Discovery Zone wows ICX Summit attendees with promising customer engagement technology
The Discovery Zone stayed busy during the ICX Summit. Photo by Matt Tilbury.
One of the highlights of this year's ICX Summit in Dallas was the wealth of innovation on display at the ICX Discovery Zone, where attendees received hands-on demonstrations of customer engagement technology.
While the 25 exhibits were available throughout the Summit, time was set aside to allow attendees to explore the exhibits without missing any of the educational sessions.
The Discovery Zone featured a range of technologies such as a motion-based touchscreen, a projection screen, a holographic touchscreen, voice interaction systems and music and audio messaging.
Many attendees appreciated the chance to visit technology providers one-on-one in a personal setting. The exhibitors, for their part, appreciated meeting with some of the most forward-thinking retailers in the world. The Summit, held at the Omni Frisco Hotel, is an annual conference devoted to showcasing the ways technology can be used to create transcendent customer experiences.
Following are exhibitor highlights in alphabetical order.
Betson Enterprises, a nationwide equipment distributor with 14 offices, presented Goldfinger products, for which Betson is master distributor. Exhibit visitors were invited to try to break a Goldfinger touchscreen with a hammer, which no one succeeded in doing. The tempered glass screen — held within an aluminum frame— is strong, with no loss of clarity. Goldfinger's infrared technology allows users to interact using a finger, a gloved hand or any solid object.
|Goldfinger's Daniel Hartmann watches as an attendee attempts to break the Goldfinger touchscreen with a hammer at the Betson Enterprises exhibit. Photo by Matt Tilbury.|
Frank Mayer and Associates Inc.
Frank Mayer and Associates Inc. presented its Approach self-order kiosk for QSRs among its family of offerings. The Approach delivers an interactive experience to meet the QSR industry's demand for customer convenience, order accuracy and faster service by enabling consumers to browse a digital menu, customize an order and pay at the kiosk. Outfitted with a 32-inch touchscreen monitor, the kiosk also has a payment terminal and printer, assistive technology and a software package option to integrate with various POS systems. The enclosure offers customization and brand personalization options.
In addition to the quick service and fast casual restaurant markets, the Approach offers functionality for a variety of other segments, including wayfinding, product selection, self-service checkout and registration check-in.
|The Approach from Frank Mayer and Associates, at left, offers an interactive experience for QSRs.|
Hitachi presented a prototype of a touchless, gesture sign system that encourages guests to push virtual buttons on a screen to identify products they want to learn more about and possibly purchase. Besides offering product information, the solution can survey guests about their preferences and records data about the customer interaction, including age, gender and a happiness grade.
Atsushi Aita shows a gesture recognition system at the Hitachi exhibit.
National Service Center
National Service Center presented information on its suite of services, which includes installations for kiosks, digital signage, drive thrus, menu boards, security cameras, servers, Wi-Fi, printers, scanners, wireless networks, tabletop tablets, kitchen display systems and POS systems. The company also provides cabling, maintenance, project management, staging, surveys and warehousing.
Amber Felicia and Kyle Krulas present the services of the National Service Center.
NEC Display Solutions of America, Inc.
NEC Solutions of America, Inc. demonstrated the NEC V404-T kiosk which features a scratch resistant surface that limits background reflections from external light. The display uses an infrared touch panel that allows multiple inputs so it can be used by numerous users, including those wearing gloves. An integrated media player allows content playback and managing out-of-the-box signage solutions. Content can be sent via a network connection or a USB interface.
John Moezzi of NEC shows an automotive kiosk.
Novo Labs Inc.
Novo Labs Inc. presented software that turns phone voice interactions into digital transactions. Artificial intelligence allows the interactions to be personalized. The company's services include natural language processing, data as a service and machine learning.
The company's first beta product is a conversational service for taking restaurant phone orders. Use cases for this product include phone orders, voice-enabled kiosks, voice-enabled apps, drive-thru orders, Alexa and Google Assistant.
Clinton Coleman, left, and Jeff Loukas present the Novo Labs technology that makes voice interactions digital for restaurants.
OptConnect presented its wireless router to provide secure and reliable connections to the Internet for unattended equipment such as kiosks and vending machines. The company provides a fully-managed service, supplying hardware, network connections from all of North America's major carriers, and support services. The company's end-to-end service allows integrators to add routers without requiring a time consuming connection process.
Cordon Lynch shows the OptConnect router.
Panasonic demonstrated its Space Player projection screen with a built-in computer as an alternative to digital menu boards. The unit features 2,000 lumens of laser power, offering a hybrid illumination and image projection solution to enhance displayed objects or to create signage. Powered by Internet connectivity or SIM card, the system can project a variety of media, including still images and moving pictures.
Jorge Van Thienen shows the Panasonic Space Player projection screen.
Pyramid Technologies Inc.
Pyramid Technologies Inc. presented its Reliance thermal printers, featuring 200 DPI maximum print quality paper with width of up to 80 mm, built-in paper cutter, automatic presenting and automatic retraction of paper. The unit prints at more than 220 mm per second and features eject and retract speed of greater than 1,000 mm per second. Accessories include a paper holder arm with paper low sensing, a serial RS-22 harness, a USB communications harness and a 24-volt DC supply.
Doraiswami Shridhar presents thermal printer equipment at the Pyramid Technologies Inc. exhibit.
Qwick Media Inc.
