December 24, 2011

Ottawa says air travel to U.S. to get easier

Canadians with a Nexus card will soon be able to use it to fly to the United States, allowing them to pass through security at airports faster, the federal government said Thursday.

Source Link

Steven Fletcher, minister of state for transport, and other Conservative MPs and ministers held events at airports across the country to remind Canadians about the government's efforts to make air travel easier. They also highlighted changes to baggage screening for travellers to the United States.

BEYOND THE BORDERHighlights from the new Canada-U.S. deal
The Nexus program has been in place for several years and it expedites customs and immigration processing when crossing the Canada-United States border by air, land or sea. In 2010, the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority launched a pilot program at three airports that allowed Nexus cardholders to access designated security screening lines.
The experiment only included domestic and international flights, not those to the United States. Once deemed successful, the special "trusted traveller" lines were set up in eight airports earlier this year.

"And now, thanks to this agreement Canadians travelling to the United States will also be able to use their Nexus cards to expedite screening at eight airports that have pre-screening checkpoints to the United Sates," Fletcher said. The screening lines are considered an additional benefit for Nexus members because they cut down on wait times at security lines.

"These changes will take effect just in time for spring break," he said.

The Nexus program is available at the airports in Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and Winnipeg.

The existing benefits for Nexus members travelling by air to the United States involved using self-serve kiosks instead of standing in line to speak to a border or customs agent in the pre-clearance areas before moving on to the security screening areas. The kiosks have cameras that use iris recognition biometric technology. A touch screen on the machine is then used to answer standard questions.

It costs $50 to apply for membership in the program and a card is valid for five years. Applications must be approved by the Canada Border Services Agency and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. If the eligibility requirements are met, a card will be issued within about six to eight weeks.

"I encourage you to apply now for the Nexus card and soon your passenger screening will be faster for both domestic and US travel," Fletcher said.

The government is hoping to have the expanded program complete by February 2012.

Applicants must be citizens or permanent residents of Canada or the United States and must have lived in the country for three consecutive years. People with a serious criminal record or who have violated immigration, customs or agriculture laws are not eligible.

P.O.V.
What part of air travel causes you the most delay? Take our survey.

Speeding travel between the two countries was one of the key points made by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and U.S. President Barack Obama when they announced a "roadmap" for a new trade and security deal on Dec. 7.

In particular, the framework deal commits the two countries to ending the practice of re-screening baggage already cleared by security at Canadian airports when connecting flights are made in the United States.

Fletcher also highlighted that change Thursday, saying it will be phased in over the next three years.

"Once implemented it will make for a better travel experience, faster and more efficient for those who do business travel on a regular basis across the Canada-United States border," he said.

The border security agreement also promises greater harmonization of Canadian and U.S. security measures, rules to govern the sharing of information, upgrades to border infrastructure and the removal of some cross-border trade barriers.

Posted by CraigKeefner at 09:43 AM

November 21, 2011

Hertz New Check-In Kiosks

Park Ridge, NJ, November 17, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — The Hertz Corporation (NYSE:HTZ), the world’s largest general use airport car rental brand, continues its legacy of innovation with the introduction of high-quality programs that positively impact the customer experience. Innovations include ExpressRent™ kiosks, which is the first large scale kiosk deployment in the U.S. using a live agent assistant via video chat, and express return (eReturn) service options.

HERTZ INNOVATES: EXPRESSRENT(TM) KIOSK AND ERETURN PROGRAMS OFFER FASTER, MORE FLEXIBLE CAR RENTAL EXPERIENCE

“More and more consumers are demanding the convenience of self-service options,” commented Mark P. Frissora, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Hertz Corporation. “By introducing these new innovations, we’re allowing customers to take control of their journey by giving them faster, more flexible options for renting and returning vehicles. In addition, as a company, we’re able to drive greater operational efficiencies while expanding the Hertz network with our ExpressRent™ kiosk program.”

ExpressRent™ Interactive Kiosks

Hertz is the first car rental company to now offer both airport and neighborhood location customers the ability to rent cars through a live, face-to-face video kiosk. Customers using ExpressRent™ kiosks can complete an entire rental transaction while seeing and hearing a live remote rental representative. ExpressRent™ kiosks minimize customer wait times, accept payment with a debit or credit card, validate a customer’s drivers license and print the rental agreement, while providing customers with a full-service experience that can handle any rental need they may have.

Customers can use an ExpressRent™ kiosk with or without an existing reservation. ExpressRent™ kiosks are available in Hertz airport and Hertz Local Edition locations along with partnering auto body shops and hotels. ExpressRent™ kiosks are currently available in more than 30 markets and will be expanded into an additional 18 markets by year end. Hertz will rapidly add ExpressRent™ kiosks throughout its locations in 2012, providing customers with the ability to rent a car from a live representative outside of Hertz locations’ normal operating hours, and in some locations 24 hours, seven days a week.

eReturn

eReturn allows Hertz Gold members to update their profile on Hertz.com – for free – to ensure the fastest car rental drop off ever. The profile updates include selecting the following:

eReceipts: When signing up for Hertz eReceipts, members will automatically receive a PDF version of their receipt sent to the email on their Hertz Gold profile within 30 minutes of Hertz closing their Rental Agreement.
Hertz Fuel Purchase Option: Members who select the Hertz Fuel Purchase Value Option, with rates competitive to local market prices, to automatically purchase a full tank of gas at the start of their rental. They can return the car with the gas at any level.
Hertz Protection Plans: Members choose the Hertz Protection Package that is right for them (“Protect the Car,” “Protect Me,” or “Protect Me, Others and My Stuff”) and drive with confidence.
Once members select and update their Gold Member profiles and agree to the above terms, following their rental, they simply fill in the express return slip on their Rental Agreement, leave it with the keys* and get on their way. Hertz will then email their eReceipt to them within 30 minutes.

*Available at select US airports

ABOUT THE HERTZ CORPORATION
A subsidiary of Hertz Global Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: HTZ), Hertz is the world’s largest general use car rental brand, operating from approximately 8,500 locations in 146 countries worldwide. Hertz is the number one airport car rental brand in the U.S. and at 83 major airports in Europe, operating both corporate and licensee locations in cities and airports in North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. In addition, the Company has licensee locations in cities and airports in Africa and the Middle East. Product and service initiatives such as Hertz #1 Club Gold®, NeverLost® customized, onboard navigation systems, SIRIUS XM Satellite Radio, and unique cars and SUVs offered through the Company’s Collections, set Hertz apart from the competition. Hertz car sharing operates in Berlin, London, Madrid, New York City and Paris. Hertz also operates one of the world’s largest equipment rental businesses, Hertz Equipment Rental Corporation, offering a diverse line of equipment, including tools and supplies, as well as new and used equipment for sale, to customers ranging from major industrial companies to local contractors and consumers from approximately 325 branches in the United States, Canada, China, France and Spain.

To make car rental reservations or for more information, customers can call their travel agent, or call Hertz toll-free at 1-800-654-3131. Information and reservations are also available on the web at www.hertz.com.


HERTZ INNOVATES: EXPRESSRENT(TM) KIOSK AND ERETURN PROGRAMS OFFER FASTER, MORE FLEXIBLE CAR RENTAL EXPERIENCE

Posted by staff at 12:58 PM

July 25, 2011

Checking In -- Probation Kiosks in Annapolis

While praised by small-time offenders like Mitchell as a convenient way to keep the state apprised of their address, the kiosks were pitched yesterday as a way to allow probation agents to spend more time dealing with "high-risk" offenders.

State unveils probation kiosks • Public Record (www.HometownAnnapolis.com - The Capital)

State unveils probation kiosks
New system geared to free agents to deal with high-risk offenders
By SCOTT DAUGHERTY, Staff Writer
Published 07/21/11
Joshua McKerrow — The Capital

Instead of face-to-face meetings with their probation agents, some low-risk offenders will be able to check in on a touch screen like this one at the Annapolis District Court.

Danny Mitchell never really likes checking in with his probation agent.

But thanks to a new computerized kiosk system, the 32-year-old Pasadena resident at least doesn't have to spend very long doing it any more.

"This is perfect. I haven't been here five minutes and I'm already done" Mitchell said yesterday afternoon as he walked out of the Annapolis District Courthouse. Four years ago, it could have taken more than an hour for him to report to his agent, he said.

"By far, this is better," said Mitchell, who in 2004 was convicted of unlawful use of a motor vehicle.

The state's Department of Parole and Probation unveiled the kiosk system yesterday at the Annapolis District Courthouse. The kiosks, which were installed last year in the department's 44 field offices across the state, allow offenders to occasionally check in with their probation agents without a face-to-face appointment.

While praised by small-time offenders like Mitchell as a convenient way to keep the state apprised of their address, the kiosks were pitched yesterday as a way to allow probation agents to spend more time dealing with "high-risk" offenders.

"The hope here is both agents and offenders can save time," said Patricia Vale, acting director of the Department of Parole and Probation.

The kiosks are little more than desktop computers with touch-screen monitors and a handprint reader on which an offender places his hand to confirm his or her identity.

Then, following written prompts that can be displayed in English or Spanish, the offender types in a seven-digit identification code and answers personal questions: Have you been arrested since your last visit? Have you changed your address? Do you want to change your emergency contact? Did you make your last restitution payment?

If an offender types in false answers and his probation agent finds out, he could be punished by a judge.

The system, the installation of which was funded by nearly $440,000 in federal grants, randomly orders some offenders to submit to drug tests. It also allows probation agents to send messages to individual offenders.

At the end of the process, the kiosk prints out a receipt confirming that the offender checked in and notifying him of his next appointment.

Only low-risk offenders - primarily those convicted of traffic and misdemeanor offenses who have proven they can stay out of trouble while on probation - are allowed to use the new kiosks as their primary method of checking in with their agent.

Vale estimated that about 10 percent of the 65,473 people on supervised probation last month in Maryland would qualify.

The kiosks will never replace one-on-one meetings between agents and high-risk offenders, officials said.

"If an offender is having issues, we aren't just going to throw them to the kiosks," said Shaun Rutherford, supervisor of the Anne Arundel County field office.

"By and large, this is a supplement. Most people will be checking in more," added Vale.

The new kiosk system, which uses free software developed by the state of New York, is the department's second foray into computerized monitoring of offenders.

In 2007, the state contracted with a private company to place three kiosks in locations around the state - including one at the Jennifer Road Detention Center.

The old kiosks, unlike the new ones, did not automatically make notations on an offender's record. The old system, which was dismantled last year, cost $115,000 a year, officials said.

The state employs 667 probation agents and is authorized to hire another 58. Each agent supervises about 120 offenders, Vale said.

Mark Vernarelli, spokesman for the state Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, said the vacancies aren't from budget cuts or hiring freezes. He said the department is battling frequent turnover and that a class of 49 new agents is expected to graduate in the next couple of weeks.

The department is actually authorized to employ four more agents this year than in fiscal 2007, according to state numbers.

Judges and criminology professors contacted yesterday by The Capital gave the new kiosks high marks.

While Circuit Court Judge Paul A. Hackner would like agents to have more contact with offenders, he knows that is not possible on current budgets.

"As judges, we recognize the Department of Parole and Probation is going to exercise some discretion," said Hackner, who oversees much of the Anne Arundel County Circuit Court's criminal docket.

He called the kiosks "better than not having someone come in, but not as good as the personal interaction one would get from an actual meeting."

Kiminori Nakamura, an assistant professor of criminology at the University of Maryland, went on to say the kiosks can actually help an offender make the transition from prison to the real world. He said studies have shown that constant meetings between probation agents and low-risk offenders have little or no benefit.

"Meetings can be disruptive to … (the offenders') lifestyles," said Nakamura, explaining that meetings can damage their standing at work and distract them from life goals. "Most of the time, they are doing fine by themselves."

State unveils probation kiosks • Public Record (www.HometownAnnapolis.com - The Capital)


Posted by staff at 03:21 PM

June 24, 2011

Company Profile - Innovative Card Scanning

Card scanning solution for medical cards as well as driver licenses. Software comes in twain and OCR. OCR is complete module that does both DLs and cards. Insurance Card Scanning

Company Profile
Mission Statement
ICS designs, develops and markets electronic document imaging and Optical Character Recognition (OCR) solutions for our clients who are in the medical industry; ranging from a single doctor’s office to an entire enterprise-wide hospital system.

Vision
We strive to become the leader in image acquisition,
manipulation and OCR of identification forms and
medical related documents in the medical industry.
Based on our image and OCR competency,
we plan to expand our operations into the
pharmaceutical market and beyond.

Goals
We set high standards for ourselves
in order to realize our vision. In this respect,
the goals for our solutions are:

To deliver the most accurate Optical Character Recognition (OCR)
To produce the best quality
image and minimum file sizes
To minimize scan times for
cost-efficient results
To build customized solutions to meet
the needs of a diverse range of clients
who may be a single doctor’s office to an
entire enterprise-wide hospital system.

Company History
Innovative Card Scanning, Inc was started in January of 2002 by Dr. Daniel Moulton, F.A.A.P., with the idea of delivering a simple, user-friendly imaging and OCR solution for the medical industry. That simple idea has evolved dramatically and today, Innovative Card Scanning has grown from being a provider of imaging and OCR solutions for localized medical offices to partnering with major medical solution vendors to develop integrated solutions. As we develop our relationship with major medical Practice Management Solutions providers, we continue to seek ways to improve the quality and accuracy of our OCR solutions.

Posted by staff at 01:47 PM

April 04, 2011

Greyhound Hires NCR to Install Self-Service Kiosks

Picture of units picked by Greyhound for their new ticketing initiative. The units are Kinetic units (airline check-in) which is company NCR purchased a few years ago.

Greyhound Lines has chosen NCR Corp. to help it install self-service kiosks to help bus passengers purchase tickets or retrieve tickets they purchased on line. The first bus stations to see the upgrades will be in areas of the Northeast U.S., but the company will eventually deploy 150 throughout the country.

NCR-airline-kiosk-China.jpg

In addition to the kiosks, NCR will also provide technical support for the kiosks. Greyhound select NCR after a competitive pilot program. The bus travel company believes the kiosks will reduce passenger wait times allow employees to spend more time helping customers with more pressing matter.

“The widespread global adoption of self-service in the aviation industry clearly illustrates the traveler’s desire for self-service convenience,” says Theresa Heinz, general manager of NCR Travel. “We believe greater efficiencies and brand loyalty can be derived by extending seamless multi-channel convenience to all modes of travel.”

NCR Corp. is one of the leading providers of self-service travel systems, and is globally recognized for its performance, quality, and all-inclusive support offerings. Its current line of self-service kiosks are used in airlines, cruise lines, car rental agencies, bus lines, and more. NCR installs the products in a variety of environments, including island set-ups, tabletops, ticket counters, podiums, walls, and even outdoors in weather-resistant enclosing.

Full Story

Posted by staff at 11:40 AM

February 22, 2011

World's First Adjustable Patient Check-In Kiosk Unveiled at HIMSS Show

Connected Technology Solutions (CTS) has unveiled the world's first adjustable self-service healthcare kiosk in Booth 3184 at the 2011 HIMSS Conference & Exhibition, the annual tradeshow for healthcare IT professionals in Orlando, Florida.

World's First Adjustable Patient Check-In Kiosk Unveiled at HIMSS Show -- MEQUON, Wis., Feb. 22, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --

The new Patient Passport Express™ kiosk features an interactive touch screen module that moves with a 40" vertical range of screen adjustability, providing unprecedented access, convenience, and usability at a level never seen before in the industry.

View image

Similar to airline check-ins, hospitals and medical facilities are installing automated self-service kiosks to help facilitate the check-in process and increase patient satisfaction. The easy-to-use kiosks save patients time, while increasing efficiencies and reducing overhead expenses for the facilities.

