5th Annual Kiosk AwardsTM

In 2000 KIOSK magazine established and sponsored the first awards competition within the interactive kiosk marketplace to seek out self-service kiosk projects and products that are "setting standards of kiosk excellence & challenging existing technology."  Now in its fifth year, this annual competition greeted us with nearly one hundred applications.  The judging for the awards was conducted on June 15-16, 2004. 

We would like to thank the many companies who submitted applications for the awards.  Due to the number of submissions and the high quality of the applications, this was the toughest competition to date.  Each award submission was taken through a rigorous set of criteria and great examination.  Those applications and products that have survived to win an award or that took an honorable mention represent the findings of our judging process and have our commendation.

Categories: Kiosk of the Year, Best in Software, Best Enclosure Design, Best Interface Design, Most Innovative Product, Complete System Excellence, Best Retail Application, Best Public Access Kiosk Application, Best New Product Introduction

Kiosk of the Year
Award Winner: Suzuki Sales P.R.O.
Name of Company: American Suzuki Motor Corp.

Primer: An extensive research project helped American Suzuki Motor Corp. to realize that many salespeople at dealerships lacked product knowledge.  As a result, the company created the Suzuki Sales P.R.O.  The Sales P.R.O. was developed to make an entry-level salesperson look as if he or she had been in the industry for years, giving them the confidence to sell more Suzuki units.  For the managers and owners of the dealerships the Suzuki Sales P.R.O. is allowing them to have a great selling tool as well as a way of tracking and evaluating a salesperson's performance.

At the Suzuki Sales P.R.O. kiosk, salespeople have access to detailed information about each of Suzuki's motorcycles, ATVs and Scooters.  At the customer level, potential buyers can view and customize their Suzuki products in real-time 3D.  After a customer finds the exact vehicle he or she wants, the salesperson can use the system to present the customer with the advantages of extended protection and detailed financing options.

The uniqueness of the Suzuki Sales P.R.O. was apparent in the way it broke from the traditional interface, opting instead for an array of 3D modeling that incorporates the interactive experience consumers expect.  This kiosk application is not only informative, but has also created an environment that is conducive to interactive fun and has changed the way that motorcycles are personalized and sold.

Best In Software
Award Winner: Photo.TellerTM
Name of Company: Whitech USA Inc

Primer: With estimates stating that over 40% of US households will own a digital camera by the end of this year, the market for photo processing and finishing kiosks has reached an all-time high.  What separates these kiosks from one another is the software interface that the customer uses when conducting photo-related processes.  Burning the photo kiosk software trail is New York-based Whitech USA Inc and their Photo.Teller product.

The Photo.Teller graphical user interface has been designed to be easy to use and to up sell the customer, which helps lab owners derive more profits from the digital transaction.  From an operational perspective, a unique feature of Photo.Teller is that it is an information-based solution that can be networked locally at one location, or remotely across hundreds of sites.  In addition, Photo.Teller offers integration and centralized functionality where features such as membership, loyalty programs, pricing updates, promotions, reporting, screen layouts, order status and collection of film on all kiosks can be managed centrally, providing a quantum leap in efficiency over other solutions.

Although the Photo.Teller software suite is too compatible to name all features here, some worth noting include: file format ready for processing with any printer (dye-sublimation, thermal, digital laboratory), accepts compliant media (flashcard, CD, DVD, Zip, Sony stick, Smart media, 3.5" floppy, etc.), accepts almost any kind of digital camera, and reads Bluetooth and Infrared devices found on cell phones, PDA's and laptop computers.

Best Enclosure Design
Award Winner: BMW Portable Wireless Kiosk
Name of Company: Frank Mayer & Associates, Inc.

Primer: The BMW Portable Wireless Kiosk's enclosure is a sleek and innovative design that portrays the image of a surfboard and attracts a consumer audience looking for something on "the edge."  A large interchangeable graphic panel on the front of the enclosure helps to captivate consumer interest. 

