the World via Public Internet Kiosks

We originally published this blog on August 22, 2013, but wanted to share an article that was published in the Wall Street Journal this week about Google’s plans ” to spend $1 billion on a fleet of satellites to extend Internet access to unwired regions of the world.” It’s another step forward in providing internet access to the world. Read the full article, Google Invests in Satellites to Spread Internet Access.

 

We also recently rewrote this article for our blog on KioskMarketplace.com. We added some additional insight. Check it out here.

 

“Today, the internet isn’t accessible for two thirds of the world. Imagine a world where it connects us all.” – Mark Zuckerberg
Mark Zuckerberg’s recent announcement about his initiative to bring internet access to everyone seems like a mammoth, almost unrealistic task. Is it doable? Only time will tell. Today, only 2.7 billion of the world’s 7 billion or so inhabitants currently have access to the internet with internet adoption at less than 9% annually. If this feat is achieved, the next step would be accessibility to enabling devices.
In a release from internet.org, the partnership that was created to make this initiative a reality, stated that, “Potential projects include collaborations to develop lower cost, higher quality smartphones and partnerships to more broadly deploy internet access in underserved communities. Mobile operators will play a central role in this effort by driving initiatives that benefit the entire ecosystem.”

 

 

Slabb's X5 model can be utilized as a public internet kiosk

Slabb’s X5 model can be utilized as a public internet kiosk

But other options could also be considered, including the feasibility of public internet kiosks, especially for those that can’t afford or choose not to use other devices, even if they are competitively priced. Public internet kiosks are usually used by businesses and are capable of bringing cutting-edge technology to customers while improving their sales experience. Imagine if private companies or government are able to make these accessible to users that otherwise could not access the internet.
‘Helping businesses drive access,’ is one of the three challenges that the partnership would address, “Partners will support development of sustainable new business models and services that make it easier for people to access the internet. This includes testing new models that align incentives for mobile operators, device manufacturers, developers and other businesses to provide more affordable access than has previously been possible. Other efforts will focus on localizing services – working with operating system providers and other partners to enable more languages on mobile devices. ”
Both the hardware and software for public internet kiosks can be customized or standard, and would be made for heavy usage and ruggedized in order to accommodate the demands of heavy traffic. It would definitely provide an alternative solution.

 

 
Learn more about public internet kiosks.

 

 

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Interactive Kiosks are Making an Impact in Schools

I am certain, that like me, many of you with school aged children were wondering where summer had gone, as we rushed the kids out the door for the first day of school. Somehow, two months always seems longer than it actually is. For some of us, it is a refreshing change, a much needed break from the seemingly incessant noise, familiar rush to get to camp or an activity-packed day to keep our little ones occupied, in an effort to avoid those dreadful words… ’I’m bored!’ For others, we’re still in ‘hectic’ mode, just with a different ‘to do’ list, as we plan the school year and the extra-curricular activities that go along with it. Thank heaven for smartphones with reminders and alarms. Actually, thank heaven for technology!

 
I would like to add that I’m happy that it has infiltrated our schools. I’m in my thirties, and the school I attended was vastly different from my nine year old’s school. I remember it was a ‘treat’ to use one of the few computers available at the school’s library, for the limited time you had it. Now they use smart boards and have their own personal computers or tablets. It’s an inevitable result of the technological evolution and it comes with many benefits.

 
It has made life so much easier for my son who needed remedial assistance as the computer software now available allows children with special needs to learn at their own pace in an alternative way from a large group setting. It resulted in my son’s eagerness to read which was further propelled because he could do it using his Kindle. His school also gives students the option to use these electronic devices or traditional books during their reading period. It’s a great way to include technology into the school system.

 
The technology has proliferated in many ways. Most educational institutions first started using interactive kiosks as a way to manage the registration of students, especially at university campuses. It eliminated the long lines, allowing students to enter their personal information, choose their classes and even pay tuition using a secure, user-friendly platform. Kiosk usage has since been extended, allowing students to:

 
• Top up smart cards to avoid using cash for school transactions
• Access transcripts
• Obtain campus maps
• Participate in Student and faculty surveys
• Obtain directions for the area around the campus
• Check-in for event
• Obtain Campus Information and updates
• Conduct research via the internet
• Purchase books online
• Fill out applications for student clubs and volunteer organizations

 
Schools are also using kiosk technology to promote recycling. At Texas A&M, recycling kiosks allow users to earn points for every bottle or can they recycle. The points can then be redeemed for discounts at participating local establishments.