Qwick Media Inc. displayed its touchscreen kiosks that allow customers to share, scan, print, call and make purchases. Features include user interface, live event feed, instant search, wayfinding, digital multi-media gallery, coupon/information printing and instant payment.
The company's wall mounted digital signage features high resolution screens of various sizes, cloud-based remotely controlled content, live feed, multi-media player and touchscreen functionality.
Ross Tocher presents a suite of self-serve kiosks and digital signage at the Qwick Media exhibit.
Reflect showcased interactive technology to enhance the guest experience. The company also hosted a tour during the Summit of its Digital Innovation Lab in Richardson, Texas, where it showcased passive displays, architectural LED and projection, wayfinding applications, social feeds, mobile-to-screen interaction and virtual reality.
Lee Summer, CEO, and Mason Page, senior vice president of strategic business planning, gave a presentation during the Summit on how brands and retailers are using digital technologies to meet and exceed consumer expectations.
Reflect also grabbed the "Best ICX Deployment: Retail" at the Elevate Awards dinner held during the Summit.
Reflect demonstrates its digital signage.
ReviewPush presented a solution to allow brands to manage, monitor and measure customer experiences to drive more traffic to websites and secure better guest reviews. The service helps brands convert positive customer experiences into beneficial online reviews through customer touch points such as POS, mobile apps, CRM, in-store receipts and signage.
Lee McNeil presents the ReviewPush for utilizing online reviews.
Right Media Solutions
Right Media Solutions, a provider of turn-key digital signage solutions, demonstrated its media player upgrade to Chrome OS, which it rolled out to all GameStop stores in less than 90 days. The solution allows instant remote content integration. In addition to traditional media, the media player provides seamless integration of HTML5 content and beacons.
Right Media Solutions also grabbed the "Best ICX Deployment: Government/Education/Non-Profit" at the Elevate Awards dinner held during the Summit.
Kevin Moriarty presents the Gamestop platform for interactive content at the Right Media booth.
Soft Bank Robotics
Making her second consecutive ICX Summit appearance, Pepper, the humanoid robot from Soft Bank Robotics, demonstrated more dynamic conversations this year. The robot can now tell stories about amenities that her host location has to offer.
Pepper has been deployed at restaurants, hotels and airports. HMSHost has enlisted Pepper to help travelers with airport directions to gates, restrooms and food and beverage options throughout the airport.
Pepper the robot made an appearance at the Soft Bank Robotics exhibit.
Spacee demonstrated its holographic touchscreen that can serve as a restaurant or c-store ordering system. The patented virtual touch technology can transform any two- or three-dimensional surface into an interactive touchscreen. The solution installs nothing on the actual surface, and does not require phones, helmets, eyeglasses or tablets.
Skip Howard demonstrates the Spacee holographic touchscreen.
Skykit presented its cloud-based digital signage software platform that integrates with Google Drive and apps and can be managed through a browser on any device. Users can update and collaborate content in real time on multiple displays from any location. The platform can support promotions, announcements, schedules, internal communications, menus, news, weather, financials and wayfinding.
Reid Johnson and Linda Hofflander show the Skykit content management system for digital signage.
TES America, LLC
TES America, LLC presented a 42-inch touchscreen with digital content developed by SpinTouch, one of the company's partners. TES America, LLC provides touchscreens, touch monitors, projected capacitive sensors and computers to run software for POS and digital signage.
|Jay Overholts demonstrates a touchscreen at the TES America, LLC exhibit.|
Vibenomics demonstrated a music and messaging system that gives brands and retailers access to a music library and an app that allows them to send and receive recorded announcements. The unit allows brands and retailers to market products faster, educate customers on new products, and drive them to a store, kiosk or website for coupons and promotions.
John McDonald shows the Vibenomics music and messaging system.
Zivelo LLC demonstrated its QSR ordering kiosk, for which it received one of two awards at the Elevate Awards dinner held during the Summit.
The QSR ordering kiosk features a modular design so that components can be swapped out and upgraded on-site as needed; and dual service doors that allow staff to access components like printers while only certain personnel can access components such as computers, routers and secure data storage. The unit also features a patent-pending, non-jamming paper shoot; state-of-the-art touchscreen technology; ADA compliant designs; a custom network junction box; and custom power cables to eliminate the need for each cord to have a power brick.
The company received "Best ICX Deployment: Restaurant" for providing nearly 10,000 kiosks to one of the top three QSRs in North America, and "Best ICX Deployment: Financial Services" for its virtual banking kiosks deployed at a top U.S.-based financial institution.
Kris Bartel, left, explains the Zivelo QSR order kiosk.
Topics: Bill Payment Kiosks, Customer Experience, Digital Signage, Display Technology, Full Service / Turnkey Provider, Hardware, ICX Summit, Interactive / Touchscreen, Kiosk Branding, Kiosk Enclosures, Kiosk Printers, Manufacturers, Networking / Connectivity, Restaurants, Retail, Self-Checkout, Software, Wayfinding / Information
Companies: Frank Mayer and Associates, Inc., NEC Display Solutions, Panasonic, Skykit, OptConnect, Reflect, Vibenomics, National Service Center, Right Media Solutions, ReviewPush, Novo Labs, Inc., ZIVELO LLC, Qwick Media, Inc., Spacee, Pyramid Technologies Inc.
Elliot Maras is the editor of KioskMarketplace.com and FoodTruckOperator.com.