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Beyond the keynotes and sessions at last week's KioskCom Self Service Expo in New York was the exhibitor show floor, where companies showed off their latest products and services.
Kevin Harrigan, director of self-service for Source Technologies, shows off the features of the concourse financial kiosk.
3M MicroTouch, a subsidiary of 3M, showed the MicroTouch DST, a large format touchscreen. The interactive touchscreen/sign operates on dispersive signal technology and can respond to human touch, even when static objects are placed on top of it. Operation of the touchscreen is unaffected by any surface damage to the screen itself.
In a demonstration for the Tough Touch II capacitive touchscreen, visitors dropped a steel ball onto the screen to test its strength. The laminated glass screen is a rugged version of MicroTouch's Cleartek II line and is vandal-resistant for outdoor applications.
Apollo Display Technologies made waves among digital-signage enthusiasts by drawing people to its booth with the Vitrine, a multidisplay unit with six 12-inch TFT displays in one aluminum enclosure. The digital-signage unit allows screens to play up to 200 images simultaneously at different speeds. Content management is controlled through a proprietary system called AristaNet.
"By only consuming 100 watts of power, the Vitrine is also a very green product," said Ed McCarty, Northeast regional sales manager for Apollo.
Comark Corp. had a new addition to its kiosk lineup at the 2007 show. The WideTouch Kiosk and Digital Media System is designed for public Internet access and informational applications in malls, convention centers and retail outlets.
Next to the WideTouch was Comark's Multiâˆ™Touch outdoor kiosk. The "ruggedized" version of the kiosk features a steel enclosure, a 17-inch sunlight readable LCD screen and a vandal-resistant keyboard. The unit also allows front loading for ease of maintenance, which Comark president Steve Schott demonstrated to booth visitors.
Communication Technology Services presented its service offerings. The company installs and maintains kiosks and digital-signage networks.
"We're the feet on the street," said Michael Shaub, national account executive.
CTS also specializes in wiring for broadband Internet, new-kiosk activation, digital-signage mounting and a 24-hour maintenance services.
Corporate Safe Specialists' marketing manager Peter Muiznieks said his company sets itself apart by supplying kiosks that allow cash acceptance and deposit directly into secure safes. Two of the company's kiosks were on display at the show — one being the MenuSOS self-ordering system and the other a retail-ready kiosk equipped with an omni-directional barcode scanner.
Both kiosks included safes that could be directly loaded onto armored trucks.
"Being able to accept and secure cash is extremely important to the customer, because there is no activation or interchange fee with cash transactions," Muzinieks said.
Diebold Premier Servicesis leveraging its ATM-maintenance and service expertise with kiosk deployers. It's an initiative that parent Diebold Inc. has been pushing for the last four to five years, says Diebold's Lora Davis.
Because Diebold's ATM servicing reach is so vast in the United States, Davis says the company sees a real market advantage where working with kiosk deployers for installation and service on an outsourced basis is concerned.
Coming off its recent acquisition of Solectron, electronics giant Flextronics was operating out of a double-wide booth during the show. Lining the booth on the aisle were examples of self-service applications from companies Flextronics works with, including Kodak, redbox and an NCR self-checkout unit.
Dave Gonsiorowski, general manager of Flextronics, touted his company's consultative services for self-service rollouts, called Method 8. The eight-step program works with companies who are considering adding self-service to their business models. The program walks companies through the process, from concept design to rollout to maintenance.
5point LLC displayed a kiosk deployed at Foxwoods Resort and Casino in Ledyard, Conn. The kiosk has bill-accepting and printing capabilities used for ticket and coupon distribution. The kiosk also featured a front-loading enclosure for easy maintenance.
"We offer a solution that needs no outsourcing. We design and manufacture everything in-house," said Ed Crowley of 5point.
In addition to its gaming kiosks and displays, Frank Mayer & Associates showed a new enclosure that is being used as a display for a new Microsoft product. The display was designed and built with partners Wireless Ronin and the Alteris Group. It featured a 50-inch touchscreen and directional sound speakers, which sales support and marketing manager David Loyda says picks up on ambient noise and automatically adjusts the volume.
GA Services provides site service and installation, as well as content and action-plan advice — offerings that are more viable for the kiosk industry today than they were five years ago, says Bill Gorski, GA's sales account manager.
"I've been coming to these shows for five years now, and I see a maturing in the market," Gorski said. "I think the types of products and services are more practical than they used to be."