 
Three Williamson County schools announced that they will start using small electronic kiosks in their front offices this school year. It is hoped that it will make some of the schools’ processes more accessible to parents. It will also enhance current security measures, providing visual documentation, including vehicle information, of anyone present at the campus.

 
School kiosks bring many benefits including:

 
• Reduced payroll and overhead costs
• Increased efficiency
• Less paperwork
• A great opportunity for school branding to promote school pride
• A more positive, effective student experience

 

 

Interactive screen at Stoddert Elementary School

Interactive screen at Stoddert Elementary School

One of our earlier projects included the installation of information kiosks in three different languages at Stoddert Elementary in Washington, D.C. These kiosks facilitated the school’s efforts to become more energy efficient. Since then, we have installed many types of kiosks at educational institutions, each customized to address the specific needs of the school.

 
Learn more about our interactive educational kiosk options.

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Providing Reliable Public Internet Kiosks

Fifteen years ago, it would have been hard to imagine a future world so intimately connected by the internet as we are today; fifteen years from now, it may be hard to imagine a past that was not. As internet use grows, it may begin to be perceived as a right, rather than a privilege. Indeed, the European Union conducted parliamentary discussions on “the right to internet” and countries such as Ghana and New Zealand have invested in projects to make broadband internet connections available countrywide. As internet access continues to spread, so do user-access points around the world.

 

 

Slabb's X6 Kiosk

Slabb’s X6 Kiosk

Public internet kiosks have become more prolific. Once manufactured with secure yet ruggedized features, they become ideal for indelicate use in a public environment. It is a great option for businesses seeking to make the internet publicly accessible to their patrons.

 

 

Just as important, are the software solutions needed to make a public internet kiosk effective and user-friendly. It should have the ability to manage transactions, prevent unauthorized system access, enable remote system management, update the owner/administrator of the system’s status, and interface with other transactional components. Customized software applications can also be built to suit the environment in which the kiosk will be used.

 

 

Fast, reliable, user-friendly, publicly accessible internet kiosks have certainly become more and more abundant as broadband access expands. Despite the reduction in the prices of computer desktops, laptops and smartphones as well as internet packages, some users are still dependent on public internet kiosks.

 

 

Having sold thousands of outdoor public internet kiosks and tens of thousands of interior kiosks over the past ten years, we are well-positioned to supply the broadband-connected world with ever more end-user points of access. Stylish and secure, we work to design a product that will not only meet the needs of the business owner of the kiosk, but to meet the needs of the end-users as well. We can custom-design a public internet kiosk that will meet nearly any requirements. Colors, styles, software applications, ruggedized keyboards and trackballs, touch screen overlays, display screens, logo applications – all of these elements can be customized to fit the environment and the expectations of the patrons who will use the product. We even offer optional extras such as a travel case, brochure holders, insert card readers, and wireless kits.

 

 

For more information, or to find out how to order a public internet kiosk, visit www.slabbkiosks.com.

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The Key to a Successful Partnership

“The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.” - Theodore Roosevelt

 
Our recent successful project with the State of Arkansas made me stop to examine all the key milestones our company has experienced. Inevitably, we have shared most of them with really significant partners, whether it is our support services partner, ARS, our resellers in various countries or software partners that specialize in various fields, allowing us to provide our clients with customized software solutions.

 
Man and woman shaking hands isolated on a white background.Partnerships are certainly not easy, but somehow we’ve been lucky to have mostly positive, rewarding relationships with the companies we do business with. I think Theodore Roosevelt had the right idea, as partnerships must start with not only a common or shared interest, but you have to be able to get along, despite different viewpoints or opinions. Essentially, it’s about sharing the common goal of accomplishing the task at hand.

 
This is further explored in an article by Forbes Magazine, Top 3 Qualities of a Successful Business Partnership, contributed by Amanda Neville. She cited theses as:

 
1. Trust
Her first line on this – “This in non-negotiable. It also needs to be unreserved, unambiguous, and unequivocal.”
Basically, it just can’t be a case of lip service; the trust has to be meaningful enough that you trust your partner to make business decisions in your absence – decisions that you have no problem living with.

 
2. Compatible communication styles
This seems obvious, but might be overlooked and/or significant differences only realized when there are business meetings or negotiations with externals and one person’s communication style seems inappropriate in the setting.

 
3. Complementary skills
I would have placed this quality first, as it is the initial reason that most partnerships develop. Each has a skill that they believe can be brought together to achieve a specific outcome. If both partners bring the same skill to the relationship, then it is important that each knows the art of compromise.

