Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Internet kiosk legal implications

KioskMarketplace has an interesting article about the legal caveats that could arise by offering unfettered, kiosk-based internet access to the masses, especially in public places like libraries. From the article:

"'If such kiosks become the preferred method of criminals to access the Internet, you can bet the police will use the broad powers they already have to get the kiosk operator involved in their investigations,' [Andrew Konstantaras, executive director of the Internet Law & Policy Forum] said. 'Such involvement can cost operators substantial time and money, so finding ways to minimize your expenses in complying with subpoena requests will be time well spent.'

Given the multifaceted nature of the Internet itself, it is not surprising that public Internet access offers up a similarly complex array of potential hazards to the operator. According to Konstantaras, Internet kiosk businesses need to be wary of three chief issues: laws aimed at protecting children, relationships with law enforcement, and 'intermediary liabilities.'

When it comes to dealing with children, the Child Online Privacy Protection Act comes into play. 'The Federal Trade Commission has shown it is committed to prosecuting companies that violate the COPPA," he said, "so to the extent the kiosk application solicits any type of personal data from a user, it should make sure that it either has a way of complying with regulations like COPPA or proving that such laws do not apply to their products or services.'

For the second issue, he advises operators to plan ahead for issues that might be down the road. For instance, if someone commits a crime using an Internet kiosk, it is not hard to imagine law enforcement wanting to involve the company that provided the service.

'Intermediary liabilities' also calls into question the access that was provided, and if it allowed someone to do something inflammatory or illegal.

'Such liability might arise in the context of copyright violations, libel, hate speech or even criminal activities," he said. "The question usually comes down to what did you allow people to do, was it reasonable to let them do that and was the ultimate wrong that was committed predictable enough so that you should have planned for it.'

It’s not hard to imagine any number of legal repercussions that might stem from this. In much the same way that file-sharing companies like Napster were sued for facilitating copyright violation — even though the network in question wasn’t doing anything wrong — companies that offer Internet access in a public space might question their ultimate role in any unsavory activity that is committed via those connections."

Read the whole thing here.

Friday, May 27, 2005

McDonalds trials music download kiosks

From MTV.com (of all places) comes this article about kiosks at McDonalds:

"If you thought the addition of apple slices to the McDonald's menu was odd, wait until you get a load of Blaze Net. The burger chain is rolling out the high-tech device in some of its outlets, aimed at luring young consumers in by offering them the

chance to download ring tones, buy music, print digital photos and surf the 'Net while they scarf their Big Macs and fries.

The ATM-looking feature has been in place at a Chicago-area McDonald's since May 16, according to the Chicago Tribune. The kiosk sits in a new Starbucks-style area of the restaurant — called, of course, the McCafe — that serves fancy coffee drinks.

You can find the whole article here.

Verifone PIN pad and kiosk

From LinuxDevices.com:

"VeriFone has used embedded Linux to build a secure PIN pad that doubles as an in-store advertising kiosk. The MX870 supports RFID, smart cards, biometric identification, and various touch technologies, and is designed to deliver multimedia presentations while customers complete their checkout process.

The MX870 has a smaller footprint than most POS (point-of-sales/service) PIN-entry pads, according to Verifone, yet features a 5.7-inch QVGA (240x320) active-matrix color LCD that supports 16-bit (65K) color and full-motion video. The LCD has a hardened glass capacitive touchscreen and virtual keypad that works with a non-mechanical tethered stylus device. Integrated stereo surround-sound speakers are, mercifully, optional.

You can read the whole article here.

3M says touch anywhere (almost)

From KioskMarketplace:

3M Touch Systems Inc. announced in a news release a new touch technology platform, Interactive Surface Technology, which offers the ability to apply a touch interface to nearly any surface.

IST is an evolution of 3M's projected capacitive touch technology. The interactive touch surface is constructed of a flexible, polyester layer that can be laminated to the front or back of any surface, or applied to a contoured surface. The substrate for lamination can be plexiglass, polycarbonate, plastic, glass, laminated glass or any other non-conductive surface. In addition, MicroTouch IST can support "on display" use with LCD panels or "off display" use creating touch pad or button interface designs not using a display.

That's pretty much all of the text from that article, but in the interest of citing, and not stealing, here's the link.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

DVD Download kiosk in the works

DVD Station in June will introduce a new service allowing DVD kiosk customers to download films onto personal media players including PlayStation Portable.