ID Tech's business is automated-identification capture, a business that keeps ID Tech ticking around card readers. And at last week's expo in New York City, the company officially released an encrypting PIN pad, called Smart PIN, that meets the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. The company also recently introduced a new signature capture pad, which can be mounted on a kiosk or used on a countertop.
Infonoxis focusing its vision, strategy and service structure on providing customers a holistic offering, says company founder and president Safwan Shah.
Through a partnership signed in April, Infonox and Elan Financial Services developed a multifunctional ATM/kiosk called the Pass+ line. Once signed up, FIs, independent sales organizations and retailers can tap into Infonox' Active Payment Platform, while processing transactions through Elan. The ATM/kiosk line also comes preloaded with Infonox software.
Now Infonox is basing a marketing strategy around the Pass line — a strategy that meets the needs of three compartmentalized segments. Offerings fall under one of the following three categories: Pass, TransIT and transDNA, Shah says. The Pass category includes kiosks and counter, Web and mobile devices; the TransIT category includes business, transactional and systems-management services; and transDNA caters to the convenience-store, banking, gaming and retail industries. The three segments come together through Infonox' effort to connect Pass' devices with access to TransIT's services that can be served to transDNA's industries.
"We connect, access and serve," Shah said. "We are a one-stop shop for everything but the hardware. But we partner with other companies for that, so we can provide an end-to-end solution for the customer."
Innovative Control Systems is taking what it's learned in the carwash space to a more general and broad base of self-service customers.
Kevin Ahnert, ICS's vice president of marketing, says the company is interested in any self-service application that could be used outdoors, such as a fast-food ordering app at the drive-thru. And with the inclusion of an RFID tag reader/identifier, Ahnert says ICS is working with clients to take loyalty to a whole new level.
In the carwash space, the RFID tags identify monthly users who prepay. If incorporated into other applications, the tags could be used to identify customer preferences.
"It could be used at Starbucks for those customers who always get a mocha latte," Ahnert said. "When they drive up, you already know what they want."
Innovative Office Products had an array of IBM Anyplace Kiosks at its booth, all mounted using IOP's smooth operating LCD arms. IOP manufactures ergonomic arms and moveable mounts that are used to support flat-panel monitors and touchscreens, digital signs, and electronic tablets. Featured at the booth were arms from IOP's 7Flex and EVO lines.
Joe Tosolt, marketing manager for IOP, says the arms and mounts are modular, allowing IOP to meet customizable needs for its customers.
Intelisys Mobility Solutions is a 10-year-old wireless-tech solutions provider. TeraNova Consulting Group oversees Intelisys' channel management. Intelisys provides the infrastructure that facilitates mobile kiosk deployments.
Natasha Coons, TeraNova's managing director, says Intelisys' solution is turnkey because it provides everything from testing to sourcing the right components.
"We work with manufacturers and providers like Sprint," Coons said. "We're providing connectivity that saves deployers and manufacturers time."
JCM American Corp. showed off its Transact Epic 430 printer, a modular printer with embedded PC. The company also touted its bill-feeder and acceptor technology, which includes a cash box that can hold up to 2,000 notes — the largest in the industry, says JCM's vice president of commercial sales, Dave Elich.
The company also is on the cusp of rolling out its edge-to-edge color-field thermal receipt paper in the United States and Asia. At the moment, the paper is only being sold in the United Kingdom. The paper allows marketing messages to be preprinted on receipts.
KIOSKInformation Systemshighlighted its partnerships with forward thinkers like Hewlett-Packard and Felix Corp. Through partnerships, KIOSK is providing comprehensive products and services.
In its booth at the expo, HP featured some of its products, which cater to public-sector and enterprise accounts.
Felix, which is just entering the U.S. market, showed off its Max Box hybrid ATM/kiosk, which is now being manufactured in the States by KIOSK for distribution to the U.S. market. The only difference between the company's U.K. and U.S. deployments is the lack of ATM functionality being available on the first machines released in the States, says Sallie Worthington, product manager for Felix Corp.
KIOSK also announced a new deal with a telecom lifecycle management company called TeraNova Consulting Group. Through TeraNova and wireless providers like Sprint, KIOSK is offering bundled services for wireless kiosk deployments.
LiveWire and KioWarepartnered to show the Enterprise Server for Kioware, a suite of enterprise-level modules such as content management, payment processing, shopping carts and order processing. Stephanie Kropkowski, director of marketing and sales for Kioware, said the suite has been used for ticketing, concierge, self-checkout and POS applications.
