As 2013 draws to a close, we've taken a moment to look back at the stories that garnered the most interest from our readers. The following list is an eclectic mix of self-service applications, ranging from the retail store to the golf course.
So in case you missed any throughout the year, here they are, in reverse numerical order, the most-read stories on Kiosk Marketplace:
Cisco and U.K. supermarket giant Tesco teamed for a digital pilot that illustrated a solution to the growing demand for technological adoption. The array of interactive technologies that Tesco piloted at three store locations across the U.K. included a digital signage display that advertised clothing available through its F&F line, and a self-service touchscreen kiosk developed by Retec Interface that enabled customers to peruse online items, use barcode scanners for product ratings, reviews and suggested accessories.
Tesco also tested the Kids StyleMe Mirror, a creation that used augmented reality in hopes of engaging even the most uninterested shopper, and a virtual mannequin that used hologram-based projections and audio to attract and seemingly speak to customers.
In April, JustOne Golf rolled out its Teeosk kiosk at Mojave Resort Golf Club in Laughlin, Nev., and Kingwood Golf Resort in Clayton, Ga., bringing the hole-in-one contest that is traditionally held during charity golf tournaments to the masses.
The Teeosk is an outdoor kiosk placed on a Par 3 hole, designed to unobtrusively blend into the environment and withstand the extremes of golf course weather conditions. Players register for the hole-in-one challenge via the kiosk, wagering a minimum of $5. High definition video cameras installed on the course capture the golfer's swing and the result of the shot, providing both proof of the ace and a record of the golfer's achievement. The golfer then reports their victory swing and receives their payout.
The use of kiosks in a retail setting is steadily gaining popularity in the global market as competing companies are adapting the strategy of using kiosks to increase revenue. Olea Kiosk's CEO Frank Olea wrote this commentary offering his view on the five greatest benefits to deploying kiosks in retail. According to Olea, not only to kiosks allow a business to reach out to more customers but that can also be used to attract more customers, build brand loyalty and open new sales opportunities.
Back in March, before Redbox's parent company changed its name from Coinstar to Outerwall, the annual investor conference gave insight into the company's growth strategy.
During the investor conference, Coinstar executives outlined the company's push into broader markets through the use of automated kiosks. Coin-counting, DVDs and coffee made up much of the company's plans for revenue growth, but plans were also made to increase focus on other markets, such as beauty products, gift cards, fresh food and photography.
With more than 40,000 DVD kiosks sprinkled among nearly 34,000 retail locations, Redbox remains the uncontested king of the DVD rental business. But while Redbox has made efforts to beef up its library of popular blockbuster films, its ascension to the top of the DVD game left one entertainment segment thrown to the wayside — international foreign language films.
Enter Arlington, Va.-based Globox Rentals. Formed by George Mason University alumni Sammy Kassim and Asad Ali, the kiosk-based DVD rental business focuses on foreign language films. The company deployed 10 kiosks in the Northern Virginia region, each holding about 200 Indian, East Asian, Hispanic, European and independent film titles. According to Kassim, Globox's current president and COO, the foreign titles offered by Globox were largely passed over by Redbox.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 debuted in mid-March, with a Broadway-style product launch complete with dance numbers and sketch comedy. While the phone itself turned out not to be greatly different from the Galaxy S3, the new device housed a couple of features that will make it easier for users to adopt mobile scanning and mobile payments. The device included a new, and pretty innovative, take on the standard, old-school 1-D barcode. Called mobeam technology, it addresses some of the issues facing barcodes as a mobile technology.
Automated retail has been booming, much to the credit of interactive touchscreen technology that has helped to create a new wave of intelligent vending kiosks, producing a more immersive and personalized experience for the customer.
Capitalizing on this trend, the Utah-based company AirVend released its solution to provide existing vending machines with the upgrades they need to keep pace with advances in technology, consumer expectations and one slightly controversial piece of legislation — the Affordable Care Act.
In a move to satisfy the Internet's love of lists, we compiled a countdown of the most read stories from December through April. Some of the stories on that list have survived to make this one, while others fell slightly lower on the rungs.
It's unclear if the mention of self-service beer had anything to do with the popularity of this article that ran in May, but the iPourIt solution made its way to No. 2 most-read for the year. The system uses RFID technology to allow customers to serve themselves beer or wine, boasting cost effectiveness for restaurants and easily attainable ROI.
After checking in at a bar or restaurant with a state-issued ID and being deemed qualified to drink alcohol, a customer is given an RFID-encoded wristband and set free to choose from a tap-lined wall of beers or other beverages. The system has configurable controls to limit the number of ounces that can be poured in a given amount of time based on the height and weight of the customer, the alcohol content of the drink or other limitations. Launched in October of 2012, the company has since deployed the system at restaurant locations in California, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Alabama and Mississippi.
At the January Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Larry Trevarthen, Kodak's VP of marketing and retail system solutions, spoke with Gary Pageau, principal at InfoCircle and blogger for Kiosk Marketplace. The conversation resulted in an in-depth discussion about Kodak's current state of business and its plans for the future.
"If you look at Kodak's heritage, you can say it's a photo company, but it's really a memory company," Trevarthen said in the interview. "As memories go beyond photos to content, we're really embracing that. As memories go to the smartphone, we're really embracing that as well."