KioskCom Las Vegas wraps

April 21, 2008
Click here to view a slideshow from the show.
LAS VEGAS — KioskCom Self Service Expo and The Digital Signage Show came and went last week with more exhibitors and kiosks than ever before. But when all was said and done, one kiosk stood out from the rest.
SoloHealth's EyeSite kiosk, housed at the KIOSK Information Systems booth, stole the buzz from other devices as it took home three Self Service Excellence Awards, including Best in Show. The kiosk was submitted for the show's awards by KIOSK and software partner Netkey.
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"The EyeSite kiosk was the instant standout of KioskCom 2008," said Robert Porter, lead judge for KioskCom 2008. "It was unlike anything else. This unique application is practical, fun to use and presents a breakthrough technology platform that demonstrates the ability to make an enormous impact of people's eye health, as well as the ability to drive revenue in the vision market."
To use the free kiosk, individuals walk up to device and answer questions on the touchscreen. It asks the person's age, the date of the person's last eye exam and whether or not he wears contacts or glasses, Foster said. Based on that information, the kiosk presents a series of stimuli for both near and distance vision. Then, based on the responses, the kiosk prints out a report and gives the user video analysis of the results.
The kiosk also gives information about local eye professionals and encourages the user to visit them for a thorough eye examination.
Click here for more coverage from the show.
Here's a look at what some of KioskCom's other featured exhibitors touted on the show floor.
3M TOUCHSYSTEMS showed a 32-inch interactive digital sign used during the 2008 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am golf tournament. Tim Holt, communications manager for 3M, said that in a pro-am tournament setting the screens could be used for golfers to check each others' scores, but in major tournaments they could be public-facing screens for fans to stay updated on scores.
5POINT's vice president Edward Crowley said the convergence of digital signage and kiosks has never been more visible than at this year's show. It was fitting, then, that 5point announced its new Vision Series Modular Kiosk and Eclipse Series Interactive Digital Signage platforms at the show.    The Vision series kiosks are designed for a wide range of environments, especially the retail and hospitality markets, and were used by KioskCom as its platform for self-service registration at the show.   "We've seen a strong interest in this type of all-in-one technology and we're very excited to announce that the new Vision series platform is now available for our customers and partners," Crowley said. "There's a growing demand for the peripherals these touch screen devices offer as standard options as well as other kiosk integrated peripherals like thermal printers and secondary monitors. We created this new series with these factors in mind to ensure we're providing a higher self-service experience overall."   The large format Eclipse interactive digital signage (ids) platform is designed for outdoor deployments and supports sunlight readable LCDs up to 42 inches with integrated vandal resistant touch screens. The unit can operate in temperatures from minus 20 degrees to 115 degrees Fahrenheit.
ASAHI SEIKO USA displayed several of its card dispensers, including the CD-1000, the company's most popular model, said Robert Angell, a sales representative for Asahi Seiko. The large dispenser, designed for paper and polyester credit-card sized cards and tickets, can hold up to approximately 1,000 cards.
Launched in October, BETTER ATM SERVICES touted its patented technology that enables existing ATMs to dispense prepaid cards through ATM cash trays. The company's cost effective distribution option means banks, shopping malls, grocery stores and restaurants can now offer prepaid gift cards, premiums, and other incentives through ATMs without need to refit or reconfigure the ATMs' hardware.
"Getting a gift card is now a snap," said Derek Cook, Better ATM Services' chief financial officer. "And it's basically zero cost to ATM owners."
CARD SCANNING SOLUTIONS' SnapShell ID Reader camera solution was on showcase at the CSS booth. The scanner captures driver's license information quickly and accurately. The SnapShell uses a 3 mega-pixel camera built into its base to snap high-quality digital images of ID cards (up to 600 dpi). It also uses a USB 2.0 connection and features no moving parts while requiring no calibration, making it a low maintenance solution that allows users to simply place their cards face down on the window and letting the ID reader system do the rest.
