Public perception: What holds the kiosk industry back
Over the years, it has seemed like the biggest problems for many self-service kiosk networks has been two main things: Long-term maintenance and justifying the cost of the network. And it is important to note I am referring to interactive digital screen kiosks as opposed to the Red Box DVD rental kiosk or a Best Buy vending machine, for example. Anytime money gets spent on self-service networks the benefit or the profit potential has to outweigh the costs of the network. Considering the sometimes heavy cost of building out a proper network, proving the benefit can be a daunting task.
Because of the high cost these networks can have, it is often left up to someone to figure out a way to make money through some sort of promotion or advertising. In my experience and also in speaking with many companies who have tried to monetize the kiosk experience by selling some form of advertising but have had experiences ranging from utter failure in its worst form to mild success in its best. I don't think any kiosk company can really say its specific interactive network has been a runaway success in terms of monetization. Why is that and how do we fix it?
I've been specializing in virtual concierge services in hotels and city/nationwide type wayfinding services for years, and what I've really come to see is that people still don't "understand" the kiosk. People "know" intuitively what it is, but they still don't get it. My company is doing a statewide interactive wayfinding system in Conneticut, and we were at a tourism conference not too long ago. By and large I kept getting the same response.
"I knew what a kiosk was, but I didn't understand it until now."
It's only after using an interactive solution do people really start to like them, understand what they can do and get excited about them.
I see the main thing to improving people's understanding is education. And I don't necessarily see an easy solution to people being educated until kiosks can start to become even more mainstream. People need to be educated about the benefits of what interactive digital solutions can provide as well as how flexible the platforms can be. They need to use it, and then after that they need to understand how it can be used advantageously. Only then can people really start to be excited about this type of technology.
Michael Ionescu Since 2004, Ionescu has built a proprietary software/hardware package for state tourism and hotels. Ionescu believes successful kiosk networks are built upon ongoing collaboration between the client and provider to develop flexible systems that clients and users are happy with for years. www