Already over 5 million patients have used CTS Patient Passport Express kiosks to:

Check-in for appointments
Update medical histories
Verify insurance information
Make credit card co-payments and bill payments
Sign documents using an electronic signature pad
Print HIPAA forms and other documents

ADA-compliant, the adjustable Patient Passport Express™ sets a new standard for kiosk functionality. The easy-to-move touch screen is as accessible to a person in a wheelchair as it is to a 6-foot tall person standing, and can be used by vision-impaired, hearing-impaired, or blind individuals, as well as those with limited dexterity. The anti-glare screen allows for use near large windows and skylights.

The new model is also a giant step forward aesthetically for healthcare kiosk design. Incorporating a sophisticated mix of materials and surfaces, the kiosks can be integrated into a facility's existing decor and branding with nearly infinite choices of customized textures and colors. The software and digital interface are also customized for each facility.

"CTS is known for its innovation," said CEO Sandy Nix. "Our engineers and designers are driven to create unequalled user experiences that continue to revolutionize the patient check-in industry."

About Connected Technology Solutions
Founded in 2002, Connected Technology Solutions (CTS) is an award-winning thought leader in branded user experiences that include interactive kiosks, digital signage, displays and retail fixtures, with an extensive roster of clients in the healthcare, retail, hospitality, and transportation industries. The privately-held company is headquartered in Mequon, Wisconsin.
www.connectedts.com


SOURCE Connected Technology Solutions

View image





World's First Adjustable Patient Check-In Kiosk Unveiled at HIMSS Show -- MEQUON, Wis., Feb. 22, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --

Posted by staff at 08:12 AM

January 19, 2011

Ariane Hotel CheckIn Checkout Kiosks worth with Saflok RFID

Fully automated check-in/out system that allows guests to register at a bank of Ariane kiosks in the lobby and go directly to their assigned rooms. Upon guest verification, the kiosk encodes and dispenses an RFID keycard that activates the appropriate Saflok door lock when presented to the card reader. When checking out, guests simply insert their RFID keycard into the card reader on the lobby kiosk to view their folio details and complete the check-out process.

Ariane Systems, the world leader in self-service check-in/out technology for the hospitality industry, today announced the completion of a hardware and software integration with KABA, a leading global supplier of electronic hotel locking solutions. The newly developed integration allows Ariane Systems’ electronic self-service check-in/out kiosks operating on the Allegro software platform to encode, dispense and read RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) keycards that can be used with KABA’s Saflok brand RFID-based locking solutions. Saflok RFID locks utilize secure and reliable read-write technology, which is compatible with widely available MiFare® ISO 14443 credentials. In addition, they are NFC (Near Field Communication) compatible, and meet the most stringent standards in the industry, including ANSI/BHMA Grade 1 certification.

The integration between Ariane Systems’ Allegro online/mobile/kiosk software platform and KABA’s Saflok RFID technology was originally commissioned by Nordic Choice Hotels, specifically for its new Comfort Hotel Xpress brand, which will incorporate the latest self-service technologies into its overall guest operations. The first property to implement the integrated solution, the Comfort Xpress Hotel in Oslo, Norway, opened January 10, 2011 with a fully automated check-in/out system that allows guests to register at a bank of Ariane kiosks in the lobby and go directly to their assigned rooms. Upon guest verification, the kiosk encodes and dispenses an RFID keycard that activates the appropriate Saflok door lock when presented to the card reader. When checking out, guests simply insert their RFID keycard into the card reader on the lobby kiosk to view their folio details and complete the check-out process. Nordic Choice Hotels will expand the use of this technology to several other hotels in the future.

“RFID technology is an ideal enhancement to self-service kiosks, since both technologies are specifically designed to maximize convenience for the guest and operational efficiency for the hotel,” said Kerry Hirschy, senior VP of sales and marketing for KABA Lodging. “A key element of guest service today is ensuring that guests are able to get into their rooms quickly and easily. KABA’s RFID technology is easy to use and compliments Ariane’s self-check-in solutions. Guests simply present their cards to the lock reader to unlock the door.”

Another important benefit of RFID technology is its superior reliability. Unlike, mag-stripe keycards, which can become scratched or demagnetized, RFID keycards are not susceptible to demagnetization, making them extremely dependable and secure.

“As the hotel industry continues to enhance the guest reception process, kiosks and RFID will play a valuable supporting role in maximizing guest satisfaction and convenience,” says Christelle Pigeat, VP of sales for Ariane Systems. “The reliability of the system means that guests never have to go back to the lobby to replace their key card. Both technologies are aligned with the new model of efficiency in the hotel industry, and we are proud to be partnering with one of the leaders in locking technology.”

For more information, please contact Christelle Pigeat at Ariane Systems at +1 (514) 295 5944, or email cpigeat@ariane.com.

About Ariane Systems | Ariane Systems is the world’s leading provider of self check-in / check-out technology solutions for the hospitality industry. Founded in 1998 by Michel Lavandier and Laurent Cardot, Ariane now has over 1,600 installations running at hotel properties in 20 countries. Numerous hotel chains utilize Ariane’s electronic kiosk solutions to streamline the check-in/out process. These include Accor, B&B Hotels, Choice Hotels, Fasthotel, InterContinental Hotels Group and Starwood Capital’s Louvre Hotels, among others. With corporate headquarters based in Paris, France, Ariane Systems maintains regional offices in the UK, Germany, Spain, Benelux, Scandinavia, the Middle East and North America. For more information, please visit www.ariane.com.

About KABA, Saflok | KABA is a globally active, publicly traded security corporation. With its “Total Access” strategy, KABA specializes in integrated solutions for security, organization, and convenience at building and information access points. KABA is also the world market’s number one provider of key blanks, key cutting and coding machines, transponder keys, and high-security locks. It is a leading provider of electronic access systems, locks, master key systems, hotel locking systems, security doors, and automatic doors. www.kaba.com/lodging-products. A market innovator with 30 years of experience designing, manufacturing, and distributing electronic locks and systems, Saflok joined KABA in 2006. Its solutions are installed globally in the hospitality, lodging, multi-housing, and commercial markets. Saflok is committed to delivering best-in-class solutions that help properties achieve improved operations and reduced costs. www.saflok.com

Ariane Systems Completes Integration with KABA RFID Locking Solut

Posted by staff at 12:16 PM

January 05, 2011

HealthCare Medical - Kiosks offer quick applications for insurance

The department in October unveiled a kiosk at the Shiprock Chapter House designed to give clients the ability to apply for or renew their Medicaid or Children's Health Insurance Program coverage.

Kiosks offer quick applications for insurance - Farmington Daily Times

By Alysa Landry The Daily Times
Posted: 01/05/2011 01:57:33 AM MST

SHIPROCK — The state Human Services Department is trying to help all children and families get health insurance.

The department in October unveiled a kiosk at the Shiprock Chapter House designed to give clients the ability to apply for or renew their Medicaid or Children's Health Insurance Program coverage.

The kiosk enables clients to submit applications on-line through a secure server. Clients also can scan and submit all required documents directly from the kiosk.

The documents then are sent to the Human Services Department or Income Support Division for processing.

"By bringing the application process to your community, it is HSD's intent to help all eligible children in the area get the health care coverage they need and deserve," the department stated in a prepared news release.

The state Human Services Department in 2009 was awarded a Children's Health Insurance Program Authorization grant of nearly $1 million. The money allowed the department to install kiosks to boost enrollment in the program.

"The kiosks will be located in schools, community centers and chapter houses, places that are more convenient to apply for services," said Carolyn Ingram, former director of the Medical Assistance Division.
Additional federal funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has helped support the state's costs for the Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program, which has allowed the state to keep covering eligible children without changes at this time, the department stated in its release.

More than 67 percent of those covered are children, former department Secretary Katie Falls said.

"During these difficult economic times we are pleased to serve as the safety net for those families who have lost their jobs and their insurance coverage and give parents the relief of knowing their children will continue to get the health coverage they need and deserve," she said.

To enroll for low- or no-cost health insurance, residents need an original birth certificate or tribal documents, proof of identity, Social Security number, proof of past four weeks of income and proof of other health insurance they may have.

Alysa Landry:
alandry@daily-times.com

Kiosks offer quick applications for insurance - Farmington Daily Times

Posted by staff at 10:55 AM

Healthcare - kiosks revolutionize patient check-in

Nice interview with Stanley Crane of Allscripts and how the kiosks (and remote mobile options) are improving efficiency.

Allscripts kiosks revolutionize patient check-in - SmartPlanet


Last month I went to a doctor’s appointment at George Washington Medical Faculty Associates (MFA) here in D.C. I stepped off the elevator, had my palm scanned at a kiosk, answered a few questions on a touch screen about my insurance and emergency contacts, selected my appointment for the day, paid my co-pay, took my receipt and sat down with a crossword puzzle in the waiting room. How great is that?

I’ve now used the kiosk four times at MFA, a facility that treats about 4,600 patients daily. Most recently, there was a longer line at the kiosk than at the check-in desk, where the receptionists looked bored.

To learn more about these kiosks and the direction we are headed with electronic health, I called Chicago-based Allscripts, which makes the machines, and talked Chief Innovation Officer Stanley Crane. As Crane told me, imagine if our banks operated in the low-tech and arcane way that our health providers do—entering data manually, shying away from computers and never having the right records available. That’s only money, he said. “This is life and death.”

I’ve loved using the kiosks.

That’s a common experience. You get to the airport, you need to check in, and you don’t have any bags to check. Do you want to talk to the agent? Do you want to talk to the teller or just get your money at the ATM? I think we’ve all gotten used to talking to the electronics, and the computer is faster than the human.

Also smarter. It always knows my co-pay, whereas the people behind the desk never seem to know, so they ask me, and I don’t know either. It happens every time.

When I get that question, I like to tell them that they owe me money.

Were these modeled after airport or ATM kiosks, or was this different enough that it had to be built from the ground up?

When we started the project, we had a client from New York who was very concerned about Medicare fraud—patients using one card and passing it around. So they wanted to know what could we do to help them with Medicare fraud.

So it’s a blend of a few things. The first time you sign in, you authenticate yourself. We were thinking about fingerprint readers, but they were not reliable enough when you change devices–from one fingerprint reader to another, we couldn’t tell you were the same person. The palm scan–the vein-reading technology–we see that at about a 10,000-to-one failure rate. It has a much higher rate of detecting the person you are.

The kiosk has a series of questions to ask. Once a year, for example, I want to ask you in the October through December time frame, “Do you want a flu shot?” The kiosk has the capability to ask a series of targeted questions. If you’re male, these questions, if you’re female, other questions. Same with patients of different ages. After the first time you use it, there are fewer questions. Usually if we ask them more than about five questions they have a tendency to drop off.

We want to make it a little easier for you to see the doc and to provide more information to the nurse and the doc so they understand more about your situation before they see you. It puts us in a better position to collect your data if we start collecting it electronically. Also, we find people are more likely to be honest with the machine than with a person. I just went to the doctor, and I had to tell the security guard where I was going. It was just for a cold, but what if I was going to the place for sexual dysfunction or drug rehab?

GW was one of the first to use your kiosks?

GW was one of the first. GW has been an excellent partner– collaborative, opinionated and negotiable.

Who controls the kiosks now—like programming certain questions—them or you?

They do. So if they want to take a question out or add a question, they do it. They could ask, “Have you been exposed to swine flu?” The machines are all the same, but the questions are tailored by the client.

What’s the smart technology that’s used?

It’s a tablet PC, a classic Microsoft windows application, custom built for Allscripts.

The staff told me that they clock in with a fingerprint reader. Is that your system?

You can sign into our applications with a fingerprint reader, but clocking in—that’s not ours.

We’ve enabled biometrics, but the one we haven’t done is the iris reader. I know it, I get it, and I still felt uncomfortable with it: Let me shine this laser in your eye…

Tell me about how the palm reader works.

It’s built by Fujitsu. The PalmSecure technology reads the veins [with a near infrared light]. And the thing about a palm reader versus a fingerprint reader is that someone can cut your hand off, and they can’t use it and pretend to be you. The palm reading won’t work, because the veins aren’t working anymore. It’s a thermal reading of the veins in your hand.

You thought about this?

I did ask that question.

What’s next?

There’s a theme in a lot of what we’re doing. When you think about EHR (electronic health records), you think about a doctor or nurse talking to a computer or tablet. We’re extending the edges of where the EHR reaches: We’re extending it to the waiting room, and we’re extending the boundaries of where that information is available.

It used to be a really hard boundary—you had to be in the clinic or connect VPN (virtual private network) to the clinic. So how do we make it easier ? We’re trying to make sure wherever that point of care is, the information is, and make it easy for the patient to have access to his information.

And for doctors, we should make it electronically easy for them to pick up their smart phone, access your records and know how to treat you. Knowing, for example, when your last tetanus shot was, so [the shot] is not wasted if your shot is current. We give you the tetanus shot if you need it, but we don’t depend on you to remember when your last one was.

It’s breaking down the geographic barrier of where the information is and where it needs to be.

What’s the biggest challenge in moving forward with all this?

I’ll tell you what I think challenges are. In health care in general, I think training is always an issue–helping doctors, nurses, patients do things in a new way.

I think managing is always a challenge.

I think with the new wave of devices like iPads and digital pens, a challenge is figuring out what to do. Given the amazing capabilities of an iPad, what should do to have the biggest impact on health care? Assume we can do anything, what should we do?

I am at Allscripts because I love what we do. We get to be part of creating the type of health care we want.

And what is that?

We need to come up with ways we can use information technology as every other industry uses it today. Borrowing the kiosk to create the same type of efficiency the airlines and banking industries use. And with that, we save healthcare resources.

How do we help orchestrate the data flow between the various physicians? The kiosk is one way. Allscripts Remote (for the Android, iPhone) is another.

Allscripts Referral Network is another way. Our CEO is impatient; he wants to change health care, and wants to change it now. Rather than waiting for a national clearinghouse to exist, how about just connecting the 180,000 physicians who use Allscripts software? We started about a year, ago and it’s coming to fruition now. It’s about moving data around.

So in this respect, health care is far behind other industries.

I joke a lot and draw parallels between finance and health care. Let’s say you move to Chicago and want to open a bank account. You see file folders, they manually create statements, steer away from the Internet and send you a hand-written statement every month. What’s your next move?

I run out of there as fast as I can.

How many doctors’ offices are like that? And that’s only money. This is life and death.

I believe so much in the problem-solving ability of our physicians that if we prime that pump with information, they will find solutions. How do we help that doctor practice medicine more efficiently and effectively? We’re not the magic part; the physician is the magic part.


Allscripts kiosks revolutionize patient check-in - SmartPlanet

How do we help orchestrate the data flow between the various physicians? The kiosk is one way. Allscripts Remote (for the Android, iPhone) is another.

Link to Remote app

Posted by staff at 07:39 AM

January 01, 2011

Solution Provider - Vendor HealthCare Check-In

Solution Provider -- Reptrax is a web driven software service that aids in the credentialing and monitoring of sales/service representatives in healthcare environments.

We provide an effective solution that allows hospitals to enforce their policies throughout their vendor community, and for vendors to maintain compliance with those policies.

Posted by keefner at 08:35 AM

November 18, 2010

Automated check-in coming to Elgin library

ELGIN — The Gail Borden Public Library District is poised to spend about $1 million next year on an automated check-in and sorting system for books, CDs and other materials it loans to patrons.

Automated check-in coming to Elgin library - Courier News

The new 3M Library System, library officials say, will cut down the time employees spend checking in and sorting items and will get materials back into circulation faster.

“We spend approximately 210 people hours per week checking in and broad sorting materials,” library spokeswoman Denise Raleigh said. Those are hours that are not being spent “uplifting the customer’s experience” and could be done by technology, she said.

The system already is being used at the district’s Rakow branch on Bowes Road in Elgin and has allowed the satellite to operate full time with a skeleton staff. In the future, the new system also could mean that fewer people would be needed to run the main library, at North Grove Avenue and Kimball Street.

Specifically, Gail Borden is looking to buy 3M Library Systems’ scanning and sorting equipment — machinery that can check in and sort library materials for re-shelving without human aid.

