Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Game kiosks in the future?

Following on the heels of a previous blog about a Reuters article about music kiosks comes a little blog on the concept of a demo game kiosk, where one would simply scan the barcode of a video game to be able to try it out in store. Right now it's just a few guys talking about what would be cool in the future, but if that's your thing, you can join right in, here.

Supermarkets, C-Stores will drive interactive kiosk sales in 06

ePaynews is carrying this article on predictions of success in the interactive kiosk market in 2006:

In terms of retail kiosks, the supermarkets and convenience store markets are identified as those with the biggest growth potential through 2009. Kiosk use across multiple retail sectors is predicted to grow as retailers see the potential for automating routine transactions and for using new technology to reduce operational costs. Increased deployments in the home improvement and non-food sectors are anticipated, as are solutions for order-and-pay food service, while ‘early’ self-service devices such as photo kiosks and self-checkouts will continue to see strong growth.

While they don't identify the source of the predictions directly, I might actually be partly responsible, as this was essentially what I said in the Nov/Dec 2005 issue of Kiosk Magazine. I can't find a link to the article right now, but it's in there. I've seen it :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

BT halts internet kiosk rollout

We have smart phones, we have Blackberries, we have laptops with wireless cards, 3G, CDMA, and a host of other acronyms that are hard to remember and even harder to understand. But with all of these mobile technologies, I wonder why BT thought it would be a good idea to deploy 28,000 web kiosks across the UK?

In retrospect, apparently, it wasn't such a good idea, and the lack of demand for the kiosks has caused them to stop their deployment prematurely:

BT has halted the rollout of thousands of Internet kiosks after overestimating how much public demand there would be for the service.

At present there are around 1,300 Web kiosks installed around the UK at shopping centres, rail stations and airports. They allow users to surf the Web and send emails and text messages, as well as make phone calls.

In late 2001, BT said that 28,000 kiosks would be built, in partnership with Marconi, but the telco confirmed over the weekend that that no more would be installed.

"BT had planned a large scale rollout of public multimedia kiosks, with our supplier, which has been reduced due to performance. It is no surprise that this is a similar experience to other operators around the world," said the company in a statement, adding that it didn't plan to rip out any of the existing high-tech kiosks.

You can read all about it right here.

Music kiosks changing the retail landscape... paraphrase the title of this article (and inject some of my own opinion :) Given the high-profile deployments of music burning and MP3 kiosks to coffee shops, restaurants, retail stores, and yes, music stores, some are forced to wonder what the long-term ramifications of all this self-service music distribution will actually be. Here's a clip from the article:
Kiosk business is at an all-time high, with some providers readying U.S. deployments numbering in the thousands, an executive at startup kiosk provider MediaPort says. Such major chains as Starbucks and McDonald's have experimented with them, and MusicLand has made kiosks a central feature of its new Graze Music in-store environment.

But there is also a great deal of skepticism as to whether kiosks actually fulfill any consumer demand.

Kiosk providers claim the digital music revolution has created an opportunity for what they are marketing as a music store in a box. The idea is to place music kiosks in well-trafficked areas where people generally have 10-15 minutes of time to kill -- such as airports, coffehouses, university student unions, truck stops, even convenience stores.


For record labels, these music kiosks are just another new distribution channel made possible by digital formats. As music retailers continue to struggle, anyone willing to pay around $10,000 per unit can place a kiosk on their property and start competing for record-store business.

"This gives them the ability to go head to head with anybody for music," MediaPort executive VP Jon Butler says.

Music retailers also like kiosks because they make it possible to offer more titles than what is available on shelves, as well as offer custom CDs to digital-savvy consumers accustomed to burning their own music at home.

But whether consumers will like them is the big question.

Self-service checkout still going strong

According to this article being run at Kiosk Marketplace, "sixty-six percent of people say they want self-service at the checkout to make shopping faster and more convenient as they fit more "mini shops" into their busy lifestyles, according to research published by global technology company NCR Corp. Forty-two percent of shoppers are either very likely or likely to choose stores that will offer this self-service option over ones that do not."

Granted, that was research commissioned by NCR, who has a decidedly vested interest in pumping up t he demand for self-service checkout counters. This is one of those stats that I would like to become true, as I myself am a big fan of the systems. They always seem to work right for me, and I am definitely one of those shoppers who will go to the store a few times a week just to pick up one or two items. In these cases, self check-out can easily save me ten minutes of waiting in line for the "express" checkout lane :)

Friday, January 06, 2006

Egami Media and Lightning Content Distribution to deliver digital programming via interactive kiosks

Egami Media just announced that it is going to start distributing its content through Lightning Content Distribution's retail website and also a network of retailer-situated interactive kiosks.

Lightning Content Distribution will distribute programs via its secure replication technology that produces media that is indistinguishable from packaged CDs and DVDs. Lightning Content Distribution kiosks will provide retailers with catalog extensions beyond their floor space limitations. The kiosk will provide consumers with a virtual CD and DVD inventory that can be replicated on-demand. Additionally, Lightning's application will be accessible by consumers with a home PC that has a CD or DVD burner and color printer.

"The instant gratification provided by on-demand solutions levels the retail playing field and will make retail floor space limitations a non-issue. While the smaller independents and chain stores will benefit from the virtual inventory a kiosk provides, even larger retailers are looking for ways to deal with the thousands of CD and DVD titles available today. We look forward to offering our programming for sale at brick-and-mortar retail where many of our smaller titles have had limited distribution," said Martin W. Greenwald, president and CEO of Image Entertainment and chairman of the board of Egami Media. "To that end Egami will continue to seek out opportunities in the ever expanding world of digital media distribution."

Obviously their content is going to have to be good enough for people to want to go to a kiosk to burn a CD or DVD of it. Granted, they have a good library of exclusive movies, including live concerts like "Kiss: Rock the Nation: Live!", "Chick Corea: Rendezvous in New York" and "Roy Orbison: Black & White Night," and also IMAX programs from MacGillivray Freeman, stand-up comedy and independent, foreign and silent film classics.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

DVD kiosks coming to a grocer near you

ePaynews is carrying this article about the rise of DVD rental and sales kiosks. This comes on the heels of McDonald's successes with trialing DVD kiosks in their restaurants (in some markets):
With major US grocery chains such as Kroger, Safeway, HEB and Publix expected to install DVD rental kiosks through 2007 in a total addressable market with over 20,000 locations, vendors are looking into new technologies and services to retain their competitive position...

DVD rental kiosks can charge nightly rates of 99 cents to USD 1.50 but rental stores can offer customers a wider range of movie titles and space to browse. McDonalds’ Redbox DVD rental kiosk subsidiary, in which US vending firm Coinstar took a stake, currently has the highest profile for kiosk deployments....
It's interesting to see these different kinds of businesses all working to add more services to the product mix in hopes of both luring additional customers and satisfying those already in the practice of using the "traditional" products or services offered by the company. Interactive kiosks, while carrying a potentially high up-front cost (as anyone who has done budgeting for a kiosk project can tell you), can offer the same service day or night, typically without ever having to add on additional staff, making them an attractive option for high-volume locations.