Author Archives: Peter te Lintel Hekkert

Driving BLUE to Orlando HIMSS 2017

Mike Masone - Sales Director, SlabbKiosks

Mike Masone – Sales Director, SlabbKiosks

This article was originally published on LinkedIn

BLUE CAR EFFECT – “the phenomenon by which you don’t notice how many blue cars are on the road until you buy a blue car yourself.

I felt a shift this year at HIMSS.

Instead of: “WOW AWESOME – how does it work”; I heard: “This is the way forward.” Even at our booth, we got a lot less “whats” and “whys” and more “hows” and “whens”.

The EMR silos are flattening – AllScripts and EPIC were further opening up their systems to third-party innovation. Meanwhile VMWare guest speakers were giving away simple security steps. Steps necessary to prevent you and your company from becoming one of the actors in their Tales of Security Failures . Lax data security policies and ‘normal’ human behavior present an open door for digital n’er do wells leading to much more than last years corn-crop the coming world of flattened silos.

Hertz CheckeredFlag Collection

Hertz CheckeredFlag Collection

Blue Cars – Everything is different in a new car. We have built our own blue car. Self Service Group provides tools to support the growth and maintenance of Self Service deployments, in any industry. 80% of our customers had the same two requirements for growth:

  • No CapEx
  • No new Employees

From this: 5 Year Kiosk Project Cost = (~30K SW Development & Integration) + [($10K Hardware) +(~$1K delivery & Install)+(9%/yr-warranty)]+(1 FTE/200 kiosks) or ($187-48 hour service call)

To this: 5 Year Kiosk Project Cost = $325/kiosk/month

Here’s to the Gas Pedal!

Modern Solution to a Classical Problem

Mike Masone - Sales Director, SlabbKiosks

Mike Masone –      VP of Sales, SlabbKiosks

This article was originally published on LinkedIn.

I’m excitedly preparing for my yearly trip to a very particular and peculiar trade show. Although walking through a foot of snow on my way to Sunny Orlando is reason enough to get excited, there is something more important warming away the Massachusetts Winter Blues – Progress. Real, imagined, measurable, soft, perceived, counterproductive, beneficial and vaporous PROGRESS. Feeling this Progress every year is important to offset the tendency to over-notice repetition and squash the suspicion that my colleagues and I are kicking at continually moving goalposts.

I work in several verticals and nowhere is this sentiment more common than Healthcare. Healthcare is at the same time charged and constrained…kind of there to make money but not too much, too quickly, or too dirtily. It is an environment that lends itself to frustration.

Titan - Myth of Sisyphus

Titan – Myth of Sisyphus

Appreciation for futility is hard-coded into Western thought as illustrated by the myth of Sisyphus. The cunning, wealthy and proud Sisyphus, king of Corinth proclaimed himself more clever than Zeus. Never a big fan of boasts against his supremacy Zeus cursed (or ‘tasked’ to you corporate folk) King Sisyphus with pushing/rolling/carrying a giant boulder to the top of a hill. Of course, whenever the boulder got close the to the top Zeus would unleash a Don Beebe Bolt to knock the rock out of Sisyphus’s grasp whereby it would roll down the hill thereby granting the wise king an opportunity to perfect his boulder rolling technique on the next futile ascent and giving Zeus a hearty laugh. Anyone who has worked in healthcare knows the feeling of being granted such ‘opportunities’ for perfection.

HIMSS serves as a counter-weight to that feeling that every day starts from Zero and that rocks don’t belong on the summit. People…regular ones like you, me, and Sisyphus have an opportunity to showcase what was, what is, what could be, and more importantly, what SHOULD be in the Healthcare Industry.

Healthcare is really the only vertical that nobody avoids entirely. However you look at it, politically or wherever you look at it, geographically healthcare isn’t perfect. Sometimes it appears to strive for imperfection just like the fallible persons it serves have a tendency to do.

The bright side is that every day, in every way it’s getting better and better. Me and the other HIMSS exhibitors collect the gains over 365 of those better days and show them to the world. That is exciting.

himss17

SlabbKiosks is very excited to be participating at HIMSS17 for yet another year. Come learn more about our healthcare solutions. Visit us at Booth #4794.

Our Year of Kiosks 2016

2017 has started off with such a blast, that again, we’ve found ourselves late with our traditional Our Year of Kiosks blog for yet another year. But I promise it is with good reason and you’ll see the recap in Our Year in Kiosks 2017 blog, when that time comes. (*wink, wink)

OEM site - usakiosks.com

OEM site – usakiosks.com

Last year also started off in a similar vein, with the launch of another kind – our site dedicated to showcasing our OEM solutions – usakiosks.com. The site was launched in January and features some of our customized kiosk units that were designed for clients in various industries including automated retail solutions, self-checkout solutions, healthcare solutions, locker systems and much more. The creation of the site was in response to a new industry trend which has seen an increase of automated vending kiosks used as engagement touchpoints that either complement a company’s physical locations or completely replaces them. It is a relatively new niche in the kiosk market space that doesn’t necessarily replace the traditional kiosk but offers a blend of both kiosk and vending machine components, resulting in larger, multi-functional units for businesses/industries that require such self-service solutions.

X11 - Medical Self-service and Payment Kiosk

X11 – Medical Self-service and Payment Kiosk

One of our OEM solutions was also showcased at one of the largest healthcare tradeshows – HIMSS. The event was held in our own backyard – Las Vegas and brought together more than 40,000 healthcare industry professionals to learn about and discuss health IT issues and view innovative solutions designed to transform healthcare. It was our first time exhibiting at the event and we were happy to share the experience with our partners Crane Payment Innovations (CPI), Patientway and CityBase. We were also excited to introduce a first-of-its-kind medical self-service and payment kiosk, the X11. This kiosk allows patients to register/check in for appointments as well as submit co-payments or pay for medical visits, all at one machine. It is a move away from the norm of a healthcare kiosk that only provides self-check in services.

 

IngenicoThe provision of easy-to-use, convenient payment facilities, seemed to be one of our themes for the year, as we became a member of Ingenico Group’s Unattended Partner Program, allowing us to offer our customers EMV-enabled unattended payment devices. The demand for EMV-enabled devices has and continues to increase as the deadline to ensure EMV compliant payment systems was October, 2015, making operators and businesses liable for fraudulent activity after that date. The Program was designed to facilitate integration among partners allowing them to offer turnkey unattended solutions for a wide variety of uses with secure EMV and NFC payment acceptance built in. It is a great ‘fit’ for our company as it provides unparalleled support, by making in-house engineering and support personnel available to our customers, while allowing us to offer our clients the latest payment methods, including Apple Pay and Android Pay.

Many of the initiatives we introduced throughout the year were all in an effort to provide a wide range of options and services to our clients. These initiatives could only be supported by dedicated and experienced staff and we realized with our growing client base that we also needed to expand our team. We were happy to welcome Rick Kobal and Ron Graves to the SlabbKiosks family.

Rick worked with one of the largest component suppliers for the industry for the past five years before joining SlabbKiosks and acquired an in-depth understanding of the industry’s dynamics Presentation1including changes in end user requirements that have inevitably propelled hardware development. He has and continues to prove to be a great asset to the sales team.

Ron has extensive sales experience, gained from working in this field for the past fifteen (15) years. He is also no stranger to the kiosk industry, having spent five (5) years working with Fortune 500 clients, as well as, local, state, and federal government agencies to assess, deploy and manage their various kiosk projects. This provided him with in-depth knowledge of technological advances and new trends within the industry and has made his move to SlabbKiosks a natural fit.

It was not a bad way to end the year and judging from how this year is starting, we’re looking forward to letting you know about many other milestones in the SlabbKiosks journey.

Judicial Efficiency through the use of self-service kiosks

Our client, Minnesota’s largest trial court, was looking for replacement kiosks to be used as a part of their Public Defender Eligibility program. Here’s how we assisted…

Download the pdf: Judicial efficiency with self-service kiosks

SlabbKiosks Today

We wrote a blog about two years ago, giving a brief history about our company and some of the kiosk models we offer. Unbelievably, a lot has changed in just two years. We have re-branded (not too far from our original name), to SlabbKiosks and have since expanded our product line. Just these few changes made me realize that maybe it’s time we updated the blog to provide some more current information.