CHETU's Terry Owen, director of sales, was enthusiastic about the company's second visit to KioskCom.
"Kiosks aren't just the ‘dumb terminals' anymore," Owen said.
Owen explained that Chetu is an IT consulting company which offers a low-budget software solution. The company offers custom-designed kiosk software for $20 per hour.
"Once we create the software, there are no licensing fees – the customer owns it," Owen said. "Normally a customer would have to pay licensing fees on each piece of the kiosk."
COMARK CORP. displayed its Wide-Touch Kiosk, which Comark president Steve Schott said is ideal for maps, directories, shopping malls and movie tickets. The kiosk features include 19-inch screen and optional touchscreen. The booth displayed a golf course directory and information application on its kiosk demo.
A 32-inch interactive digital signage touchscreen was also on display. Schott said the unit was big in Europe and it on its way to catching on in the United States.
COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY SERVICES was on hand to explain the company's expertise in digital signage and kiosk network installation and answer any deployment questions attendees had.
"Customers don't always know what they want," said Michael Shaub, national account executive for CTS. "We help steer them in the right direction."
CTS does not subcontract its work out; all installations are done by CTS trained personnel. Shaub said this helps maintain a similar quality throughout all their work.
DIEBOLD PREMIER SERVICES touted its installation and maintenance services at the show. Julie Manson, Diebold's senior services marketing manager, said Diebold's more than 3,400 technicians handle small and large installations. Diebold also provides a 24/7 customer response center, service parts logistics, inventory management, software support and a host of other services.
"We're about providing pleasant and consistent customer service," Manson said.
DFI TECHNOLOGIES had several of its mini computers on display, but the highlight of the showcase according to business manager Albert Chien was the ST-300. This slim mini computer is used in various kiosk and digital signage applications, with its key feature being slimness.
"Most customers don't care about the overall size of the computer," Chien said. "For installation purposes they're concerned about the thickness."
DFI also showed an all-in-one touchscreen kiosk that was designed for many different mounting applications. Chien said the kiosk could be placed on a desktop stand, wall-mounted using a bracket or placed in a kiosk enclosure.
ELAN FINANCIAL SERVICES showed a multi-function financial self-service machine loaded with features and capabilities. All of the components were integrated into a freestanding MoniMax ATM enclosure from Nautilus Hyosung. In addition to normal ATM functionality, Elan's machine featured a check scanner, coin acceptor, barcode scanner and a security-enabled screen that eliminated over-the-shoulder glances.
ELO TOUCHSYSTEMS's RemoteNurse Patient Monitor was a finalist for the Best Health Deployment at the Self Service Excellence Awards. The kiosk, which includes a device that measures pulse, helps diagnose patient symptoms and ailments.
The booth also featured its 17A2 touch computer, a 17-inch all-in-one desktop. The space-saving, compact design of the touch computer offers increased flexibility for easy integration of a variety of optional field-replaceable peripherals including three-track magnetic stripe reader for credit, ID and loyalty card transactions; customer-facing display to verify those transactions; biometric fingerprint recognition for increased security; speakers and DVD drive.
FAST TRANSACT was on hand representing the financial payment aspect of retail kiosks. The company was showing its Argofire payment software solution. The software is designed to secure transactions and benefit both the customer and the retailer. Fast Transact software operates on a revenue-sharing program, so the customer has full ownership of the software when using it.
"All transactions through the Argofire gateway happen on our server, not at the kiosk, making the transactions more secure," said Adriane Armbruster, senior account executive for Fast Transact.
FLEXTRONICS, a $30 billion global electronics company, announced its new venture to help speed the deployment of self-service applications. The program, called "Jumpstart," offers companies a set of software plug-ins and hardware components preconfigured for faster, more effective rollouts.
"We want to bring to market a product that will help jumpstart businesses," said Andrew Block, senior director of Flextronics' Self Service Solutions Group. "And we hope to jumpstart not just the product, but the industry as well."
