Are kiosks ready for today's exciting digital technologies?
|Sandip Shah is the senior manager, industrial division, at Hi-Tech CADD Services, a provider of engineering design services.|
By Sandip Shah
For brands, kiosks are more than just another source of marketing. The ability to integrate digital technologies with self-service machines is enabling brands to provide consumers with the right kind of experience. Kiosks are, in fact, the fastest and the most cost effective way to connect with customers and meet their needs. As kiosks continue to expand, kiosk manufacturers must assess how digital technologies will impact their operations.
From quick service restaurants and mobile integration to making use of near field communication, beacons and artificial intelligence, kiosks are poised for a widespread acceptance in the future. Some of these technologies stand an important part of discussion on the future of digital kiosks. Kiosk manufacturers need to be cognizant of these technologies and they need to consider how they will be positioned to integrate them.
Internet of Things
IoT is making a huge impact on self-service kiosks. The ability to seamlessly link users with connected devices and connect these devices to one another is making it possible for businesses, healthcare firms and government bodies to offer personalized services to consumers through kiosks. IoT-enabled kiosks are already being utilized by local governments to inform residents about the city environment, air and noise pollution, as well as traffic conditions.
Pursuant Health is leveraging IoT technologies in self-serve kiosks to educate people about their health. At present, more than 3,500 self-service kiosks are deployed within 10 miles of 79 percent of the U.S. population and the number is growing. Users can obtain screening information on blood pressure, vision, body-mass index and more.
Beacon technology is relatively new, but it is certainly making an impact in the retail environments. A small sensor, when placed on kiosks, can promote consumer interaction in real time. Based on low energy Bluetooth connectivity, beacons enable retail businesses to track customer shopping patterns and offer products. The technology can thus influence point-of-purchase decisions. It is then possible to reward these customers directly through the payment kiosks in a non-obtrusive manner.
Robotic technology is also becoming integrated with kiosks. This year, SITA Lab, which explores the future of technology in air travel, unveiled KATE – an intelligent check-in kiosk that moves autonomously within congested areas in airports. These kiosks monitor passenger and flight information and sense where and when additional check-ins are required to efficiently address the congestion.
Facial recognition technology
Facial recognition technology has also been integrated with kiosks. San Diego State University is presently working with the Canadian Border Services Agency to develop kiosks with facial recognition technology. The Automated Virtual Agent for Truth Assessments in Real Time kiosk has a face on the screen that asks travelers questions to detects changes in their physiology and behavior during the interview. If the kiosk detects deception, it flags those passengers and alerts the security agents to conduct further scrutiny.
How will manufacturers respond?
The rise of these new technologies means that kiosk manufacturers must prepare themselves for the change and incorporate the right strategies to stay competitive in the market. The first need is to understand end-to-end customer experience and focus on developing designs that ensure meaningful customer journeys.
Manufacturers must also consider design provisions that allow integration of technologies like IoT, NFC, beacon, etc.
Adopting the right design technologies and tooling capabilities to reach this goal is complex and challenging. Moving away from traditional best practices in design and manufacturing requires investing in technologies that can disrupt the profit equations.
Manufacturers will need to establish partnerships to successfully meet the exciting challenge of the digital age for kiosks.
Companies: Hi-Tech CADD Services