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With a tumultuous 2012 nearly behind us, let's look ahead at photo kiosk trends for the next year. 

Going social 

Social media continues to gain a lot of attention, and photos are big driver of that trend. Next year, look for photo kiosks in retail stores to begin full-scale embracing of social media, allowing for in-store uploads to Facebook and other social networks. For time-pressed shoppers, these high-speed uploads save a lot of steps — all while giving retailers a chance to offer high-margin photo prints and gifts.

Smartphone connectivity

The mobile phone and the photo kiosk have had a tempestuous relationship. First, early camera phones didn't have removable media, requiring users to email or SMS them. Then, efforts to connect phones and kiosks via Bluetooth proved to be a kludge, at best. When camera phones became smartphones, removable media became common on mobile devices, which wasn't too useful for photo kiosks since the tiny MicroSD card was usually stashed underneath a battery. Any process requiring a device to be disassembled in a retail store isn't a reasonable solution.

Savvy kiosk vendors are now adding MicroUSB, MiniUSB and iPhone cables to kiosks, since most of today's smartphones allow this connection to transfer photos. 

Going mobile

Just as pop-up stores — temporary promotional retail locations in seasonal or high-traffic areas — are a hot new trend, look for pop-up photo kiosks. These can be used for events, concerts, receptions and more. The advantage most of them will have is a better quality lens and flash combo — maybe even a DSLR — than a camera phone. Once coupled with an integrated brand message and immediate social sharing, look for these kiosks to be adopted by marketing-savvy brands. 

And, given that most tablets sport a camera, they can transform into "mobile photo kiosks."

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Gary Pageau
Gary Pageau is the former publisher of PMA magazine. He is currently with InfoCircle Content Marketing Services.
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