Panama tourists and residents now have access to 50 kiosks that provide them with free sponsored phone calls thanks to a partnership between Gratifon S.A. and Dell that leverages Dell OEM Solutions' OptiPlex XE PCs and cloud services, said Josh Neland, OEM technology strategist at Dell.
"This is a great example of how kiosks are off-loading into the cloud," he said. "It brings advantages because you can have a more complex infrastructure but with less security issues."
How the kiosks work
Gratifon's voice-over-Internet protocol (VoIP) kiosk connects consumers at tourist locations, hotels, airports, malls and supermarkets to any landline or cell phone. During the conversation, the kiosk displays interactive video advertisements on its full-color screen that also help consumers find restaurants, attractions and lodging. Advertisers benefit by being able to place relevant ads at point-of-sale locations, Oz Yosef, Gratifon CEO, said in a press release.
Why the partnership?
Gratifon needed small, quiet, industrial PCs that would withstand the humid, hot weather of Central America to power its kiosks, Neland said, so the company turned to Dell OEM Solutions' industrial OptiPlex XE PCs, which have an extended three-year lifecycle and can operate in temperatures of more than 110 F.
OptiPlex XE PCs help customers decrease field maintenance costs with component-level stability and standards-based remote management while delivering the performance needed to power quick calls, high definition video and a pleasant user experience.
"As a start-up, technology is key to ensuring that our growing business can thrive," Yosef said in the release. "By leveraging the Dell OEM OptiPlex XEs and cloud services for our kiosks, we were able to cut costs and expand our business in ways we didn't know possible."
Not just hardware
Dell also provided the kiosks with a VMware-based public cloud service offering that provides scalable computing power and storage, eliminating the need for Gratifon to build out its own data center, while delivering simplicity, ease of deployment and a single point of contact for support of the overall solution, Neland said.
The solution combines VMware's cloud software with redundant hardware, power, and cooling to deliver high scalability and reliability. Beyond the software and hardware, Dell's cloud specialists provided configuration assistance and training, as well as ongoing support, through Dell ProSupport to Gratifon.
Dell is no longer solely specializing in hardware; it's OEM Solutions works with customers to help them leverage Dell hardware and services to develop custom projects, Neland said. It provides original equipment manufacturers with customized services, support and technologies that meet their unique specifications. Many fast-growing, innovative companies looking for a tier-one technology provider turn to Dell OEM Solutions as their single, global source for comprehensive, end-to-end design, manufacturing, logistics, supply-chain and support services to help them improve agility and competitive differentiation.
The fact that companies like Gratifon can work with one company, such as Dell, from start to finish on custom projects saves them time and money, Neland said.
"You can negotiate and talk through all of these discussions with one vendor; imagine if you even had two vendors, there's different implications and support needs, and now you have to go negotiate with both," he said. "This is a major advantage."
Gratifon plans to add another 250 kiosks within the next six months in Latin American, but longer-term goals are to roll out about 3,000 kiosks in Colombia, Ecuador, Argentina and Brazil within 12 to 18 months.
Read more about custom kiosks.
Cherryh Butler has been a reporter for nearly 10 years, writing on a variety of topics ranging from the restaurant industry to business and health and fitness news. Before joining FastCasual.com as editor, she oversaw KioskMarketplace.com and PizzaMarketplace.com and contributed to RetailCustomerExperience.com. She's also written for several daily newspapers, magazines and websites, including The Kansas City Star and American Fitness magazine.