Anyone starting a kiosk business, please be aware…

By Mike Masone – Sales Director, Slabb, Inc.

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

How will new technology affect the kiosk industry?

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

 

 
The articles were:

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

 

 
Let’s examine each in more detail:

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

Some additional benefits of in-store kiosks include:

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

The Advantages of Self-service Checkout Systems

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

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

 

 

10 Benefits of Donation Kiosks

Slabb's X6 Kiosk

Slabb’s X6 Kiosk

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

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

Slabb's X5 kiosk

Slabb’s X5 kiosk

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

Is there a future for self-service kiosks?

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 
Some of the industries adopting this technology include:

 

 

 

Slabb's X6 kiosk model for USBank

Slabb’s X6 kiosk model for USBank

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Global Entry Kiosk

Global Entry Kiosk

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

Slabb's X6 kiosk for Hyatt Regency

Slabb’s X6 kiosk for Hyatt Regency

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

 

 

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

Childcare Solutions using Self-service Options

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

 

 

Slabb X6 kiosk customized for childcare check-in/out

Slabb X6 kiosk customized for childcare check-in/out

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

Find out more about our customizable kiosks here.

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.

A New Meaning to Self-service

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

 

 

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

'Cup-a-noodles' kiosk

‘Cup-a-noodles’ kiosk.

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Egg vending machine

Egg vending machine

 

 

 

 

  • Egg vending machine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flower kiosk

Flower kiosk

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello Kitty kiosk

Hello Kitty kiosk

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sushi Vending Machine

Sushi Vending Machine

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Car Vending Machine

Car Vending Machine

 

 

 

 

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

 

 
Then there were the machines in weird locations:
 

 

Beverage machine on Mt. Fuji

Beverage machine on Mt. Fuji

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vending Machine on a Train

Vending Machine on a Train

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

Self-service Healthcare Kiosks: Convenience When Inconveniently Ill

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

One of Avanti Markets micro market layouts

One of Avanti Markets micro market layouts

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

 

 

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

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

An Easy Way to Get into Sporting Events

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

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

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

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

 

 

One of Slabb's ticketing kiosks

One of Slabb’s ticketing kiosks

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

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

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

 

 

Slabb's X6 Kiosk is also a great ticketing option

Slabb’s X6 Kiosk is also a great ticketing option

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

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

Access to the World via Public Internet Kiosks

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

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

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

 

 
Learn more about public internet kiosks.

 

 

Interactive Kiosks are Making an Impact in Schools

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 
School kiosks bring many benefits including:

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

 

 

Interactive screen at Stoddert Elementary School

Interactive screen at Stoddert Elementary School

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

 
Learn more about our interactive educational kiosk options.

Providing Reliable Public Internet Kiosks

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

 

 

Slabb's X6 Kiosk

Slabb’s X6 Kiosk

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

The Key to a Successful Partnership

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Providing Probation Kiosks to the State Of Arkansas

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

 

 

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

 

 

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

Kiosks are Becoming the Premier Solution for Modern Businesses

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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.

Are Interactive Kiosks Really Effective?

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

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

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

 

 

Slabb's X5 kiosk model

Slabb’s X5 kiosk model

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Ultimate Marketing Tool – Interactive Digital Signage

Digital signage solutions are increasingly critical for effective in-store advertising. Nothing grabs a consumer’s attention like a moving, flashing digital sign, running on the latest in high-definition (HD) flat-screen display technology. Static signs are rapidly falling into obsolescence, and to ignore this is to deny your company a prime marketing and branding opportunity.
It is the ultimate marketing tool. But what if, in addition to the moving, vivid images that depict your product’s features and benefits, customers could also input data to access additional information, or stop and manipulate the image for a more in-depth look? Enter Interactive Digital Signage (IDS). IDS provides users with a platform that facilitates easy navigation, using touch screen technology, to find information or input data. The signage therefore is more than just a static sign or moving image, it becomes a tool that customers can manipulate to find the information they need. The technology allows versatility across multiple industries for an enhanced user experience.
A perfect example of the use of this technology is the Entel Mobile Showroom. Entel, a Chilean cell phone carrier, equipped two of their showrooms with with MultiTaction cells allowing customers to browse product lines, review sales and promotions, view 3D imaging of phones and do side-by-side comparison of products. You can see it in action here.