Currently, DVD Station offers upward of 6,000 disc titles at its 14 kiosk locations, in such areas as San Francisco's Metreon Entertainment Center and New York's Grand Central Station. Selection varies per DVD Station spot, where certain copies are designated for rental, sell-through and previously viewed.

In the new program, only select stock will be available for download. But the company says it is closing deals with two major studios to service films to DVD Station on a video-on-demand basis.

Find the whole press release here.

Middleware will give ATMs wider functions

Nationwide is rolling out a middleware platform to simplify the deployment of applications across its automatic teller machines, kiosks and bank teller systems.

Mike Humphreys, head of technology development at Nationwide, said each make of cash machine and kiosk the society operates requires its own software. This has made it difficult to deploy the same application across every machine.

The building society is now deploying middleware from Scottish software house Kal to allow the same application to run on different machines. The software will be run across Nationwide's 2,300 ATMs and 6,000 branch teller stations.


Nationwide plans to offer a web service that will allow customers to use a single card to access the services used in internet banking - such as displaying information on all accounts, transferring money or paying bills - via a kiosk or ATM.

Find the whole article here.

NCR acquires InfoAmerica

NCR Corp. announced in a news release that it has acquired InfoAmerica, a privately held company and provider of self-service solutions for the quick-service restaurant industry.

Based in Fort Collins, Colo., InfoAmerica has developed kiosk solutions for many of the industry’s major companies, including four of the top 10 QSRs. InfoAmerica has more products installed in QSRs in North America than any other competitor.

"This acquisition further supports our mission to aggressively grow our self-service business and extends our self-service competency into another rapidly growing segment," said Lee Schram, senior vice president of NCR’s Retail Solutions Division. "By aligning InfoAmerica’s proven software with NCR’s global infrastructure and self-service expertise, we are enabling businesses worldwide to successfully address the growing consumer demand for greater convenience."

NCR and InfoAmerica announced a joint self-service solution for the quick-service market in October 2004 that coupled InfoAmerica’s Touchware interface with NCR EasyPoint kiosks. InfoAmerica will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of NCR and will be hardware-independent.

ActiveLight carries Scala digital signage software

Scala, Inc.... and ActiveLight, Inc. the leading value-added distributor of advanced displays, dynamic signage solutions, and projection equipment, today announced that ActiveLight is now distributing InfoChannel® 3, Scala’s end-to-end software solution for digital signage networks.

As a result of the agreement, qualified ActiveLight resellers and dealers now have access to Scala’s award-winning InfoChannel products online at www.activelight.com.


The agreement reinforces ActiveLight and Scala’s continued commitment to the digital signage market. ActiveLight is a single source for a complete selection of top quality advanced displays, dynamic signage solutions, and projection equipment from more than 50 manufactures, including NEC, Panasonic, Samsung, Pioneer, Sony and others.

Read the whole release here.

Hand Held Products Launches Interactive Mini-Kiosk

This obviously isn't a good solution for a multimedia kiosk, but might work in the right niche:

"Hand Held Products(TM), Inc., a leader in image-based data collection systems for mobile, in-premise and transaction processing applications, announces the Image Kiosk(TM)8560 Interactive mini-kiosk at the Retail Systems Conference. The Image Kiosk 8560 mini-kiosk is on display at the Hand Held Products booth #2319.

The Image Kiosk 8560, powered by Adaptus Imaging Technology and Windows CE 5.0 operating system, allows retailers the ability to increase sales per square foot through better utilization of selling space and is well suited for price checking, store map display, up selling and allowing the retailer to influence the customer at the point of decision. Messages can also vary by location, giving retailers the ability to target customers by demographic and specific inputted requests."

The full press release is here.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

SMO wins deal for photo kiosks for the military

Strategic Management & Opportunity Corporation (PINK SHEETS:SMPP - News), is pleased to announce that the Kiosk Exchange, a wholly owned subsidiary of SMOC and its SMO Multimedia division has been awarded a contract from the Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES). The contract calls for the deployment of 118 digital photo units in 115 Army and Air Force installations in the U.S., including Hawaii, Alaska and Guam. Kiosk Exchange was chosen for its advanced technology in remotely monitoring every device in all of its systems, and providing its state of the art system for instant digital printing.

The whole press release may be found here.

Retec working on healthy eating kiosks

According to KioskMarketplace:

"Retec Interface is working on a project that will actively help consumers make healthy choices. Called the Healthy Eating Kiosk, it will give touchscreen information-at-a-glance with a total breakdown of food contents.

Consumers using the kiosk will be able to scan the bar code of a product and gain instant access to key contents information. Ingredients will be listed, including whether the item contains allergens such as nuts, as well as details of the percentage of salt, fiber, sugar and fat it contains."

