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Interactive touch screen kiosks: what lies beneath

Using an interactive touch screen kiosk can be a fast, helpful, integrated and informative experience, Frank Nunan of the Kiosk Shop, told delegates currently attending the JusTTouchIT two-day conference in Midrand, Johannesburg.
Image courtesy of Online@cess
Image courtesy of Online@cess
As an emerging market growing at a pulsating pace and aiming to compete with the best of the best, some observers believe South Africa's technology capacity is not up to scratch and urge businesses and government to do more.

Lagging


Interactive touch-screen kiosks are one area where the country is lagging far behind, compared to the ‘First World'.

“I know that the technology works, but in the end technology is merely a means to an end - a delivery mechanism for content,” Nunan said, adding that a touch screen is a two-way communication tool through which the person will react immediately afterwards.

Robert Porter, founder and co-CEO of Euro Kiosks Networks, said, “Clients want everything now and people are not aware of the concept of push versus pull. Retailers often want stand-alone applications instead of an integrated store solution.”

SA has only some 1000 interactive kiosks countrywide - a far cry from more than 100 000 in the US.

“We are still a small community and we need to strive to create awareness around this technology and convince people to use it, and at the same time persuade decision-makers that this is the way to go,” Jason Page, owner of the Durban-based Online@cess Kiosks, told Bizcommunity.com.

Online@cess customers include, among others, Airports Company of South Africa, Gauteng Provincial Government for its Gauteng Online services, Durban Municipality and SA Parliament.

Technophobia


“I think part of the problem lies with people not understanding and trusting this technology,” Duncan Band, head of sales at Online@cess, said.

But once people get familiar with it, they will find out that it can help their lives in thousand different ways, Band added.

“These are exciting times,” Page pointed out. “This technology is designed to be user-friendly experience, and the design has to be appealing and attractive. You don't have to be computer literate to use an interactive kiosk. Nevertheless, it is good to know that the SA market is coming along… albeit slowly.”

Expensive but worth it


Band said: “This is an expensive technology but research shows that the benefits outweigh the expenses.”

One interactive kiosk's monetary value ranges between R5000 to R40 000.

But while bringing changes can be rewarding, Porter warned: “The odds of a successful roll-out self-service are greatly diminished when it is brought to employees without their input. A major event usually has to happen in order to begin cultural change.”

The two-day 2010 JusTTouchIT conference, which is being hosted 4-5 May with the sponsorship of IBM in partnership with Marketing Mix, has announced that it has reached a cooperation agreement with the KioskCom Self-Service and Expo and Digital Signage Expo which took place last week in Las Vegas, US. The agreement will see the two conferences being merged into one and under a new name, Customer Engagement Technology World.

For more, see: www.justtouchit.co.za, eurokiosks.org and www.onlineaccess.co.za.

About Issa Sikiti da Silva

Issa Sikiti da Silva is a winner of the 2010 SADC Media Awards (print category). He freelances for various media outlets, local and foreign, and has travelled extensively across Africa. His work has been published both in French and English. He used to contribute to Bizcommunity.com as a senior news writer.

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