 

She ends the article by stating “If you can look at your prospective partner, and check off all three of these criteria, you’re ahead of the game.”
I think Slabb has found the right formula and it plays an essential part in the success of our projects. Click here to learn more about our recent partnership with the State of Arkansas.

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Providing Probation Kiosks to the State Of Arkansas

We were really excited about our recent project with the Arkansas Department of Community Correction. We submitted our bid along with four other companies and went on to manufacture, deliver, and install customized kiosks to forty one (41) offices of the State’s Department of Community Correction. The interactive, self-service kiosks are now located at probation offices throughout the state and utilized by selected minimum risk clients to check in with their probation officers at stipulated times throughout their supervision.

 

 

Topaz signature pad - a component of the kiosks for the Arkansas Department of Community Correction

Topaz signature pad – a component of the kiosks for the Arkansas Department of Community Correction

We based the kiosks on our X6 model, which was customized to include a laser printer, a Topaz signature pad and a fingerprint reader and card reader. It’s important to note that we pride ourselves on working with partners with our vision of high quality and so we partnered with Marquis Software to provide the specialized interface which would facilitate payments to the Information Network of Arkansas (INA) as well as the software which would enable the recognition of the user’s fingerprint and capture their signature and photo. We also enlisted the services of (An On-Site Retail Services Company) ARS Services, our kiosk and digital signage support partner for the last three years. They provide logistics, deployment, implementation and installation, maintenance and repair as well as phone support to our clients, and reverse logistics (unit removal and warehouse restocking) to assist us in managing our inventory.
Our President, Peter te Lintel was truly elated when we received confirmation that we were awarded the contract from the State. He indicated that, “Having provided similar kiosks for courthouses, sheriff’s offices and Departments of Correction in other states, we knew that we could successfully design and deliver the product the State of Arkansas needed. As with every project, strong relationships and the trust they bring are incredibly important. Arkansas had a software partner in Marquis and Slabb had an install partner in ARS; mutual trust allowed the four of us to focus on our individual expertise and go from discussion to deployment in 3 weeks!”

 

 

The final product installed at site (Slabb's X6 kiosk)

The final product installed at site (Slabb’s X6 kiosk)

Shrikant Mandapaty, Project and Enterprise Program Management Administrator at the Arkansas Department of Community Correction expressed his satisfaction with the outcome of the project. “We had very tight deadlines for the implementation of this project, but we wanted to ensure that we had a cost effective, appropriate solution, both in terms of hardware and software, to ensure that the kiosks could be effectively deployed and utilized.” He added, “With Slabb’s past experience in this area, their reputation for short lead times and their partnership with a software company the Department has worked with for the past 13 years, they understood our requirements and were able to deliver a high quality product within the timeframe we needed them. “

 

 

It was truly a team effort and made us realize just how important our partnerships are. I started thinking about what elements make our partnerships so successful… Maybe a good topic to write about for our next blog entry.

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Kiosks are Becoming the Premier Solution for Modern Businesses

More and more, as businesses compete for market share they are realizing their customers want a high level of customer service that is efficient, knowledgeable and user friendly. Countless business owners have done the research and are realizing that self-service options are preferred by their customers. The evolution of the banking industry is a testament to this. Could we even imagine a world without Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs), online and telephone banking? Would we have ever believed that we could simply take photos of our checks and deposit them via our cell phone?
Anyone looking into the history of the ATM would know that these machines were the forerunners for modern day kiosks. Businesses are discovering that kiosks are doing for many businesses, what the ATM has done for the banking industry – provide an effective self-service option. They are unmatched in their ability to effectively demonstrate a business’ products and services in a unique one-on-one setting with customers.

 

 

Kiosks for SaleMost of us look for ways to optimize our time and as a result want to spend less time doing mundane or routine tasks and so we embrace and advance with technological changes that make our lives easier. Moreover, we don’t just implement them in our homes, but we also come to expect them as consumers, at the places where we do business. As a result, companies can’t afford to be left behind in the technological evolution, as this could be detrimental to their bottom line. Consumers have many options and we do not hesitate to exercise them, especially if it means avoiding inconvenient situations. Kiosks are one way businesses can ensure that they keep up, not only with the demands of their customers, but with their competition as well.