“We are looking at next fiscal year to do it. We would have loved to have done it this year, but it didn’t fit into our budget,” Raleigh said.

The district expects to know by May whether the purchase will fit into its 2011-2012 budget, she said.

When purchased, the system will use special radio frequency identification (RFID) tags to monitor each of the district’s more than 400,000 items. Machines in the system will be able to check in and sort material for re-shelving.

Circulation explosion

The RFID tags already have been purchased for about 25 cents each, Raleigh said. The tags are small labels containing coiled-up metal antennas similar to the paper-thin security stickers used in retail stores.

Information for each book is stored on the tags, and the automated scanning and sorting equipment reads the information on them.

Under the system, when a patron is finished with a book, for example, that person will deposit the book in a special return area. The material will pass under a machine that will automatically identify the book and identify it on library records as checked in. Then the book will travel down a conveyor belt and be sorted by a machine into a bin that corresponds with the area of the library the book belongs in.

Raleigh said the library district believes that the payback period for the investment will be anywhere from seven to 10 years.

Currently, the library has no plans to lay off employees after the equipment is purchased, but the district “always looks to be efficient,” she said. “If there is an opportunity to save on wages, the plan would be to accomplish that through attrition.”

One of the biggest reasons library officials say the new equipment is needed is an ongoing explosion in circulation.

The total items checked out of Gail Borden each year have rocketed from just over 1 million materials in 2005 to more than 2 million last fiscal year, Raleigh said.

In addition, in January last year, the library estimated that 82 percent of the Elgin community holds a Gail Borden library card — a figure 20 percent higher than 10 years ago.

If circulation continues to increase at such a rate, the employee hours saved by the new equipment might be redeployed to other work, including literally placing books back on the shelves.

Raleigh said that community members have been a huge help with preparing for purchase and implementation of the new system.

“There were 337 RFID volunteer hours in October. Also in October, there were 95 community volunteers who tagged or were on the call list to help, and 71 community volunteers came in every week,” she said.

Area libraries currently using the 3M Library System that Gail Borden is eyeing include the Barrington Area Library, the Palos Heights Public Library and libraries in Des Plaines and Oak Park, Raleigh said.

Automated check-in coming to Elgin library - Courier News

Posted by keefner at 02:49 PM

November 09, 2010

Ariane Systems’ Self-Service Check-in/out Kiosks Installed in 3 Stars Hotel’s First MaxHotel Concept Property

Self-check comes to hotel. Ariane Systems with next generation check-in solution. Process takes 90 seconds. Rooms are prepaid online. Pics of in-wall terminals.

Ariane Systems’ Self-Service Check-in/out Kiosks Installed in 3 Stars Hotel’s First MaxHotel Concept Property

Self-service concept helps hotel group lower operational costs and provide value for guests

PARIS, FRANCE -- Ariane Systems, the world leader in self-service check-in/out technology for the hospitality industry, has announced that their interactive kiosks are being used to facilitate guest self-service check-in and check-out at Belgium-based 3 Stars Hotels’ first MaxHotel concept property in Brussels. Procured through Van Hessen BV, the exclusive distributor of Ariane kiosk solutions in the Benelux region of Europe, the kiosks provide room keys and deliver incoming messages to hotel guests at the new property, which offers 63 brand new, value-priced rooms in a modern, fully redesigned 9-story building on one of the most important boulevard crossings in the center of Brussels.

“3 Stars Hotels created the new MaxHotel concept with the vision of providing guests with the best hotel value in town,” said Olivier Dubois, sales & marketing executive for 3 Stars Hotels. “Our business approach was very clear: “simple + smart comfort = great value.” To make this concept work from a sales perspective, key areas of the hotels’ operation needed to be reviewed. Our first MaxHotel has 63 rooms. Prices vary from 45 to 145 Euros per night depending the seasons and local events. The only way to achieve that low rate was to completely review the hotel functions included in the price. We decided that at MaxHotel, all staff functions would be reduced to a single property attendant. The Ariane kiosks have allowed us to combine staff functions in order to create that level of efficiency.”

At MaxHotel, all reservations are all pre-paid online. When guests arrive at the property, they use the Ariane kiosks to perform an efficient self check-in and receive their room assignment and guestroom keycards, as well as directions and any incoming messages. Since the installation, a reporting module that is included in the kiosk software has shown that 70% of guests at MaxHotel complete the check-out operations in less than 90 seconds.

After checking in. guests proceed directly to their rooms without staff assistance. This provides both convenience and privacy for the guest. In addition, it leaves the hotel attendant free to perform multiple other tasks, and provides significant operational savings for the hotel.

“Travelers today either opt for luxury or for a low budget stay,” said Oliver. “Being a mid-range hotel group, 3 Stars Hotels falls right in between. We’ve been thinking about the future of hospitality, and have realized that the time has come to scale back some common hotel practices to make lodging more efficient as well as more affordable. That is the idea behind our MaxHotel concept brand.”

Being a low cost hotel, however, doesn’t mean offering a low cost environment. All rooms at the MaxHotel in Brussels are brand new, non-smoking, equipped with flat screen TV and WIFI connection, with individual air conditioning and private bathrooms. “Ariane Systems is proud to provide the interactive check in/out kiosks that are helping 3 Stars Hotels and MaxHotel achieve their vision of providing excellent value at affordable rates,” said Laurent Cardot, CEO of Ariane Systems.

For more information, please contact Christelle Pigeat at Ariane Systems at +1 (514) 295 5944, email cpigeat@ariane-systems.com or visit www.ariane-systems.com.

About Ariane Systems | Ariane Systems is the world’s leading provider of self check-in / check-out technology solutions for the hospitality industry. Founded in 1998 by Michel Lavandier and Laurent Cardot, Ariane now has over 1,600 installations running at hotel properties in 20 countries. Numerous hotel chains utilize Ariane’s electronic kiosk solutions to streamline the check-in/out process. These include Accor, B&B Hotels, Choice Hotels, Fasthotel, InterContinental Hotels Group and Starwood Capital’s Louvre Hotels, among others. With corporate headquarters based in Paris, France, Ariane Systems maintains regional offices in the UK, Germany, Spain, Benelux, Scandinavia, the Middle East and North America. For more information, please visit www.ariane-systems.com.

About Van Hessen BV – Netherlands | Founded in 1919 in Rotterdam, Van Hessen BV is the distribution partner for Ariane Systems in the Benelux region, which comprises Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg. Specializing in hotel and catering technology solutions, Van Hessen was the first European MICROS distributor in 1979, and since the merger of MICROS and Fidelio in 1993, has been the premier distributor of MICROS-Fidelio solutions in Benelux. With over 300 hotels and 1000 restaurants installed with MICROS products, Van Hessen is the leading hospitality solutions provider for the region. For more information please visit www.vanhessen.bv.
MARKETPLACE
CLICK HERE to learn more about Ariane Systems

TAGS
olivier dubois, interactive kiosks, benelux region, kiosk solutions, kiosk software, staff functions, hotel value, hospitality industry, room assignment, room keys, business approach, staff assistance, self check, incoming messages, hotel guests, ariane, paris france, bes

CONTACT
Andrea Roland
Phone: 407-905-0608
Email: andrea@planapr.com

ORGANIZATION
Ariane Systems
www.ariane-systems.com
35, rue Victor Hugo
Pantin cedex , 93695
France
Phone: +1 438 380 7454
Email: sales@ariane-systems.com

RECENT NEWS
Ariane Systems Joins Forces With OpenWays to Offer World’s First Fully Automated Hotel Check-in/out Solution
Tuesday 2 November 2010
Ariane Systems Assembles Technical Advisory Board to Guide Development of Next Generation Check-in/Out Technologies
Thursday 23 September 2010
Ariane Systems Surpasses $5 Billion in Guest Transactions Completed Through Self-Service Kiosk Solution Worldwide


Ariane Systems’ Self-Service Check-in/out Kiosks Installed in 3 Stars Hotel’s First MaxHotel Concept Property

Posted by keefner at 07:27 AM

August 26, 2010

$5 Billion in Guest Transactions Completed Through Self-Service Kiosk Solution

Ariance exceeds $5B in check-in from its +1600 kiosks at hotels in 20 countries. Some metrics include overall satisfaction was significantly higher among guests who were able to check in within five minutes or less. For Ariane - 73% finalized their check-out (including payment) in less than 50 seconds.

Ariane Systems Surpasses Billion in Guest Transactions Complet

Ariane Systems, the worldwide leader in self-service check-in / check-out kiosk technology for the hospitality industry, today announced that hotel self-service guest transactions completed through their integrated check-in/out system for hotels have topped the $5 billion mark worldwide. The milestone was documented through Ariane’s elaborate statistics module that is included with the company’s Allegro software package, and comprises data from worldwide sales transacted across more than 1,600 kiosks installed at hotel properties in 20 countries globally.

The Allegro statistics module provides valuable financial data to Ariane’s hotel clients through a password-protected interface, including event tracking and documentation of all guest transactions. Depending on how the filters are applied, the system will automatically extract the data in real time, and will allow it to be sorted by site, brand, property type (franchisee, managed, owned), region and country. The information is then compiled into standardized charts and graphics which represent the details behind the guest’s self-service experience.

“Reaching $5 billion in kiosk transactions is not only an important landmark for us as a company, but a critical indicator of a global trend toward increased self-service and technology-assisted services in the hotel industry,” said Laurent Cardot, CEO of Ariane Systems. “As this trend has accelerated within other industries such as banking and travel services, including airlines, the general consumer is becoming increasingly comfortable with how much quicker and more convenient their everyday transactions can be utilizing self-service solutions. We expect hotels to continue their adoption of electronic kiosks and other advanced self-service options, in order to maximize guest comfort and convenience, as well as their overall operational efficiency.”

Additional data gathered from the kiosks during the first half of 2010 indicates that 75% of hotel guests completed their check-in process using the Ariane self check-in/out kiosk in less than five minutes, of which 43% in less than 2 minutes. 73% finalized their check-out (including payment) in less than 50 seconds.

A recent research study completed by Cornell University School of Hotel Administration’s Center for Hospitality Research examined key operational and performance indicators needed to improve hotel guest satisfaction, presenting evidence that utilizing self-service solutions to reduce check-in time yields a measurable financial return on investment. According to the report, continuous metrics can be analyzed to determine where the optimal break point is relative to guest satisfaction. When they examined the amount of time required to check-in as it relates to the Guest Satisfaction Index, they concluded that the break point was five minutes (or less). That is, overall satisfaction was significantly higher among guests who were able to check in within five minutes or less, whereas overall satisfaction was significantly less among guests who reported that their check-in time was greater than five minutes. More than one-half of “Delighted” guests (58%) reported checking in within five minutes, compared with less than one-third of “Dissatisfied” guests (32%).

“For the last 12 years, Ariane Systems’ core business has been helping hotels to improve guest satisfaction by providing a secure, yet guest-friendly and inviting experience through our self check in/out solution,” said Cardot. “The guest interface has been specifically designed to be extremely intuitive, making each transaction quicker and easier for the guest, and therefore providing increased efficiency of the check-in and check-out process for the hotel. Our ability to track each transaction has allowed us to continue refining our solution, and has contributed to our rapid growth and expansion in the market.”

By leveraging an extensive set of deployment and support services, as well as numerous business partner relationships, Ariane has developed what is considered by many to be the best-in-class self-service solution for hotel check-in/out. Ariane incorporates top-tier business-class hardware components, software and warranties designed to minimize downtime and maximize the guest experience, while reducing operational support costs.
For more information, please visit www.ariane-systems.com.

About Ariane Systems
Ariane Systems is the world’s leading provider of self check-in / check-out technology solutions for the hospitality industry. Founded in 1998 by Michel Lavandier and Laurent Cardot, Ariane now has over 1,600 installations running at hotel properties in 20 countries. Numerous hotel chains utilize Ariane’s electronic kiosk solutions to streamline the check-in/out process. These include Accor, B&B, Choice Hotels, Fasthotel, InterContinental Hotels Group, and Louvre Hotels (Starwood Capital), among others. With corporate headquarters based in Paris, France, Ariane Systems maintains regional offices in the U.K., Germany, Spain, Benelux, Scandinavia, the Middle East and North America. For more information, please visit www.ariane-systems.com.

Posted by staff at 09:37 AM

September 21, 2009

Airport Check-In: Global Entry Deployed at McCarran

Story by Las Vegas Channel 8 on new kiosks for Global Entry put in McCarran. Includes a two minute video of the actual deployed kiosks and customers using them.

New Kiosk Allows Faster Times at Customs

Updated: Sep 16, 2009 8:33 PM MDT
Video adn story

New Kiosk Allows Faster Times at Customs

The lines at customs at McCarran International Airport can often make for a long wait.

U.S. customs agent Debbie Sanders oversees customs at McCarran where a new system will allow frequent, low risk travelers the chance to by pass wait times. "They go online, apply for the program and pay a fee. Their information is vetted into our system and they will receive a conditional approval," she said.

Travelers wanting to use the new system must also meet face to face with a customs agent to get final approval.

McCarran Airport says just because it's a speedy process does not mean everyone will be cleared.

"This does not lessen what's already happening. What it does do is provide a much more thorough way of getting people through the system," said Rosemary Vassiliadis with McCarran.

It's a system that keeps safety at the top of the list. "Every time a passenger uses a kiosk, we are doing a background check on that transaction. There is also some internal security features that help us insure we don't have anyone bypassing the system of misusing the system," said Carlos Martel with Customs & Border Protection.

McCarran will only have one kiosk, but if international travel increases, more could be allocated to help handle the increased traffic.

The program requires travelers to pay a non-refundable $100 application fee. This program is open to all U.S. citizens and those with green cards.

Posted by staff at 08:56 AM

June 18, 2009

The End of the Kiosk in Airline Self-Service?

Feature article on gokiosk.net on the death of the kiosk in the airline industry (and the new functions it starts to provide to stay necessary). Interviews of Doug Godard with WestJet along with Jared Miller of Continental Airlines. click here to read more. Be sure and check out the story on Tokenization and PCI while there. That came out of nice exchange on the PCI DSS group up on LinkedIn.

Posted by staff at 03:31 PM

May 01, 2009

Healthcare Kiosk and Security in one kiosk

fujitsu.jpgFujitsu, partnering with Allscripts, recently introduced the Allscripts Patient Kiosk, a revolutionary way for health care patients to confirm their identities. The kiosk allows individuals to rest their palm above a reader where an infrared light scans their palm and reads the vein mapping or patterns in the hand.

Security in the Palm of Your Hand
April 29, 2009
by Sean Ruck, Editor-In-Chief
Fujitsu Limited's recent product release may seem like science fiction, but it's firmly based in reality.

Fujitsu, partnering with Allscripts, recently introduced the Allscripts Patient Kiosk, a revolutionary way for health care patients to confirm their identities. The kiosk allows individuals to rest their palm above a reader where an infrared light scans their palm and reads the vein mapping or patterns in the hand. The reader is quick, painless and simple to use. Fujitsu built upon their Palm Secure technology to bring this product to market. More accurate than fingerprint scans and more inviting than retinal scans, this may be the future of patient identity verification.

allscripts.jpg

New patients will still need to fill-out or type-in their vital information, but once that information is matched with their biometric template, they will be able to quickly check-in for procedures without having to complete paperwork each time or worry about the security of that filled-out paperwork.

Currently, three major U.S. hospital groups are using the Palm Secure technology for their patient records. However, Springfield Clinic, is the first to use the self-service kiosk.

Larger Image

"Physician practices are always on the lookout for ways to lower costs while improving patient satisfaction, and the Allscripts Patient Kiosk is the answer," said James Hewitt, Chief Information Officer of Springfield Clinic, a 260-provider multi-specialty physician group with 24 locations in Springfield, Ill. and the surrounding 14 counties. "Patients love the kiosk because they are in control." Springfield, who co-developed the health care solution with Allscripts to work on the medical kiosk from Fujitsu, will be deploying 50 of the kiosks this quarter.

