Saturday, April 30, 2005

RoboServer makes headway in QSR market

"RoboServer Systems Corp. (Pink Sheets:RBSY), developer of the revolutionary Self-Serve System that enables quick-service restaurant customers to process their own orders on a touch-screen kiosk, is targeting installations with numerous franchised restaurants of six of the top 15 quick-service restaurant chains.

The Company aspires to place its Self-Serve kiosks in these select franchised locations of leading restaurant chains for pilot tests. Successful pilot tests at franchised restaurants could prove to be a winning formula -- each quick-service restaurant using RoboServer's machines could utilize as many as three to six Self-Serve Systems per location. Management is currently working on software and product development initiatives to install fully integrated Self-Serve Systems into the prospective pilot test locations.

RoboServer's kiosk-like Self-Serve System is similar to an ATM machine or self-checkout stand found in grocery stores -- but its proprietary software systems are designed specifically for self-ordering at fast-food and quick-serve restaurants. Customers can process their own orders by selecting a few buttons on the touch-screen, pay for their order with the machine's bill acceptor or credit card processor, and pick up their order at the counter. Industry estimates show that self-serve technologies can cut customer waiting time by as much as 33%."

Read the full press release here.

Another article on the Shopping Buddy Kiosk

I think the idea of strapping a tablet PC to a supermarket shopping cart is ill begotten at best, downright stupid at worst. But apparently there are those who would disagree with me :)

I've written about the whole idea of a shopping cart kiosk before, actually it was about this very project, but now that CNN has picked it up, I wouldn't be surprised to see more companies jumping on the bandwagon. At least the guinea pigs at Stop & Shop are proceeding cautiously. From the CNN article:

"Robert Keane, spokesman for Stop & Shop, said the company is currently testing the buddies in three stores with plans to expand to 20 stores this year. 'Customers who've tried it once are willing to try it again,' he said but declined to comment on the cost of the device.

'The shopping buddy is an interesting concept but it's essentially an experiment,' said George Whalin, an independent retail consultant. 'The future of traditional supermarkets isn't that good right now and companies operating in the channel have to find ways to capture the consumer's attention.'"

You can read the whole article here.

Florida to trust e-voting without paper trail

As a Florida resident, this kind of thing doesn't surprise me anymore, but apparently the Florida House has passed a bill to improve voting hours, make it easier to get to the polls, keep the electronic voting machines that have been in use down here for a few years, but says nothing about having an actual hard-copy of the recorded votes from each machine. With no paper trail, the Florida system is entirely dependent upon the e-voting machines to tally votes on everything from local to national elections.

Here's a quote from one article over at

"Voters have complained about one thing overall, a paper trail," Rep. Ken Gottlieb, D-Hollywood, said. "This bill doesn't have it. We need a paper trail. We need a bunch of things to make elections better."

I couldn't agree more.

Tags: Electronic voting, e-voting, voting machines, kiosks, voting kiosks, florida

Self-service sales rise to $492B for 2004

According to this article at,

"Self-service and self-checkout is growing in multiple markets, with Frost & Sullivan noting sales of interactive kiosks to have totaled USD 492 million globally in 2004, up 6 per cent on 2003 totals. Kiosk sales are predicted to see an 8.1 per cent CAGR from 2003 to 2010, with IDC estimating IT spending in vertical industries by corporations worldwide to grow from USD 965 billion in 2004, to USD 1.24 trillion by 2008. This 6 per cent CAGR growth will be driven by retail systems including self-checkout and photo kiosks, which accounted for 25 per cent of global kiosk sales in 2004."

Technology advances, improved infrastructure (the availability of broadband, especially), and public acceptance are cited as the key reasons for the proliferation of self-service terminals.

Public-facing apps not Windows' strong suit

ZDNet is running a blog article about the use of Windows in public-facing applications like self-service interactive kiosks. The experts they interview agree that perhaps it's not the best idea to use Microsoft's flagship product as the platform for machines that have to be exposed to the public 24/7. Here's a snip:

"Even in the case of terminals with a keyboard and pointing device or kiosks (like an Internet terminal), it probably couldn’t hurt to have a big red publicly accessible reboot button in case something goes wrong (with instructions like 'PRESS HERE IN CASE SYSTEM STOPS WORKING')."