 

In a global study conducted by Steven Van Belleghem, an expert in innovative marketing, social media and conversational marketing, he concluded that consumers see self-service as the perfect solution to their demands, with it leading to higher efficiency, happier clients, increased sales. The study, which was done in collaboration with SSI and translation agency, No Problem, found the following:
• Self-service should take place throughout the sales cycle from pre-sales, to sales to post sales.
• Self-service at the shopping point is becoming increasingly important .
• Consumer data is the secret weapon that takes the self-service economy to the next level.

 

The numbers told the story:
• 81% of respondents prefer that companies use client data to shorten waiting times when they have a complaint. This would present a perfect opportunity for companies that use self-service kiosks that allow customers to input data during the sales process.
• 90% of respondents indicated speed was important when they had an issue with a company that needed to be resolved.
• 40% of respondents preferred self-service over human contact for their future contact with companies. For more information on the survey visit The Conversation Manager

 

At Slabb, we believe that our line of kiosks can support any business within any industry. Our customers can choose kiosks that best suit their needs from freestanding to outdoor to wall mount and desktop. We also provide Digital Signage solutions and custom kiosk creation options, providing our clients with exactly the type of kiosk that their business requires. We give our customers the ability to choose from an array of pre-made kiosks, choosing the exact skin, finish and color they desire. Our custom design tools to build a one-of-a-kind kiosk from the ground up by picking exactly the features they need and creating a product that is tailor-designed for their individual requirements.
For more information on Slabb and its entire range of kiosk products, visit www.slabbkiosks.com.

 

The kiosk pictured above is one of 9 used X6 models on sale at a cost of US$2250 each. It includes freight and a 6 month warranty.

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What is a Kiosk?

Kiosks come in many shapes and sizes and can vary widely depending on their end use. They can be standard – a replica of the same kiosk that is mass-produced, or customized – built to the specifications that a business needs. They can take the form of rugged, industrial grade steel or sleek and fashionable units – all depending on their end use.
Whatever the end result, kiosks tend to have several common features including:
DSCF0274• A cabinet – the shell of the kiosk that holds the CPU, display and other internal elements.
• The Central Processing Unit (CPU) – the computer that runs the software application.
• The Display – the location where the software and user connect. It can be an LCD or plasma screen or monitor.
• Optional components that assist with functionality including the keyboard and trackball, card reader, printer, receiver, etc.
All elements are important to ensure a functional, effective end product. It can be argued that the key to this functionality is the kiosk’s software which can be a standard, ‘off-the-shelf’ solution or customized. It creates the interactive element, enabling the kiosk to perform various functions in a user-friendly format. Software can also provide security, a customized user interface and remote management functions.
Both hardware and software come together to provide a functional kiosk. Companies thinking of deploying kiosks should ensure that the elements of the kiosk match the intended use of the unit. This requires consultation with an experienced kiosk manufacturer that can guide the process and recommend the best hardware and software solutions to suit the business.
Slabb is able to provide our clients with exactly the type of kiosk that their business requires. Our customers can choose from an array of pre-made kiosks and pick the exact skin, finishing and color they desire or they can build a one-of-a-kind kiosk from the ground up by picking exactly the features needed to create a product that is tailor-designed for their individual requirements. We can assist throughout the process from purchase to configuration and maintenance once the kiosks have been installed.
A kiosk can take your company to the next level, allowing your business to stand out from the competition. Contact us today to begin discussing the details of your upcoming project. For more information on Slabb and its entire range of kiosk products, visit www.slabbkiosks.com.

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Are Interactive Kiosks Really Effective?

Last week we bandied around the word “interactive” several times in our blogs – The Ultimate Marketing Tool – Interactive Digital Signage, A History of Interactive Kiosk Design and The Halo Effect Created by Interactive, Self-service Kiosks. What makes interactivity so important, especially when it comes to kiosk design?

 
In the simplest terms, I think we can all agree that in this age of advanced technology, where everything is more accessible, faster, responsive and ever changing that the “interactive element” is a must in order to stay ahead or simply keep up with competitors. In addition to this, we live in a world of the informed consumer – they know what is available and what is possible and they demand it. Just look at the technological advancements in our lifetime and the rate of change…We have already seen five iterations of the iPad, six of the iPhone, there are over 100 tablet models – a number continues to increase, laptops that are rivaling the thickness of paper and the technological evolution shows no signs of slowing down. This is our ‘normal’ and the kiosk industry is no exception.