Beyond just health care, the Palm Secure technology also serves as a method to prevent physical access into an area as well. Fujitsu currently uses it in their headquarters to prevent access by unauthorized individuals into restricted areas. There has also been interest by companies looking to bring an added layer of security to their properties.

Posted by staff at 07:47 AM

January 30, 2009

Kiosk Case Study - Kiosks speed room check in enabling self-service for electronic keys

onity_kiosk_small.gifOnity, a global provider of electronic locking solutions, has taken self serve to the next level. Returning college students don’t have to go to the school’s office to get their new room assignments. If they have a current student ID card, they simply stop by a kiosk and self-register. Onity is also a major player in Hotels, Resorts and Military installations.

Source link

“Check-in historically has involved a lot of time-consuming, one-on-one interaction, with almost every new and returning resident,” says Anthony Zamora, head of IT support for the University of San Diego. Students checking in at the university have stood in line for up to three hours, says Zamora. With the Onity kiosks, wait time has been reduced by more than 50%.

Ron Kandcer, Onity’s national sales manager, says the company introduced the kiosks in 2003. “We wanted to give universities the flexibility of not having students stand in line for check in.”

He says that any returning student with an ID card can go right to kiosk screen, insert his ID card, which will then be read, updated and encoded with the new information for his room.

Even if the electronic door locks have PIN pads, students can, with the kiosk, choose their own four digit PINs. We can assign a generic code at beginning of the semester but students are required to go to the kiosk and change their PIN within about two weeks,” says Kandcer.

The software-based access control system uses standalone battery operated locks. “The software enables us to have real-time control over many of the doors,” says Kandcer. “You can update online doors right now. If someone breaks in, a roving officer can be sent an alarm via a cell phone or PDA.

At first Onity was using its hotel room locks on campus, but they didn’t work out, says Kandcer. “Colleges needed something more advanced. You have college students who come in with long-term stays or multiple students sharing one room so if one person lost his card, it wouldn’t affect another.”

Another feature of the system is the way it handles master keys, or those used by campus security. “You want to make sure that card is in the right hands, so you can set up a parameter that the card needs to be checked in every so often at a kiosk. If they don’t validate, the card won’t be valid anymore,” says Kandcer. So if a master key is lost or stolen, “your period of vulnerability is limited. Most universities have that set up weekly.”

Onity Kiosks also feature customization options, such as Internet access that provide users with campus and community information, university resources, weather, news, restaurants and maps.

Duluth, Ga.-based Onity, part of UTC Fire & Security, a unit of United Technologies, is in 185 colleges worldwide and has R&D and manufacturing operations in Spain, Mexico, China and the U.S.

For more information visit Onity website

Editors Note: the kiosk supplier for Onity in these pictures is Kiosk Information Systems located in Colorado.





Posted by staff at 07:58 AM

December 11, 2008

Car Rental Check In Kiosk - Dollar Thrifty

A bit unusual but today Dollar Thrifty "reported on kiosk initiative". In 15 years that's maybe 2nd or 3rd time we've seen that. Hard to imagine it is not related to current economic conditions with a bit of spin. Interesting to note it was $4.3 million to write off costs relating to the program.

TULSA, Okla., Dec 09, 2008 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ -- Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group, Inc. (DTG:1.20, -0.06, -4.8%) today reported that it will suspend its pilot program relating to the development of self-service kiosks for use by customers in rental transactions. The Company expects to record a non-cash pre-tax charge of $4.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2008 to write off all costs relating to the program.

"While we were pleased with some aspects of the pilot program that we implemented in April 2008 at our Houston location, we have concluded that the use of kiosks in the customer service experience reduced our interaction with the customer, detracting from the high level of personal service that our customers have come to expect from us. Additionally, the pilot project did not satisfy our minimum return on invested capital, thus we concluded that continued full-scale development of self-service kiosk was not in our shareholders' best interest," said Scott L. Thompson, President and Chief Executive Officer.

About Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group, Inc.

Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group, Inc. is a Fortune 1000 Company headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Driven by the mission "Value Every Time," the Company's brands, Dollar Rent A Car and Thrifty Car Rental, serve value-conscious travelers in approximately 70 countries. Dollar and Thrifty have over 800 corporate and franchised locations in the United States and Canada, operating in virtually all of the top U.S. and Canadian airport markets. The Company's approximately 7,000 employees are located mainly in North America, but global service capabilities exist through an expanding international franchise network. For additional information, visit www.dtag.com.
This press release contains "forward-looking statements" about our expectations, plans and performance. These statements do not guarantee future performance and Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group, Inc. assumes no obligation to update them. Risks and uncertainties that could materially affect future results are detailed in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, such as its annual and quarterly reports and current reports on Form 8-K.
SOURCE Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group, Inc.

Posted by staff at 10:47 AM

July 04, 2008

Check-in kiosks decrease check-in time in colleges, universities

Follow up story on Onity check-in kiosks. "Americans lose up to one hour per day waiting in line, which increases the pressure to boost productivity through multitasking. " [kiosk photo]

Students at colleges and universities are experiencing the same phenomenon, causing campuses to seek applications that increase convenience – including a more efficient check-in, an often exhausting process that can overwhelm staff and students alike.

“Check-in historically has involved a lot of time-consuming, one-on-one interaction, with almost every new and returning resident,” says Anthony Zamora, Head of IT support for the University of San Diego (USD).

“This can be a long and arduous process with the potential for mistakes and a stressful process for our students and staff.”

Students checking in at USD have stood in line for up to three hours, according to Anthony Zamora, but the problem is not limited to San Diego.

Institutions nationwide have sought to evolve check-in procedures with customisable solutions that can effectively support students and staff throughout the year.

In 2000, after having Onity Integra locks installed on campus for approximately one year, Carnegie Mellon University approached Onity about installing an Integra Kiosk, so that students and workers could independently change the PINs for their key cards.

Onity, provider of electronic locking solutions, is part of UTC Fire & Security, a unit of United Technologies. The first Integra Kiosk, which was located outside of the Housing Office, quickly gained recognition.

Onity developed a Kiosk that allowed students and workers to encode their own ID cards for residence hall access. Since that first installation, Onity has helped schools of all sizes manage the procedure more conveniently.

The Onity Integra Kiosk affords the option for students and faculty to encode and activate their ID cards without the supervision of a personnel member and it permits users to change their personal identification number PIN) as frequently as they want, at any time of the day or night.

The University of San Diego (USD) found that the Integra Kiosk decreased the University’s check-in wait times by more than 50%.

“Students appreciate that ID cards are created and pre-encoded when they arrive, so it cuts waiting in line to as little as 30 minutes,” Anthony Zamora says.

“They also have the freedom and option to customize their cards using the Kiosks throughout the year – greatly improving our check-in process,” says Anthony Zamora.

Integra Kiosk features:

* Flexible ISO track data management
* PIN change at Kiosk
* Convenient access – 24 hours a day, seven days a week
* Recharging station for Security Plus users
* Key/ID card update at Kiosk
* Touch-screen operation
* Customisable for each campus
* Available in desktop or console cabinet

Benefits students and staff
With busy schedules among both students and housing staff, it could often be difficult for students to receive assistance when they needed it, particularly during non-office hours.

According to Stan Duci, Director of customer service for Northeastern’s Facilities Division, their students no longer needs to meet with housing staff for their room assignments.

“The Onity Kiosks have decreased check-in time significantly. And while the Kiosks are great for students, our staff love them too because they can be utilized at any time of the day.”

“The Kiosks save the students a lot of time and hassle,” says Dan Yanna, Director of facilities for Shepherd. Shepherd University, located in Shepherd, W. Va., started using Kiosks in 2004 and plans to add more to the five already utilized on campus.

In addition to convenience, Onity Kiosks also feature customisation options, such as Internet access that provide users with campus and community information, university resources, weather, news, restaurants and maps.

Onity kiosks decrease check-in time in colleges, universities

Posted by staff at 08:49 AM

July 01, 2008

Hertz Launches 10-Minute Check-In Guarantee

Hertz (NYSE: HTZ), the number one airport car rental brand in the U.S., today announced the launch of a Self-Service Express Check-in program to get customers on their way in 10 minutes or less, guaranteed.

Beginning July 1, and available at the 50 largest airport locations in the U.S., customers who, having reserved a Hertz rental, start the check-in process online at Hertz.com and then take advantage of Self-Service Express Kiosks and/or Express Counters at participating Hertz locations to decrease the time they wait in line, can maximize their vacation or business time.

As part of its customer commitment, Hertz is standing behind the 10-minute guarantee with a $50 credit toward a current or future Hertz rental for customers who checked in online, and then, after arriving on the kiosk or Express Counter line at any of the 50 participating locations, were not on their way within 10 minutes.

"According to our research and customer feedback, renters would rather complete the reservation process online from the comfort of their home or office rather than wait in another long line at the airport," said Mark P. Frissora, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for The Hertz Corporation. "The 10-minute guarantee reflects our commitment to help reduce the 'hassle factor' for travelers by making their car rental experience simpler and faster," he added.

Currently, of the 50 Hertz Rent a Car airport locations participating in the 10-minute guarantee program, 28 locations are equipped with the new Self-Service Express Kiosks and 22 locations are equipped with Express Counters. The Company's #1 Club Gold members will continue to bypass the rental counter and kiosks entirely and proceed directly to their vehicles because their check-in process has been completed in advance.

For more information about the new online check-in guarantee, travelers can go to Hertz.com. Once Hertz customers have booked their rental from any source, they can stay on or proceed to Hertz.com, and click on the Online Check-In tab on the home page, enter their Confirmation Number and start the simple check-in process.

The Hertz Corporation, a subsidiary of Hertz Global Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: HTZ), is the world's largest general use car rental brand, operating from approximately 8,100 locations in 147 countries worldwide. Hertz is the number one airport car rental brand in the U.S. and at 69 major airports in Europe, operating both corporate and licensee locations in cities and airports in North America, Europe, Latin America, Australia and New Zealand. In addition, the Company has licensee locations in cities and airports in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Product and service initiatives such as Hertz #1 Club Gold®, Hertz NeverLost® customized, onboard navigation systems, SIRIUS Satellite Radio, and unique cars and SUVs offered through the Company's Prestige, Fun and Green Collections, set Hertz apart from the competition. Hertz also operates one of the world's largest equipment rental businesses, Hertz Equipment Rental Corporation (www.hertzequip.com), offering a diverse line of equipment, including tools and supplies, as well as new and used equipment for sale, to customers ranging from major industrial companies to local contractors and consumers through more than 360 branches in the United States, Canada, France and Spain.

source link



BR>

Posted by staff at 10:20 AM

June 23, 2008

Case Study - Travel and Registered Traveler Kiosks

HERE’S the hope: You pay nearly $100 and undergo a background check to become a Registered Traveler. Then you zip through airport security.

Here’s the truth: You may save time, but you’ll still have the hassle because many features of this new program don’t yet work. And that raises this question: Is Registered Traveler ready for prime time?


Source link

By Jane Engle
February 11, 2007

Is the fast lane stuck in slo-mo?

By Jane Engle
February 11, 2007

HERE’S the hope: You pay nearly $100 and undergo a background check to become a Registered Traveler. Then you zip through airport security.

Here’s the truth: You may save time, but you’ll still have the hassle because many features of this new program don’t yet work. And that raises this question: Is Registered Traveler ready for prime time?

My experience in San Jose, six days after the program made its West Coast debut on Jan. 23, suggests it’s not – at least not yet.

On my visit, special lanes for Registered Travelers were open for business. But no one was using them because the enrollees were still waiting for access cards.

Check-in kiosks to prescreen members were open too. But the shoe scanners and explosives detectors weren’t activated, so members had to go through the same security process as everyone else, removing coats and shoes and taking laptops out of bags.

Karla May, a hardware engineer from Hermosa Beach, spoke for many fliers I interviewed that day in this laptop-lugging, Blackberry-tapping transit hub of the Silicon Valley.

“It doesn’t sound like they have their act together,” said May, who flies about twice a month on business and said she was not interested in signing up for Registered Traveler.

The much-delayed program, overseen by the Transportation Security Administration but run by private vendors, is going nationwide after 18 months of testing in Orlando, Fla. It is enrolling thousands of members – more than 3,000 in San Jose alone as of last week – and gaining momentum, but problems also abound. Among them:

* Card delays. In San Jose, an encryption glitch in processing applications delayed delivery of enrollees’ cards, which they need to log onto the kiosks, said Steven Brill, who heads Verified Identity Pass Inc. in New York, a start-up company that runs the program in Orlando, San Jose and several other cities. (Enrollees have since begun receiving cards.)

Meanwhile, in Orlando, more than 30,000 members are being issued new cards because the old ones wouldn’t work at other airports.

* Limited availability. As of last week, only airports in Cincinnati, Indianapolis, New York (JFK), Orlando and San Jose operated Registered Traveler; Newark, N.J., was starting enrollment. At some sites, not all terminals participate.

* Industry opposition. The Air Transport Assn., an airline trade group in Washington, D.C., that once advocated Registered Traveler, now says the program diverts limited TSA resources from more broadly focused screening efforts. The association has lobbied airports against adopting it.

LAX is among the sites that have held off implementing the program. Airport officials have cited the transport association’s arguments and a lack of space for new checkpoint lanes.

* Privacy concerns. The American Civil Liberties Union sees “substantial privacy and civil liberties problems” with Registered Traveler, said Timothy Sparapani, the group’s legislative counsel for privacy rights. He said the program might rely on flawed databases to evaluate applicants.

The TSA has said it will keep the data secure and provide a system for applicants to resolve disputes over eligibility.

* Customer confusion. Most of the nine San Jose fliers I interviewed about the program had only a vague idea of what it was.

“It’s not very well advertised,” said Dan Spencer, who lives outside Denver and travels every six weeks as a sales representative for an electronics manufacturer.

And each Registered Traveler vendor assigns its own name to the program, adding to the obscurity. Verified Identity Pass Inc. calls it Clear (www.flyclear.com). Unisys, a technology company in Blue Bell, Pa., that plans to launch its version by mid-March at Nevada’s Reno-Tahoe airport, calls it rtGO (www.rtgocard.com).

Some fliers said they either quickly navigated security without special access or had adapted to the hassle.

“If you travel five days a week, you know the game,” said Jay Seggetti, a Santa Monica producer of TV commercials who said his work takes him away from home about 20 days per month.

“I can spot the line that’s going to have problems.”

Other regulars, such as David Sapoznikow, a market researcher from Seattle, said their elite frequent flier status already entitled them to use special security lines at some airports.

But a couple of San Jose travelers expressed enthusiasm after I described the program.

“I’d sign up for it in a heartbeat,” said Kurt Richarz, a technology salesman from Boulder, Colo., who flies twice a week. “If you save 30 or 40 minutes, it’s worth it.”

Big companies are looking into it too, at least for key employees. While I was at the airport, a representative of Google was touring the Clear kiosks.

Caleb Tiller, spokesman for the National Business Travel Assn. in Alexandria, Va., which represents about 2,700 corporate travel managers and providers, said demand for the program had been “really high” in Orlando.

Dismissing start-up glitches as “hiccups on the way,” Tiller predicted that hundreds of thousands of travelers would eventually sign up as the program spread to more airports, making it “exponentially more valuable.”

In an interview, Brill of Verified Identity Pass Inc. defended his decision to roll out Registered Traveler before all the technology was approved.

“If you build a house,” he said, “wouldn’t you install the Internet lines before you get a computer?”

He added that his company was working closely with the TSA to obtain needed clearances.

“Our goal is to keep adding to the steps that people don’t have to take to get through security,” he said.

Meanwhile, program members in Orlando, where Monday morning waits at regular TSA checkpoints recently averaged less than 15 minutes but ranged up to 37 minutes, can rely on clearing security in one to five minutes, Brill said.

Predictability is the key, he added.

In the future, he said, Registered Travelers should be able to skip some security steps too. Among them:

* Removing shoes. When members sign on to program kiosks in Orlando, detectors scan their shoes for explosives and weapons, allowing most to keep them on.