Some of our newer models

Since starting off as an internet-based kiosk retailer in 2002, we have continuously worked to offer the most effective hardware manufacturing and kiosk installation service in the market. We can now proudly say that after more than a decade, we are currently represented in six continents. 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. In a nutshell, it’s hard to believe, but we have achieved, 20 years of kiosk manufacturing for 1000s of clients in over 150 countries in 6 continents across 22 industries…

Here’s how it all adds up. Since getting into the kiosk industry, our company has continuously looked for ways to enhance our products and services, by offering the latest in technological advancements. We use high-quality components and create designs that are functional, attractive and that facilitate quick and efficient maintenance. Our production facilities allow us to provide highly customized, ADA-compliant kiosks within a 4-6-week lead time, one of the shortest lead times in the industry.

from website

Our kiosk line includes a variety of kiosk designs, interactive digital signage options and through our recently launched brand, USAkiosks – OEM kiosk solutions. Customers can choose from our extensive line of kiosk models and have them customized to suit their needs. Our models consist of:
• Freestanding
– C Series
– X Series
• Interactive Signage
• Outdoor
• Wall Mount
• Countertop

We offer our clients:
• Free quotes and renderings
• A choice of high quality, well-designed standard kiosk models or highly customized OEM units
• A collaborative consultation process that seamlessly takes clients from planning to production
• Dedicated production lines that facilitate mass customization
• No engineering charges
• Competitive pricing
• One of the shortest lead times in the industry
• On time delivery of fully operational units at client’s location of choice
• Experienced and responsive staff with over 40 years of combined experience in self-service.

Intrigued? Learn more at www.slabbkiosk.com.

Pascal’s Wager – Quality and Costs

Mike Masone - Sales Director, SlabbKiosks

Mike Masone – Sales Director, SlabbKiosks

This article was originally published on LinkedIn.

Pascal was what you would consider a pretty clever fellow despite the fact that he had nothing to do with Kiosks or Self Service.

At 16 he flapped the unflappable Rene’ Descartes with a mathematics paper he published countering some of RD’s assertions.

By age 20 he created a calculator to help his father sort out regional tax records…pretty simple feat today, in the 1640s…not so much!

He also invented the syringe and hydraulic press…why not, those are handy to have around.

Pascal

Later in life Pascal became a devout (even for France) Catholic which went a bit against the grain for a man of his occupation at the time. He explained his position with all of the spirituality you would expect from such a pragmatist and in the process pretty much invented decision theory:

god exists

Clearly defining risk, reward, and their interplay and its application to behavior was revolutionary. With infinite stakes any risk is too high.

Similar logic applied to customer facing tech gives us:

customers care

Eternal Commercial Damnation or Bliss is decided by only one god – the customer. The question becomes at what fraction of cost is it worth risking the wrath of a whole customer?

Cheaper is always available and is by definition incrementally less expensive. Your customer may not care or notice that you are spending less on their experience, then again, you may not find out until it is too late or not at all.

Remember, there are no unhappy customers…they just leave, they don’t tell you why, or even show you why…they simply cease being your customers and move on to the next option.

In every game, you must know what the stakes are before deciding on a strategy. When it comes to cost cutting, money isn’t what is at stake – Customers are.

Reach out with any questions, issues, insights, and especially disagreements. Monsieur Pascal would appreciate it!

A Few ABC’s of OEM Kiosks

“If you want to be truly successful invest in yourself to get the knowledge you need to find your unique factor. When you find it and focus on it and persevere your success will blossom.” Sydney Madwed.

 

I think the same can be said for business success as well – every organization should find their ‘unique factor’, focus on it and nurture it, in order to be successful. We’ve seen this work time and time again. Apple, Facebook, Amazon and so many more other successful companies. The common thread with them all is that each have a unique business proposition that they continue to improve on daily.

 

The same can apply to the kiosk industry. There is still definitely a need for standard models, but the success for businesses that utilize kiosks, is in how it is customized. It is an important factor to ensure that the kiosk not only achieves the goals of the business, but also the needs of the customers/end users of the kiosk. It’s one of the reasons that the industry is seeing a chage or a ‘merging’, so to speak, of the traditional kiosk with the traditional vending machine, resulting in unique units or what the industry terms as OEM kiosk solutions.

 

A recent article on KioskMarketplace.com, titled Vending kiosks: the latest trends cited “new kiosks [that] are offering products that range from cars to cannabis”. It’s considered new because many of these products were never sold via machines. This means that the kiosks being created to facilitate self-service sales must be uniquely designed to accommodate these products while ensuring that the kiosks can be easily used by consumers.

 

Self-Checkout OEM Kiosk

Self-Checkout OEM Kiosk

OEM or custom solution kiosks allow organizations to get a kiosk that is built to suit their specific requirements as opposed to a standard kiosk that is reconfigured as best as possible to perform specific functions. Because these designs are unique they often cost more than a standard kiosk. Despite this, many organizations choose to purchase custom solutions, because it ensures that it accommodates or delivers a specific product or service in a more convenient way. Most would agree that the unit ultimately pays for itself, as end users now have a self-service option to purchase products they never could via this means, before. It enhances their service experience, resulting in increased use of the unit.

 

Automated Vending Kiosk

Automated Vending Kiosk

We continue to see a few of these OEM units in the retail industry, so that traditional brick-and-mortar stores or online retailers can extend their physical presence at locations where a physical store might not have been feasible or cost effective such as at indoor shopping malls, airports and many other high-traffic locations. The accessibility of the units, coupled with the growing trend of customers embracing self-service technology, make these units a great alternative for many businesses.

 

ReduceReuseRecycle-Educational-1-220x300

Recycling Kiosk

The retail industry is not the only one adopting this new technology. Many educational facilities use units to provide printing facilities for students, or administrative management services coupled with wayfinding applications, allowing for a multi-purpose unit. The healthcare industry also uses wayfinding units that may also provide check in or registration services.

 

 

The beauty of these units is that they can be customized to provide locker systems or be placed outdoors, or for payment, printing or self-checkout services. They also incorporate many of the new technologies including EMV capabilities and biometric verification including fingerprint scans and signatures. The units allow businesses to use customized software or applications to provide precise functionality along with the appropriate components that ultimately will determine the size and dimensions of the kiosk. The financial investment and time taken to create these unique units may be substantial, making it extremely important for businesses to choose the right kiosk provider that is able to work collaboratively with them from concept to creation.

Tax Nexus – Everybody’s Elephant in the Room

Mike Masone - Sales Director, SlabbKiosks

Mike Masone –   Sales Director, SlabbKiosks

This article was originally published on LinkedIn.

Six years ago a huge online sales company had a plan where I would build kiosks for them to collocate in physical stores across the country to act as a sort of “endless aisle”.

I flew over for a meeting to review some of the pilot programs that had been showing success. One of the VPs asked me whether a kiosk in-store would generate Nexus. After a moment of hesitation I informed him, in no uncertain terms, that I had no idea what he was talking about and would get him an answer.

I assumed we had an easy answer internally – there was not. I assumed there was something to be had on Google – there was not.

The best I was able to do was to track down an interstate sales tax firm and discuss the issue with them. I was lucky enough to run into Brian Greer at Tax Connex.

tax nexus

He spent several hours with me working through some issues specific to kiosks, online business, automation, and specifically which cases were pending and keeping the tax forces at bay. The result of these conversations was a whitepaper we published on the matter….where is the link you ask? NO LINK FOR YOU! In this short time the law has changed in fundamental ways. The paper is wrong, as is a lot of the ‘advice’ floating around out there.

Amazon is no longer providing cover through resistance and litigation. The line between what is and isn’t ‘presence’ can change with a single purchase. This is a dynamic area of the law with immediate and significant consequences.

Understanding the nuance of tax law and compliance is not a part time job.

Brian and Tax Connex have the best information and experience out there. Please read their site and posts, try their surveys, consult with them if confused. Just don’t ignore it.