 
Kiosk interactivity gives a business one additional touch point (no pun intended) to their customers. This provides many unique opportunities for businesses such as:

 

 

Slabb's X5 kiosk model

Slabb’s X5 kiosk model

• A kiosk that enables interactivity will allow the input of customer data, providing both quantitative and qualitative information that can track buying patterns and assist in driving sales.

 
Interactive kiosks reduce the amount of staff needed allowing a company to reduce training and staffing costs.

 
• The increased presence of interactive kiosks has encouraged the creation of customized software that can facilitate several web-based applications, thereby reducing implementation costs.

 
• It is an ideal platform for a company to showcase their product while providing a modernized brand experience.

 
• It allows a business to differentiate itself by creating a unique, quick and efficient self-service option for customers.

 
• An interactive kiosk is the perfect solution for brick and mortar retailers with an online presence to bridge any divide that may exist between the two channels. It is also an easy transition for customers who shop online to use the kiosk to purchase their products.

 
And we haven’t even mentioned the benefits to customers yet…

 
• An interactive kiosk can provide 24 hour access to products and services allowing customers to shop at their convenience.

 
• It gives customers a self-service option which reduces the time that could normally be spent doing a traditional transaction; not to mention the need to stand in line.

 
• Customers get the opportunity to view products on an interactive platform that can simulate the physical attributes of the product, assisting with final purchase decisions.

 
• It is a source for easily accessible, updated company and product information.

 
An interactive kiosk that is well-designed will ensure that companies experience the benefits listed above. Choosing a knowledgeable and competent kiosk manufacturer to facilitate this is essential.

 
Slabb offers a complete interactive kiosk design service allowing you to build a product that best suits the exact needs of your clientele. Visit our website to pick a model, color and features or contact our customer support staff to get started with a personal consultation for creating your customized kiosk. For more information on Slabb and its interactive kiosk design services, visit www.slabbkiosks.com.

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The Ultimate Marketing Tool – Interactive Digital Signage

Digital signage solutions are increasingly critical for effective in-store advertising. Nothing grabs a consumer’s attention like a moving, flashing digital sign, running on the latest in high-definition (HD) flat-screen display technology. Static signs are rapidly falling into obsolescence, and to ignore this is to deny your company a prime marketing and branding opportunity.

 
It is the ultimate marketing tool. But what if, in addition to the moving, vivid images that depict your product’s features and benefits, customers could also input data to access additional information, or stop and manipulate the image for a more in-depth look? Enter Interactive Digital Signage (IDS). IDS provides users with a platform that facilitates easy navigation, using touch screen technology, to find information or input data. The signage therefore is more than just a static sign or moving image, it becomes a tool that customers can manipulate to find the information they need. The technology allows versatility across multiple industries for an enhanced user experience.

 
A perfect example of the use of this technology is the Entel Mobile Showroom. Entel, a Chilean cell phone carrier, equipped two of their showrooms with with MultiTaction cells allowing customers to browse product lines, review sales and promotions, view 3D imaging of phones and do side-by-side comparison of products. You can see it in action here.

 

Interactive Digital Signage features include searchable directories and wayfinding tools, games, on-screen registration and advanced surveys. It offers a unique way of not only marketing products but interacting with customers at the same time. The touch screen technology is usually developed for increased usage, so that it withstands the test of time.

 

The concept of an interactive customer experience sounds easy enough, but before deploying IDS solutions businesses should remember that it is about the CUSTOMER i.e., the user experience – from the positioning of signage, its location in the store or business place, to software solutions that are easy to use. All of these elements should be supported by the hardware that is chosen. Businesses should consult with an expert provider of  digital signage solutions to ensure the success of any digital signage rollout.

 

Slabb's X10 Digital Signage

Slabb’s X10 Digital Signage

We entered the digital signage industry in 2002, just around the same time we started manufacturing kiosks and have kept abreast of the changes in technology over the years. Because we are known for our kiosk solutions, customers often forget that we can also provide interactive digital signage solutions.

 

We offer a full line of fully-modular digital signage hardware that come in four different configurations:

 

Display Only – This solution consists of an LCD monitor encased in a ruggedized steel enclosure with protective glass in front. There are no external buttons or cables which provides a sleek, finished look.

 

Display and Touch – This solution also comes housed in ruggedized steel and has a protective glass front. However, there is a special anti-vandal touch screen in front of the glass panel.

 

Display, Touch, and PC – In addition to the elements that come with the solutions above, the Display, Touch and PC solution also comes with a small personal computer concealed within its ruggedized housing. This adds a slight bulge to the unit’s form factor, which is ordinarily quite sleek.