But about a third are flagged to remove their footwear anyway, Brill said, because the metal detectors cannot distinguish between weapons and harmless shoe components. Until this problem is fixed, the detectors are turned on only in Orlando, he said.

* Removing coats. A kiosk device called an Itemiser FX, designed to detect trace explosives on fingers, was undergoing “final calibration and testing” in TSA’s laboratories, Brill said. When approved, it should clear Registered Travelers to keep their outer garments on.

* Taking laptops out of bags. Verified Identity Pass has plans to calibrate kiosk equipment to remotely evaluate laptop computers and briefcases for security threats.

When will these wonders materialize?

Brill estimated several weeks for the Itemiser FX and the next-generation shoe scanner and up to a year for the laptop scanner, depending how TSA testing proceeds.

“They make the security decisions,” he said. “We don’t.”

TSA spokesman Nico Melendez declined to provide a timetable.

“We don’t get into dates or time frames,” he said. “We don’t want to mislead companies or set up false expectations for customers.”

Here in Silicon Valley, which may be the least technophobic spot on the planet, travelers are still waiting for answers.

jane.engle@latimes.com

*

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)

Express lane

Under the new screening system, Registered Travelers go through security in designated lanes, using prescreening kiosks. In theory, this will mean shorter waits.

The process

1) Registered Traveler enters separate security lane, shows ID, member card and boarding pass.

2) He or she walks to kiosk, inserts a member card and places finger on reader or looks into iris camera.

3) Machine confirms identity, does preliminary checks.

4) Traveler takes receipt and gives to a “concierge.”

5) Concierge guides traveler through usual TSA screening, which would be streamlined if kiosk has already prescreened for weapons and explosives.

Note: The process may vary by airport and kiosk vendor. As of the Travel section’s deadline Tuesday, implementation of some features was pending TSA approval.

Source: Verified Identity Pass Inc. Graphics reporting by Jane Engle


Posted by staff at 11:45 AM

June 20, 2008

Kiosk Case Study - Student Check-In at Universities

onity_kiosk_120.jpgIn the Education market, the functional "check-in kiosk" for students is proving its value and worth. Pictures included.


Onity Kiosk helps universities cut to front-of-the-line efficiency
Monday, June 16 2008

Waiting in line is like a rite of passage for college students. Long lines, rather for housing registration, changing classes or obtaining food are many times unavoidable. One company is seeking to change that, at least when it involves housing.

"Check-in historically has involved a lot of time-consuming, one-on-one interaction, with almost every new and returning resident," says Anthony Zamora, head of IT support for the University of San Diego (USD).

"This can be a long and arduous process with the potential for mistakes and a stressful process for our students and staff."

Students checking in at USD have stood in line for up to three hours, according to Zamora, but the problem isn't unique to San Diego. Institutions nationwide have sought to evolve check-in procedures with customizable solutions that can effectively support students and staff throughout the year.

Enter Onity, a global provider of electronic locking solutions, which developed a self-serve kiosk that can be placed on college campuses to allow students and workers to independently change the PINs for their residence hall access key cards. The Onity Integra Kiosk also allows students and faculty to encode and activate their ID cards without the supervision of a personnel member at any time of the day or night.

The University of San Diego found that the Integra Kiosk decreased the University's check-in wait times by more than 50 percent.

onity_kiosk.jpg

"Students appreciate that ID cards are created and pre-encoded when they arrive, so it cuts waiting in line to as little as 30 minutes," Zamora says. "They also have the freedom and option to customize their cards using the Kiosks throughout the year – greatly improving
our check-in process."

According to Stan Duci, director of customer service for Northeastern's Facilities Division, Boston, Mass., their students no longer need to meet with housing staff for their room assignments. "The Onity Kiosks have decreased check-in time significantly. And while the Kiosks are great for students, our staff love them too because they can be utilized at any time of the day."

"The Kiosks save the students a lot of time and hassle," adds Dan Yanna, director of facilities for Shepherd University, Shepherd, W. Va.. It started using Kiosks in 2004 and plans to add more to the five already located on campus.

In addition to convenience, Onity Kiosks also feature customization options, such as Internet access that provide users with campus and community information, university resources, weather, news, restaurants and maps.

Onity, headquartered in Duluth, Ga., also has R&D and manufacturing operations in Spain, Mexico, China, and the U.S., as well as an extensive sales and service network that span more than 115 countries around the globe. For further information about Onity's electronic solutions visit www.onity.com.




Onity Integra 3 Customizable Kiosk



Onity’s Integra 5 Customizable Kiosk**

Eliminate long lines and hours at the Housing or One Card. First in the Education industry for off-line locks, designed for self-service by students and staff.
Features

* Flexible ISO track data management
* PIN change at kiosk
* Recharging station for Security PLUS user cards
* Key/ID card update at kiosk
* Customizable for your campus
* Kiosk may be controlled by keyboard, mouse or touchscreen


To request more information from Onity on this solution click here








Posted by staff at 09:31 AM

June 17, 2008

New Hotel Check-In solution from NCR

NCR-XpressPort-100.jpgAUSTIN, Texas – NCR Corporation (NYSE: NCR) today unveiled its newly designed NCR XpressPort, a sophisticated and modular hotel check-in kiosk designed to meet consumer demand for self-service convenience in a high-touch environment.


Hyatt Hotels and Resorts is among the first premier hotel chains to deploy the new NCR XpressPort kiosks as part of its overall lobby redesign moving forward. Integrated into the registration counter, the kiosks have made an immediate impact on customer satisfaction.

“Hyatt guest usage grew to 30 percent within the first two weeks of implementing NCR self-service kiosks,” said Lance Marrin, Corporate Director of Rooms for Hyatt Hotels Corporation. “Since then we’ve seen a direct correlation between our properties with multiple kiosks and guest service scores. Clearly the growing consumer expectation for self-service options, combined with the integrated design, has proved to be a winning combination for Hyatt.”

On display this week at the 2008 Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition & Conference (HITEC) in Austin, Texas, the NCR XpressPort kiosk is part of NCR Xpress Hotel, a self-service solution that allows guests to perform a number of tasks, such as check in and out, print room keys, locate and modify reservations, and view and print messages. To make it easier for guests to locate amenities around a hotel property, such as identifying the best route to a guest room, pool, hotel restaurant or other services, NCR Xpress Hotel also features optional interactive wayfinding functionality.


NCR-XpressPort-500.jpg

The sleek and flexible NCR XpressPort features a 17-inch touchscreen interface as well as a signature capture module to facilitate transactions during a guest’s stay. Its simple-to-use, modular design can be either freestanding or configured to complement any hotel lobby layout.

“For many travelers, the best service is self-service,” said Tania Ladic, NCR vice president of Travel Industry Marketing. “Studies show that increasingly, consumers are expecting the convenience of self-service as part of their travel experience. Hotels and resorts that incorporate self-service options as part of their high-touch strategy will be best prepared to satisfy their guests.”

A recent study conducted for NCR by Buzzback Market Research revealed that 86 percent of U.S. and Canadian consumers are more likely to do business with a company that offers the flexibility to interact using self-service. Moreover, 66 percent of survey respondents said the availability of self-service technologies creates a more positive perception of the deployer’s brand.

About NCR Corporation
NCR Corporation (NYSE: NCR) is a global technology company leading how the world connects, interacts and transacts with business. NCR’s assisted- and self-service solutions and comprehensive support services address the needs of retail, financial, travel, healthcare, hospitality, gaming and public sector organizations in more than 100 countries. NCR (www.ncr.com) is headquartered in Dayton, Ohio.

# # #

Posted by staff at 08:20 AM

June 16, 2008

Onity Kiosk helps universities cut to front-of-the-line efficiency

"Check-in historically has involved a lot of time-consuming, one-on-one interaction, with almost every new and returning resident," says Anthony Zamora, head of IT support for the University of San Diego (USD).


Onity Kiosk helps universities cut to front-of-the-line efficiency
Monday, June 16 2008

Waiting in line is like a rite of passage for college students. Long lines, rather for housing registration, changing classes or obtaining food are many times unavoidable. One company is seeking to change that, at least when it involves housing.

"Check-in historically has involved a lot of time-consuming, one-on-one interaction, with almost every new and returning resident," says Anthony Zamora, head of IT support for the University of San Diego (USD).

"This can be a long and arduous process with the potential for mistakes and a stressful process for our students and staff."

Students checking in at USD have stood in line for up to three hours, according to Zamora, but the problem isn't unique to San Diego. Institutions nationwide have sought to evolve check-in procedures with customizable solutions that can effectively support students and staff throughout the year.

Enter Onity, a global provider of electronic locking solutions, which developed a self-serve kiosk that can be placed on college campuses to allow students and workers to independently change the PINs for their residence hall access key cards. The Onity Integra Kiosk also allows students and faculty to encode and activate their ID cards without the supervision of a personnel member at any time of the day or night.

The University of San Diego found that the Integra Kiosk decreased the University's check-in wait times by more than 50 percent.

"Students appreciate that ID cards are created and pre-encoded when they arrive, so it cuts waiting in line to as little as 30 minutes," Zamora says. "They also have the freedom and option to customize their cards using the Kiosks throughout the year – greatly improving
our check-in process."

According to Stan Duci, director of customer service for Northeastern's Facilities Division, Boston, Mass., their students no longer need to meet with housing staff for their room assignments. "The Onity Kiosks have decreased check-in time significantly. And while the Kiosks are great for students, our staff love them too because they can be utilized at any time of the day."

"The Kiosks save the students a lot of time and hassle," adds Dan Yanna, director of facilities for Shepherd University, Shepherd, W. Va.. It started using Kiosks in 2004 and plans to add more to the five already located on campus.

In addition to convenience, Onity Kiosks also feature customization options, such as Internet access that provide users with campus and community information, university resources, weather, news, restaurants and maps.

Onity, headquartered in Duluth, Ga., also has R&D and manufacturing operations in Spain, Mexico, China, and the U.S., as well as an extensive sales and service network that span more than 115 countries around the globe. For further information about Onity's electronic solutions visit www.onity.com.


source link



Posted by staff at 01:35 PM

Sex offender check-in kiosks

New hight tech biometric check-in kiosk for sex offenders in Tacoma, WA. One of the savings is in fingerprint cards will no longer need to be printed which is costing the department $500 a month right now.


High-tech fingerprint help for Pierce County deputies
Grant for Pierce County law enforcement will cover fingerprint devices
STACEY MULICK; stacey.mulick@thenewstribune.com
Published: June 16th, 2008 01:00 AM | Updated: June 16th, 2008 06:42 AM

The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department has received more than $1 million for new devices that will allow deputies to fingerprint suspects at crime scenes and sex offenders to check in with overseers via computer.

The federal grant of $1,192,508 was announced earlier this month. It’s a one-time award given out for technology improvements, said Steve Wilkins, forensics supervisor for the Sheriff’s Department.

The grant: The money comes from the U.S. Department of Justice’s COPS technology grant program. The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services doles out grant money and resources to law enforcement agencies.

The Sheriff’s Department originally asked for $1.5 million. The department will have to tell COPS what the money was spent on and what the devices were used for, Wilkins said.

The Sheriff’s Department will use its grant money to buy Rapid Identification devices, a kiosk for sex offenders and an archival retrieval system for fingerprints and palm prints.

Fingerprint devices: The department aims to buy 40 Rapid Identification (RapID) devices. Each one costs $4,000, Wilkins said.

The devices will be put in patrol deputies’ cars.

How they work: A deputy will have a suspect place his or her right and left index fingers on small biometric scanners. When the deputy hits the send button, the suspect’s fingerprints will be electronically compared to the fingerprints of known offenders in the Sheriff’s Department’s database. If the fingerprints match a previous set, the deputy will be provided information on who the person is, including criminal history, a photograph and physical description.

Police departments in New York City, Cleveland and Milwaukee are already using the devices.

Sex offender kiosk: The computer kiosk will be set up at the department’s office at the County-City Building in downtown Tacoma.

Sex offenders who are categorized as Level 2 or Level 3 and have to report to sheriff’s deputies every 90 days will be directed to the kiosk, Wilkins said.

How it will work: A sex offender will place his or her hand on a biometric reader. The computer will take the offender’s picture, find the offender in the system and ask the offender if the information and address is correct.

If the offender answers yes, the kiosk will print a receipt and update the database to show the offender checked in.

If the offender answers no, he or she will be directed to the front desk for more help.

The computer can also be programmed so that when deputies want to talk to certain offenders, they will be directed to the front desk for more assistance, Wilkins said.

Archival system: This will allow the Sheriff’s Department to make into digital records all of its fingerprint files and palm print files.

Officials will no longer have to print out fingerprint cards, saving the department about $500 a month, Wilkins said.

The new system will be housed in the forensics unit.

Stacey Mulick: 253-597-8268


source article






Posted by staff at 11:32 AM

March 26, 2008

Kiosk Case Study - Car Rental Check-In Kiosks

TULSA, Okla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Alamo Rent A Car recently set a major industry milestone with one million self-service kiosk rental transactions.



source link

Alamo is a technology innovator and industry leader in self-service kiosks, which enable customers to skip lines at the rental counter and check in directly. Ms. Kitty Eisele – Alamo’s one-millionth kiosk customer – completed her rental transaction in Minneapolis.

Said Eisele, a producer, “When I travel, I hit the ground running and need reliable vehicles that also offer great value and service.”

Many other Alamo renters throughout the country also are taking advantage of Alamo’s lead in customer service. Mr. Richard Johnson of Bryn Mawr, Pa., a frequent Alamo renter and kiosk user, said: “Alamo was the first to put the kiosks in, and they’re really user-friendly. If I can do something myself, I’m going to be fast. That’s important because I’m always on a deadline. Now I save at least 10 or 15 minutes and I don’t have to stand in line. And I still get to interact with the agents because they know me by name and always make a point of saying ‘Hello.’”

Mr. Robert Hutton of Canoga Park, Calif., added, “I’d been renting regularly for more than a year, and I always thought there had to be an easier way. The kiosk service is extremely convenient, saving me roughly 20 to 25 minutes. That’s time I can then use to prepare for business meetings. I recommend the kiosks to friends and colleagues who want a fast, convenient way to get on the road faster.”

“Our growing network of kiosks – which has serviced more than a million U.S. customers in less than two years – continues to significantly reduce travel hassles and helps customers get where they’re going more quickly,” said Greg Stubblefield, President of Alamo Rent A Car. “It’s no wonder we’re hundreds of thousands of kiosk rentals ahead of our competitors.”

After a customer – with a valid driver’s license and a major credit card – agrees to terms and conditions, a receipt-sized rental agreement summary is printed at the kiosk, and the customer is directed to their rental car on the lot. At the exit booth, the customer shows the booth agent the rental agreement summary, driver’s license, and credit card – and simply drives away. Alamo’s kiosks also allow customers to review rental information, upgrade to a larger class car, add drivers, and purchase option items such as a GPS unit and prepaid gasoline.

Alamo continues to refine its technology and expand its number of kiosk locations. Recent advancements in Alamo’s kiosk technology include the ability for customers who do not have an advance reservation to simply walk up and use the kiosk. Customers may also add or change their frequent flyer program numbers at the kiosk for airline award points.

The self-service kiosk is just one technology first for Alamo, which launched the industry’s first and only Online Check-In system in 2005 and the first real-time Internet booking engine in 1995. With kiosks and online check-in options, Alamo is the only car rental company to offer two methods to skip the line.

About Alamo Rent A Car

The Taylor Family of St. Louis, which owns and operates Enterprise Rent-A-Car, acquired the National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car businesses in 2007. Today, the Taylors’ Enterprise, National and Alamo businesses include a network of more than 8,000 neighborhood-based and airport car rental locations, representing the most comprehensive service provider in the car rental industry – unparalleled in size, strength and stability.