The kiosk has two brackets on the back of the unit which have a bolt that, once removed, allows the kiosk to fold down and be put onto a dolly for easy transportation.  In some cases the folded down unit was also transported in the back of a BMW X3 SAV (the same unit being marketed with the kiosk).  All wiring is permanently mounted and concealed from consumer view.  All cables in the enclosure are labeled and shrouded by the vacuum-formed backing of the unit. 

Arriving at each destination, the kiosks can be plugged in and turned on by the carrier.  The kiosks do not require any kind of internet hookup or technician, and can be seen on the BMW network approximately 20 minutes after boot-up via the wireless connection.  This kiosk is also easily accessible, with full ADA compliance.  It even features a small shelf for consumer's drinks or a place to rest an arm.

Best Interface Design
Award Winner: DaimlerChrysler Vehicle Information Center (VIC)
Name of Company: McGill Digital Solutions

Primer: Knowing the influence accurate information has on buying decisions, DaimlerChrysler's Chrysler Group, through its advertising agency BBDO Detroit, engaged McGill Digital Solutions to develop the interface for the Vehicle Information Center (VIC) kiosk, an Internet-connected sales floor tool for North American Chrysler Group dealers.

McGill employed its expertise in advanced kiosk and interface technologies to create what is in essence three interface designs in one application.  The goal was to create an easy-to-navigate interface both sales reps and customers could use to search the massive DaimlerChrysler product information database to find answers to their questions, learn about concept cars, brand information, awards and available merchandise.  The result has been an interactive system by which customers can access data on everything from interior and exterior color choices to standard equipment and options. 

Selling vehicles is information intensive.  VIC is the automotive industry's largest data-driven interactive product information system.  However, information is one thing and ease-of-use is something different.  McGill has developed an appealing and simplified navigation process so that each user is never more than a few clicks from the information desired.

Most Innovative Product
Award Winner: Suzuki Sales P.R.O.
Name of Company: EON Reality, Inc.

Primer: Taking home a second award is the innovative Suzuki Sales P.R.O. and EON Reality's real-time 3D technology.  3D technology was a new way for Suzuki to present their motorcycles, ATVs and scooters that had never been done before in the industry.  The real-time 3D software was able to create an interactive experience for the customer and the salesperson by allowing the user to uniquely customize their motorcycle or other vehicle immediately, on-site. 

Using EON Reality's 3D model of each vehicle and accessory allowed Suzuki to eliminate the limitations of a standard picture-based configurator.  With a standard 2D picture configurator there are millions of combinations that must be photographed.  By modeling each individual accessory and motorcycle, ATV or scooter, EON was able to place the accessory on the vehicle as it appears in the real world.  This technology allows customers the ability to rotate and zoom in on the vehicle and the freedom to view the model from any angle.

Particularly innovative was the concept of employing a model that contains feature beacons on the 3D model, displaying information about that specific feature.  In addition, this 3D solution allows for the model to contain all colors, accessories of the vehicle as well as a click to full screen mode to see the finished vehicle in it's "ready to buy" condition.

Complete System Excellence
Award Winner: EasyPoint Xpress
Name of Company: NCR Corporation

Primer: Although over two years old to the world of kiosk technology, this is a first-time entry into the awards for NCR's EasyPoint Xpress kiosk.  This turnkey system has been build around hardware, middleware, optional software, and life cycle support for applications such as bill payment, check-in for hotels, and ordering and payment for restaurants. 

The EasyPoint Xpress Payment solution revolutionizes traditional payment transactions.  Using an intuitive touchscreen interface, Xpress Payment allows customers to quickly pay their bills without staff assistance.  Unlike the constantly changing general purpose PCs, the Xpress Payment solution offers a stable, managed platform.  Intel-embedded components support longer lifecycles and an attractive but versatile enclosure can fit into a range of environments.