HIMSS Review Part 2 – Efficiency

Mike Masone - Sales Director, SlabbKiosks

Mike Masone – Sales Director, SlabbKiosks

This article was originally published on LinkedIn.

In the last post I covered some of the issues and advances in money and payments in healthcare.

Cost is perspective dependent – Your opinion or benefit from a healthcare spend is relative to your position in the healthcare system and society as a whole. His expenses are my income which is paid for by your taxes adding to ‘our’ economy that politicians and talking heads love to scream at everyone about. Whether you consider yourself a winner or loser depends on your perspective.

Efficiency is not perspective dependent – Either process is efficient or it is not. Building tools to make individual processes more efficient is at the core of what we do. More is done with less.

Efficiency benefits appear perspective-dependent – Everyone cheers efficiency when improving a process saves time and space, nobody likes to waste those and there are only winners when they are saved. When it comes to anything else, there will be positional losers. Some tasks are repetitive enough to be quantified and automated. Responsibility for that task is transferred to other participants in that process. Exceptions are still dealt with by experts, but by and large the exception to the process must be paid for or ‘earned’ by condition.

versusEfficiency eliminates positions not Individuals – Personal Computing eliminated the need for a dedicated secretarial pool. The 5XB eliminated the need for switchboard operators. Everyone reading this has benefited greatly from the elimination of those positions. However, survivor’s guilt is not necessary. The individuals leaving those highly skilled positions went on with their lives in most cases using the tools that rendered their old positions obsolete.

Efficiency at HIMSS – A small number of exhibitors at HIMSS did showcase some efficiency – increasing, position-eliminating technology that fit the model above. Incremental improvements to inefficient processes were all over the place. Being a seller not a buyer, I took a look and got on my way. I didn’t need to hear another pitch or see another show. I already had a front row seat to the best show at HIMSS. Over and over again I had the pleasure of seeing the look of slack-jawed awe as PatientWay’s VP of Sales, Shawn Grisim told real stories about paying customers and their experiences in implementing the PatientWay check-in solution. These conversations were all in the present tense referring to past and present installations. Not demo-ware, projections, or BS. Real stories from real implementations. Even to a casual observer the numbers are staggering:

  • 90% of all patients walking through the door are checking themselves in.
  • (250K visits) x (90% usage) x (5 minutes per check in*) => 18750 hours
  • Patients 65 and over represent the majority of users of this system.

Most visitors asked the obvious, “what about the people.” Shawn was able to slay the boogeyman right then and there. The individuals who had been performing these repetitive tasks have been moved to more dynamic roles within their organizations and were happier for it. The relief washing over the faces of these people was clear. There would be no HR nightmare, strike, or other such reaction in their future. Just a better way to serve their customers while keeping their operation efficient enough to remain open and profitable.

Efficient Check-In benefits the Individual, Provider, and the System – The check-in process is not billable. The perverse incentives that stifle much of the innovation in healthcare are not a factor when moving patients from their world into yours. Adding efficiency to this moving process benefits every participant in this system. PatientWay is the leader. When people ask me why I love what I do, this is the story that I tell them.

*National all-in average is 5 employee minutes per check-in.

How to use a self-service kiosk for email capture

This guest blog was written by Shereen Dindar. She is the Content Manager for QuickTapSurvey, a survey tool that helps businesses get the actionable data they need to become more profitable. Read her insights on the QuickTapSurvey blog where she muses about the latest business news.

______________________

The main advantage of using a self-service kiosk at your business is that it can perform functions which staff normally would. One of those key functions includes the systematic collection and organization of email addresses from customers and leads.

Yet business owners know all too well the challenge associated with getting people to provide their email address without anything in return. That’s why we’d like to point out several ways you can entice people to leave their email address using a self-service kiosk.

1. Run a contest

If your business has a high volume of foot traffic, consider asking customers to participate in a monthly draw for a chance to win a coveted prize. You’ll need to use a kiosk app that allows you to display a beautiful image of the prize and also captures email addresses. Be sure to write inviting text that encourages customers to participate in the contest: “Enter your email address to win a free iPad!” Don’t forget that the prize should align with your branding and product offering.

2. A fun trivia quiz

test your knowledgeTrade shows are opportunities to promote your business and get in front of the right leads to collect their email address. But if you are like many business owners, you don’t want to use cumbersome business cards to keep track of all the people you meet. A fun trivia quiz displayed on a kiosk is a great way to capture their imagination and also collect their email address. At the end of the quiz, ask them to leave their email address in order to be sent the quiz results.

3. Scratch-to-win prize

scratch the box to reveal your prizeWho doesn’t love a free gift? If you have small branded items like pens or a USB stick that you can afford to give away, do so using a scratch-to-win kiosk display. Customers simply swipe their finger across the screen a few times to reveal their prize and then they are prompted to leave their email address in order to collect it.

 

The truth is that you are only limited by your creativity when it comes to collecting customer and lead email addresses using a self-service kiosk. We encourage you to think of other ways and share them in the comments below!

HIMSS Review Part 1 aka Hey Isn’t Money Something Serious?

Mike Masone - Sales Director, SlabbKiosks

Mike Masone -Sales Director, SlabbKiosks

This article was originally published on LinkedIn.

I’ve had a full week to recover from the recent HIMSS 2016 conference. We made a lot of visitors to the booth uncomfortable because we talked about the two dirtiest things in healthcare MONEY and EFFICIENCY.

Today is MONEY.

Read this article…Welcome back.

Consumers generate 3.6 trillion dollars in healthcare expenses.
15% of the US working population have no access to ‘accounts.’
This means that at minimum over 500 billion dollars of care is being delivered to people with no ability to pay electronically.
We know these patients as customers. We service them in several other industries.

Members of this group are euphemistically referred to as the cash-preferred, working poor, un-banked, under-banked.
In reality they are the over-exploited, under-served, the marginalized.

They are well aware of this fact. They aren’t happy about it.
No matter what happens in November (TheHer, TheHair, or TheWayTooFair) neither the needs nor plight of this group will change significantly.
They will look at you as another data point in a repeating series of demeaning problems or a refreshing solution. Regardless of what you choose, they are coming through your door.
How they leave is up to you.

Here is a quick intro on how their finances typically work:

  1. Generate monthly expenses
  2. Work
  3. Get handed payment
  4. Convert handed payment to usable form (3-7% loss) – Cash Check, buy money orders with, reload prepaid card with cash
  5. Pay monthly expenses
  6. Generate non-monthly expense
  7. Pay non-monthly expense at time of service – cash or check
  8. Work more
  9. Repeat

To the rev-cycle people:

Where are you in this cycle? Where do you want to be?*
If you are taking counter payments, are your transactions with these folks really a net positive?
Counter transactions at utilities clock in at $6-12 per transaction.
This addresses the costs of employee time required for – greeting, lookup, average time of discussion, hand-offs and goodbyes typical in utility payments.
The issue with healthcare is that every payment is a discussion, a reschedule, a medication question, a something.
Your FTE cost may be lower but the time per transaction is likely higher.
With all of this in mind…is a counter payment – cash, check, or otherwise actually a net-positive for your organization?

mr profitsTo the medical people:

Physical MONEY is dirty, very dirty, tucked who-knows-where dirty. It isn’t the only offender – Pens and clipboards are grimy so are doorknobs…add money to the mix though and there is a perfect storm brewing for secondary infections.
Think of the process of reaching your hand into your pocket after touching the grimy stuff…did you sanitize your hand? Great! How about your pocket where you’ll soon be jamming your hand again? How about the last guy who was at the counter, placed his sweaty hand right where yours now sits?
It is enough to unleash the Howard Hughes in any of us.

Would you ever hold a dollar bill or handful of coins before touching a patient?*

MONEY as a tool is scary when you feel like you have no control over it….what will you do when you can’t pay your bill, how about your child’s?
Medicine or Rent? Is it ‘worth’ the money to get the care? Will it be fine? Will anyone see the scar, will it matter? Will you sacrifice your own health for something your family needs? Does your blood pressure go up? Do you feel even more helpless? Do you turn your fear to resentment and anger? How does your family react?
Do you carry this into your doctor? White-coat Hypertension has a name. What do we call this other thing?* Co-pay-co-morbidity, helplessness-hypertension, no-choice nausea?