That's certainly not the prevailing attitude in the Linux/UNIX world :)

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Fast food kiosks on the way

Why will self-service kiosks at quick serve restaurants (QSRs) work? Well, according to KioskMarketplace...

"The venerable quick-service restaurant industry is a part of American life, somewhere near apple pie and baseball on the cultural radar. It is an established, profitable business model — and one with its own set of challenges and frustrations for owners and operators.

When asked to name their biggest headaches, most QSR owners will surely list labor near the top. Good help is truly hard to find, harder still to keep, and QSRs constantly deal with high turnover rates behind the counter."

You can read the whole article here.

Diebold Reports First Quarter Financial Results

My not-so-favorite voting kiosk manufacturer, Diebold, has announced its quarterly results for Q1 2005. The summary:

Diebold, Incorporated (NYSE: DBD - News) today reported record first quarter 2005 revenue of $540.2 million, up 8.4 percent from the first quarter of 2004. The company reported first quarter net income of $26.7 million, compared to net income of $29.2 million in the first quarter 2004. Diluted earnings per share were $.37, a decline of 7.5 percent and within the previous guidance of $.35 to $.40. Net cash provided by operating activities was $78.4 million, up 389 percent from the prior year, while free cash flow* improved by $59.6 million, moving from a free cash use* of $1.2 million in the first quarter 2004 to free cash flow* of $58.4 million.

Included in the first quarter 2005 reported results were restructuring charges of $7.3 million, or approximately $.07 per share*, related primarily to the realignment of the company's operations in Western Europe, consistent with previous guidance. The first quarter 2005 effective tax rate was 32.8 percent, compared with previous guidance of 31.5 percent. The higher first quarter effective tax rate reduced reported earnings per share by approximately $.01. Excluding the impact of both the restructuring charges and the higher effective tax rate, diluted earnings per share in the first quarter would have been $.45, or 12.5 percent higher than the first quarter of 2004.

You can find the whole release here.

In-taxi kiosks take aim at passengers

This isn't the first time I've mentioned in-taxi digital sign networks, but has a new article with some nice pictures that are worth looking at. They say:

"According to Gottlieb, [Interactive Taxi's] CEO, there are more reasons to be optimistic. 'The service we’re providing benefits everybody. The city benefits from being able to list information and services free of charge. The passengers benefit from a service that’s free and fun to use, and which they can mute or turn off at any time [though in-taxi surveys conducted by iT showed 94 percent of passengers want more taxis with screens]. Cab owners therefore benefit from happier customers – some of whom even specifically request cabs with screens. Finally, advertisers love the service as it allows them to communicate with an attractive demographic by making use of the different benefits of TV, Internet and wireless advertising.'"

You can read the whole article here.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Some interesting news, as reported at KioskNews.Org:

The Society for Self-Service Technology Professionals (S3TP) is a new organization specifically focused on ensuring successful deployments for end-users was officially launched today during 2005. S3TP will serve as the advisor and advocate for deployers and end-users of kiosks and interactive self-service technology across all industries worldwide.

Their site won't be up until May of 2005, so there isn't a lot more news on the subject. There is a press release, though.

AccuPoll e-voting machines certified in Louisiana

According to KioskMarketplace:

"AccuPoll Inc., a developer of Direct Recording Electronic voting systems, announced in a news release the receipt of state certification for its voting system in the state of Louisiana. The designation marks yet another state where AccuPoll's electronic voting system featuring a voter verified paper audit trail is now available. AccuPoll has also been extended an invitation to participate in public demonstrations of certified voting systems across the state April 26-28."

Read the whole article here.

Monday, April 18, 2005

SutraTel Kiosk Announces Name Change from Urban Transfer Systems

Because clearly, when you think of kiosks, you think of SutraTel...

SutraTel Kiosk (Pink Sheets: SLKX.PK) today announced its name change from Urban Transfer Systems (Pink Sheets: UBTF.PK).