Block said that since acquiring WebRaiser Technologies and Solectron, Flextronics has benefited from the unification of self-service resources, thus becoming a major player in the industry. The acquisition made Flextronics the world's second-largest electronics manufacturing and self-service powerhouse, trailing only Taiwan-based Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. in terms of annual sales, according to Forbes.
The Nintendo Wii kiosk at the FRANK MAYER AND ASSOCIATES was arguably the most popular machine on display at the Expo, judged by the lines to use the interactive demo. The kiosks allowed Nintendo to take the displays to events across the United States and played an integral part of Nintendo's marketing campaign, said Michael Mayer, president and chief operating officer of Frank Mayer and Associates.
The Mayer booth also displayed its Ford SYNC Kiosk, which won the Best Other Industry Deployment Award at the Self Service Excellence Awards. Displayed predominantly at auto shows and high-traffic outdoor events, the Ford SYNC kiosk houses a 50-inch touchscreen that provides a guided tour of the SYNC technology. The SYNC system was developed jointly by Ford and Microsoft Corp.
FREEDOM SHOPPING's sole item at the show was its self-assisted bill and coin dispensing kiosk. The Valet kiosk model offers POS functionality for unmanned and partially manned self-checkout, accepts cash, credit/debit, store accounts, loyalty cards, hotel room keys, online accounts and biometrics ID, and manages inventory, including returns and automatic re-orders. The system includes RFID-tag association and integrated digital advertising that correlates with purchases.
FUJITSU highlighted its new two-inch thermal printer unit for receipt and ticketing kiosks at the show. The new model offers OEMs a reliable, high-quality printing solution for medium-volume print output. The printer integrates an auto cutter capable of full or partial cutting, an automatic paper feed, a paper holder for up to 83mm diameter rolls, and an integrated paper guide. The unit's double-tilt function enhances maintenance for paper jam clearing and thermal head cleaning, said Jim Harrison, Fujitsu's product marketing manager for thermal printers.
The printer also includes built-in detection functions such as motor over-current protection, paper-out/near-end and abnormal thermal head temperature to prevent print interruptions.
GA SERVICES' Bill Gorksi said the company had a lot of inquiries at the show. Gorksi explained to many the company's services with deployments, integration and shipping for digital signage and self-service projects.
"No two stores are ever the same, even though they may claim to have the same layouts," Gorski said.
For projects such as ADFLOW's Office Max digital signage deployment, GA Services coordinated the integration and staging and aggregation of components such as cables, mounts, media players, etc.
H&M NETWORKS didn't have any flashy new kiosk on display at their booth. That's not what they do, said Rich Henkels, director of national accounts sales for H & M NetWorks.
"What's forgotten (in a kiosk deployment) is what has to happen beyond the box," Henkels said. "That's what we take care of."
H&M provides services, including wireless, that tie kiosks to the network.
HECON/HENGSTLER was showing the new Extendo Series X-56 thermal printer for kiosk applications. Extendo printers are designed for rugged use and are usually found in outdoor kiosks and other outdoor customer-facing applications such as self-service car washes and gas pumps. The printers on display could print paper or ticket stock. David Widmann, general manager, said that the printers are effective in temperatures ranging from -25 degrees to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
A host of partners that use IBM CORP.'s Anyplace Kiosk were on display at the company's booth. Experticity's Live Support On-Demand Kiosk was demonstrated for attendees. The enclosure for the kiosk was designed by Olea Inc., designer and manufacturer of self-service kiosks. Olea's "green" enclosure was made from an engineered panel from Sorghum plant. Sorghum plant is grown around the world for food production. The plant stalks are dried and heat pressed using a non-toxic adhesive to form the board product. The stalks of the plant are not used in food production and would otherwise be thrown away.