What is the best way to understand, quantify, and address these concerns for healthcare?
We don’t bother…we don’t know…we probably can’t know with any certainty…if we did come up with an answer or insight it would at best be an egg
looking for a chicken, at worst a disease looking for a cure.

Instead we Try.

What we do know is how these same people react when companies make things a little easier.
Make it easy for people to pay, and they do.
Make it easy to promise to pay, and they will.
Nobody wants to be a deadbeat…especially not the working poor, they prove it every day by going to work when not working would get them a bigger check.
We have seen it repeatedly…..give these people a means to maintain their dignity and they will not disappoint you.
If they can’t pay, give them a way to plan to pay.
Offer them a deal or schedule, or a simple, shame-free way to sit and meet with someone to work through this most difficult and personal problem.
No matter who they are, patients are usually genuinely thankful for their care.
My guess is the perpetually marginalized are even more thankful. In no other part of their lives are they using the same services as the best off of us are.

What makes people seem ungrateful, unhappy, and angry is all of the crap** associated with the service.
Separate your people, staff and your corporate identity from the crap.
Why make a human employee be the bearer of bad news or the taker of money.
Why perpetuate an inherently adversarial condition.
Let a machine do it, let the machine be the bad guy, let the machine ask for payment, let the machine deny the request. Let the machine be confrontational all day long and not get a migraine or get burned out or snap.

Let your employees, smile, understand, correlate, and solve the problems; exercise their humanity with the human who needs their help.
Leave the money, confrontation, monotony and messaging to the machine. It is what they excel at, what we create them to do.

Of course there are always bad actors, patients, and customers, but if we let them inform policy or commercial decisions then we have given up and collectively decided to bury something important in all of us.
The something that makes us human the something that got us into healthcare …empathy…the care part.

*All questions are non-rhetorical. Please add to the discussion.
**Highly technical term understood by all.

You can message me privately if you would like me to edit / credit something I missed.

Commenting below is fine but keep it a-political there is plenty of ‘discourse’ available to anyone who wants it.

If you would like me to send you a report on the un-banked send me a note and I’ll forward it to you. There are some good reports out there.

Interestingly there is a gap between un-banked and cash-preferred…no perfect explanation, it is just there.

HIMSS16 Here We Come!

It’s been an extremely busy month that has culminated in a hectic week of ensuring that with all the preparation that has been taking place, we still double check that everything is all set for our presence at HIMSS 2016.

himss16

The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) tradeshow is considered the medical industry’s biggest show. It brings together over 40,000 health professionals, including those specializing in Health IT, executives, clinicians and vendors from around the world. The conference not only showcases the latest technological advancements in the healthcare industry, but also features educational sessions, workshops and keynote speakers. This year, the keynote speakers include Michael Dell and Peyton Manning. This year’s show takes place from February 29 – March 4, 2016 at the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas…Really close to home!

X11 - Medical Self-service and Payment Kiosk

X11 – Medical Self-service and Payment Kiosk

It’s no wonder that, despite our preparation fatigue, we’re looking forward to fully participating. I will admit that some of our excitement might be as a result of our new kiosk which will be launched at the show. The first-of-its-kind, Medical Self-Service Payment Kiosk merges two elements that can drastically increase the efficiency of healthcare administration – self-service check in/registration and payment acceptance. Most healthcare kiosks typically only provide self-check in services, but the X11 will allow patients to register/check in for appointments as well as submit co-payments or pay for medical visits, all at one machine. You can learn more about our new kiosk on the HIMSS website or just come visit us at Booth 8477.

A Finance Minister, Hedge Fund Manager, Contract Manufacturer, EE, Geologist and Deep Sea Diver walk up to a BAR.

Mike Masone - Sales Director at SlabbKiosks

Mike Masone – Sales Director at SlabbKiosks

This was originally posted on LinkedIn by our Sales Director, Mike Masone.

This weekend, I caught myself watching one of those ‘DeadSeaGold’ shows where various prospector/tv star types vie for supremacy in extracting gold from some exotic environment. In an effort to determine if the producers were documenting a commercially viable activity or just creating drama for a a TV show I grabbed my phone to check the spot price of gold. Unsatisfied but undaunted after some quick arithmetic I read a linked story. Of course this story was just that, conjecture populated by the conflicting opinions of various talking heads about what certainly must be driving the current price and trend and where the price will go. It was then I thought about what each of fellows in the above would think to themselves upon seeing a bar of gold flash in front of them on a screen, would they wish it worth more, less, be replaceable by some other metal. Kind of a Rorschah Test for something presented as more=better. Fun Sunday at the Masone house for sure!

gold barMost of the time, perspective matters. Much of the time nothing matters more. There are ostensible winners and losers in every grain of gold extracted from the earth whether or not they even know who they are. In the same vein there are winners and losers in every Self-service and technology implementation.

Next time you fly take a moment to look at the long-empty counter. Every one of the 30 or so blank windows in a terminal is a job that doesn’t exist anymore. True, sometimes workers are re-trained but in some businesses there is nowhere to go and some career paths evaporate. Those losses are cataclysmic to those who experience their first and second order effects. Now, turn around look at the mass of people checking in using kiosks; look at the price of your ticket, look up at Bloomberg on the TV showing an uptick in the NYSE. You see, receive and maybe viscerally feel the first order benefits. Smaller for sure, but when applied across the thousands of travelers, millions of investors and their families no less important.

Whether or not “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few” often depends more on which group you fall into than your implicit morality or stance on Vulcan philosophy. I’m constantly reminding myself of this fact when discussing any technology implementation. No matter how objectively ‘great’ something is there are always winners & losers on a personal level. For every early adopter who can’t wait to prove ROI or cut the ribbon there is a resistor fighting to maintain the status comfy. It isn’t necessary to agree, disagree or even address individual concerns, just to understand that duality actually does exist. I have other customers, many of the people who are made redundant, have one career supporting one life that is every bit as important to them as mine is to me. Awareness of that reality maintains humanity and tamps down the arrogance and callousness that tend to creep into the process of implementing new technology. Be Kind!

Our Year of Kiosks 2015

“The present defines the future. The future builds on the foundation of the past.”Lailah Gifty Akita

 
Already this year is promising to unfold just as fast as last year. It’s almost the end of January and due to the feverish pace that has already begun, we’re late with our traditional “Year of Kiosks” blog which is usually our first blog at the beginning of the year.
It’s something we started doing because we believe it’s always good to pause from our busy schedules, take a deep breath and review what we have done – what was done well and the things we could have done differently, all in an effort to learn and move forward, doing things even better than before. Successes also act as a motivator and keep us striving for even bigger and better achievements and 2015 was a good year for SlabbKiosks.

 
Making the Change

Avanti Markets Banner

 

That statement in itself, highlights one of the major changes that took place for our company and depicts the very essence of looking back, reviewing, adjusting and moving forward. It is one of the reasons we chose to make the change from Slabb to SlabbKiosks. Despite already having the name recognition as Slabb, we decided that SlabbKiosks better defined our brand and product offering while ensuring that we continued to benefit from the Slabb name which had become well-known in the kiosk industry.

 

SlabbKiosks Logo

The new SlabbKiosks logo

The change included a new website and a new logo which both incorporate our new brand colors – grey, green and blue and depicts three cubes which represent the three factors that are crucial for any successful kiosk deployment – hardware, software and implementation/post production.

 
Even though change is usually hard, we believe our rebrand was well received and certainly didn’t affect the number of projects we had for the year. Many of these are still being rolled out, due to the vast volumes involved and we hope to share more about them upon their completion later on this year. But here are two that we were happy to be a part of.

 
TriMas Corporation’s Employee Benefits Kiosks
We provided kiosks for the TriMas Corporation which is headquartered in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan and employs approximately 4,000 employees at more than 50 facilities in 16 countries. It was no surprise then, that they were seeking an effective solution for their Benefits program, particularly for their employees with limited kiosk access.