 

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

 

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

 

Slabb's X10 Digital Signage

Slabb’s X10 Digital Signage

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Slabb's Q5 Digital Signage

Slabb’s Q5 Digital Signage

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

 

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

A History of Interactive Kiosk Design

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

 

What are interactive kiosks?

 

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

 

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

 
Benefits of interactive kiosks

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

One of Slabb's interactive (touchscreen) kiosks

One of Slabb’s interactive (touchscreen) kiosks

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Halo Effect created by interactive, self-service kiosks

By Mike Masone

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

 

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

 

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

The Importance of High-Quality Components in a Customized Kiosk

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

 

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

 

Hardware Considerations

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Great Opportunities

 

 

One of Slabb's ticketing kiosks

One of Slabb’s ticketing kiosks

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

 

While both the gift card and ticketing applications are rather new, it is clear that there are great opportunities to become the leading brand in our geographical market, as well as to develop an export version to satisfy growing international interest.
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Designer and Producer of Innovative Internet Access Kiosks

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

 

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

Slabb's X6 internet kiosk

Slabb’s X6 internet kiosk

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Show Customers Your Business at its Best

Custom kiosks let your customers experience your hard work in the way it was meant to be seen. As technology continues to evolve it becomes increasingly important to keep pace with the latest innovations in sales and marketing. Slabb’s line of kiosks and software ensure that you’re able to do just that by giving your customers a proper representation of your business through cutting-edge technical products.

 
At Slabb, we provide every client with the ability to present their customers with an exceptional line of pre-made and custom kiosks. Our hardware options let you easily pick from a comprehensive range of standard models or create custom kiosks that are tailor-designed to fulfill your business’ unique needs. You can choose from any of our kiosks lines:

 

 

Slabb's Kiosks

Slabb’s Kiosks

• Freestanding, Wall-Mount and Desktop models (X-Series)
• Outdoor (O-Series)
• Low Cost (C-Series)
• Digital Signage or Wayfinding
We also provide the option of leasing or purchasing second hand units.

 
Once you have chosen the kiosk to suit your business’ needs then you can select the exact colouring, skin and finishing you like most. If one of our many pre-made models doesn’t suit your taste, Slabb can also assist you in creating a custom kiosk from the ground up. Visit our Custom Kiosk Design Studio to learn more or get started in creating your perfect kiosk today.

 
Slabb sells exceptional software that is designed with intuitive user interaction and owner flexibility in mind. Slabb Soft is able to create completely customized software (based on your business’ distinct requirements) or sell ‘out-of-the-box’ solutions that allow users to remotely manage kiosk activity, interface with transactional components, access control and system security, display system status and much more.

 
We are able to handle every aspect of your kiosk purchase, from the initial sale straight through to installation and support. Slabb’s technicians are highly experienced in their trade and promise to make your kiosk set-up experience completely painless. Our business provides essential services including installation, maintenance, custom design, project management, consultation, OEM manufacturing and leasing.

 
In 2002, Slabb’s first incarnation was launched as AffordableKiosks.com — a simple, black and white website that sold our company’s initial line of kiosks. By the beginning of 2005, Slabb had expanded drastically in order to supply its distribution markets with an ever-growing number of kiosk models and software options. Over the years, we have continued to work hard at bringing our clients the premier solutions in pre-made and custom kiosks, along with the operating systems required for optimum performance. Currently, Slabb has over 50 international resellers and a resume that boasts a client list of many globally renowned businesses including U.S. government institutions, casinos, colleges and universities.

 
Let Slabb’s custom kiosks and software options represent your company at its very best. In a fast-moving market you can’t afford to fall behind the competition. Our kiosk and software products ensure that you’re able to stand out in today’s industry and make a real mark.

 
For more information on Slabb and its custom kiosk manufacturing services, 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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Introducing a Self-Service Kiosk to your Business

If you have been thinking about implementing a self-service kiosk into your business plan, you are on the right track to improving the revenue of your company. The self-service kiosk is more common than ever and they continue to grow in popularity. Customers love the freedom of paying their bills, buying groceries and movie tickets at a self-service kiosk. Companies love this concept because it enables them to handle a higher volume of clientele, without having to hire and train additional employees. Basically, the self-service kiosk is a money-making tool that can be customized to suit any business model. After deciding to try a self-service kiosk in your business, the next step is to gather information on the process of selecting, installing and maintaining it and most importantly, selecting the right kiosk manufacturer.