"The SutraTel Kiosk delivers state-of-the-art video 2Way TV at 30 frames per second in full color, complete lip sync, audio and visual broadcast quality without delay or perceptible latency. SutraTel Kiosk sales kiosks will provide large retail stores and original manufacturers worldwide with an economical and compelling solution to connect their customers with trained customer service and sales personnel. The sales experience is enhanced by SutraTel Kiosk ability to integrate a variety of sales media, including video, Internet, live video, audio, and desktop applications and presentation.

SutraTel Kiosk will begin deploying the kiosk product nationwide at the end of the second quarter, 2005. Locations will include retail stores, shopping centers, public transportation stations, hospitals, schools, government buildings, among others. In addition to the 2Way TV, the kiosks will provide multimedia services such as web surfing, e-mailing, audio and video streaming, and point-of-sales services. E-commerce capabilities will include credit and/or IC card transaction processing. The kiosk can also link into a companies stock control system, so that all inventory information is live. Other convenient and profitable user access features include thermal printers, trackballs, smart card and credit card reader and electronic currency acceptor."

Read the press release here.

WiseVillage selects MetalFX for enclosure manufacture

From KioskMarketplace:

"WiseVillage Inc., Canadian manufacturer of WiseNav spatial navigation software and WiseStation virtual business center kiosks, has chosen MetalFX as their primary manufacturing partner for their new WiseStation Concierge kiosk model.

WiseStations are a fusion of dynamic digital display for marketing/merchandising and interactive kiosk technology. Equipped with a myriad of features, including mounted video screens, interactive touchscreen, debit and credit card readers, gift card dispensers, printers and on-board phones, WiseStations are geared towards retailers, financial institutions, public services, and the hospitality and entertainment industries."

Read the complete article here.

Swecoin announces new color kiosk printer with HP technology

"Swecoin US Inc., designer of small footprint thermal kiosk printer solutions, announced in a news release its new color kiosk printer. Specifically, Swecoin will use HP’s renowned inkjet technology in its letter-sized kiosk document printer, the TTP 8200, to create a new color printer that will meet the growing market demand for photo-quality color printing combined with a highly reliable, durable design for kiosk applications."

Read the complete press release here.

Friday, April 15, 2005

USA Technologies Points to Intelligent Vending® Success at NAMA Vending Expo

News on the convergence of interactive kiosks and vending machines from USA Technologies:

"USA Technologies (OTC Bulletin Board: USTT) today reported overwhelming success at the NAMA Spring Expo in Las Vegas last week where its latest Intelligent Vending® solutions attracted record numbers and the interest of key players in the global vending industry.
Vending machine management companies and operators especially wanted to know more about the 'sweet spots', or best locations to position cashless vending machines, and how to develop marketing plans around the benefits of cashless payment."

Read the press release here.

Global Cash Access, Wynn Las Vegas sign agreement

This makes sense, given how people seem to love to pump money into machines over in Las Vegas... From KioskMarketplace:

"Wynn Las Vegas, a new $2.7 billion resort built by developer Steve Wynn set to open on the Las Vegas Strip April 28, has signed a multi-year agreement to use the products and services of Global Cash Access, Inc., a supplier of cash access and customer relationship marketing technologies to the gaming industry, according to a news release.

GCA's offerings include ATM technology, cashless gaming and marketing services that help casinos better understand their customers and increase traffic to the gaming floor."

Read the whole thing here.

GPAnywhere 2.0 improves Windows-based kiosk security

For our friends not fortunate enough to be running Linux-based kiosk software:

"FullArmor has announced the release of GPAnywhere 2.0, the latest addition to its IntelliPolicy suite of group policy management products. GPAnywhere enables enterprises to define, deliver and enforce Active Directory Group Policy settings and secure Microsoft Windows-based notebooks, mobile devices and kiosks even if they are not connected to the directory. In addition, GPAnywhere simplifies the migration from Windows NT4 and Netware to Active Directory by enforcing policies on Windows 2000/XP desktops until the rollout is complete."

Read the whole article here.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Self check-in kiosks ease LAX traffic

From the Whittier Daily News:

"Travel hassles are being eased by self check-in kiosks at Los Angeles International Airport.