 

TriMas Corp's Employee Center

TriMas Corp’s Employee Health & Wellness Resource Center

The six (6) customized X7 kiosks are used to provide online health management programs along with other employee services with two additional units which will also be included as part of their Employee Health and Wellness Resource Center. The kiosks allow employees to make benefit elections and view important benefit documents, review online health plan resources, including claims and Explanation of Benefits documents, compare medical plan and prescription drugs costs and look up participating providers, as well as many other human resource services.

 

Education Service Center, Region 20
We provided six (6) customized kiosks for the Education Service Center, Region 20, a non-regulatory agency with a collaborative and supportive relationship with the school districts that provides the learning community with high quality, cost effective products and services. The Center is one of 20 regional education service agencies within Texas which assist school districts in improving student performance and increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of school operations.

 

Kiosks at ESC20

Kiosks at ESC20

The Center was looking for a solution that would offer their clients online access, but one which would provide a more efficient, faster way for workshop participants to review emails and register. The kiosks provide a more effective alternative to the computers which were used in the past, because they don’t encourage longer usage times. It means that there are now fewer clients missing important information provided in class sessions and increase in the overall number of clients being served.

 

OEM Solutions

Automated Vending Kiosk

Automated Vending Kiosk

We also expanded our product line to provide a more extensive range of OEM solutions in cluding automated retail. Some of our projects included Automated Vending Kiosks for an online hair and skin care retail business to extend their reach by providing physical retail touchpoints. The kiosks were outfitted with a customized touchscreen interface allowing users to select the products they wish to purchase, just as they would online. A merchandise window was also included to provide an attractive display of the products. The units will be available at high-traffic indoor shopping malls.

 

Locker Unit

Locker Unit

We designed a customized locker unit for a medical center to better manage the use of the center’s vehicle fleet. The kiosks will be able to scan IDs, track mileage and other maintenance requirements. These will be used as prompts to open the individual lockers and will be accessed by employees that operate the company vehicles.

 

There are many more customized units we have and continue to design. We can’t review every project, but we definitely kept busy with the many we had for the year. This year is proving to be no different, as we have already hit the proverbially ‘ground’ running, starting with the launch of our OEM Solutions website, something we think is important to showcase as we continue to expand our product line.

 
This is only the beginning…Literally and figuratively…So make sure the laces on your sneakers are tied, as we have, and join us for a year that we’re sure will keep us moving sometimes at a jog and sometimes at a sprint, but steadily forward. Look out for the great things in store, all of which we will be happy to review with you again this time next year.

Kiosks and Parole

Mike Masone - Sales Director at SlabbKiosks

Mike Masone – Sales Director at SlabbKiosks

This was originally posted on LinkedIn by our Sales Director, Mike Masone.

Here is a great read from New Republic – The Worrying Rise of Automated Parole

I spoke at length with the Michael Thomsen about kiosks in general and specifically kiosks in the post-release environment.

Regardless of whichever side of the issue you fall don’t miss these takeaways:

  1. Don’t be afraid to go it alone – Self or state managed kiosks cost about 1/4 as much as vendor managed kiosks. That number is a bit of an oversimplification as there are lots of moving pieces however cost savings are substantial and our kiosks for the Arkansas were significantly less than $7000 as were all of the submitted bids from other vendors.
Arkansas Department of Corrections kiosks

Arkansas Department of Corrections kiosks

2. Get the right people involved – Arkansas also had the advantage of a great relationship with their existing Offender Management Systems provider Marquis Software. Marquis was critical during the bid process and continues to be during the implementation process. Not every state will have this advantage. We pride ourselves on helping organizations leverage existing assets and relationships not fight against them.

3. No job is too important for a kiosk – Cupcake kiosks are cute, and check-in kiosks are handy but neither is critical to people’s freedom or way of life. Of course there have been bumps in the road and there are more obstacles to overcome with offender management kiosks. However, the fact remains that whatever the task is, a well designed and executed kiosk implementation will provide services in a quantity and quality not possible with any other method. I’m proud to be part of the solution.

Give it a read and sound off in the comments, I’m interested to hear where we fall on this issue collectively.

Mind the Air Gap – Part 2

Mike Masone - Sales Director at SlabbKiosks

Mike Masone – Sales Director at SlabbKiosks

We’re happy to share the second part of an interesting article by our Sales Director, Mike Masone – Mind the Gap – Part 2. The article was originally published on LinkedIn.

 

 

 

Gravity LessonsIn the last post I discussed the importance of an air gap for security and anonymity.

Of course nothing is free, and that security comes at the cost of data exchange & collection. Anonymity is good, unless it is your customers who are unknown to you!

Don’t let your customers fall into the air-gap and out of your electronic systems.

Companies sometimes ‘solve’ this issue by creating a mobile app for customers to use. Unfortunately, customers aren’t leaping to install un-trusted apps on the most important possession many of them have just for your benefit.

We want to hold the customers by the hand and take baby steps that benefit both parties. Of course it would be great if customers installed an app that gave you unfettered access to their digital world but that happens less and less as users become more savvy and retake their privacy. This holds especially true at the start of your relationship with them.

Putting ‘apps’ aside we have seen one strategy most adopted and successful. It requires a bit of back and forth with your customer and requires a piece of technology from each of you, a good start to your relationship.

  • You provided customer a code to scan – such as QR from a micro site or printed a bill,coupon, or off of a website. An ID can be scanned to start the process for unknown customers.
  • Customer takes the action of scanning that code on your kiosk.
  • Your kiosk screens lead the customer through the desired process on the kiosk.
  • Optional – You provide the customer another scannable code via SMS or printout to close the transaction.
  • Customer uses that code on their next transaction.

You, them, you, them this back and forth will build trust if done correctly. Using the right equipment will ensure that this process is fool proof and efficient which is important as well. USB cameras are cheaper but lack the performance, flexibility, and upgradability of dedicated scan engines. When possible, we use high quality dedicated scan engines from Dolphin Data Capture for many of our projects, leveraging their expertise especially during software development is important.

Maintaining some distance between you and your customers isn’t a bad thing as long as you have a mechanism in place to lead them through the steps you need to take together to build a stronger relationship.

Mind the Air Gap – Part 1

Mike Masone - Sales Director at SlabbKiosks

Mike Masone – Sales Director at SlabbKiosks

Here’s another great article by our Sales Director, Mike Masone that was originally shared on LinkedIn. Make sure to look out for Part 2!

 

 

mind the air gap

Air Gap – I had never heard the term until 4 years ago when a cryptocurrency proponent researching kiosks was nice enough to sit with me and explain why bitcoin or one of its ilk had such value to the world.

What I gleaned and, have shamelessly repeated, is that remaining disconnected is the only strategy that ensures that data in a system is secure. In the case of my new friend, his enviable horde of BTC was all stored on a stand alone network. The gleam in his eye made me wonder whether or not he does the Scrooge McDuck money dive into his server room every morning. I finally got it Bitcoin made it possible to store and manage liquid value on a stand alone network. If I had gotten it a year sooner, I would be writing this post from my own island.

When the barriers to entry into most networks are not commensurate with the value of the data on the system, hacking these systems becomes very attractive. In the case of cryptocurrencies, the value is nearly liquid cash – Mt.GOX. In other cases the simple loss or exposure of loss of the data is enough to wipe out value from the system – TJX lost money, as did the banks and the consumers. In others still the data become the ore from which cash is mined through a more complex process like blackmail – Ashley Madison lost all credibility and its users are each suffering their own fate.

Ok then, air gap every important piece of data and everything is safe. Well yes, but that isn’t the world we operate in. In the case of cryptocurrencies a very small amount of data can be easily sneakernetted back and forth between connected and disconnected systems. The advantages of btc as a store of value are maintained and the environment supports that.

The air gap ensures privacy and security but at the expense of data exchange. A hospital that sees 300 patients per day and is faced with a mountain of poorly written or spoken data is a much different animal than my Scroogey new friend.

Understanding how to balance security and interoperability is critical to the success of any project, deployment, or initiative. In the next post I’ll discuss how some of our customers intelligently manage these issues in the self service world.

Make days fun by making spending easy!

