Category Archives: Computer kiosks

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.

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.

10 Interesting Facts about Kiosks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is a Kiosk?

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

The Evolution of the Computer Kiosk

The image of a computer kiosk may seem like a futuristic concept, when in fact it was invented in 1977. Of course, the computer kiosk has evolved into the modern self-service device that many companies and customers are becoming increasingly more familiar with, in the age of advanced technology and a growing need for information, convenience and efficiency.

 

Slabb's X5 indoor kiosk model

Slabb’s X5 indoor kiosk model

Essentially, a computer kiosk is an interactive terminal used to provide information through electronic methods. A computer kiosk can be built to function in a variety of ways, including, but not limited to:
• Pay bills
• Purchase merchandise
• Print tickets and digital photos
• Search the internet for information.
A computer kiosk can be found in almost any high foot traffic zone from airports, malls and parks. Governments use the computer kiosk to help unemployed citizens find work, airlines use them to check passengers in and out and businesses use them to facilitate bill payment or communicate company information. Computer kiosks are now even used in correctional facilities for bail payments.
Computer kiosks combine the classic vending machine, with the personal computer, creating an unmatched experience in obtaining information, buying goods, paying bills and printing receipts or contracts. Customers enjoy the experience of handling their own payments and purchases in an easy and quick transaction. Company owners are improving their services with more time to train staff and focus on their core business.
A Computer Kiosk for Any Business or Location
Typically a computer kiosk will come in three different varieties:
• indoor,
• outdoor
• wall and table mountable.

 

Slabb is one of the leading customized, interactive kiosk manufacturers. Our freestanding indoor computer kiosk model, the Slabb X is the most popular indoor computer kiosk. We have sold thousands of our kiosks globally. They are used for hundreds of applications in every type of industry, where a computer kiosk significantly improves business and customer service.
An outdoor computer kiosk can be used in conservation areas, to display maps and emergency information. The outdoor computer kiosk can be placed in amusement parks, train stations and drive through style locations for food or banking. An outdoor computer kiosk is built with the durability to survive any weather condition, year after year. A key feature of this model is vandal-resistant locks to protect the machine after hours and in the off-season.

 

Slabb's X2 Desktop or Wall Mountable kiosk model

Slabb’s X2 Desktop or Wall Mountable kiosk model

A wall or table mountable computer kiosk is used for digital signage, directories, information and maps. The benefit of a wall or table mountable computer kiosk is that the sleek design instantly increases the perceived value of a store, by giving the location a cutting-edge look. It is a very affordable model that can add to the layout of a retail space.

 

 

The Computer Kiosk is the Future
The impressive computer kiosk is rapidly making itself at home in all public profit and non-profit locations. The computer kiosk is improving business and enhancing the process of buying, selling and exchanging information. The computer kiosk is built to last and fortunately for their manufacturers, they are here to stay.
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