 

Display and PC – Similar to the solution above except that it does not have the anti-vandal touch screen.

 

Slabb's Q5 Digital Signage

Slabb’s Q5 Digital Signage

Our digital signage solutions come in a variety of different dimensions and configurations, ranging from horizontal widescreen-style shapes (similar in appearance to consumer HDTVs), to vertical menu-style shapes (which resemble consumer HDTVs turned on their sides, so that their widest dimensions run up and down, rather than left and right). Every solution comes mounted on a pair of stylish steel poles, making the signs an attractive addition to any lobby, counter or office space.

 

For more information visit www.slabbkiosks.com, or call +1 702 208 9212.

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A History of Interactive Kiosk Design

Quality interactive kiosk design engages consumers like no other advertising medium. Unlike posters, print ads or television or radio spots, interactive kiosks are actually present when and where people go to shop. Through interactive kiosks, consumers can learn about your product or service just feet away from the nearest point of purchase. Businesses can take advantage of this opportunity by including short surveys to learn about their customers thereby expanding their customer database or promote additional products using reminders throughout the kiosk check-out process.

 

What are interactive kiosks?

 

Interactive kiosks are user-friendly computer devices placed in public areas that enable access to a company’s products and/or services through the use of self-service applications. Kiosks are typically placed in high traffic areas such as airports, retail centers, educational facilities or in an office setting and can be semi- or fully-customized to perform specific tasks.

 

The basic components of an interactive kiosk include a screen/monitor and a computer that enables the input of data via devices such as a touchscreen or keyboard. They are usually customized based on the services they provide. Many companies often utilize kiosks to provide services that include, but are not limited to:
• Participation in loyalty programs
• Hotel and airport check-in systems
• Internet access for surfing the web or checking emails
• Financial services including bill/loan payment and prepaid credit card services
• Application centers for financial and human resource services

 
Benefits of interactive kiosks

 

Some of the major advantages of interactive kiosks include:
• Decreased customer wait times
• 24 hour, unmanned services, if required
• Reduced operating costs
• Improved employee efficiency, if done correctly
• Continuous updated information to customers
• Continuous updated customer data
• Potential for increased market reach
• An opportunity to advertise products and services, depending on the kiosk model

 

To reap the full benefits of interactive kiosks, your company needs an interactive kiosk designer with years of experience in the interactive kiosk design industry.

 

A lot has changed since we first entered the kiosk market in 2002, selling our first kiosks through a black and white website called AffordableKiosks.com. Years of experience have enabled us to understand the industry and the importance of producing a product that is easy to use by customers as well as providing an effective sales tool that will ensure a high Return on Investment (ROI) for the companies using them.

 

One of Slabb's interactive (touchscreen) kiosks

One of Slabb’s interactive (touchscreen) kiosks

Where Slabb differentiates itself from its competition in the field of interactive kiosk design, is in our ability to attend to all three of the vital components required to create a modern interactive kiosk: hardware, software and post-production.

 

Hardware is typically the most expensive aspect of the interactive kiosk design process. We work with our clients to decorate and brand their kiosks, and then outfit them with the peripherals needed/required (monitors, input devices, etc.).

 

When it comes to software selection, in many cases, clients can simply use off-the-shelf solutions. There are over thirty (30) recognized kiosk software vendors currently involved in the global interactive kiosk design market and we work with many of them to provide a range of custom software solutions for our clients.

 

The post-production phase of any interactive kiosk design project consists of finding appropriate installation sites for interactive kiosks, installing the kiosks on those sites, and then performing maintenance on the kiosks on an ongoing basis. In smaller interactive kiosk design efforts, it is standard for clients to handle these duties on their own, but we will assist with larger, more complex post-production deployment.

 

Slabb is an expert practitioner of interactive kiosk design, based in Las Vegas, Nevada. For more information, visit www.slabbkiosks.com, or call +1 702 208 9212.

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If it’s about convenience, self-service kiosks are the answer

A company should offer a good product, great customer service, exceptional after-sales service and options to attract customers. But even with all of this, is the deciding factor when purchasing a product all about convenience?

 
We may know what product we want, if not, we will look at various options. It is great when the salesperson we communicate with is knowledgeable and helpful. It’s also a plus if there’s a warranty on the product and the assurance that having the product maintained and repaired can be done when needed. But suppose we get all of this at the store, we have our much needed product in hand and look up only to face a meandering line. Just think of the angst you experience at Thanksgiving and Christmas when you’re faced with those lines. It can also be like this if the store or product is popular. (Remember Tickle Me Elmo some years ago? Or have you ever attempted to purchase the latest iPhone on its release date? ). Would facing this, ultimately change your decision about getting the product? For some people, it wouldn’t.