The 160 kiosks spread through eight of the nine airport terminals are expected to get much more use as passenger volume increases. Volume this year could exceed the record 67.6 million in 2000.

'The real solution to all this stuff is automation,' said David Stempler, president of the Washington-based Air Travelers Association. 'The more we can automate these systems ... the faster things will go.'

You can read the whole article here.

New photo kiosk study available

As reported at KNO:

Summit Research Associates Inc., the leading consulting firm devoted to the kiosk and self-service industry, is proud to announce the publication of the Second Edition of their Kiosk Industry Sector Report - Digital Photography, the fastest-growing sector within the kiosk arena. Photo kiosks are being deployed at an impressive pace and now account for nearly 25 percent of the worldwide kiosk installed base. Some of the reasons this industry segment is so exciting:

· Digital Cameras comprise 90 percent of new camera sales

· Prints made from digital cameras at kiosks increased 376 percent in 2004

· The average cost of a 4x6 print at a kiosk is $.29 vs. $1.00 on a home printer

· Many new kiosk sales represent additions to existing installations

· Camera phones will encompass 89 percent of all mobile phones by 2009

You can see the whole synopsis here.

NCR kiosk form and function examined

NCR's popular and widely-deployed self-checkout kiosk, the FastLane, has been reviewed in this article by Frank Gaine, Director of Consulting, at Usability by Design. While in all he understands the economic benefits of self-checkout systems, Frank points out a few usability and design issues (go figure) that could be improved to make the product better. Go check it out!

Monday, April 11, 2005

Wal-Mart's make-your-own-CD kiosks prove popular...

...or so says this article from the St. Petersburg Times. Here's a quote:

"Type in the title of any one of 375,000 songs recorded on 15,000 albums and you can assemble your own CD. The selection is limited to less than 10 percent of all the albums ever made, or a fraction of the songs available from services such as Apple's iTunes.

But within an hour, shoppers can pick up their own custom-made CD album with up to 20 songs. They also can design their own cover art. The price is $4.62 for an album with three songs, then 88 cents per song after that.

You can read the whole thing here.

FTC charges two organizations with duping consumers in Internet kiosk scam

There has been a lot of news surrounding the breakup of the scams behind those late-night internet kiosk infomercials, but I like this article from InternetRetailer the best. Here's a snippet:

"The Federal Trade Commission has charged two California organizations with duping hundreds of consumers into buying Internet kiosk business opportunities using deceptive sales tactics.

One of the groups—entities owned by Edward Bevilacqua—already has reached a settlement with the FTC, withdrawing all claims to more than $1.5 million the Federal Bureau of Investigation seized from its bank accounts. The settlement also bars the group from selling any business venture or franchise in the future. Businesses operated by Escondido, CA-base Bevilacqua were Bikini Vending Corp. and MyMart Inc.

The FTC filed a separate claim against Charles Castro, Elizabeth Castro, Gregory High, and Phillis Watson. Their businesses operated under the names of Network Services Depot Inc., Network Marketing LLC, doing business as Network Services Marketing LLC, Net Depot Inc., Network Services Distribution Inc, and Sunbelt Marketing Inc. The companies are based in Brea, CA.

Nighthawk Systems Announces Order For 75 NH100 Units for First Phase of Nationwide Kiosk Rollout

For those kiosk projects that don't use a Linux-based kiosk software package comes this product announcement from Nighthawk:

"Nighthawk Systems, Inc. (OTCBB:NIHK), a leading provider of intelligent wireless power control products, announced today that it has entered into an agreement to have its NH100 rebooting device incorporated into kiosks being placed into service by Thalassa Financial Services, Inc. of Houston, Texas. Thalassa has placed an initial order of 75 NH100's from Nighthawk for the first rollout of its Debit Card Load Kiosks (DCL-K's) in Texas. Thalassa plans to install its DCL-K kiosks at 10,000 locations throughout the United States.