Curiosk, a wine greeting card and information kiosk, was also on view at IBM's exhibit. The kiosk guides users through wine selection and then allows them to personalize a greeting card using a touch keyboard. After the transaction, a receipt is printed along with the greeting card, which folds to fit on top of the wine bottle.
The wine kiosk is currently in the pilot stage at some Florida wine shops, but may move into grocery stores with wine departments in the future.
"It's simple and so easy to use," said David Weinberg, president of Curiosk. "Scan, personalize and print."
ID TECH was the magnetic stripe specialist at KioskCom, showing several versions of the company's card reading technology for use in traction kiosks. Some of the company's peripherals included swipe and insertion magnetic stripe readers and encrypting PIN pads.
INFONOX's "bank-in-a-box" solution, formally called the KioskPASS, was on display at the company's booth. The multi-function financial kiosk, in which Infonox makes the software, features, in addition to ATM functions, gift cards, bill payment, prepaid top-up and money orders. A digital sign also allows kiosk owners to sell advertising and offset some of the cost.
"You are making money before the first transaction is made," said Ashim Banerjee, executive vice president for Infonox.
Infonox's kiosk was the named the Best Financial Services Deployment at KioskCom's Self Service Excellence Awards.
Specializing in outdoor kiosks, primarily in the car wash space, INNOVATIVE CONTROL SYSTEMS showcased its Auto Sentry eXP kiosk, which accepts multiple payment methods including cash, credit and gift card.
Streaming audio and video guides the user swiftly through the sales purchase, instructing them through wash selection and payment method. A normal transaction takes between 15 and 30 seconds, with credit cards clearing in an average of three seconds.
The kiosks are deployed in about 1,000 locations in the United States and Australia.
JCM GLOBAL had the DBV-307 Cash Recycling System on display, a device that product manager Jeff Gray said is seen mostly in casino and gaming settings. The Las Vegas-based company has 80 percent of the cash recycling market share in Sin City, according to Gray. JCM products, traditionally used in slot machines, are also seen in table games in the form of bill validators.
"Plastic enclosures on these devices mean they are lower cost, but still have a high acceptance speed," Gray said.
KIOSK INFORMATION SYSTEMS brought a myriad of kiosks to KioskCom this year. In addition to the EyeSite kiosk, KIOSK displayed its Dave and Buster's Power Gaming Card Kiosk and retail outfitter Cabelas' kiosk, all of which were finalists for KioskCom's Self Service Excellence Awards.
KIOSK also touted its growing presence abroad by announcing it has tripled its number of international distributors. The company added distributors in Brazil, Columbia, Mexico, Venezuela, Canada, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Jordan, Kuwait, Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa. This expansion follows KIOSK's strongest 2008 first quarter in the company's 15-year history, said Cheryl Madeson, marketing manager for KIOSK Information Systems.
KIOSK LOGIX displayed its NetStop software, a package that protects the hard drive of a kiosk, preventing access to the operating system and other sensitive data. The software incorporates a design module that lets owners customize the user interface, said Kevin Mathison, Kiosk Logix's vice president of technology. 
The latest version of NetStop allows users to remotely monitor, administer, update or query all of their kiosks, provide digital signage technology with ease, auto transfer files, including digital signage content, to all remote kiosks and get statistics on Web sites visited and applications used.
The Foxwoods Resort Casino Promotions Kiosk was demonstrated at the LIVEWIRE KIOSK booth. The solution is deployed on 36 kiosks throughout the property and allows visitors to view resort and casino amenities. Rewards patrons may also swipe their cards to view point balances, enter sweepstakes, sign up for events and obtain personalized rewards in the form of coupons and bonus slot tickets. In addition, digital advertising monitors mounted on the kiosks above the touchscreen interfaces continuously display advertising and other casino information such as drawing winners and jackpot payouts.
Livewire's casino kiosk nabbed the Best Entertainment/Gaming Deployment award at the Self Service Excellence Awards.
The company also announced that the MGM Grand at Foxwoods plans to install Livewire's hotel check-in kiosks later this year.