Alamo, an internationally recognized brand that services the most popular travel destinations for the leisure airport customer, has locations throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Latin America, Asia and the Pacific Rim. Alamo launched its self-service kiosks in November 2006 and currently operates 159 kiosks at 65 U.S. locations in 28 states and the District of Columbia. Last year, the success and popularity of the kiosks earned Alamo the “Extra Mile Award” from Budget Travel magazine. For more information about Alamo, including the Best Rate Guarantee, visit www.alamo.com.

Contacts

For Alamo Rent A Car
Laura Bryant, 314-512-4178
Laura.T.Bryant@erac.com
or
Dan Kimack, 314-982-0592
kimackd@fleishman.com

Posted by staff at 06:16 AM

February 12, 2008

Kiosks In Field - Blogger Sheraton troubles

It's a sad fact that a certain percentage of self-service devices just don't work for whatever reason. The good news is that the ratio of works to doesn't work has increased to well over 80%. The check-in kiosks for hotels at least by IBM seem to be snakebit for lack of better phrase. They are beginning to remind us of Kodak claim of 120,000 kiosks in locations (of which it seems maybe 20,000 don't have a black screen). Maybe grabbing the real-estate and client is more important in the long run but it still irks us to see.


PC World's Techlog Hotel Check-In Kiosks: Broken!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008 4:59 AM PT Posted by Harry McCracken
Hotel Check-In Kiosks: Broken!

I apologize in advance if you find this boring, but as someone who spends a lot of time on the road, I'm both frustrated and fascinated by the fact that automated hotel check-in kiosks--presumably designed to make it easier to get a room--rarely give me anything but heartache. (I blogged about problems with one in New York here, and woes in Las Vegas here.)

Last night, I arrived in New York and took a cab to the Sheraton Manhattan, where I arrived at 11pm. There are two kiosks in the lobby. One had a blank screen; the other had a welcoming message.

"This probably isn't going to work," I thought to myself.

I touched the screen on the one that appeared to be working. It flashed, and gave me an apology and a request that I talk to a real person.

Here, incidentally, is a New York Times story from almost three years ago about glitches with hotel kiosks, including the ones at the Sheraton New York that have personally bedeviled me. As far as I can tell, the situation has gotten no better since the Times published its story.

Which leaves me wondering three things:

1) Just how hard is it to build a check-in kiosk that can actually check me in?

2) Why do Sheraton and other hoteliers continue to waste their patrons' time with kiosks that misbehave. (That's assuming that my run of bad luck is at least kind of typical.)

3) Just how long is it going to take until they get these things right--or give up?

Posted by staff at 07:47 AM

February 05, 2008

Kiosks case study - Alamo Hits One Millionth Car Rental

With 65 locations and 160 kiosks Alamo arrives at its one millionth car rental via self-service kiosk. Most of the ROI is from customers upgrading to larger cars and more services. Useful transactions such as getting frequent flyer points in/etc are nice too.


Skipping the Car Rental Counter: Alamo Rent A Car Kiosks in Line for One Millionth Rental

Skipping the Car Rental Counter: Alamo Rent A Car Kiosks in Line for One Millionth Rental


2008-02-05 22:53:52 -

www.alamo.com - Alamo Rent A Car Laura T. Bryant, 314-512-4178 Laura.T.Bryant@erac.com Alamo Rent A Car, a technology innovator and the industry leader in self-service kiosks, is nearing a remarkable milestone: its one millionth kiosk rental. Alamo is hundreds of thousands of kiosk rentals ahead of its competitors, who have adopted Alamo's pioneering strategy to save customers time and make travel more convenient.

"Almost one million customers have skipped the rental counter because self-service eliminates one more hassle from the travel experience - and they're getting to where they're going quicker," said Greg Stubblefield, President of Alamo Rent A Car.

"Customers already are comfortable using kiosks to check in for flights, so we created the Alamo kiosk for car rental as a natural progression," Stubblefield added. "These days, whether it's business or leisure travel, people simply don't have time or don't want to wait, so we've made the process fast and simple."

After successful testing in Dallas, Las Vegas, and Jacksonville, Alamo began installing kiosks throughout its network of rental locations in November 2006. Today, Alamo operates 159 kiosks at 65 U.S. locations in 28 states and the District of Columbia, and it continues to refine the technology and expand the number of kiosk locations. Alamo expects to reach its one millionth kiosk rental within the next few weeks.

Susan Palazzese, Vice President of Business Systems Development for Alamo, said, "The fact that we're closing in on this milestone so quickly shows that we're giving customers what they want - convenience and speed during the car rental process. Customers have told us that using the kiosk cuts their time in half compared to average counter check in times. We look forward to building on this technology and further exceeding our customers' expectations."

Last year, the success and popularity of the kiosks earned Alamo the "Extra Mile Award" from Budget Travel magazine. The self-service kiosk is just one technology first for Alamo, which also launched the car rental industry's first real-time Internet booking engine in 1995 and then the industry's first and only Online Check In system in July 2005. With kiosks and online check in, Alamo is the only car rental company to offer two methods to skip the line.

Alamo's touch-screen kiosk allows customers with a valid driver's license and a major credit card to skip any lines at the rental counter and check in directly. After a customer agrees to terms and conditions, a receipt-sized rental agreement is printed at the kiosk, and the customer is directed to their rental car on the lot. At the exit booth, the customer shows the booth agent the rental agreement, driver's license, and credit card - and simply drives away.

The kiosk also allows the customer to review rental information, upgrade to a larger class car, add drivers, and purchase optional items such as a GPS unit and prepaid gasoline.

Recent advancements in Alamo's kiosk technology include the ability for customers who do not have a reservation to simply walk up and use the kiosk. Customers also may add or change their frequent flyer program numbers at the kiosk for airline award points.

About Alamo Rent A Car

The Taylor Family of St. Louis owns and operates the Alamo Rent A Car, National Car Rental and Enterprise Rent-A-Car businesses, which include a worldwide network of more than 8,000 neighborhood-based and airport car rental locations. Alamo, an internationally recognized brand that services the most popular travel destinations for the leisure airport customer, has locations throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Latin America, Asia and the Pacific Rim. For more information about Alamo, including the Best Rate Guarantee, visit www.alamo.com.

Alamo's Technology Leadership Gets Travelers on the Road Faster

Posted by staff at 03:33 PM

January 28, 2008

Check-In Kiosks - patients at Clinics

Check-in for patients at clinic runs 50-to100 patients a day, lets patients check-in, verify their insurance and make a co-payment with a credit card. Interesting also that privacy is enhanced this way since in small towns you might prefer to NOT tell the receptionist why you need an appointment with doctor (ie small gossip factor eliminated).


Source Link

The latest in patient health care technology has found its way to the lobby of the Scott & White Killeen Clinic as patients can now bypass a receptionist altogether and check in for their appointments by swiping a credit card or driver's license instead.

The new patient check-in kiosk was installed a few months ago at the Killeen clinic as a trial experiment by Scott & White executives to see how the new product would help make the check-in process faster.

On Wednesday, Killeen resident Stephen Caruso visited the clinic and tried the kiosk for the first time.

With prompts from the machine and help from patient service representative Judy Whann, who helps patients use the new machine, Caruso swiped his credit card, paid part of his bill, received a receipt and was successfully checked in for his appointment in under two minutes.

"It's easy to use and self-directive," Caruso said. "It reminds me of checking out at the grocery store or checking in at the airport."

An airport check-in counter was the impetus behind the machine, said Bruce Steinhardt, inventor of the patient check-in kiosk and CEO of OTech Group LLC, the West Bend, Wis.-based medical technology company that developed and manufactures the machine.

"Four years ago I went to the airport and checked myself in and when I got home I went to Home Depot and checked myself out and a flash hit me – there's got to be a way to do this in health care," Steinhardt said.

A year later, the first kiosk was opened in a private practice in Illinois. Since then, about 30 organizations have begun using the kiosk across the country. Among them, Steinhardt said, Scott & White is the largest.

"It's an alternative to waiting in line to talk to a person," Steinhardt said. "It saves time."

The kiosk allows patients to check in, verify their insurance, and make a co-payment with a credit card.

In late fall of 2007 the kiosk was installed at the Killeen clinic to see how it would affect the wait times for patients.

"It has been a real successful experiment," said Brent Blumenthal, assistant executive director of regional clinic operations for Scott & White.

"This is a new and different way to provide service to a usually very routine process," Blumenthal said. "We wanted to experiment and the feedback has been 95 percent positive."

Killeen Clinic Manager Dean said the Killeen clinic made an excellent trial site for the machine because it sees such a high volume of patients daily. Currently, the kiosk handles the checking-in process for between 50 to 110 patients per day.

"It has really helped with wait times," Dean said. "Some people, who need more service, can talk to receptionists, but for the majority it works really well."

But is the advance technology taking out the personal touch of patient health care?

Not really, according to both Steinhardt and Dean.

The Killeen clinic has a service representative helping with check-in process at all times, and Dean said many people actually prefer to use the kiosk because it helps protect their confidentiality.

"Some people don't want to talk to other people," he said.

Dean mentioned the "small town gossip" factor that some patients want to avoid when they go to a clinic. People who see someone they know may not want everyone else in the lobby to know why they are seeing a physician, he said.

"We want to protect patient confidentiality and the bottom line is that we're trying to better service our patients."

Steinhardt, too, admitted that while a kiosk helps expedite the process of getting people in to see a physician, there will always need to be people on hand for anyone with special circumstances.

"I don't think we'll ever see a time where the check-in area is just a sea of computers," Steinhardt said.

As for the future of the new check-in technology, Blumenthal says Scott & White patients can expect to see more in coming months.

Plans are in the works for more check-in kiosks, which cost between $400 to $500 a month to operate, for several local clinics, including Belton which should be installed within the next few weeks, Blumenthal said.

"We're happy that it's enhancing customer service," he said.

Posted by staff at 12:25 PM

August 14, 2007

Article on Vanguard Check-In Kiosks

Nice article by Bill Yackey of KioskMarketplace on the airport car rental check-in kiosks from Vanguard.


Vanguard wins award for airport car rental kiosks

The company with the most car-rental kiosk deployments thus far has been Vanguard Car Rental USA Inc., operators of the National Car Rental and Alamo Car Rental brands. Vanguard’s self-service kiosk deployment earned the company the Industry Deployer of the Year Award at Self Service Expo in April. The award was given at an awards ceremony at the Mandalay Bay convention center in Las Vegas.

Susan Palazzese, vice president of business development for Vanguard, said that the company is currently operating 262 kiosks; 152 at Alamo locations and 110 at National locations. The rollout began in November 2006 after several successful market tests in Jacksonville, Fla., Las Vegas and Dallas.

Read rest of article on Kioskmarketplace

Posted by staff at 01:24 PM

August 02, 2007

Hotel Kiosk at Starwood down

You hate to see it but there are those instances where, for whatever reason, the kiosks are not functioning. Here is a sample horror story from visitor trying to use check-in kiosks at Sheraton in NY. One of the kiosks had the "out of order" sign hanging on it and the other one was displaying a too-obvious error msg. Either these kiosks are not being monitored or the people monitoring them are not paying attention.

A couple of months ago when I blogged about Microsoft's touch-sensitive computer-table hybrid, I mentioned that it's going to show up in Starwood's hotel properties and that the existing kiosks I've seen in Starwood hotels, such as Sheratons, often don't work.

Well, I made the trek from San Francisco to New York yesterday (I'm here for the annual conference of the American Society of Business Publication Editors), and when I arrived at the Sheraton New York, one of the check-in kiosks had an "out of order" sign . But the other looked to be working...

checkin.jpg
http://blogs.pcworld.com/techlog/archives/checkin.jpg

...until I tapped the screen to begin, whereupon it displayed one of the most grandiose error messages I've ever seen--real This is Broken stuff...
http://blogs.pcworld.com/techlog/archives/missingimagefile.jpg

PC World's Techlog Can't Check In With This Kiosk!

Related Links
http://www.starwoodhotels.com/promotions/promo_landing.html?category=SI_KIOSK_JUN05
http://www.gokis.net/self-service/archives/000951.html

Posted by staff at 09:01 AM

May 10, 2007

Registered Traveler More Convenient than ever

Registered Traveler has deployed enrollment kiosks at two Hyatt Regency properties, one in Santa Clara and the other in San Francisco to bring convenience and speed in applying for the airport fast pass program to the city's business travelers. The Clear registered traveler program allows business travelers and other frequent fliers to pay a fee to be pre-screened by the TSA and receive a biometric identity card that provides them with expedited passage through airport security checkpoints.


Clear(R) Registered Traveler Opens Enrollment Units in Bay Area Hyatt Regency Hotels

NEW YORK, May 8--Clear(R) Registered Traveler has deployed enrollment kiosks at two Hyatt Regency properties -- in Santa Clara and San Francisco (Embarcadero) -- to bring convenience and speed in applying for the airport fast pass program to the city's business travelers. The enrollment locations will be open weekdays from 7am-7pm and will be staffed by Clear attendants in the hotels' lobbies beginning today.

Clear allows business travelers and other frequent fliers to pay a fee ($99.95) to be pre-screened by the TSA and receive a biometric identity card that provides them with expedited passage through airport security checkpoints.

With over 45,000 members, there are five airports with Clear fast pass lanes, including the San Jose International Airport program which launched three months ago and now has nearly 5,000 members. Other locations include Cincinnati, Indianapolis and Orlando International Airports, and JFK Terminal 7, with programs at Newark Airport and two new terminals at JFK about to launch. Albany, NY and Little Rock, AK airports recently selected Clear for their programs, which will become operational soon. In addition, San Francisco, Washington Reagan and Washington Dulles are expected to launch registered traveler programs this summer.

Holly Ivy, Vice President, Client Solutions Group of Ovation-Lawyers' Travel Service said, "We're delighted that Clear has constructed enrollment centers at convenient locations for our clients who have told us they want to enroll their travelers in this time saving, fast pass program. It's terrific that they'll now be able to take advantage of Clear's national network, which is already operational in San Jose and other cities, and we're thrilled that San Francisco International plans to add a registered traveler program later this year."

As Clear's first hotel partner, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts has partnered with Clear to provide complimentary memberships to Hyatt's Gold Passport Diamond Members since February 2006.

"Clear is an extension of our customer service offerings for our guests. As we have done at the Grand Hyatt New York in midtown Manhattan, we are now allowing Hyatt guests and area residents in the San Francisco Bay Area the convenience of enrolling in Clear right on our premises," said Tom O'Toole, Senior Vice President for Strategy and Systems for Global Hyatt Corp.

"The convenient location of Hyatt hotels in the Bay Area, and our ability to bring kiosks onsite because of our terrific partnership with Hyatt, means enrollment in Clear will be even easier," said Steven Brill, CEO and founder of Clear. "We reacted quickly to the feedback that we received from agencies such as Ovation and area law firms, tech companies, and others with frequent travelers. And, in some cases, we are bringing enrollment kiosks directly to their offices."

Those wishing to enroll at the Hyatt locations are asked to begin the enrollment process at www.flyclear.com before visiting the Clear enrollment centers. To complete the process, applicants must bring two pieces of government-issued ID (passport and driver's license are strongly recommended) to the hotels' lobbies during the designated hours - now through June 1.

About Clear(R) Registered Traveler

Verified Identity Pass's Clear Registered Traveler is the only registered traveler program operating at U.S. airports. Clear has been operational since July 19, 2005, at Orlando International Airport and has over 45,000 members. Earlier this year, Clear launched additional lanes at JFK's British Airways Terminal 7 and San Jose, Indianapolis and Cincinnati International Airports. Clear will begin operating programs at JFK's Terminal 1 and 4 and Newark's Terminal B soon. In addition, Clear has been selected by Albany International Airport and Little Rock National Airport for programs at those airports, and the company also has an agreement with Toronto Pearson International Airport to operate a Canadian program, working with Canadian authorities. Clear's verification kiosk with shoe scanning technology, co-developed with Verified Identity Pass's partner GE, will allow members, in most instances, to keep their shoes on as they pass through the Clear lanes at the security checkpoint. For more information: www.flyclear.com.