Nighthawk Systems, Inc. provides wireless, remote monitoring and power control equipment and services that save customers time, effort and money. Nighthawk products allow for on-demand processing at single or multiple widespread sites, and are easily installed and operated by anyone, regardless of technical capability. Nighthawk services customers in a variety of markets including electric utilities, traffic control, computer systems, commercial lighting, and irrigation. For more information visit"

Read the whole press release here.

Cool article on future human interface devices

Because the kiosk newsday wouldn't be complete without an article that makes reference to Minority Report, I bring you this article from KioskMarketplace:

"Engineers and visionaries are hard at work on bringing these futuristic interfaces not only into the present, but also into a place where they are affordable enough to make sense in real-world applications.

Vincent John Vincent said his company GestureTek Inc. was "once way ahead of what the public could perceive." Formerly JesterTek Inc. and Vivid Group, GestureTek holds a patent on its Video Gesture Control technology. VGC powers a number of different products, from interactive signage to a turnkey gesture-driven mouse controller for use in public computers and kiosks. Vincent, the company's president, said that it is exactly because of films like
Minority Report that the public is not only becoming comfortable with the idea of a touchless interface, they’re starting to get excited about it."

Read the whole thing here.

Tranax, Livewire launch ticketing kiosk with ATM functionality

According to KioskMarketplace,

"Tranax Technologies Inc. is launching the release of the Livewire Destination Ticketing Solution, according to a news release.

Tranax and York, Penn.-based
Livewire International Inc. partnered to create the ticketing solution, which runs on the Tranax Ticketing Self-Service Terminal — a machine that has traditional ATM functionality and self-service ticketing technologies."

Read the whole article here.

Novell, Wincor Nixdorf sign agreement on Linux POS

In what will perhaps turn out to be another step towards integration of POS systems and interactive self-service kiosks,

"Novell has announced in a news release a global agreement with Wincor Nixdorf to deploy Novell's Linux technology in Wincor Nixdorf's products and solutions, including electronic point-of-sale systems. The partnership enables Wincor Nixdorf to embed Novell Linux Point of Service 9 in its products, including the POS hardware platform BEETLE, as well as for store server environments.

This agreement enables Wincor Nixdorf to complement its Linux-based portfolio with Linux server functionality — including centralized system management capabilities — offered by Novell's SUSE LINUX Enterprise Server platform

You can read the full story here.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

KioskCom Interactive Kiosk Excellence Award nominees announced

This year's finalists include:

Best Kiosk Deployment in a Retail Environment - Large Deployment (100+ Kiosks)

* BMW X3 Kiosk/BMW of North America
* Mazda Retail Revolution
* United States Postal Service - Automated Postal Center
* FedEx Self-Service Shipping Kiosks
* Daimler Chrysler's Vehicle Information Center

Best Kiosk Deployment in a Retail Environment - Small Deployment (<100>

* Ticketpop Electronic Ticketing Kiosk
* DVD Station at Florida International University
* ExxonMobil E-Wiz
* AVIS Car Rental Automated Return Kiosk
* Burn-A-Song Touchscreen Digital Download Stations

Best Kiosk Deployment for a Government Agency

* United States Postal Service - Automated Postal Center
* The WWII Registry of Remembrance
* Dept. of Housing and Urban Development - Government Information Kiosk

Best Kiosk Deployment for Travel, Hospitality or Entertainment

* Ticketpop Electronic Ticketing Kiosk
* Hilton Hotels Self Service Check-In Kiosk
* The AAA/CAA Customer Service Kiosk
* AVIS Car Rental Automated Return Kiosk
* SBC College Football Tour

Best Public Access Kiosk Application

* Vendistore Digital Storefront Kiosk
* Latin America Enterprise S. A.
* The WWII Registry of Remembrance
* Dept. of Housing and Urban Development - Government Information Kiosk

Best Content in a Kiosk Deployment - Large Deployment (100+ Kiosks)

* BMW X3 Kiosk/BMW of North America
* Dept. of Housing and Urban Development - Government Information Kiosk
* Daimler Chrysler's Vehicle Information Center

Best Content in a Kiosk Deployment - Small Deployment (<100>

* The WWII Registry of Remembrance
* The AAA/CAA Customer Service Kiosk
* WinesandRecipes.Com Kiosk
* SAS Network Kiosk

