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KIOSKCOM: Attendance up
NEW YORK — KioskCom Self Service Expo, co-located with The Digital Signage Show, made its second appearance in New York City, Oct. 15-16, giving retailers and others a look into current and future applications of kiosks, digital signage and other customer-facing technology.
If the economy is halting investment in technology deployment, the slowdown was not evident at this show. Officials say attendees and exhibitors were each up significantly over last fall's KioskCom Self Service Expo and Digital Signage Show.
 
Netkey showed its digital signage and kiosk software at the show.
Also announced at the show were the DIGI Award winners in 17 categories, ranging from Corporate Application to a special judges' award for Innovation in Digital Signage Sourcing. Awards were chosen based on more than 100 entries.
Here is the latest tech from the featured exhibitors of the show:
Addressing the convergence of digital signage and kiosks, 5POINT displayed a couple of models at KioskCom that take this technology to the next level for the indoor and outdoor markets. The models on display were the outdoor, large-format, 42-inch, sunlight readable and vandal-resistant touch Eclipse, and the indoor Concierge, which also supports the 42-inch large format.
"We're showing the standard interactive kiosks like we have traditionally, as well as full-blown interactive digital signage products for indoor and outdoor markets," said Edward Crowley, vice president of 5point.
AGNPRO showcased out-of-the-box digital signage solutions, such as the Minibox solid-state media players and its HD digital signage applications for dynamic digital messaging.
The Minibox HD 700 is the first digital signage media player available in full 1080p definition. It offers a wide variety of outputs, is very flexible, can support a variety of displays and has a powerful graphics engine.
"The unique thing about our products is that we have out-of-the-box solutions that are very simple to sit at, very simple to use and very easy to deploy," said Minson Chen, president and chief executive of AGNPRO.
At the COMARK CORPORATION booth the theme was marriage — that of high-definition LCD touchscreen monitors and integrated computers. The most eye-catching exhibit on hand was the 48-inch monitor/computer, featuring 1920 x 1080P resolution, a Core 2 Duo processor and up to 4GB of DDR2 RAM.
Steve Schott, president of Comark Corporation, said the advantages of using an integrated monitor/computer are ease of installation and maintenance.
"You can basically just hang one of these on the wall, plug in the power and Internet and you're done," he said.
Schott also emphasized the company's commitment to its products.
"We build everything in the United States," he said. "We service it in the United States. We build the stuff for as long as you want to buy it and we service it forever."
ESP INC. displayed its Digital QC power-protection solution, which can be easily added after kiosk installation or built into a unit at assembly. The company provides power protection for self-service applications and says power disturbances often cause kiosk downtime and loss of revenue.
 
Frank Mayer's SlideBuy screens garnered attention.
FRANK MAYER, known for innovative kiosk enclosures, showed its new SlideBuy, a dynamic digital signage application that combines a touchscreen monitor with customized software to make a powerful interactive presence at the shelf level. One ideal use is product information, such as for oil-filter selection in the automotive section at a discount retailer. The SlideBuy maximizes product facings without displacing existing products, accommodates frames in any size, shape or color and works on existing shelving with custom FMA brackets.
GA SERVICES showcased its ability to service a wide variety of display products at this year's show. The company's exhibit featured kiosk and digital display products from its service clients, which include CBS Outernet, ADFLOW and ITI.
"What we're really showcasing is our ability to service the solution," said George Harris, founder and president of the company. "It's our only business — we don't compete with any of our end-user clients. We do the install for them and then also the day-to-day service."
IBM showed its latest AnyPlace kiosk and highlighted its work with partners. The new version of the AnyPlace is available with a 15-, 17- or 19-inch display and VGA-out to enable digital signage to be used in conjunction with self-service applications. The unit has five USB and two serial ports, and a thinner bezel frames the carryover-infrared touchscreen. An "entry-level" version sheds the express card slot, runs a different processor and is confined to a 15-inch monitor. It sells for 30 percent less than the standard model.
LiveWire worked with IBM to produce its ticketing kiosk. The device can be deployed in retail locations like The Sports Authority, a big-box sporting-goods store, to sell and print lift tickets to skiers before they head to the slopes, controlling inventory more effectively and cutting theft.
Opera Glass Networks brought an AnyPlace kiosk equipped with the company's unique real-time, multiple-data integration functionality. Best known for racetrack wagering, the application can display handicapping, take bets and show races. At Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., the kiosk also works with handhelds and can be used to order food and drinks  and give bettors access to the Internet.
KIOSK INFORMATION SYSTEMS showed its new outdoor kiosk model. Dubbed the KIOSK Element, the NEMA-rated, turnkey self-service device can work as a stand-alone or a through-the-wall and can accommodate any feature mix with peripheral options, including an outdoor credit-card reader, keyboard, receipt printer and barcode scanner. Two high-bright LCDs (one 17-inch and one 19-inch) allow for second-screen advertising and attract loops for branding, quick consumer adoption and faster ROI. An overhead customer shelter also is available.
Also in the booth: Fujitsu's U-Serv 150EX, an outdoor-ticketing kiosk; NETZOOX and ZAZOOX Internet Café models; AT&T's custom bill-pay kiosk; and the CLEAR kiosk, used by airports for members of CLEAR, a security program that helps participants speed through checkpoints.
MELITRON is a full-service contract manufacturer of precision metal components, enclosures and assemblies. The company's advanced manufacturing technology allows flexible and lean self-service solutions.
At the show, Melitron emphasized its world-class facilities, equipped with some of the most advanced manufacturing technologies and automated systems available.
Nanonation is developing retail applications for the iPhone.
NANONATION showcased a couple of new applications. "What we're talking about is how you can take multiple types of customer experiences and deliver them with one core platform," said Brian Ardinger, chief marketing officer for Nanonation.
One of the new concepts involves interactive signage using an iPhone. "You can use the iPhone to control what is on a larger-format screen either as a mini-kiosk or as a remote-control device," Ardinger said.
The NCR booth was abuzz with the unveiling of the company's latest kiosk line — the NCR SelfServ 60. It builds on the advantages of its predecessor, the EasyPoint 42, but is equipped with Intel vPro technology.
 