The single best selling point of the Xpress Payment solution was that of the customer Sprint, who is using the kiosk in over 700 retail stores.  "The real win for us is the labor impact.  We are able to take those same customer service representatives and reallocate them to sales activities within our stores," said Mike Stanfill with Sprint PCS.  In today's impatient environment, shorter lines equate to fewer walk-aways, and this product is a complete system combining efficiency, reliability, and service.

Best Retail Kiosk Application
Award Winner: Automated Postal Center (APC)
Name of Company: United States Postal Service

Primer: In 1998 the US Postal Service set out a self-service strategy proposal to strengthen and expand the role of the existing Postal Service vending program.  The program, currently with over 200 units, will be expanded to include a massive 2,500 units across the county by the 2004 holiday season.  This could quite possibly be the largest retail kiosk of 2004, but more importantly, a major improvement in how business gets done at the Post Office.

The primary objectives of this program includes: improved self-service reliability, a customer alternative to the full-service retail window, expanding the reach of self-service beyond the post office lobby, and creating a common self-service platform and supporting technology structure.  In effect, this program could be one of the largest changes for both the US Postal Service and its customers in decades.

Retail window counters serve around seven million customers per day; the potential benefits of a line-busting self-service kiosk program are huge.  The Automated Postal Center has the potential to revolutionize Post Office transactions for customers.  These terminals could do for the Post Office what ATMs did for the banking industry. Initial survey results coming out of the USPS show that 98% of the customers find the APC easy to use and that they will use it again.

The APC not only offers similar services, such as information, like other retailers would expect from a kiosk, but this terminal also moves product.  The kiosk dispenses products like stamp booklets and sells services such as Priority or Express mail.  With the swipe of a credit or debit card the entire purchase process is complete, entirely without the intervention of a human being.

Best Public Access Kiosk Application
Award Winner: Brooklyn Public Library / Pharos Library
Name of Company: Xerox Global Services

Primer: Recognizing the benefits that self-service kiosks bring to an organization, a group of forward-thinking library staff at the Brooklyn Public Library aimed to introduce this technology to their patrons.  In conjunction with Xerox Global Services and Pharos Systems, Brooklyn Public Library designed and implemented the Pharos Library Service Kiosk.  The kiosk application has not only revolutionized patron access at the library by allowing patrons to pay for library fees and fines themselves, but the solution has re-established the role of library staff.

The Pharos Library Services Kiosk frees library staff and administrators to concentrate on core library functions such as research, material checkout and book queries, while leaving routine tasks to the kiosk.  The kiosk serves patrons by allowing them to work more independently in the library without having to wait for assistance from library staff.  Not only can patrons pay for fees and fines at the kiosk, but they also have the ability to add cash value to their cards, view account balances and review late book titles.  Patrons complete these tasks simply by swiping their library card at any kiosk station.  Once the patron has completed the transaction, the kiosk provides that patron with a printed proof of transaction.

There are 70 kiosks implemented throughout the Brooklyn Public Library System.  The kiosks are located in the entrance rotunda in the larger libraries where traffic is the highest.  By placing the kiosks in the rotunda, patrons can easily locate and use them as they enter or leave the facilities.  In smaller libraries, the kiosks are placed in easy-to-find areas, but are strategically positioned to avoid disrupting the flow of traffic and the activities of staff and patrons.

Best New Product Introduction
Award Winner: RezFuzion Virtual Interview Kiosk
Name of Company: RezFuzion LLC

Primer: RezFuzion has recently introduced their Virtual Interview Kiosk, a system that allows students to conduct mock interviews with a virtual interviewer and then, by the time they're back in their dorm room, the kiosk automatically uploads their interview into an administrative account for review by a career counselor.  The student can also email their interview, conducted at the kiosk, to their parents, friends and employers for further feedback.  Each mock interview can be upgraded to a real interview and sent proactively to employers with a customized cover letter.

Currently RezFuzion is in the process of launching the system nationwide into university career centers.  As recent college graduates, the two partners of RezFuzion developed the Virtual Interview Kiosk out of frustration.  Last year the alumni were have trouble landing jobs.  They were confident that if they could land an interview, they could land a job.  Their product was created out of necessity, but they quickly realized that the system could streamline the interview process.