There isn't a lot of additional information, but what there is can be found here.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Red tape could kill stores' CD-burning kiosks

Reuters has published an interesting article on self-serve CD burning kiosks. Here's the takeaway:

"[A]fter numerous false starts, retailers, hardware suppliers and the major labels say a quagmire of issues still threatens to overwhelm the initiative.

Even with the momentum of Starbucks leading the way with Hewlett-Packard kiosks, and despite numerous other hardware suppliers flocking to stake a claim in the market, retailers say that in-store CD manufacturing still has one big problem: an unprofitable business model.

Will these things ever work? More importantly, will they ever make money?

Read the whole article here.

NetWorld Alliance announces semi-annual Self Service & Kiosk Show

News from KioskMarketplace:

"NetWorld Alliance — owner of KIOSKmarketplace, Kiosk magazine and the forthcoming SelfServiceWorld site — is now producing the semiannual Self Service & Kiosk Show, according to a news release.

Formerly known as The Kiosk Show, the first The Self Service & Kiosk Show will run Oct. 17-18 in San Francisco at the South San Francisco Conference Center.

The show's new name reflects the kiosk industry's evolution, said Greg Swistak, executive director of Kiosks.Org Association.

The Self Service & Kiosk Show is a 2-day show that highlights self-service technology and real-world kiosk demonstrations. Show attendees are pre-screened buyers, key decision-makers or influencers involved in the purchasing or management of self-service/interactive kiosk solutions."

Read the complete article here.

PayKiosks begins Internet kiosk rollout

"PayKiosks Internet Terminals has completed its first rollout of wi-fi Internet kiosks for the All American truck stop and travel plaza group, according to a news release. The first of this group of truck stop wi-fi installations was completed May 1 in Doswell, Va. The location will now be able to offer wireless Internet access to all of the truckers using the facility as well as guests staying at the Econo Lodge, also located on the property. An Internet terminal will be located in the c-store to provide Internet access to guests that do not have a laptop. Quick links on the Internet terminal will provide customers with easy access to local attractions, weather, maps and road reports."

Read the full article here.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

The Kiosk Show becomes The Self Service & Kiosk Show

NetWorld Alliance, owner of KIOSKmarketplace.com, Kiosk magazine, and the forthcoming SelfServiceWorld.com, announces it will now produce its semiannual tradeshow under the name The Self Service & Kiosk Show.

The first show under the new name will be held Oct. 17-18 in San Francisco at the South San Francisco Conference Center. For more information on the venue and accommodations, and to apply for registration, visit the Self Service & Kiosk Show Web site: http://www.selfservicekiosk.com.
The Self Service & Kiosk Show is a two-day tradeshow designed to educate businesses about opportunities to adopt self-service technology, to allow attendees to take advantage of real-world kiosk demonstrations, and to learn about the processes and major considerations necessary for a successful self-service program. Show attendees are pre-screened buyers, key decision-makers or influencers involved in the purchasing or management of self-service/interactive kiosk solutions.

You can read the press release here.

Tranax looks to kiosks

ATM giant Tranax Technologies is testing the waters of the kiosk market with a new turnkey transactional kiosk offering.

"'The initial model we’re launching is our turnkey model — this will essentially be customizable,' he said. 'We have a base platform, and it’s a modular unit — there will be standard devices that will ship with all of them, and they’ll have a series of bays, which they can option-up or option-down. Its base platform will include touchscreen, MCR, receipt printer and cash acceptor. On top of that, you can add a ticket printer, or a range of other devices.'

Those other devices include money order printer, card dispenser, and barcode scanner. 'As time progresses, there may be other things we decide we want to integrate,' [product manager Scott] Holt added."

Read the full article here.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

New Bill Payment and Check Cashing Kiosk

News from the kiosk world:

"CashWorks, a GE Consumer Finance company, is offering both bill payment and check-cashing services through its new mini-kiosk platform.

The mini-kiosk platform is in addition to the CashWorks PayPort(TM) Point-of-Sale system, which currently provides all day, every day check-cashing convenience to 800,000 customers at 3,000 locations in 41 states.

The CashWorks program provides the unique ability to quickly approve new customers for check-cashing and bill payment. The CashWorks Central Decision Engine® -- a proprietary software system -- can approve transactions for first-time users in minutes. Once a customer is enrolled, transactions typically take less than a minute. The system uses PayPort POS technology, created by CashWorks."

You can read the whole article here.