Posted by staff at 02:08 PM

New Case Studies Released

Five new case studies released including Amtrak, SITA CUSS, ISI Gaming, Army Internet Gaming, and Vanguard Car Rental check-in.

Case studies published by KIOSK in Colorado and links are here:



Posted by staff at 12:41 PM

April 13, 2007

KIOSKS Case Study -- Check-In Kiosk for Alamo

New advertising campaign by Alamo promoting kiosk usage. Alamo use a beaver and a buffalo in ads for the rent-a-car company. Not unlike Frontier Airlines (animals work better than people). In the 30-second spots, Al the beaver teaches his timid buffalo friend Mo to "fight the herd instinct" by choosing Alamo’s self-service kiosk instead of standing in line at the checkout counter. We think the second one with the guy inside the kiosk is the funnier of the two but we are partial to inside of kiosk... View story for links to both videos.


Fight the Herd

Something Inside

New advertising campaign by Alamo promoting kiosk usage. Alamo use a beaver and a buffalo in ads for the rent-a-car company. Not unlike Frontier Airlines (animals work better than people). In the 30-second spots, Al the beaver teaches his timid buffalo friend Mo to "fight the herd instinct" by choosing Alamo’s self-service kiosk instead of standing in line at the checkout counter. Kiosks are manufactured/designed by KIOSK Information Systems




Posted by staff at 01:42 PM

November 30, 2006

Airline Security -- new kiosk unveiled by GE

VerifiedSRTKiosk-90.jpg The much anticipated Registered Traveler program just moved a little further along. The program, which allows travelers to pay extra money to go through screening faster than other travelers by pre-registering themselves with a DHS background check and biometric and identity information on file, has been in a pilot process as technology and policy for its management was created.

SecurityInfoWatch.com
Information, Assessment and Community

Updated: November 30th, 2006 10:16 AM EDT
A New Kiosk for Air Security, as Registered Traveler Moves Forward
GE kiosk gets 'Cleared' as Regist and GE demonstrate new identification and sensor kiosk

GE Security unveiled its full-featured kiosk for the TSA Registered Traveler program. The GE kiosk is being used with Verified's Clear program (the TSA Registered Traveler program is managed at the individual level by private companies, but overseen by the TSA).

GE Security unveiled its full-featured kiosk for the TSA Registered Traveler program. The GE kiosk is being used with Verified's Clear program (the TSA Registered Traveler program is managed at the individual level by private companies, but overseen by the TSA).

The much anticipated Registered Traveler program just moved a little further along. The program, which allows travelers to pay extra money to go through screening faster than other travelers by pre-registering themselves with a DHS background check and biometric and identity information on file, has been in a pilot process as technology and policy for its management was created.

On Friday it was clear that progress had indeed been made, as the Transportation Security Administration announced that it is setting an annual fee of $28 to handle background checks for Registered Traveler participants.
VerifiedSRTKiosk-90.jpg
As if that wasn't progress enough for the program, GE Security today unveiled a new technology kiosk that could be used as part of the program.

The company's technology launch was that of its Secure Registered Traveler (SRT) kiosk, which it was unveiling at the National Safe Skies Alliance Symposium in Washington, D.C. The kiosk had been tested as part of the Verified's Clear program, one of a few private businesses that provide the Registered Traveler services. Clear, the only one currently TSA approved -- though many others are close behind in the process to become TSA approved -- currently has 32,000 customers registered who pay roughly $100 per year for the privilege to move more quickly through security.

Read rest of story

Note: this is the "verification" iteration of kiosk. There is also the "enrollment" version of this kiosk as well.

Posted by staff at 12:49 PM

November 26, 2006

Self-service Kiosk Reviews -- Airline Check-in

It must be that we are seasoned self-service check-in and check-out experts but it definitely can be annoying when employees invite themselves into a process in order to explain it (and perform it) for us. The person below suffers that fate.

At the airport. Again. (Again.) - Letters home


At the airport. Again. (Again.)

* Nov 26, 2006 at 3:05 PM

I'm heading back to DC after a few days at home for the holiday. Twas a very nice visit ... more on that later.

But here I am, back at the airport. And apparently, I look like a yougin' who's never flown before. I was checking myself in at the kiosk, getting my boarding pass, etc. I've flown quite a bit in the last several months. I've got this down pat.

But this time, a woman working for the airline came over to help me part-way through.

I thought she was friendly at first, but I found myself flustered and annoyed with her by the end of our exchange. She proclaimed that I needed to select my seat, and before I had a chance to tell her I'd already done so, she'd punched this and that and navigated the screen to the seat selection feature. "Where do you want to sit?" I pointed to the green seat and said, "Isn't that me?"

From there, it was just amusing. Turns out, I have to check in with a different airline when I get into Philly, since I'm flying the first leg on U.S. Airways and the second on United. That's perfectly fine. I have a two-hour layover. No problem. But after she checked -- repeatedly -- with another woman working behind the counter, she proceeded to explain to me -- repeatedly -- that I'll need to check in with United in Philadelphia. I really wanted to say, "Yes, I caught that about 5 mintues ago." (Subtext: "Thank you, I'm not deaf. Or 12.")

She finally turned me loose, and I was on my way.

I guess I look terribly incompetent today. I'm wearing jeans, tennis shoes, and a sweatshirt. Hmm.

Posted by staff at 07:45 PM

November 20, 2006

National Car Rental to Roll out Self-Service Check in Kiosks; New Touch Screen Kiosks Speeds Check in Time

TULSA, Okla., Nov. 14, 2006 -- The best car rental company for frequent business travelers just became more convenient for all travelers. National Car Rental announced today it will roll out new touch-screen kiosks at rental locations throughout the United States. The new system cuts check in time by about 50 percent when compared to average counter check in times.

National Car Rental to Roll out Self-Service Check in Kiosks; New Touch Screen Kiosks Speeds Check in Time

The kiosk roll out comes after successful testing by customers in Dallas, Las Vegas and Jacksonville, Fla.

"The rental counter is typically pretty fast, using the kiosk is faster and the fastest way to rent from National will always be the Emerald Club," said Jerry Dow, National's chief marketing officer. "This is the next best thing to the Emerald Club and customers love it."

The Emerald Club allows customers with information on file to bypass the counter, choose their own car, and get an e-receipt upon return. For those not in the Club, this new touch- screen kiosk allows any customer with a valid driver's license, major credit card and an existing reservation to bypass the rental counter and check in directly at the kiosk. After a customer agrees to the terms and conditions, a receipt-sized rental agreement is printed from the kiosk and the customer is directed to his or her rental car on the lot. At the exit booth, the customer simply shows the booth agent his or her rental agreement and driver's license and then drives away.

The kiosk also allows the customer to review rental information, upgrade to a larger car class, add additional drivers, and purchase option items such as GPS units Liability Damage Waiver (LDW), and Pre Pay Gasoline.

By next summer, National expects to have more than 70 rental locations outfitted with the new touch-screen kiosks. Besides the test markets, the first locations to roll out this month are Orlando, Detroit, Denver and Los Angeles. Boston, Philadelphia, Houston, St. Louis, Dallas, Miami, San Francisco, Atlanta and New York will all have kiosks by March.

With the kiosks and its Emerald Club service, National makes it easy for its customers to bypass the counter or kiosk completely. "It is up to the customer to choose fast or faster service from National," Dow said.

"Nationalcar.com will always be the best place for business people to make a rental reservation. That's where customers will find simple ways to get their cars fast and easy, and they will never incur a booking fee," said Dow.

About National

National Car Rental is one of the world's largest rental car companies. The company uses technology and customer service to serve the daily rental needs of the frequent business traveler by offering speed, convenience and choice in their rental process. National has locations throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe, the Caribbean, Latin America, Asia, the Pacific Rim, Africa, the Middle East and Australia. For more information about Alamo, log on to http://www.nationalcar.com/ . The National Car Rental brand is operated by Vanguard Car Rental USA Inc.

Posted by staff at 03:10 PM

Alamo Launches New Rental Kiosks

Alamo Rent A Car has instituted a new self-service kiosk system at select locations that is aimed at speeding up the time spent getting your rental car.

Alamo Launches New Rental Kiosks - Luxury Travel
alamo01.jpg

Similar to what is found at most airline check-in counters, the touch-screen kiosk allows any customer with a valid driver's license, major credit card and an existing reservation to skip the rental counter and check in directly at the kiosk.

The customer can then review rental information, upgrade to a larger car class, add additional drivers, and purchase option items such as GPS units, Liability Damage Waiver (LDW), and pre-paid gasoline.

After a customer agrees to the terms and conditions, a receipt-sized rental agreement is printed from the kiosk and the customer is directed to the rental car on the lot. At the exit booth, the customer simply shows the booth agent the rental agreement and driver's license and then drives away.

Alamo Rent A Car kiosk [photo: Vanguard Car Rental USA Inc]Alamo tested the new kiosks in the Dallas, Las Vegas and Jacksonville, Florida, airport rental locations, and as of this month, kiosks will also be available to customers at the Orlando, Detroit, Denver and Los Angeles airport rental counters. The company forcasts that airport counters in Boston, Philadelphia, Houston, St. Louis, Dallas, Miami, San Francisco and Atlanta will all have kiosks by March.
alamo02.jpg

This new service and the online check-in system instituted last year both serve to enhance the car rental experience by allowing the customer to skip the long lines at the counters. During the upcoming peak Holiday season, I think this could be an asset to the traveling experience. I mean, who really wants to wait in line for a rental car after sitting on a plane for a few hours?

"Self-service eliminates one more hassle from family travel," agrees Jerry Dow, Alamo's chief marketing officer. "Customers are already comfortable using the check in kiosk for flights, using a self-service kiosk for car rental is a natural progression."

For more information on Alamo or to reserve a car, please visit www.alamo.com.

Related news link:
http://news.cheapflights.com/airlines/2006/11/alamo_kiosk_cut.html

Posted by staff at 02:59 PM

March 03, 2006

Car Rentals Kiosks

Alamo goes with self-service touchscreen kiosks for check-in. Installations include Las Vegas and Dallas. USA Today

USATODAY.com

- Car rentals go the kiosk route

Car rentals go the kiosk route
By Jayne Clark, USA TODAY
Alamo Rent a Car has installed touch-screen kiosks, similar to check-in units used by airlines, at the Las Vegas and Dallas/Fort Worth airports.
Speed it up: Alamo Rent a Car touch-screen kiosk. Speed it up: Alamo Rent a Car touch-screen kiosk.
Alamo

The kiosks, the industry's first, enable customers to do the rental transaction with a swipe of a credit card and driver's license. Process time is cut in half, to about 2½ minutes.

Renters who prefer the human touch can still step up to the counter. But during a month or so of testing, the company has found that "folks who are already conditioned to the airline kiosks are taking to it like ducks to water," says spokesman Charles Pulley.

Alamo will gradually roll out the kiosks in other locations this summer and fall.

Posted by keefner at 08:45 PM

June 22, 2005

CUSS Self-Service Kiosks Coming To Europe

Oslo and Frankfurt to get the first ones. Air France and KLM are airlines involved. They predict that by 2010 65% of the 50 million passengers that go thru Frankfurt will use self-service.


Self-service check-in for all - Business Travel - Times Online

Self-service check-in for all
Checking in will become considerably easier from this summer as airports start to install common-use self-service (CUSS) kiosks.

Although self-service kiosks have become commonplace in airports, they have tended to be dedicated to particular airlines, usually large network carriers such as British Airways and Lufthansa.

Trials of the CUSS kiosks, which can be used by passengers of any airline using an IATA standardised check-in system, have been carried out for some time but this marks the first full implementations.

This summer, ground handler Servisair/GlobeGround is installing SelfServ kiosks at Oslo airport. Air France and KLM are the launch airlines for the project but others are expected to join them.

Frankfurt airport will launch its own CUSS kiosk project this autumn. Passengers flying with any of 42 member airlines and ground handlers of the Frankfurt CUTE CLUB (Common Use Terminal Equipment Local User Board) will be able to use one of eight CUSS kiosks installed in the first phase.

More than 50 million passengers fly through Frankfurt airport each year and it is predicted that 60 to 70 per cent of passengers will use self-service by 2010.

Stefan Meyer, chairman of the Frankfurt CUTE CLUB, says: "The CUSS-capable kiosk significantly enhances passenger service because airlines without their own check-in kiosks will now be able to offer travellers this automated self-service capability."

Posted by keefner at 02:45 PM

June 09, 2005

Hotel to add Check-In Kiosks

Fairmont Hotel and Resorts in Canada is taking the kiosk check-in plunge. Hotel Check-In has been showing up in news quite a bit lately and unfortunately not in an favorable context. Still, providing service to your customers is paramount.

Fairmont Hotels & Resorts today embarked on a plan to revolutionize the guest registration process by announcing plans to install self-service kiosks in its hotels in North America. Deployed to service the ever-evolving expectations of business and leisure travelers alike, the brand's latest technology initiative will commence with an installation at Toronto's Fairmont Royal York. A rollout to outfit other Fairmont properties with the kiosks will follow later in the year.

Aimed at offering both choice and transparency to its clientele,
Fairmont's kiosks will include an innovative and original guestroom selection feature; a first within the hotel industry. Based on the initial reservation and pre-confirmed preferences, the guestroom selection feature, similar to the seat selection functionality offered by airline kiosks, will enable travelers to visually select a hotel room of their liking from a graphical map.

"At Fairmont, we take great pride in our ability to deliver technological innovation that improves the guest experience," says Vineet Gupta, vice-president of technology at Fairmont Hotels & Resorts. "We were the first hotel company to offer high-speed and wireless Internet access on a brand-wide basis. Now we're building on our core technology platform to provide our guests with the most sophisticated self-service solution in our industry."

Fairmont's self-service kiosks enable guests to efficiently check-in and out, personally select a room, receive their room key, and instantly enroll in the brand's guest loyalty program, Fairmont President's Club. Other advanced services and features of Fairmont's self-service kiosk solution include:

- The Wireless Guest Ambassador: Using a wireless-enabled computer
tablet, a roving and dedicated guest service agent will be close at
hand to assist guests through the self-service process. Linked
directly to the hotel's property management system, the Wireless Guest
Ambassador will inform, educate, and add Fairmont's renowned personal
touch to the check-in experience.

- Airline Check-In: In conjunction with Air Canada, hotel guests will be able to use Fairmont's hotel-based kiosks to electronically check-in and obtain a boarding pass for any Air Canada flight, before departing for the airport. Intended to maximize traveler convenience by reducing the time spent in airport line-ups, Fairmont is planning to introduce this kiosk capability in late 2005.

- Group Travel Features: As a component of Fairmont's digital arrival,
meeting planners will have the ability to publish customized welcome
messages and up-to-the-minute meeting agendas for conference delegates
and meeting attendees. For added simplicity, the kiosk will be capable
of printing this itinerary information during the check-in process.

Jeff Senior, Fairmont's senior vice president of sales & marketing
believes the new kiosks are another symbol of the brand's promise of
personalization. "We're fully committed to welcoming all of our guests in the manner which they prefer, and are driven to developing processes and products that make it easy for our customers to do business with us. By enhancing the arrival experience in its entirety, we are completely reinventing this process and putting control in the hands of our guests." Senior also sees the kiosks as an ideal solution for corporate travelers, which account for approximately 50 percent of the brand's business mix. "The new kiosks are another industry first for Fairmont and will be of particular interest to those who routinely
travel and are looking to expedite the check-in process."

Fairmont's Technology Platform
Fairmont Hotels & Resorts is the technology leader in the hospitality
industry with a history of industry-leading innovation. By unifying its core
applications and network infrastructure across the portfolio, Fairmont has
created a seamless communications platform capable of sharing information and
promoting consistent operations across its entire brand. In addition to
meeting customer demand for wireless connectivity and high-speed Internet
access, information and communications technology is helping improve customer
service, streamline operations and manage costs. Over the next several years,
Fairmont will introduce a series of guest-facing services that will
revolutionize the hotel experience for Fairmont guests.