NANONATION showed off its newest point-of-decision application which allows an Apple iPhone to control product content on a digital screen. Using Nanonation software, the iPhone itself can also play video content relevant to the product. Brian Ardinger, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Nanonation, also said that sales associates can use the iPhone to control digital screens during sales pitches.
"Deployers have the option of having this be interactive or more like traditional digital signage," he said.
Nanonation also featured an interactive media kiosk designed for SanDisk that allowed users to download movie trailers and short films their cell phones. Ardinger said the kiosk has been used as part of promos for the Sundance and Cannes Film Festivals, among others. The SanDisk kiosk enclosure was also on display at the Frank Mayer and Associates booth.
NEXT WINDOW's booth in the The Digital Signage Show area was chock-full of digital signs, all of which were touch-enabled using the company's optical overlay technology. Next Window's screens are designed to be integrated with third party enclosures and can enable touch on screens up to 100 inches. At the front of the booth was a screen from Next Window and PanelWorx which featured a multi-application system containing a digital jukebox and photo editing tools controlled by touch.
Next Window technology had a presence at Mandalay Bay prior to the show with the recently installed Virtual Concierge interactive digital signage network in the hotel lobby and casino. The company said that one of the displays is experiencing more than 4,000 unique customer interactions per week.
OPERATOR INTERFACE TECHNOLOGY, known for its metal-encased rugged keyboards, had a new addition to its line of outdoor interfaces. Where in the past DFI's keyboards featured a trackball or joystick for cursor movement, the newest Rugged Keyboard sports a sealed touchpad. The pad is similar to those found on many laptops today, except this one was sealed with a molded bezel to keep out the elements.
"We see a lot of people try to use a cheap keyboard with kiosk applications, but it just doesn't work," said Bob Nolan, president of OIT.
PANJIT TOUCHSCREENS had its line of capacitive touchscreens on display at the front of its booth, but the company's most innovative recent product was kept in the back. Upon request, Todd Winter, director of sales, showed the Touch Window, a small touchscreen that could be attached to cell phones that would enable touch-capabilities. The screens are made of impact-resistant plastic to withstand normal cell phone abuse.
Winter said that in addition to cell phones, the screen could touch-enable digital cameras, PSPs and anything with a flat surface.
PAY-EASE displayed its automated commerce machine, a self-service kiosk designed for bill payments and services. The application, which was launched in August 2007, allows citizens to pay parking and red-light citations, as well as utility bills. Pay-Ease's software can be customized to allow consumers to pay bills, purchase gift cards, transfer funds, purchase wireless and long distance minutes, renew driver's licenses and registrations and conduct ATM transactions.
As of February, approximately 20 kiosks had been deployed at Chicago payment centers, police stations and libraries. They are also installed at Chicago's O'Hare and Midway airports, and DePaul University. Pay-Ease is in talks with other municipalities and always on the lookout for others, said Wes Pollard, Pay-Ease's director of marketing.
REALITY INTERACTIVE, a content developer for digital signage and kiosks, recently completed a large project with BMW, where the auto maker replaced freestanding kiosks with an interactive digital signage experience in all 350 of its U.S. dealerships. Screens showing car features and track footage in HD are placed in a branded area, complete with high-back leather chairs resembling those in BMW cars.
"You can really take a high energy drive in an area like downtown Chicago, but this screen can let you take one in the showroom," said Bryson Hyte of Reality Interactive.
RED DOT NET showcased its kiosks, which use wheels instead of touch. The kiosks, which are deployed at many Barnes and Noble Bookstore locations, also have wayfinding capabilities, said Robb Kirschenmann, Red Dot Net's director of operations.
"It's not your typical kiosk," Kirschenmann said. "People can get engaged with it using the wheel."
SEIKO INSTRUMENTS debuted its APU-9000 thermal printer unit, which will go into mass production later this summer. The printer, which can support extreme temperatures, maintains a small footprint and high-printing speeds, said Adam Ortlieb, associate director of marketing for Seiko's Thermal Printer Division.