Dave McCracken, president of LiveWire, said the Enterprise Server makes it easy for non-IT and lower-level employees to change content on kiosks without redesigning or changing applications.
The Nanonation booth was busy with visitors learning about the company's kiosk and digital-signage software.
Nanonation utilized a new all-in-one unit from MPC to show off its Petro loyalty program; just a few feet away, the company demonstrated its LocaModa-driven digital signage application, which allows users to change the content on a screen using the keypad of their cellular phones. Vibrant video and imagery from Mazda plays on the large screen, with an invitation to call a toll-free number; once connected, the user can navigate the on-screen menus using the phone's keypad. The result is an interactive device that can be situated far away from the user – for instance, a screen inside a store window that users can manipulate after hours.
Netkey, which recently made news with its purchase of Webpavement, divided its attention between its established footprint in self-service and a newfound emphasis on digital signage. Robert Giblett of Netkey, said the company is currently working on integrating its self-service platform with the new digital signage product to create a single brand.
Panjit spends its time in the touchscreen space, where it specializes in screens of all sizes, ranging from 1.8 inches up to 20 inches. During the expo, Panjit showed off its sunlight-readable and resistive touchscreens.
Parabit Systems Inc., which provides security products and services that enhance electronic-delivery systems, displayed a host of pedestal and wall-mounted kiosks, just to feel out interest in the varying kiosk models and designs, said Rob Leiponis, Parabit's president. Through partnerships with companies like Provisio, Parabit is marketing itself as a complete turnkey provider.
"We do software. We do integration. We do enclosures. We develop interfaces. And we do customized deployments," Leiponis said. "That is our difference."
Pay-Ease's Automated Commerce Machines accept cash, credit and checks. Dean Scaros, Pay-Ease's president, says the ACMs are hyper financial kiosks that can offer a range of services, including bill-payment. To that end, Scaros says Pay-Ease is focusing on pushing its offering in the municipality space.
"We're now live with the city of Chicago for a water-payment and parking-ticket deployment," he said. "We now have more than 20 kiosks deployed in the city."
Pay-Ease, which touts itself as being a turnkey deployer, processes the transactions and provides the integrated hardware.
PFU Systems, a Fujitsu company, is taking aim at the all-in-one device market with its Mediastaff DS touchpanel terminal. Various out-of-the-box configurations include coupon issuing, order status, inventory look-up and product information. The company also demonstrated its Media Engine single-board computer, a compact board based on the Intel Xscale RIISC architecture and preloaded with either Windows CE or Linux Bootloader.
Pitney Bowes' booth focused on its Multi-Vendor Services program, which services all brands of kiosks as well as mailing machines and computers. Pitney Bowes manages a service team of 1,300 technicians. Service techs are spread across all 50 states.
"We're continuing to focus on providing service for kiosks and self-service machines," said Neal Esposito, manager of services marketing for Pitney Bowes.
Using a projector and PC, software security provider Provisio demonstrated its SiteKiosk 6 software, designed for protecting public-access terminals. SiteKiosk 6 protects kiosks from computer vandalism. SiteKiosk software allows users to have remote-management functionality, while at the same time securing systems with virus protection and automatic logouts. The new software also boasts compatibility with Windows Vista.
Reality Interactive places its emphasis on "user experience development," and the experience on display was the interactive system currently deployed in 300 BMW dealers — a lounge area with chairs and a coffee table, as well as a wireless keyboard that allows car shoppers to use a large-screen HD display to explore the options available on the car of their dreams. The company, which has had a hand in the development of Frank Mayer's well-received wireless BMW kiosks, also showed off a product information kiosk for Leap Frog, which is scheduled to be installed in 500 Wal-Mart stores and 200 Toys R Us stores in time for the Christmas shopping season.
RESOLUTE Partners, whose reach extends around the world — the company provides Internet terminals to nearly 350,000 service men and women in locations from the U.S. to Kuwait to Germany — was on hand to explain its RESOLUTE TAP Services suite, which provides field service to kiosk and self-service deployers. The company offers project management, on-site repair and replacement, custodial services and a fully staffed call center/help desk.
Rhombus Services was on hand to talk about its network of service personnel for kiosk and self-service maintenance and repair. Jeff Metzger, executive vice president of Rhombus Services, said the company's service offerings are built on the Six Sigma process. Instead of dealing with multiple vendors and subcontractors, Rhombus provides one point of contact for its service.