 

Slabb X6 model, self-service kiosk

Slabb X6 model, self-service kiosk

The Three Components of a Self-Service Kiosk

Thinking about adding a self-service kiosk to your company is a fantastic way to grow your business. Before jumping into the selection process, you should acquire as much information as possible on how a self-service kiosk works and how to choose the best option for your business.

Hardware

The hardware is the machine itself. The self-service kiosk will come in indoor, outdoor and table or wall mountable models. Determine which best suits your business. An outdoor model will be hardy and vandal-proof, while a table mountable option will be sleek and eye-catching. Next, determine how complex your self-service kiosk will have to be. Will it require just a touch screen, or will you need a card reader and printers?

Software

If you are in a business which is similar to others who also use self-service kiosks, there may be off-the-shelf software programs which can be provided by the kiosk manufacturer. Self-service software can also be custom designed for more unique and product/service-specific companies. The purpose of software is to display the kiosk instructions and company information in a format that would be most suitable for your customers. The goal is to provide a customer service experience that is just as simple or even easier and more efficient than interacting with staff. The software will also protect the PC’s operating system from unauthorized changes and interfaces with peripherals inside the kiosk, such as cards and printers.

Post Production

Post production services for a self-service kiosk will depend on the size of the project. Some services that may be required to implement your kiosk plan into a reality can include site acquisition, installation and on-site maintenance. Typically all of these services can be completed by the owner of a small self-service kiosk.

Where to Purchase a Self Service Kiosk?

Slabb’s customer support can answer any questions and help you to make the right choices when purchasing a self-service kiosk for your business. We are a full service company, including custom designing, consulting and project management. At Slabb, our experienced technical team will see your project from start to finish. Visit us at http://www.slabbkiosks.com

for more information.

The True Value of an Informational Kiosk

Many people are familiar with an informational kiosk. These public access computers are typically found in various locations and at events, where general information is required. Malls, parks, sports stadiums and trade shows use the informational kiosk to provide any type of information from: maps, trails, safety information, store directories and even seating plan layouts at concert theatres. The primary goal of the informational kiosk is to provide complete information for the location or event, while keeping the process simple.

Keyboard & Trackball of Slabb's X5 model

Keyboard & Trackball of Slabb’s X5 model

An informational kiosk can be beneficial to a business in terms of its marketing strategy. The informational kiosk is typically equipped with a trackball and keyboard. This enables the vendor to collect email addresses and phone numbers or to provide customers with the requested information that they may have signed up to receive. This prevails over the old fashioned method of obtaining a prospect’s contact details, by setting up a table or booth with representatives. Many potential customers find this approach invasive and are shown to provide more information, when it is on their own terms.

The informational kiosk also helps to provide safety information and maps at conservatories, national parks and ski lodges. The benefit of having an informational kiosk is that an outdoor model will be available to visitors under any circumstance. When a map providing safe slopes, trails or designated zones is vital to the liability of an organization, it is critical to have information readily available and easily accessible by visitors.

What Does a Kiosk Require to Work?

Aside from a prominent location and installation, all an informational kiosk will require is its software. The software for an informational kiosk can be custom-designed to provide the relevant information which will need to be delivered by the business or organization. A kiosk information company will provide the hardware and software, which will convey information quickly and concisely to get the business message across efficiently. Customized software for an informational kiosk, by a technical expert, is a must-have to make your informational kiosk plan a reality.

How to Order an Informational Kiosk for a Business or Organization

The ideal informational kiosk is available through Slabb, a global manufacturer in computerized interactive kiosks. Slabb’s informational kiosks are available in varying models, which can be customized for the needs of any organization or business. There are four basic types to choose from – the indoor freestanding (X5 or C5 series), the vandal-proof outdoor freestanding (O6 series) or the wall or table mountable (X4 series) informational kiosk.

Slabb's X5 Model

Slabb’s X5 Model

Slabb offers more than just the informational kiosk hardware. We are a full service access kiosk manufacturing company, with a wide range of services and support. We provide the informational kiosk, as well as the software and ongoing development. For more information, or to request a quote, visit us online at http://www.slabbkiosks.com

In with Recycled Interactive Kiosks, Out With Red Phone Boxes

Red Phone BoxesPhoto by Antoine Motte dit Falisse.