This post was written by our Sales Director, Mike Masone and was originally shared on LinkedIn. We thought it was a great read. Let us know what you think and please feel free to share as well.

Mike Masone - Sales Director at SlabbKiosks

Mike Masone – Sales Director at SlabbKiosks

My family and I decided to use what could be the last of the nice fall weather and try to go apple picking this weekend. We weren’t sure where to go so we headed to the closest orchard the internet could find us-XYZ Farm, which was only about 30 minutes away.

At minute 27 we had a problem. Heavy traffic on small country roads is un-expected, un-planned traffic with a 5,3 & 3 year old is dangerous. So when things slowed down we threw the 67′ Spiderman DVDs on for the kids while my wife and I quietly debated our next move with limited information.

Luckily we were able to flag down a young couple on foot who informed us that we had wound up smack dab in the middle of the Season End Harvest Festival from XYZ Farm. They also informed us that the traffic was bad, for about a mile. We did the calculus that all parents are forced to do when plans go awry and determined (after spying the tops of a couple of bounce houses) that we should give it a shot…sunk costs and all. After all, we had made apple-delivery promises to family and the kids had now caught wind of the bounce (poor OpSec by me) and were now practicing their bounce moves against their seat belts.

After another 20 minutes in traffic and a quick run through the Mad Max – inspired parking field we found ourselves stridently converging on the festival area with the hundreds of other families who had procrastinated to our level.

As we walked in, every person we heard speak in passing echoed the same sentiment; “this is terrible, the lines are so long we can’t even spend money, let’s go.” Undeterred and of course better, smarter, and more patient than every other human there we pressed on.

The five of us arrived and decided to execute our standard divide and conquer plan. I stood in the long line with one child to buy tickets while my wife walked with the other two to find the best lines in which to stand to spend the tickets and maybe a candied apple or 4 to soothe the impatient children, and me, who can be quite childlike in those situations. She returned after 10 minutes to the exact spot she had left us and informed me that not only had none of the other lines moved, but that the candy apple line was long to the point of insanity.

Surveying the situation the only things we saw moving rapidly were the arms, hair, feet, eyes, and aging processes of the young, once-a-year cashiers and ticket takers who looked as though they had been pressed into service straight off of the school bus. They were trying, but they were not equipped to deal with the literally thousands of people bursting the place at the seams.

We decided to give up. Some quick math revealed that we would spend 45 minutes of the next hour standing in lines and only be able to spend about $10 on rides and maybe never even get fed. Relieved at our agreement, we took a walk to the sufficiently numerous though foul portapotties and then strolled by some pens to say hi to the chickens, goats, and other assorted farm creatures who were more shocked by the situation than the cashiers. We then got in our car, drove 10 miles down the road and spent $30 on fall ‘stuff’,another $20 on ice cream, and 30 perfect minutes sitting on a picnic table together.

I do my best to not let work-Mike over-analyze family-Mike’s time and experiences, especially as they are happening, because it makes both Mikes a bit crazy. 36 hours post-incident my mind continues to be boggled. The fact that the organizers didn’t take the small and simple steps necessary to help people spend money and have fun while keeping their employees and friends sane is disappointing. Things like :

  • Punched wristbands instead of taken tickets
  • Separate lines for cash or credit purchases
  • POS systems
  • Splitting cashiers up to keep the perception of line size minimal
  • Premium or all-ride passes
  • Food vending to the lines
  • Clear simple signage
  • Maybe, possibly, under the right conditions, if it is good idea, Kiosks

These things are simple, cheap, and almost always ‘worth it’.

It is true that not every venue wants to run with the efficiency & voraciousness of a LiveNation event and many businesses and individuals value tradition over efficiency; but failure of this venue to embrace simple, proven, techniques resulted in their 1000s of attendees not spending their $10-50 per/cap and forever eliminating XYZ farm list of possible fall traditions for years to come.

On the plus side, we have a new favorite Ice Cream place!

Soulless nature of kiosks may be a blessing in disguise after all…

We’ve featured a few articles in the past reviewing the often repeated fear that machines/robots/kiosks/insert any technologically advanced inanimate object will eventually take the jobs that are traditionally done by humans.

 
In our blog titled, Will Self-Service Kiosks Eventually Replace Humans?, we agreed with Martin Smith, Professor of Robotics at University of Middlesex, who aptly stated in an article by Rhiannon Williams, “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.”

 
But given recent developments in the news, we’re now left to wonder whether the inhuman element of say, a kiosk or robot, might actually prove beneficial. There are just some circumstances where emotion/personal beliefs should be set aside to provide the consumer what is their right by law. After all, a kiosk can’t ‘boycott’ providing a service because it doesn’t think it is morally right. Actually a kiosk might just be the solution we need to prevent personal convictions being subjected on a customer.

 
We once did a project for a County known for its inordinate number of weddings. Not surprisingly, they needed a solution that would provide a more efficient way to handle the numerous requests for certified copies of marriage certificates. We provided them with a kiosk that could do this, eliminating the need for their customers to engage county personnel for this repetitive task. The service has become so efficient that they recently installed several additional kiosks.

 
Just imagine if this could be done for other services, including marriage licenses. If so, we may not have had many of the discussions that have been taking place recently, with people on either side of the issue, as kiosks can be customized to ensure compliance to the law.

Self-Service Kiosks: A Valuable Human Resource Management Tool

We often hear about the fear of manual functions or services, traditionally performed by individuals, becoming redundant with the introduction of technological advances, including robots and self-service applications. One may wonder if this is truly a reality or just something akin to a conspiracy theory.

Recent developments in the quick service and fast casual restaurant (QSR) industry have not done much to allay these fears; with fast food giant, McDonald’s joining the ranks of Panera and others with the rollout of self-service kiosks. An article on bizjournals.com asked a similar question: Restaurants welcoming tablets, kiosks – will it cost jobs?. It was also a topic we covered last year in our blog: Will Self-Service Kiosks Eventually Replace Humans?. In our blog, we concluded with the paragraph:

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.”

A great example of this is the increased use of human resource kiosks to assist in the effective management of employees and their data. These kiosks are not intended to replace the human resource function, but to assist in providing better access to and management of employees. The kiosks are usually used to provide some or all of the following:
• Company information and employee data
• Training Center
• Job Application Center
• Compliance with employment laws

The most common use of human resource kiosks is to provide employees with important and current information. It may include updates about what is happening with the company especially matters that may impact employees or their jobs. This information can be disseminated via the company intranet that can be securely accessed at the kiosk.
The kiosks also allow access to administrative forms including:
• Leave requests
• Employee manuals
• Insurance forms
• Benefits applications
• Stationery and equipment requests
• Non-urgent service requests
• Salary inquiries

Customize X7E HR Kiosk

Customized X7E HR Kiosk

It eliminates the need to have human resource employees dedicated to providing this information; instead these staff members can focus on more complex HR functions. Completion of these forms at the kiosk also ensures that employee information is always electronically updated and accessible. A great example of the use of human resource kiosks can be seen here.

It is also very important to remember that these kiosks which can be built to ensure durability, can be placed at any location, including factories and warehouses. It ensures that employees that are usually unconnected, due to the nature of their jobs and locations can also easily access information.

TriMas Corp's Employee Center

TriMas Corp’s Employee Health & Wellness Center

It is a great way to keep these workers up-to-date with their online training requirements as online modules can also be provided at the kiosk. Employees can register for traditional training classes, as well, by accessing the schedules, times and locations of training sessions that are most convenient for them to attend. It is something that is often overlooked by businesses that usually provide this information via emails which are not accessible to employees without computer workstations or via office notice boards which can easily be bypassed or overlooked. We recently completed a project to provide kiosks for a company’s Employee Health and Wellness Resource Center. Read more about it here.

Another great benefit of human resource kiosks is that although traditionally used internally for current employees, they can also provide a more efficient way to accept job applications. These applications can then be accessed online by the human resource department and stored electronically, eliminating the need for excess paperwork and storage. The kiosks can also provide information about the company or current events to potential candidates, with the use of optional overhead screens.

Human Resource departments require precise processes and systems and by law must ensure the confidentiality of employee or job applicants’ information. Kiosks allow them to provide secure, guided and self-service access of HR services to current and potential employees.