Seiko Instruments had a new kiosk printer featured at its booth, a new model in the CAP9000 line. The direct thermal printer comes in two- and four-inch print-width models that follow the same design as the existing three-inch printer, allowing both receipt and ticket-printing applications. The printers are manufactured for ruggedness and durability. The cutting blades for receipts can make up to 1 million cuts before replacement.
Adam Ortlieb, marketing manager for Seiko Instruments, says the printers already have been installed in ATMs from two of the top four ATM manufacturers worldwide.
Self-Service Networks had an in-store marketing display it calls the TIPP: Thule Interactive Point of Purchase display. Thule is a Swedish automobile rack supplier that has products for mounting bikes, kayaks, canoes, etc., on cars.
TIPP features a touchscreen kiosk built into the display, which gives customers information about the Thule products and allows them to select the right hardware based on the make and model of their cars.
Bill payment was a highlight at Source Technologies' booth this fall, where the company touted its new partnership with ChoicePay, an aggregated billpay provider. Source for years has manufactured and sold its concourse billpay kiosks for single retailers or billers. Now the company can deploy kiosks capable of working with numerous billers. "We will still offer single payment," said Source's Alicia Shoemaker. "But, in addition to that, we can offer a service for multiple billers, too." The multibill service has been on the market about 18 months. The concourse 312i, an interactive retail kiosk designed to meet multiple retail needs, also was a focus. The kiosk's modular design allows retailers to add what they need, such as a card reader for payment, or just use the kiosk for wayfinding or informational applications.
St. Clair Interactive, which recently celebrated its 25th anniversary in business, used the visual motif of a giant birthday cake to arrange a handful of the successful deployments in the company's recent history. Retail-centric applications included touchscreen ordering for foodservice and a kiosk that dispenses custom gift cards; new to this show was the Travelocity kiosk, which allows Vegas visitors to watch video previews of live shows before selecting and purchasing tickets. A half-dozen of the kiosks have recently been deployed in Vegas locations, with more on the way in the coming months.
Star Micronicsshowed off its rewriteable thermal-printing tech, which it introduced in Las Vegas during the spring Self Service Expo.
"We've had it on the market for a while, said Star's Fred Hoffman, "but it was only able to print on a 10-millimeter card. Now we can print on a credit card, which is 30 millimeters thick."
Coming off winning four DIMA Awards at PMA 2007, photo kiosk provider Storefront.com brought its remote-monitoring software to Self Service Expo.
"This software is designed specifically for photo kiosks," said President Murray McDonald. "We don't believe in generic monitoring tools."
A demonstration of the software gave real-time information about photo kiosks deployed in the more than 200 Duane Reade drug stores in New York City. The software has the ability to "punch out" from behind corporate firewalls and provide users with information about a kiosk's status, including paper outages, replenishables and real-time operational updates.
STRATACACHE, a digital-signage-monitoring company, had its ActiVia for Media 3.0 program on display at the show. The software allows deployers to put pre-produced content through a content ingest, thus making it ready to be played through a digital-signage network. The software also allows the user to create custom playlists for digital signs and provides network and media-player monitoring.
"ActiVia allows large HD files to fit through small pipes, because not every business has the bandwidth available to easily receive content in that format," said Jason Barnett, vice president of sales for national accounts at Stratacache.
Telsource Corp.provides enterprise services for the retail sector that support wall-to-wall store technology. During the expo, Telsource showcased its LVS 3200 Interactive System, a thin-client kiosk with VoIP capabilities. VoIP makes the kiosk unique, since users have the ability to call a customer-service agent, for instance, for assistance while using the kiosk.
Powered over Ethernet, which Telsource's Jennifer Whelan says is a big selling point for retailers, the LVS 3200 includes a barcode and card reader and still only consumes a very small footprint.
The 3200 also is browser-based, so its range of applications is ultimately limitless, Whelan says.
This fall's Self Service Expo was a first for telecommunications provider Ventus Networks. Tina Iverson, vice president of business development for Ventus, says a growing interest in mobile-kiosk deployments has sparked interest in the industry.
"This is our first time to attend the kiosk show," she said. "And we're here because we see a lot of opportunity. What sets us apart is that we are a fully managed telecommunications provider. Our solutions offer mobility for deployment."
Ventus offers DSL, frame-relay and wireless telecommunications. The company highlighted its full-monitoring capabilities during the show. The Web-based offering allows kiosk deployers to track signal strength, monitor noise ratios and track physical temperatures of kiosks deployed in the field.
*Editors James Bickers and Bill Yackey also contributed to this article.