Leeds seems to be one of the first British towns to exchange the iconic red phone boxes for modern technology – recycled interactive kiosks with built in WiFi. The modern phone kiosks have a touch screen and allow users to leave video messages. They also allow multiple users to use free WiFi. In a decade when even most kids have mobile phones, free Internet access might come in handy rather than an old phone box where coins are required. Below is a short introduction to red phone boxes.

History Behind Red Phone Boxes

The red phone box (K1-K6) is often seen as an iconic symbol of Britain alongside Black Taxis, a cup of tea, James Bond and the Royal Family. The color red was chosen so they would be easy to spot even from a distance. The first models of red phone boxes were produced in the 1920’s and by 1980 over 73,000 red phone box kiosks were in existence throughout the United Kingdom.

British Telecom (BT), the successor to Post Office Telephones, began to replace many red phone boxes following the privatization of the company. Over 2,000 boxes were given a listed status, but most were sold off.

Old Red Phone Boxes VS New Interactive WiFi Kiosks

The recycled interactive kiosks in Leeds are built on the classic X6 phone boxes but with a twist. They are all blue instead of red. In one way, you could even call the recycled interactive kiosks green since they are all powered by solar energy. The innovative phone boxes will feature free WiFi. One of the main differences between the old phone boxes and new interactive kiosks is that you cannot actually go inside the boxes of the recycled kiosk version. They hold Aql’s network equipment (official site), allowing users to make phone calls via touch screen displays on the outside. The interactive screens allow users to leave video blogs, messages and share recent memories about the area where each box is located.

Are you looking for a new or recycled interactive kiosk? Contact Slabb, Inc. today and our dedicated consultants at +1 702 208 9212 (US customers), +44 1223 92 6035 (UK customers), +31 70 250 0155 (European customers) or +61 438 005 253 (Asian and Australian customers).

Bill payment kiosks are improving customer service.

Bill payment kiosks are improving customer service for businesses, worldwide.

tn_X6-Trans 5The bill payment kiosk is revolutionizing the way major corporations operate their daily transactions between customers. A bill payment kiosk is an intelligent access computer with hardware installed into retail outlets, allowing a “self-serve” approach for clients. This method of store-to-customer interaction is reducing lines, decreasing wait times and allows a business to train employees with the information necessary to improve customer service. This includes important service support such as conflict resolution and product knowledge. The bill payment kiosk is an advantageous installation to any prominent service-based corporation such as banks and cable companies.

Benefits of a Bill Payment Kiosk in Business:

Line Reduction

A long line up is a major deterrent to potential customers. A prospect that walks into a store and is faced with a long line will not likely wait to be informed of the company’s products and services. For current customers, long lines are frustrating, especially when the client has only come in to pay his/her bill. By installing a bill payment kiosk, the line up will be reduced, leaving only new prospects, customers purchasing new products or services or clients in need of support. Staff also benefit when lines are reduced as it allows them to focus and dedicate more time to each customer.

Thorough Staff Training Process

Cash handling and the associated process of paying a bill, can consume a lot of training time that could otherwise be devoted to focusing on core business values, such as conflict resolution and product training. After employees receive their basic cash handling training, the company can provide them with thorough induction about the company’s history, philosophy, mission, vision and values as well as detailed information on products and services that will assist them in providing consistent service to customers. Higher service levels will improve customers’ perception of the company as caring and client focused. A bill payment kiosk has the potential to enhance the overall way a business operates and how it is viewed by customers and prospects alike.

Increased Options for Customers

Options are everything in business and a bill payment kiosk adds options for customers. A client who knows they can pay their bill quickly, on their way to or from work, without lining up, or being delayed by trainee employees, will likely select the service based on having this alternative. The same customer may one day need the counter staff to discuss service upgrades, exchange or buy products and pay their bill at the same time. A bill payment kiosk adds the freedom of choice.

Any company can advertise a bill payment kiosk as a feature to their service. With the rise in ATM machines, self-serve fueling and grocery store check-outs, customers appreciate the ability to pay for their products and services in a fast and convenient method. A bill payment kiosk can improve business through increased efficiency and overall customer satisfaction.