The progression and probable life-span of the kiosk industry has opened the door to a discussion with two very different perspectives. Some believe the industry is thriving, relevant and adaptable, even in the face of mobile advances and new technology. Others are not so optimistic, instead seeing the advent of mobile devices as the fundamental downfall of an industry struggling to maintain its significance.
Ron Bowers, a regular blogger and contributor to kioskmarketplace.com, wrote a piece last month that put forth the idea that mobile and kiosk technology will maintain a supportive and synergistic relationship.
Given the increased importance of mobile as a shopping tool and as our "concierge" for other essential tasks, it is natural to ask what this trend means for the future of traditional kiosks. Some have posed the question in headline-grabbing fashion.
It is a very human tendency to evaluate new technologies in a win/lose, either/or fashion given the pace of change. When the Digital Screenmedia Association issued its report 2011 Self-service Future Trends almost a year ago, some industry watchers speculated on the demise of the kiosk with the ascendancy of mobile capabilities. At the time, I pegged the use of kiosks and mobile in combination as an adroit maneuver that could pay off for deployers and provide a better experience for consumers. Over the last year, I've seen plenty of evidence to back that up.
To continue reading Bowers' piece, go here: "Where do kiosks fit in a mobile world."
Ken Lonyai, kiosk hardware and software developer, in response to Bowers, took the flip side and argued that mobile devices will narrow the kiosk field and cull the industry with Darwinian results.
Touchscreen interactive kiosks were first introduced to commercial and retail settings in the 1980s. The relationship showed promise—the kiosks were exciting, futuristic and publicly accessible.
In subsequent years, the concept slowly caught on, but never met its full potential. Problems lingered revolving around identity, reliability, usefulness and user experience.
Clearly, there have been innovative and effective kiosks, but arguably, they have been vastly outnumbered by duds and inconsequential installations. Worldwide, there have been over a million placed in service, but the potential was far greater. Now, the ubiquity of “smart” mobile devices is finally going to cull this industry down to a realistically small size and quickly kill off the worthless kiosks hiding in the shadows, whether Kool-Aid drinking industry players accept it or not.
To continue reading Lonyai's piece, go here: "A harsh reality for kiosks."
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