Seiko also announced that it named Kazuhisa "Kaz" Onishi vice president and general manager with overall responsibility for the Americas. Onishi previously served as general manager of sales and marketing for Seiko Instruments Print Systems Division in Japan, where he achieved 100 percent worldwide revenue growth during his six year tenure.
Onishi will oversee the execution of SIU Thermal Printer Division's strategy to leverage global dominance in thermal printer technology and expand business across targeted sectors, including healthcare, self-service, mobile workforce, government and retail and hospitality.
STAR MICRONICS was on hand to demonstrate its line of kiosk printers which range from two to four inches in width. Star also offers adjustable width printers for custom kiosk applications. All printers on display from Star were open-frame. Representatives from the company said that the line of kiosk printers have been popular with airline e-ticket and CUSS kiosks, bus and rail ticketing, Internet access terminals, maps and directional kiosks as well as gift registry, ATM and gaming applications.
STOREFRONT.COM, the company that recently won six out of eight DIMA Awards for photo kiosks, displayed a digital signage video wall in The Digital Signage Show area as well as its photo solutions in the Self Service Expo.
Both systems were controlled by Storefront's Remote Monitoring System, which Tom Ceh, VP of sales and marketing, said can be used to manage everything from small kiosks to digital billboards.
TELPAR demonstrated its new two-inch printer designed for use in kiosk and self-service applications, as well as gaming, vending, receipt ticketing and ATMs, and many remote printing environments. The printer features USB, serial, parallel and Ethernet interface connectivity, a faster print speed (up to seven inches per second), and a wider operating temperature range.
Rebecca Whalen of Telpar said that the wide range of interfaces is so that customers using legacy connections can begin to migrate to more modern connections as they update their systems.
TELSOURCE CORP. was showcasing its InfoZone lightweight kiosk, which was set up for a retail assistance application. Vince Sciarra, president and CEO of TelSource, said that the kiosks are great for retail because they are connected by Ethernet cables which are easier and cheaper to run than common CAT-5s.
Sciarra also explained that IP voice recognition on the InfoZone, which allows customers to call sales people and even call center assistants at remote locations for product info and help. The InfoZone has been deployed in TransWorld Entertainment's FYE music and movie stores.
Digital Signage Today editor Bill Yackey also contributed to this article.

Topics: Assisted Selling/POD , ATMs , Audio Systems , Cash Automation , Check Cashing , Check-in/Check-out kiosks , Commentary , Communications , Components , Consulting , Credit/Debit , Customer Enrollment Kiosks , Customer Experience , Digital Signage , Encrypting Pin Pads (EPP) , Full-Service Providers , Future Trends , Government , Health Care , Human Resources , Integrated PCs , Internet Access Kiosk , Kiosk Advertising , Kiosk Design , Kiosk Printers , Mini Kiosks , Monitors , Newsletters , North America , Other , Outdoor Kiosks , Patient Self-Service , Photo Kiosks , Power Protection , Remote Management , Restaurants , Retail , Retail Digital Media , Retail Digital Signage , Return on Investment , Security , Self-Service World Magazine , Software , SSKA Highlights , Stored Value/Gift Card , Successful Kiosk Projects , Supermarkets & Grocery , Surge Protection , Thin Client , Touchscreens , Tourism & Travel , Tradeshows , Transactional Kiosks , Transaction Processing , Unbanked , Wayfinding / Information , Wireless

Companies: Netkey, Inc. , Frank Mayer and Associates, Inc. , KIOSK Information Systems , Nanonation , Elo Touch Solutions, Inc. , Flextronics Self-Service Kiosk Systems , TELPAR , Diebold Premier Services , Freedom Shopping Inc. , Infonox , Comark Corporation , Telsource Corporation , IBM Corporation , Livewire Digital , Customer Engagement World , Hengstler

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