 
I think for me it would. I have three children, two under the age of four and my time is literally never my own. There are so many options and alternatives now that a long line is definitely a deterrent for me. It is even more infuriating when there are several check-out counters but there are only one or two being manned. I often wonder why businesses do this when they can choose the alternative of providing a self-service method such as an interactive kiosk. Think of how much easier flying is when you check-in beforehand or you avoid the lines by going straight to the check-in kiosk.

 
Some may argue that it may seem impersonal and limit a company’s ability to create a lasting relationship with a customer. Could it also be a missed sales opportunity to promote the benefits of additional products at the check-out line? A case to go with your phone? Or a scarf on sale that would go brilliantly with your outfit?”

 
I beg to differ. There have been so many times when things are just so busy the salesperson forgets to even try to sell a pack of gum, far less for anything else. Besides which, I would always return to a store that considers my time, and makes my shopping experience easier. On that account, being less harassed by the sales experience, I would even take the time to answer a quick survey at the kiosk, or entertain add-ons to my purchase if offered as part of the self-service check-out process. Which by the way, the computer will never forget to ask.

 
Interactive kiosks are the machinery of choice when it comes to giving the public as many options as possible when conducting transactions. We used to be limited to Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs), but now self-service kiosks are everywhere, from banks to supermarkets, to every type of retail location where transactions take place.

 
Companies can choose this as an option to give their customers a higher level of service and watch customer loyalty increase along with their customer base. These days, the more convenience a company offers, the higher the degree of customer satisfaction they’ll enjoy. Depending on your industry, you can choose outdoor models, freestanding, desktop or wall-mounted self-service kiosks that offer superior convenience and serve a variety of needs.

 
Consumers have become comfortable with less contact with customer service representatives, and more contact with self-service options when transacting business. From banking transactions, to other types of payments, and even ticketing for concerts and airfare, consumers are more than willing to engage technology as long as it is user-friendly. The more technology companies embrace the happier they’ll make their customers, increasing loyalty and their bottom line. Offering the utmost in convenience wherever possible is the key to the future of commerce.

 
It’s important for companies to choose the right kiosk provider that can understand their needs, not to mention service and support for the unit. A company with experience, that will ensure that every element of programming and maintenance will be taken care of with the utmost care and precision, as well as ease-of-use for both customers and employees. A kiosk provider should offer custom solutions with both hardware and software to ensure smooth operation at all times.

 
Slabb, Inc. can provide these services and so much more. Click here for more information on how they can help you increase sales.

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The Halo Effect created by interactive, self-service kiosks

By Mike Masone

The Halo Effect has been getting a lot of play in the past few years (see iPod, Apple -> iAnything, Apple. That endless source of Truthy information, Wikipdedia, defines the halo effect as:
“The halo effect is a cognitive bias whereby the perception of one trait (i.e. a characteristic of a person or object) is influenced by the perception of another trait (or several traits) of that person or object. An example would be judging a good-looking person as more intelligent.”
What could this possibly have to do with kiosks? A quality self-service, interactive kiosk can have a halo effect. Sleek, convenient, not having to stand in line, yet having all the information you need at your fingertips. The effect – your company will be perceived as sleek, an organization that values its customers and puts their needs first, thinking of their convenience and time.
Let’s look at the alternative…Bad interface, snippy staff, unattractive layout, stale products…Your company will be perceived likewise.

 

The halo effect is important and can be used to a certain extent to offset some shortcomings by presenting your client with the perception of your company as sleek, attractive and responsive. Now, you can either go out and hire a staff of sleek, attractive and responsive people or you can deploy sleek, attractive and responsive kiosks where they are needed, to offset some of your company’s more devilish shortcomings.

 

For more information on some of Slabb’s Solutions visit www.slabbkiosks.com

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The Importance of High-Quality Components in a Customized Kiosk

A customized kiosk solution allows companies to offer tailor-made kiosks that best meet the needs of their customers. But it’s important to work with kiosk manufacturers, that can ensure quality and reliability by offering the best possible components.