The availability of HR Guidelines as well as information related to labor laws, unions, safety, insurance and taxes at the kiosks, automatically ensures that companies are complying with employment laws and standards by informing employees of their individual benefits and rights. It’s one of the many benefits that human resource kiosks provide. But let us not forget that they also increase the productivity levels of human resource staff, reduce costs, enhance recruitment and improve employee performance.

How Kiosks Make Our Daily Lives Easier – Part 3

This is the third and final installment of our series on How Kiosks Make Our Daily Lives Easier. If this is the first you’ve seen of this, you can read Part 1 and Part 2 on our website.

Today, we will consider the value of using Government Kiosks, Advertising Kiosks and Interactive Signage.

Government Kiosks
Government kiosks are often used to facilitate a more efficient execution of administrative services, such as document requests or payment of fines, tickets, bills, taxes, etc. Prior to the use of kiosks, accessing these services would often result in standing in long lines or spending more than one day to complete the transaction. It was a process that most people usually endured as the alternative (ignoring monies owed to the government or not having pertinent documents in your possession) would be a high price to pay.

Customized X6 Clark County Kiosk

Customized X6 Clark County Kiosk

The drive and need for more efficient systems, as well as budget constraints that have resulted in reduced staffing, has led to innovative solutions, including the use of kiosks to provide what should be straightforward services. A great example of the positive effect of kiosk usage is a project we did in Clark County about two years ago that is still being utilized today. The kiosk was implemented to allow users to request certified copies of marriage certificates. The office has processed over 4,000 orders since the kiosk was introduced and has not only provided a more positive experience for customers and eliminated the need to engage county personnel for this repetitive task, but it has also generated over $81,000 gross resulting in a positive Return on Investment (ROI) in less than a year. You can learn more about this project here.

 

We have also provided corrections kiosks including prison kiosks that assist in providing a way to conduct commissary transactions within the prison system and parole kiosks which are utilized by corrections offices and allow selected minimum risk clients to check in with their probation officers at stipulated times throughout their supervision. Parole kiosks must include specialized software and components to ensure accurate identification and security standards. Components may include signature pads, fingerprint and card readers, as well as the software which would enable the recognition of the user’s fingerprint and capture their signature and photo. The kiosks also sometimes facilitate the receipt of payments. Learn more about corrections kiosks we have provided.

 

270120101669An extension of government kiosks are their administrative use at educational institutions. Education kiosks provide a secure, user-friendly platform for administrative management at schools and universities, including student registration, tuition payment as well as faculty and student updates. Many schools also use these 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.

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

Advertising Kiosks and Interactive Signage
Advertising Kiosks and Interactive Signage can easily be considered the ultimate marketing tool in more ways than one. They not only allow companies to advertise and deliver content via their screens, but the kiosk can be physically branded to showcase a company or product using specific colors and logos.

Slabb's X10 Digital Signage

Slabb’s X10 Interactive  Signage

The advances in technology and the introduction of interactive signage now facilitates the input of data by customers to access additional information, or the manipulation of the image on the screen for a more in-depth, realistic look at a product’s features and benefits. Interactive screens facilitate easy navigation, using touch screen technology. The signage/kiosk, 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, making it a great platform for searchable directories and wayfinding tools. The technology allows versatility across multiple industries for an enhanced user experience.
It is hard not to see the benefits this can provide to a business, especially to retailers that strive to provide their customers with an exclusive experience that showcases all the positive attributes of their brands. Some other benefits of the kiosks we highlighted today include:

 
• Reducing administrative duties and costs.
• More effective emergency management providing schools with an accurate headcount, if needed
• Providing additional information to customers that can be easily seen or accessed via an overhead screen when using the kiosk
• Printing of important documents including schedules, forms or grade sheets, campus maps
• ‘Topping up’ of smart cards thereby reducing the use of cash by students for school transactions
• Providing access to important documents including transcripts, identification (certificates, licenses, etc.)
• Facilitating and encouraging participation in surveys. Businesses and schools can obtain relevant information to provide future services
• Providing multiple uses as a payment, information, internet or advertising kiosk
• Enhancing the customer service experience
• Providing a positive Return on Investment (ROI)
• Decreasing wait times for customers
• Providing a great avenue for product marketing and company branding

 

We hope you enjoyed our three part series on the benefits that kiosks can provide. Kiosks can be used to provide a variety of services/solutions across various industries. Learn more.

How Kiosks Make Our Daily Lives Easier – Part 2

In our last blog post How Kiosks Make Our Daily Lives Easier – Part 1, we looked at some of the benefits of self-service kiosks, particularly:

  • Information Kiosks
  • Human Resource Kiosks
  • Retail Kiosks
  • Self-service Check In and Checkout Kiosks

Today, we will review some of the benefits of Printing Kiosks and Financial Kiosks.

Printing Kiosks
A printing kiosk is a self-service kiosk that is used with the sole purpose of receiving a printed product such as tickets, contracts or coupons. These kiosks are widely used in the travel industry as they can allow travelers to:

  • Purchase and print tickets or boarding passes
  • Find and print directions and/or coupons to tourist attractions
  • Print guides or information about activities and amenities for their vacation resorts
Kiosk Tax Office at an Airport

Kiosk Tax Office at an Airport

Another type of printing kiosk, that is not as well known, but often also used in the travel industry and elsewhere, is the contract kiosk. Contract kiosks are a great way to offer last minute travelers travel insurance. The units allow them to purchase and print insurance contracts right at the kiosk. These kiosks can also be used elsewhere including malls and other retail locations. Contract kiosks have also been provided as an option for the filing of taxes, and as with the insurance kiosks, can be found at several locations, including airports.

However, beyond the travel industry, self-service technology is being used as a convenient alternative for patrons and fans to purchase tickets to sporting events, concerts or the movies. They not only eliminate the need to stand in long lines, especially for popular events, but lower staffing and training costs for venue owners who may sometimes find it difficult to find staff for evening shifts. Ticketing kiosks, provide a useful crowd management strategy by creating multiple points of purchase.

X2 Coupon Kiosk

X2 Coupon Kiosk

Coupon kiosks provide a great way to reward loyal customers. They can be used solely to provide coupons or be customized as a loyalty kiosk providing loyalty card issuing and redemption services along with coupons. This allows operators to provide personalized coupons based on the cardholders’ shopping history. The coupons usually expire on the issue date which is an additional incentive to redeem them the same day. It’s a great way to provide savings for customers and encourage additional and future purchases.

Financial Kiosks

Financial Kiosks are probably the most widely used type of kiosk that enables the completion of transactions traditionally offered by financial institutions. These kiosk can be used to provide the following services:

  • Prepaid Credit/Debit Card Kiosks
  • Check Deposit Kiosks
  • Loan Kiosks
  • Bill Payment Kiosks
  • Donation Kiosks

Prepaid Credit/Debit Card Kiosks allow customers to purchase and activate debit or credit cards as well as add or top up funds on the card. It not only offers users an alternative to cash, but it provides a way for them to easily manage their funds, without the fear of overspending.

Transaction Kiosks typically provide banking services such as bill payment, check deposits, and loans.

Transaction 1Bill Payment Kiosks, as with most financial kiosks, allow any prominent service-based corporation such as banks, cable companies and even retail outlets to provide additional services to their clientele. Customers can pay their utility bills while shopping without standing in line and appreciate this fast and convenient method of making payments.  A bill payment kiosk can improve business through increased efficiency and overall customer satisfaction.

Payday Loan Kiosks provide an automated, self-service option for processing loans, providing a convenient, quick and efficient way for users to access cash advances.

Check Deposit Kiosks allow users to deposit checks without the assistance of a teller or customer representative. It is convenient way to avoid the long lines at the bank.

Transaction kiosks are a great way to add value and enhance customer service while increasing revenue.

Donation Kiosk

Donation Kiosk

Donation Kiosks, also known as giving kiosks or charity kiosks, allow members of a church or group or the general public to donate or contribute to their communities or charitable causes. Some organizations also use the kiosks to enroll members, provide information about community events or sell merchandise including books, CDs and DVDs, t-shirts, etc.  A recent article, Churches Gain Attendees, Money When Internet Is A Sanctuary looked at the way Impact Church of Atlanta uses technology, including kiosks, to encourage donations to and participation at the church.