* Netkey G.2
* Auto Prescription Service System by MediaSolution
* Apunix Computer Services
* TSS Enterprise by WebRaiser Technologies

Best Hardware/Enclosure Design for a Kiosk Deployment - Large Deployment (100+ Kiosks)

* SONY Picture Station
* BMW X3 Kiosk/BMW of North America
* QuickPIX Digital Photo Finishing Kiosk

Best Hardware/Enclosure Design for a Kiosk Deployment - Small Deployment (<100>

* Vision Public VoIP Kiosk by NIT
* CeroView's DPS9010 Photo Kiosk
* W3 Public Internet Kiosk by NIT
* The AAA/CAA Customer Service Kiosk
* The METRO Group Product Finder & Store Map by IBM

Most Creative/Best Use of an Input Device in a Kiosk Deployment

* WWII Registry of Remembrance
* Purdue Employees Federal Credit Union - Real-Time Data Management

Most Creative/Best Use of New Technology in a Kiosk Deployment

* Auto Prescription Service System by MediaSolution
* Sunoco NASCAR Outdoor Convenience Store Kiosks
* Vision Public VoIP Kiosk by NIT
* Seattle Design Center's Interactive Directories

Best New Kiosk Deployment - Large Deployment (100+ Kiosks)

* United States Postal Service - Automated Postal Center
* Hilton Hotels Self Service Check-In Kiosk
* SONY Picture Station
* FedEx Self-Service Shipping Kiosks

Best New Kiosk Deployment - Small Deployment (<100>

* Ticketpop Electronic Ticketing Kiosk
* SAS Network Kiosk
* Consolidated Technology & Solutions Group - Self-Storage Facility Automated Management Kiosk
* 3M Visitor Information Kiosks

Best Updated Kiosk Deployment

* Dept. of Housing and Urban Development - Government Information Kiosk
* ExxonMobil E-Wiz (KIS)
* SONY Picture Station
* QuickPIX Digital Photo Finishing Kiosk
* Daimler Chrysler's Vehicle Information Center

Best Other Kiosk Deployment - Large Deployment (100+ Kiosks)

* SONY Picture Station
* QuickPIX Digital Photo Finishing Kiosk
* FedEx Self-Service Shipping Kiosks

Best Other Kiosk Deployment - Small Deployment (<100>

* Consolidated Technology & Solutions Group - Self-Storage Facility Automated Management Kiosk
* 3M Visitor Information Kiosks
* Burn-A-Song Touchscreen Digital Download Stations
* Lincoln Community Foundation Interactive Donor Wall

There's additional information here.

SMART announces new display products group

Hovering over the boundary between interactive kiosk and digital sign is a new line of products from SMART technologies for touchscreens and large-screen displays. SMART today announced that, "it has launched its Display Products Group in order to deliver thin film transistor liquid-crystal display solutions for casino gaming systems as well as kiosk, ATM, point-of-sale, and industrial control systems. The new Display Products Group will benefit from the technical and engineering expertise of the LCD development team based in Korea and the sales, operations, procurement, purchasing, manufacturing, and engineering expertise of SMART employees based in the United States and around the world."

Read the article about it over at KioskMarketplace.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Securing Windows-based kiosks

For those of you who are not using Linux-based kiosk software for your interactive kiosk projects comes a nice article from KioskMarketplace

"But equally important is the application that kiosk is running, and how well it keeps users from accessing features of the machine that they are not supposed to. A nice, shiny new kiosk will quickly become an expensive headache if users can, for instance, access the Windows control panel, modify the registry or gain the ability to browse directories and delete files."

Read the entire article here.

KOA adds new board members

The Kiosks.Org Association (KOA) has just announced the addition of several new members to its advisory board, which will next meet on April 20. Here's the list of the newest members:

Nick Daddabbo, Hand Held Products
Peter Kaszycki, ProTech
Craig Keefner, Kiosk Information Systems
Ed McGunn, Corporate Safe Specialists
V. Miller Newton, Netkey
David Oles, Pixel Magic
Tom Smith, MontegoNet

For full coverage or more information, read the whole article here.