 

Best-in-class kiosk manufacturers offer value-added resellers not only a range of hardware and software components tailored to segments such as retail, ticketing and banking, but also the knowledge to craft a customized turnkey solution, including back-end integration with banks and service providers. Their cost-effective kiosk screens, enclosures, coin-validators, printers, readers and other hardware and software components are mixed and matched, then personalized to specific bill payment applications. Their project management teams offer development solutions including business analysis, Return on Investment (ROI) calculations, field services, implementation, roll-out, financing and leasing. In addition, they address certification and project-specific software approvals that can include the use of XFS, Data Encryption Standard (DES) requirements and local smart-card, chip and PIN legislations, among others.

 

Hardware Considerations

 

Depending on the type of kiosk required, hardware can be as simple as a metal enclosure with a touchscreen monitor and standard PC. More complex kiosks include card readers, printers, telephone handsets, reinforced keyboards and pointing devices, and other specialized peripherals.

 

Best-in-class kiosk hardware components are characterized by speed, high volume, low cost, high quality, full quality control of process and supply chain, available support for all drivers and standard commodities that are easily available and replaced and supported for their lifetimes.

 

Attractive hardware design is important. Customers want an appealing, updated design that attracts users. Slabb provides modernized units — as well as allows customers to choose the colors on both low- and high-production runs — which also helps differentiate us from other manufacturers.

 

In addition, suppliers with the experience of manufacturing thousands of units will provide Value Add Resellers (VARs) with the lowest total cost and fastest return on investment.

 

Great Opportunities

 

 

One of Slabb's ticketing kiosks

One of Slabb’s ticketing kiosks

Slabb, along with our Value Add Resellers implemented both loyalty card and ticketing kiosks with great success. The kiosks were developed based on our customers’ needs, carefully adapted with hardware and software and attractive designs. The highly advanced software solutions further attracts customers because of the friendly user interface and sophisticated server-based kiosk administration capabilities.

 

While both the gift card and ticketing applications are rather new, it is clear that there are great opportunities to become the leading brand in our geographical market, as well as to develop an export version to satisfy growing international interest.
bulk sms price

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Designer and Producer of Innovative Internet Access Kiosks

For many people, access to the internet has become something of an essential. We need to check our emails, check our flight times, look up an address or find a retailer. The distribution of news and current events online has encouraged many to abandon traditional newspapers or broadcasts and become more dependent on the internet as our primary news source. With so much dependency on the internet, it would be beneficial to many of us, who may not have access to a tablet or a smartphone, to be able to log on to public computers as we zip through the day.

 

Enter Slabb Inc., an internet access kiosk manufacturer that is bringing the internet to the

Slabb's X6 internet kiosk

Slabb’s X6 internet kiosk

people! Based in Nevada, Slabb Inc. designs and manufactures internet access kiosks for businesses that wish to make the internet accessible to their patrons. Experts in public computing hardware and software, we have sold thousands of rugged, weather-resistant outdoor kiosks and tens of thousands of stylish, secure interior kiosks. The stainless-steel tubes, patented vandal-resistant locks and standard 19″ LCD screen make our internet access kiosks attractive additions to any business’ public areas.

 

Perfect for use in airports, doctor’s offices, tradeshows and hotel lobbies, a free-standing internet access kiosk is a valuable tool for patrons of any business. Each product offered by Slabb, Inc. is designed by specialized industrial designers skilled in designing ruggedized hardware which will stand up to indelicate use in public environments. Imagine the convenience of being able to access the internet on your way through the hotel lobby in order to confirm your outgoing flight; picture an internet access kiosk at a point of interest in a big city that enables you to find maps and retailers in the local area. Out of cell phone range? Quickly check your email at an internet access kiosk in a coffee shop. The advantages of being able to quickly connect to the online world are endless.

 

Internet access kiosks can even be custom-designed for hardware as well as software. Colors, styles, software applications, ruggedized keyboards and trackballs, touch screen overlays, display screens, logo applications – the Slabb, Inc. design and project management teams are prepared to meet any requirements for an internet access kiosk. We even offer optional extras such as a travel case, brochure holders, insert card readers and wireless kits.

 

With nearly ten years of experience in the industry, Slabb, Inc. has become a leading provider of internet access kiosks around the world. We have long recognized that by focusing on innovation and affordability, we are able to offer reasonably priced, state-of-the-art products. Part of the value that Slabb Inc. presents is in the form of our customer support and service. Slabb Inc.’s Software, Services and Custom Divisions work together to design, develop, manufacture, install and support internet access kiosks that exceed client expectations. The more people come to depend on the internet, the more access they must have.

 

For more information or to find out how to order an internet access kiosk, visit www.slabbkiosks.com.

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