At the kiosk, each student has the option of picking his or her interview questions or can have them randomly generated by the computer.  The kiosk's question database is made up of industry specific and behavioral interview questions that are tailored to each university and represent the process job seekers will go through to find a job.  Between each question, students have an opportunity to review, critique, and rerecord each of their video responses.

HONORABLE MENTION

Kiosk of the Year
Award Runner-Up: BMW Portable Wireless Kiosk
Name of Company: Frank Mayer & Associates, Inc.
Primer: The BMW Portable Wireless Kiosk is a wireless kiosk that was designed to fold down so it could fit in the back of the new BMW X3 SAV.  The unit is versatile and allows for the design of the unit to be updated at any time.  This kiosk was built to capture a younger, more active, and more affluent customer market for BMW.  ROI was measured in terms of "unique email addresses" defined as email addresses not previously part of BMW's database.  Over 40,000 of these new contacts were collected with the kiosk.

Best In Software
Award Runner-Up: Netkey Software Platform Version 6.2
Name of Company: Netkey, Inc.
Primer: The Netkey platform allows retailers and other businesses to secure, manage, monitor and update networks of kiosks.  Key features of the software include: remote device monitoring, content scheduling and delivery, device and application security, central administration and management, and reporting and analytics for detailed performance and usage metrics.  A key benefit of the Netkey platform is its scalability that grows with business needs over time.

Best Interface Design
Award Runner-Up: Gift RegistryWorksTM
Name of Company: MarCole Enterprises, Inc.
Primer: MarCole's Gift RegistryWorks has fully integrated the complexity of many requirements into one single, user-friendly interface.  The interface of Gift RegistryWorks is an excellent blend of consistent information architecture as well as interaction design that provides easy access to information.  Built around the need of any gift registry program, Gift RegistryWorks is an efficient user interface that is intuitive and features extensive dynamic search capabilities, and displays high-quality images of registered items.

Most Innovative Product
Award Runner-Up: Photo.TellerTM
Name of Company: Whitech USA Inc
Primer: At the name suggests, Photo.Teller is a photographic self-service kiosk designed with functions that take it far beyond the capabilities of other photographic digital kiosks available today.  As a turnkey solution package, the Photo.Teller product excels in the Innovative category not only for its capabilities and compatibility with industry standard media, but also the fact that is has been build to quickly adapt its options with developments in the photo industry and the subsequent demands of consumers.  Leading this trend is the recent introduction of readability by Photo.Teller via both Bluetooth and infrared from devices such as cellular phones, personal digital assistants, and laptop computers.

Best Retail Kiosk Application
Award Runner-Up: Mazda Retail Kiosks
Name of Company: Nanonation
Primer: Mazda recently decided to redesign its dealership showrooms and wanted to better use their space to interact with customers.  Mazda christened this approach 'Retail Revolution.'  To interactively enable Retail Revolution with its customers, Mazda partnered with kiosk solution provider Nanonation to deploy retail kiosks to participating dealerships across the country.  Key to the success of the system is an appealing user interface designed with the purpose of helping customers better understand the benefits and possibilities of owning a Mazda.  Noteworthy is the fact that in those kiosk-equipped dealerships, Mazda is enjoying a 32% increase in annual sales.

Best New Product Introduction
Award Runner-Up: CommandPoint
Name of Company: Nanonation
Primer: The kiosk industry has battled the challenges of distributed computing, complete with the maintenance, management, and remote challenges these deployments bring.  In response, Nanonation has created a remote monitoring and management solution called CommandPoint, which is a open-source rooted software that monitors, measures, and manages multiple kiosk deployments from any web-enabled PC.  Key to this product is the fact that is works independent of the front-end application, which means it can work with virtually any new or existing kiosk application, whether developed or provided by other software or third-party kiosk software products.

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