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Kiosk Application

Like videos and books, kiosks are communication tools. But kiosks interactivity and multimedia capabilities provide functionality that goes beyond the static capabilities of other media.

Point-of-information kiosks
These kiosks are used to educate or inform. Because they address routine questions, they minimize the need for on-site personnel and reduce phone calls to companies. When located in a public place, they can be accessed seven days a week, 24 hours a day.
Point-of-information kiosks tend to be the simplest kiosks to implement. They're also the most difficult to justify in terms of ROI. For this reason, informational kiosks frequently are integrated with the product promotion or service kiosks.

Prime locations: Shopping malls, historic sites, trade shows, hospitals, government buildings, and hotel lobbies, where they provide access to directories and maps.
Government buildings, where they provide information about municipal services, public meetings, and local events.

Factories, offices, and other places of business, where they offer employees information about benefits, job openings, and corporate policies.

Corporate lobbies, where they provide visitors an introduction to the company as well as a map showing conference rooms, rest rooms, and other building locations or campus facilities. These kiosks often are connected to a corporate Web site.

Financial institutions, where they display up-to-the-minute interest rates and stock prices.
Stores, where they replace paper catalogs.

Healthcare facilities, where they dispense health education information and display maps and directories.

Product Promotion kiosks
Kiosks that promote products and services are a win/win proposition. Consumers receive information as well as coupons and other discounts. Manufacturers have their message delivered straight to the consumer rather than relying on the detailed product training of individual sales people. Promotional kiosks also can reduce the need for sales personnel; they sometimes are referred to as "independent in-store POS sales support."

Electronic couponing systems are the most common promotional kiosks. Manufacturers place the systems in retail outlets to increase awareness of their products. The kiosks attract consumers by offering coupons; to obtain the coupons, consumers often must respond to demographic and other questions, providing companies with valuable consumer information.
Kiosks often combine information and promotion. A kiosk in a hotel lobby, for example, might include descriptions of hotel services along with coupons and ads for neighborhood shops, restaurants, and theaters.

Prime locations: Stores, where the kiosks are installed by manufacturers promoting their own products. In addition, stores themselves often install kiosks to promote specific services, such as a gift registry or a cake decorating service.

Hotel lobbies and malls, where they provide information while advertising local services, activities, and events.

Financial institutions, where they describe banking and other financial services.

Service and Transaction kiosks
These kiosks can provide services that are free or for-pay. In government organizations, the use of service kiosks has been driven by the public's demand for increased hours of business and shorter wait times.

Service kiosks are also gaining popularity among corporations where today's employees must choose from a dizzying array of benefits. Employees can use kiosks to enter information about their needs; the kiosk then determines the benefit package that best addresses those needs.
Prime locations: Colleges and universities, where they're used by students to enroll in classes, access transcripts, pay tuition bills, and obtain campus maps.

Hotels and other public places, where they serve as "phone booths of the future" by providing e-mail, Internet access, and fax services. Hotel guests can also use kiosks for hotel check-in and check-out.

Corporations, where they're installed by HR departments seeking to help employees choose among benefit packages, as described above.

Government buildings, where they're used by people applying for birth certificates, reserving camp sites, or renewing drivers' licenses.

Banks, where they're used by customers applying for loans, opening accounts, or obtaining mortgage rate information. Some banks are installing kiosks that let customers communicate by video phone with a customer service representative in a remote location.

Internet commerce kiosks
Kiosks that connect directly to a business Web site let consumers purchase products to be delivered to them at a later time. A store equipped with e-commerce kiosks can increase its product offerings without increasing its inventory. Clerks, meanwhile, are freed from having to order products from the catalog or from another store.

Increasingly, general-purpose Internet-access kiosks are being placed in public areas. Users who already have Internet access from home or work will use these kiosks on a convenience basis (in much the same way they use a public telephone and ATM machines today).
Prime locations: Stores and malls, where they give consumers access to online catalogs.
Financial institutions, where they enable consumers to participate in online investment services.

Hotels, airports, and other public places, where they give the public Internet access.

Web-enabled kiosks
Web-enabling software transforms an existing Web site into a public-access kiosk application. Organizations that choose to make their Web sites kiosk-accessible enjoy significant savings in development costs because they need make only minor modifications—such as replacing browser controls with touch-activated control panels and buttons—to their existing application.

Web-enabled kiosks can connect directly to the Internet; they also can be accessed from a local disk. In local mode, customer data, forms, and e-mail are "faked" to disk files for later retrieval.

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