The Digital Signage Insider

Kiosk and Digital Signage News from Around the Net

Published on: 2004-04-22

A number of things have come up in the news recently regarding kiosks and digital signs. First, CNet is reporting, my favorite company Diebold is in more trouble for its voting systems. Apparently their crappy software was never audited or certified by the government, and there is strong evidence suggesting that much of it was deployed without ever having been fully tested.

Also, there seems to be a lot of electronic action going on at McDonald's. Just after Wayport announced that it was putting more WiFi access points into its stores, Kinetics announced that the purveyor of fine American cuisine is testing a self-service kiosk project to allow customers to place their own orders, customize the way their food is cooked, and, theoretically, avoid long lines.

Interestingly, Fast Company picked up on the Kinetics story in an interesting article entitiles The Toll of a New Machine. Apparently, some are concerned that as self-service technology improves, it will displace low-wage workers who are currently responsible for customer interaction in retail facilities and fast food restaurants.

Personally, if technology can improve customer service, either by making it faster or easier or more useful, then I'm all for it. While there are certainly times when real human-to-human interaction is beneficial (for example, when offering opinions or making subjective statements), there are also times when repetitive tasks need to be streamlined (e.g. order taking at a fast food joint), or lots of complex information needs to be provided in order to evaluate a purchase (for example when shopping for appliances or home electronics).

Finally, there is another article up about kiosk ROI over at Kiosk Marketplace. Apparently business will be the focus of this year's KioskCom convention, and it seems like more people are starting to understand that if you spend a lot of money on a project, but you don't have a way to make that money back, then the project isn't going to work (in most cases, not all, I know.)

So between the huge ROI gains that kiosk projects should start showing, new career opportunities that self-service technology is supposed to open up, we should be replete with new jobs and better customer service in no time Wink

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