 

There are many benefits to implementing Printing or Financial kiosks to a business, as they provide:

  • Secure online access
  • An enhanced customer service experience including decreased waiting time and shorter lines
  • An effective advertising platform
  • Value-added services
  • A positive Return on Investment (ROI) due to the additional source of revenue generated

These are just a few of the benefits. We will conclude Part 3 of this blog with a look at some of the services that can be provided by Government Kiosks, Advertising kiosks and Interactive Signage.

How Kiosks Make Our Daily Lives Easier – Part 1

Kiosks have been mentioned quite often in the news lately, from Quick Service Restaurants (QSRs) like Panera and McDonalds adopting the technology, to New York City’s conversion of their iconic phone booths to Wi-Fi Kiosks. These are just a few examples, but for a long time, interactive kiosks have been in use or could be found in many places we go to everyday and have been making our lives a lot easier; you just may not have realized.

 

An Information Kiosk providing internet services

An Information Kiosk providing internet services

One of the basic uses of kiosks is to provide information, whether about a company, a service, an event or location. Information kiosks can be used anywhere information needs to be disseminated, but many are used in museums, malls or lobbies. They can also be used to provide internet access or Wi-Fi to patrons or customers. They often take the form of interactive signage that utilize wayfinding applications. (We will discuss wayfinding kiosks in more detail in Part 2 of this blog). A great example is the information kiosks at Frankfurt airport that read boarding passes and direct passengers to where they need to be.

 

creative_1027 - Copy - Copy - Copy
Companies often use information kiosks to communicate with employees. These human resource kiosks, in addition to providing company information, give employees access to administrative forms such as leave requests, employee manuals, insurance information or even internal training sessions. They can also be used to access the company’s intranet. A great example of the use of human resource kiosks can be seen here.

 

The use of kiosks to provide human resource services can also be extended to job applicants as kiosks provide a convenient way to accept job applications. Prospective candidates can enter their information at kiosks placed at the company’s head office or in the case of retail, at the location with the job vacancy.

 
The popularity of kiosks is probably as a direct result of their self-service applications. In a world where time is precious and consumers are more ‘hands on’, many users prefer having the option of conducting business or paying for services via a machine. It is one of the reasons kiosks can be found in many retail locations.

 

A Loyalty Card Kiosk

A Loyalty Card Kiosk

Retail kiosks, which are often confused with Retail Merchandising units which can also be found at malls with novelty items for sale, are manned units and can be considered mini stores. The retail kiosks we are referring to are electronic units that can be used at stores to accept payments, issue gift/loyalty cards or provide a catalog of a store’s inventory, making it easier for customers to peruse available items and request out of stock items or additional models and colors that may be available at other store locations. It eliminates the need for them to drive to other branches, as orders can be delivered to the location of their choice. It also provides a great opportunity to collect customer data via surveys or purchase history to inform future marketing campaigns or offers.

 
These kiosks can also be used to offer additional services including payment of store credit cards or utility bills, sale updates and coupons or a gift registry. It often eliminates the need to have additional staff for these services and are conveniently accessible after store hours. Some of these services can provide operators with additional revenue through transaction/service fees.

 
Many of the retail self-service applications mentioned above, can be used in other industries including hospitality, healthcare, airports and airlines and restaurants. Hotels and airports use kiosks to provide a more efficient way of checking in, allowing travelers to avoid the frustration of long lines.

 

A Patient Registration kiosk

Patient Registration kiosk

Self-service check in has also now been extended to the healthcare industry to assist in patient management. Patients are now allowed to check in on arrival at a doctor’s office or medical facility allowing front desk staff to easily access their information while eliminating the need for excessive paperwork.

 

 

 

A Self-Service Checkout kiosk at a micro market location

A Self-Service Checkout kiosk at a micro market location

Self-service checkout kiosks, as mentioned in our opening paragraph, are also gaining popularity at restaurants. The goal is to make ‘fast’ food even faster by allowing customers to place their orders via a kiosk, ensuring they get exactly what they want on their order, without standing in line. It still remains to be seen if they truly provide a faster service, as orders still have to be fulfilled by servers which still leaves room for human error as well as variations in the speed of service.

 
Self-checkout kiosks are not only used for fast food, but also for food purchases at supermarkets and micro markets. Both allow customers to access goods and scan and pay for them at the kiosk. It eliminates the need to stand in line and in the case of micro markets, provides a healthy, quick lunch option for workers.

 
Kiosks provide many benefits to both the businesses that operate them, as well as to end users. Hence the reason they are so widely used. Some of the benefits of kiosks include:
• An enhanced customer service experience
• They facilitate the collection and management of customer data
• They provide value-added services
• They allow extended service beyond standard store hours
• They almost always provide a positive Return on Investment (ROI)
• They decrease wait times for customers
• They assist in reducing employee hiring and training costs
• They provide a great avenue for product marketing and company branding

 
These are just a few of the benefits of kiosks. We will continue to explore additional services available via kiosks for various industries in Part 2 of this blog.

 

 

Customized Kiosks and Healthcare

World Health Day 2015

World Health Day 2015

The World Health Day is an initiative sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and is celebrated every year on 7 April and observed by all its Member States. It provides an opportunity to encourage global health awareness by focusing on a subject of major importance to global health every year.

 
This year focused on the promotion of food safety. In the past, attention has been placed on various health issues including blood pressure, aging and the effect of urbanization on health. We hope that in the near future, due to the increasing demand to the healthcare systems around the world and the high cost associated with providing treatment that focus may be given to providing a lower costing, more efficient healthcare system.

 
The answer may lie in more effective patient management. According to an article by Pranave Reddy, patient management includes the many logistical challenges face by healthcare providers and institutions on a daily basis such as, time management and record-keeping. Ideally, an effective patient management system would deal with patients from admission to discharge with the goal being to provide the most efficient and effective experience for the patient. It takes into consideration patient registration, the collection and storage of patient information, accurate claims and information exchange. Achieving this is not only beneficial to the patient but the doctors and health establishments providing these services, including more organized and accessible patient records.

 
At SlabbKiosks, we are committed to finding kiosk solutions that can achieve this and have partnered with PatientWay, a Canadian-based software solutions company that specializes in the development of emerging technologies for the healthcare industry. They operate on the premise that a patient’s active involvement in the registration and check-in process can increase patient and staff satisfaction while saving healthcare organizations time and money.

 

 

patientwayTheir solutions include streamlined patient access through web, kiosk and mobile applications using the following:

 

 
• PatientWay PreReg
Patients can schedule appointments and pre-register from their homes using a secure system. It eliminates the need for them to fill out any paperwork upon arrival for their appointment. It works seamlessly with PatientWay’s Reminder product.

 

 
• PatientWay Reminder
The PatientWay reminder system is automatically triggered once an appointment has been scheduled. It 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.

 

 

Customized Slabb X6 patient registration kiosk

Customized X6 check-in kiosk

• PatientWay Check-in Kiosk
Patients who are not pre-registered can do this on-site at the check-in kiosk 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 X10 Wayfinding Kiosk used at a healthcare facility

X10 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 provide many benefits for patients, including:
◦ Patient access to information and services 24/7
◦ Decreased wait times
◦ Value added services

 

 

Along with the following benefits for healthcare institutions:
◦ An updated customer database
◦ Customer feedback through online surveys
◦ Reduced staffing costs
◦ A positive Return on Investment (ROI)
◦ The opportunity to provide relevant information to patients via the wayfinding kiosk or an optional overhead screen on the check-in kiosk

 

 

For more information on PatientWay’s solutions, visit www.patientway.com and for information on our healthcare solutions click here.

 

 

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. 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 attended and unattended self-service checkout X2T and the recent addition of the X2S, both of which can be customized to suit the needs of any organization or business.

 

 

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.

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.

 

 

 

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

 

 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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

 

 

 

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

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.

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 www.patientway.comand for information on Slabb’s hardware click here.

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