"Nowadays, people want kiosks to have a slim, sleek form factor to really show off that modern iPod look, and really capture the aesthetics and the marketing and the branding that (our) customers want to portray to their self-service customers – to the consumers," said Donna Stevens, product manager for kiosk infrastructure at NCR. "The EasyPoint 42, while an all-in-one integrated footprint, didn't have the feature functionality and the slim form factor that this new unit has because of the new technology and our ability to integrate that."
The company also announced a new reseller agreement with Experticity.
NETKEY focused on digital signage and the integration between the digital signage world and the kiosk world. The company showed some recent applications it developed for table-serve restaurants that demonstrate bringing interactivity to a large-format screen.
"One of our demonstrated interactive digital signage applications is for airports where a particular restaurant has locations," said Robert Ventresca, vice president of marketing for Netkey. "The signage is located outside of the restaurant and gives people the option to learn about menu items while waiting for a plane."
Netkey also previewed the next version of its Netkey 6.7 software platform that incorporates digital signage capability into the company's kiosk platform, so companies can exercise greater control over scheduled content on their kiosks as well as their digital signage.
PROVISIO prepared to launch the seventh edition of its venerable kiosk software, SiteKiosk. The new release includes VOIP functionality. Among its uses: Deployers can configure kiosks for customers to call help desks from store locations, or for employees to stay in touch with remote HR staff. Offices can use the kiosk in reception areas to enable visitors to alert parties to their arrival. The application is expected to do well in Europe, too, where it can be used to make low-cost calls across borders.
Things were active at the SEIKO INSTRUMENTS USA INC. booth, where attendees were testing kiosk printers of various sizes. Adam Ortlieb, associate director of marketing for Seiko's thermal printing division, was busy demonstrating the new APU-9000 line of printers for onlookers.
According to literature distributed at the booth, the APU-9000 printer line is built for speed and reliability. The printer can operate in harsh environments with extreme temperatures and can handle thick media.
"Essentially it's designed to really set the bar in the industry for performance, reliability and design flexibility," Ortlieb said. For performance, "you're getting 10-inches-a-second print speed. There's nothing faster in the industry. For reliability, these units are actually rated for a minimum of 150 kilometers of printing and over one million cuts — again, there's nothing higher in the industry for those ratings."
"Also, just by looking at it, it's designed to be very small and fit into tight spaces," he said. "That's a big request from our customers, so that's where our design efforts have been targeted."
Among its current line of self-service printing solutions, TELPAR introduced the "signature" STEALTH MTP-2283Ii-8½-inch printer, as well as the high-speed "work horse" MTP-1500-3 inch printer. Powered by EPSON, the device features print speeds up to 6 inches per second and an auto-cutter that can make a full or partial cut.
At the TELSOURCE CORPORATION booth, Vince Sciarra, president and chief executive, was showing off the LVS lightweight kiosk. That kiosk, which is equipped with a 10.5-inch touchscreen, a barcode scanner, a mag-stripe reader and a printer, can be powered completely via Ethernet, so no outside electricity is required.
Sciarra says the touchscreen and self-service user interface are designed to make the technology-savvy shopper feel at home.
"What we've done is we've really understood what retailers need from a service perspective, as far as developing a kiosk product that helps bridge online shopping with the store experience," Sciarra said. "What we're looking at is the fact that online shopping is really going to dramatically change what customers want in a store — what they want the store experience to be. So we've developed a product that we believe really bridges that gap."
Based in Fairfield, N.J., Telsource provides installation, maintenance and monitoring of voice and data systems. With a staff of 250 technicians across the country, Telsource services the retail and financial spaces.
 
Caroline Cooper, Kevin Kerfoot and Travis Kircher also contributed to this story. Visit Kiosk Marketplace later this week for a comprehensive photo gallery from KioskCom.

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