About Fairmont Hotels & Resorts
Featuring a collection of fabled castles, secluded lodges, storied
meeting places and modern retreats, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts opens the doors to some of the world's most celebrated addresses. With locations throughout six countries, our 44 distinctive hotels - including The Fairmont San Francisco, The Fairmont Banff Springs and London's Savoy - promise travelers unparalleled settings, rich experiences and lasting memories. Future Fairmont Hotels & Resorts include The Fairmont Mayakoba, Riviera Maya (fall 2005) The Fairmont Cairo and The Fairmont Abu Dhabi Resort & Villas. Call 1-800-441-1414
or visit us online at http://www.fairmont.com.

news link

Posted by keefner at 02:44 AM

May 31, 2005

Hotel Kiosk Growing Pains

New York Times writer serves up current hotel check-in kiosks. He finds reliability to be a major issue. Employees refer to the units as dust collectors.

One guess is that the sheer exposure and publicity angle of it all degraded the actual operational effort. Incapable of communicating with hotel systems pretty much says it all.

Hotel Kiosks Experience Growing Pains
Source: New York Times
05-31-2005

This New York Times article by Christopher Elloitt explores problems at hotel kiosks that are either not working or functioning incoorrectly. Howevcer, each hotel chain cited plans to add more kiosks in the next year.

DUST collectors. That is what employees at the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers call their new automated check-in kiosks, as one guest who has repeatedly tried to use them found.

"I was checking in, and try as hard as I might, the kiosk wouldn''t cooperate," Henry Harteveldt recalled. He flagged down a staff member and said, "This doesn''t seem to work."

"Oh," she shrugged. "You mean our dust collector? It never works."

The Sheraton employee had no idea she was confiding to the vice president of travel research at Forrester Research. Otherwise she might not have been so forthright. But that situation is hardly unusual. As these automated check-in machines multiply, the scene is likely to be repeating itself in hotels across the country.

The problem is that the automated check-in kiosks are unreliable. Mr. Harteveldt estimates that more than one in 10 hotel kiosk transactions fail, either because they are incapable of making contact with the hotel''s reservation system, or, if they are able to make a link, because they generate a key to the wrong room.

Experienced business travelers often avoid the machines because their performance is so unpredictable.

Rod Mano, the senior director of property technology applications for Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Sheraton''s parent company, acknowledges that the kiosks are prone to breakdowns. "At the Sheraton New York, there are times when one or two are down for maintenance," he said. "Sometimes, they also run out of paper and keys."

Sheraton already deploys the machines in 10 North American hotels and plans to increase that number to 100 by year''s end.

Not to single out Sheraton. Marriott International, which is introducing kiosks in about 20 hotels this summer, displayed some of its new check-in devices at its general managers'' conference in Orlando recently. I was hard-pressed to find one that worked.

A spokesman for Marriott, John Wolf, said the kiosks were not connected to the hotel''s reservations system. "They were there for demonstration purposes," he said. That explains the machines that were turned on but unable to process a transaction. But what about the other kiosks and hand-held check-in machines that were either not operational or that displayed error messages?

The Hilton Hotels Corporation, one of the most enthusiastic advocates of kiosks, is not immune to the technology troubles, either. It has about 102 machines in 44 hotels and plans to add about 100 more this year. But a few months ago, I spoke with John Burrows, an insurance executive from Hartford, Conn., who used one at the New York Hilton and was issued a key to an occupied room.

Rest of Story

Posted by keefner at 04:48 PM

March 19, 2005

Hotel Check-in Kiosks

Marriott Talks About Check-In kiosks and advantages of.

March 19, 2005 08:27:00 AM ET

By Jui Chakravorty

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Self-service kiosks in hotel lobbies, which let travelers bypass the front desk at check-in, will eventually help hotels stem rising labor costs by enabling them to serve guests with fewer staff.

Marriott International (MAR) will roll out the kiosks this summer, allowing guests to check in, get key cards and check out without interacting with hotel staff.

``Eventually, the kiosks will likely result in some cuts at the front desk,'' Chairman and Chief Executive Officer J.W. Marriott, Jr., said in an interview at a Marriott conference of general managers last week in Orlando.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. (HOT) and Hilton Hotels Corp. (HLT) properties already have self-service kiosks and plan to add more.

Marriott's kiosks, initially planned for urban, full-service hotels, also allow customers to change rooms, beds and length of stay. And, the kiosks are designed to be compatible with a system that would let air travelers print boarding passes while checking out of their hotel.

Hilton was the first to launch the kiosks early last year. With 102 kiosks in 42 hotels, they have so far been ``very successful,'' Hilton spokeswoman Kathy Shepard said.

``We plan to put 120 kiosks in an additional 100 hotels this year,'' she said, adding that they would be at the Hilton and Doubletree brands.

Hotels have been introducing self-service check-in in large, urban areas that cater to business travelers, already comfortable with the convenience of express checkout. ``Clearly the business traveler is an earlier adapter of self service,'' said Tom Conophy, chief technical officer at Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, whose brands include Sheraton, Westin, St. Regis and W Hotels.

Starwood, which placed some kiosks at its Sheraton properties in 2004, is planning to have more in place at 100 Sheraton hotels in North America by the end of this year.

Even though the kiosks are not intended to replace the front desk, ``it is possible they will lead to some labor cost savings over time,'' Conophy said. ``It would depend on overall adaptation to the kiosk technology.''

If front desk staffing is cut back, those employees will likely be ``repurposed'' into serving guests in other ways, Conophy said. ``We would look at staff we have now take on different roles, such as lobby ambassadors.''

LABORIOUS COSTS

Labor has been a growing issue for large U.S. hotels, many of which have faced protracted labor disputes from unions pressing for higher wages, better working conditions, shorter contracts and better healthcare benefits.

While union activities have failed to put a damper on a strong profit recovery in the hospitality industry, wage increases are looming as one of the biggest challenges facing hotels in the coming year.

Labor makes up 45 percent of hotel operating expenses, according to the Atlanta office of hospitality consultants PKF Consulting.

Expenses -- payrolls, benefits and training -- are rising faster than inflation rates, PKF said, with labor costs per available room climbing to an estimated $13,834 in 2004 from $12,540 in 2002.

At the Orlando conference, Chief Executive J.W. Marriott, Jr. called labor and utilities ``dark clouds'' over the industry.

Deutsche Bank lodging analyst Marc Falcone, who recently named higher labor rates the ``biggest single risk to hotel stocks,'' says the kiosks will have little impact on unions in the near future.

``My guess is that the union could use it as a negotiating point for job security and wage rate, but not in the near term,'' he said in an interview.



Read rest

Posted by keefner at 09:07 PM

June 15, 2004

Airline Checkin

Kiosks : Earning Their Wings

June 2004, Chain Store Age Magazine
By Matthew Haeberle


Younger consumers are helping to drive kiosk usage

Kiosks are becoming more prominent in the retail arena. More importantly, they are receiving recognition for their ability to make money for companies. Helping to drive this change is an increase in kiosk usage by younger consumers.

"Tech-friendly consumers, mostly younger ones, are a key component that is helping to drive the change in kiosks," said Robert Goodwin, a VP with Stamford, Conn.-based technology consulting firm Gartner, Inc., who spoke at the KioskCom show in Las Vegas in April. "In addition, more industries are getting involved with kiosks, which means that consumers are seeing them in every area and industry. This is bringing about a good diversified installation base."

One industry that has seen enormous success with kiosks is the airline industry. Most major carriers offer some form of self-service check-in at their counters. According to Goodwin, the time savings and convenience factor of kiosks are boosting usage at airports and making those same consumers aware of the possibilities of kiosks in other applications.

"Kiosks have a fast implementation, which is important when talking about ROI," he said. However, Goodwin also noted that it is of the utmost importance to place kiosks in a prime and prominent location and to have an active staff that brings consumers to the kiosks.

Opportunity for upsells: Critics who complain that kiosks are not a big-time moneymaker should talk with Northwest Airlines. Brian Ficik, manager of e-commerce sales and strategy at the Eagan, Minn.-based airliner, noted during KioskCom that Northwest collected $15 million in upgrading fees in 2003.

"When a customer begins the check-in process, the kiosk is able to see what fare they paid for the flight," Ficik explained. "This grants us the opportunity to offer them either an upgrade to first or business class for a small fee, or a meal voucher to other elite travelers who were not able to upgrade their seats."

To date, 75% of Northwests overall check-ins are via self-service. Of that figure, 85% of the companys passengers use the airport kiosks, while the remaining 15% print their boarding passes on line prior to leaving home. Business travelers also can print out a boarding pass for their return trip on the day of their original departure if the return flight occurs within roughly 30 hours. Northwest currently has 850 kiosks in 190 airports throughout North America.

Another airliner that has experienced rich success with its kiosk application is Houston-based Continental Airlines, which has tried to make its kiosk check-in experience as simple as possible. According to Christopher Frawley, managing director of e-commerce at Continental, you have to have the discipline to know what flows with the business model and when to resist extraneous add-ons.

"It is more about what you can take out of the process rather than what you put into it," said Frawley. "Customers dont like to read or think, so you have to make the screens as intuitive as possible for them. You dont want the customer to have any questions. We want to make the kiosk better than if the customer went to the counter to check in."

When Continental first launched its kiosk application, the machines were used for less than 30,000 check-ins per month. At present, 50,000 transactions are processed each day through 779 kiosks in 130 airports. Unlike Northwest, Continental does not offer its customers the opportunity to upgrade their tickets, preferring instead to give those benefits only to elite members. However, it does give its customers the chance to buy headphones, drinks or pay for excess baggage at the kiosk.

One point of differentiation Continental does make for its elite customers at kiosks during the check-in procedure is to print specialized boarding passes. According to Frawley, this makes other employees aware of the status and value of frequent fliers.

"Personalization expresses the highest level of sophistication," noted Frawley. "We view kiosks not as a way to move tasks away from people, but to make it better than what we could do with a person. We try to tailor the transaction to what the customer needs to make it relevant for them. The simplest point of personalization is to welcome them with their name."

Posted by Craig at 04:14 PM

March 06, 2004

Hotel Check In

Experiment: Some hotel chains are installing automated kiosks so guests can avoid a line at the front desk.

By Kathy Bergen
Chicago Tribune
Originally published March 6, 2004
Business traveler Richard Bergquist had one thing on his mind as he checked out of the Hilton Chicago on a recent morning.

Speed.

"All I want is to get my receipt and to get in and out fast," said the chief technology officer for PeopleSoft Inc., who was in town for a convention.

So Bergquist bypassed the smiling associates behind the polished marble front desk, turning instead to a newly installed 4-foot-tall kiosk, where he checked out in a matter of moments.

Chains such as Hilton Hotels Corp., Marriott Corp. and Starwood Hotels & Resorts are betting a lot of travelers share Bergquist's quest for fast, hassle-free travel. Hyatt Hotels Corp. hopes to test a system by the end of the year.

Toward that end they are stealing a page from the airlines by introducing automated check-in and checkout via computerized kiosks. They are testing the devices in big, urban hotel properties that draw large numbers of time-conscious business travelers.

"The airlines have trained our customers, so they have a penchant to go self-service," said Conrad M. Wangeman, general manager of the 2,035-room Hilton New York.

His hotel and the 1,544-room Hilton Chicago are the company's two test sites for the kiosks developed by International Business Machines Corp. Though the kiosks have been in place at the Hilton New York for less than two months, 5 percent to 20 percent of its customers use the kiosks on any given day, he estimated.

The hotel chain installed the kiosks at the Hilton Chicago last month with plans to expand the service to another 23 hotels by year's end, executives said Wednesday during a news briefing on the rollout.

Starwood is testing a similar product at the 1,215-room Sheraton Boston Hotel and the 509-room W New York-Times Square. It plans to expand the program to 20 or 30 properties by midyear.

And Multi-Systems Inc., which develops hotel property management systems, has sold kiosks to several hotels that are testing whether customers will use them.

"I believe a number of companies have been looking at it ... so it is likely to become something much more visible in the next few years," said Sean Hennessey, director of hotel consulting for PricewaterhouseCoopers in New York.

Hilton and Starwood both stress that the kiosks are merely an option and that staffed registration desks will remain in place for those who prefer speaking with an associate or have special requests or requirements.

"We'll actually have the same staff levels," said Robert Machen, a Hilton vice president. But some front desk staff will be reassigned to assist kiosk users.

"If someone's having a problem at the kiosk, the last thing we want to do is ask them to go into the front-desk line," Stephen P. Laughlin, a business consultant with IBM Global Services, said during the Hilton briefing. "This is a line-busting technology."

While hotel chains downplay the potential to cut their costs through use of the kiosks, that potential is definitely part of the equation, at least over the long run if the machines gain widespread acceptance.

"It's a matter of saving on labor - that's the largest expense item at all hotels," Hennessey said.

The kiosks, which industry experts say can cost $10,000 to $18,000, work much like the kiosks at airline counters.

At the Hiltons, customers insert a credit card or a hotel frequent-guest card to begin the process. Then they can confirm reservations, receive encoded key-cards and get a printout with room details all within a minute or two.

At the kiosk, they can also receive any messages left for them, get food or beverage coupons that come with their reservation and update their frequent-traveler or credit-card accounts.

Still, some observers remain uncertain about whether Americans will warm up to machines at hotels.

"Unless they are forced to use them, travelers won't use them," said Chris Hartmann, managing director at HVS Technology Strategies, a division of hotel consultant HVS International. "I've seen airport lines of 50 people or more, and then a row of empty kiosks. People still don't go up to them."

baltimoresun.com - Check in, out via kiosk

Posted by Craig at 02:26 PM

February 03, 2004

Airline Check-In Kiosks

Speeding Flight Check-In at Self-Service Kiosks [ny times]

Speeding Flight Check-In at Self-Service Kiosks
By DAVID JONES
story link
Published: February 3, 2004

Tami L. Chappell for The New York Times
Travelers at a kiosk at Hartsfield International Airport serving Atlanta, one of the nation's busiest, negotiate the self-service check-in process.

Mark Graham for The New York Times
Walter Jones, using a Delta Air Lines kiosk at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, appreciates not having to stand in long lines.

do-it-yourself check-in kiosks have sprouted up in airports, and lots more are coming.

Since the fall of 2001, when new security rules slowed passenger check-in to a crawl, airlines have doubled the number of self-service kiosks, to 3,000. Make that 3,001: Today, JetBlue Airways plans to introduce the first of 150 self-service kiosks it will install around the country at its hub terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport. JetBlue, whose passengers book about 75 percent of their tickets online, worked with I.B.M. to develop a kiosk with extra large interactive screens.

Self-service kiosks have been a boon to rushed travelers, cutting check-in times, and have saved the industry millions of dollars in labor costs. The machines have proved so successful at airports that two major hotel chains are testing automated check-in systems at some locations.

Analysts estimate more than 25 percent of all travelers in the United States have used a self-service machine. At Continental Airlines, about 60 percent of all passengers are using the kiosks. Those with e-tickets are eligible, but not those with paper tickets. And at this stage, the system is in use on domestic flights and those to American territories, but not on international routes.

For the passengers able to use them, such an expansion has changed the logistics of business travel. Without it, analysts say, more fliers would be spending time at check-in counter lines. Instead, by swiping a credit, debit or frequent-flier card through an electronic reader and punching in information to confirm their identity, they can get boarding passes, upgrade to first class, or rebook canceled flights.

The airlines are reaping benefits. A study in November by Forrester Research showed that self-service check-in costs the airlines 16 cents a passenger, compared with $3.68 using ticket-counter agents. The study's co-author, Henry H. Harteveldt, vice president for travel research at Forrester, said check-in machines would become standard in the near future for most carriers. "Ideally, a self-service kiosk should be able to help an airline serve 95 percent of its passengers with 95 percent of their needs," he said.

In 1995, Continental became the first United States carrier to install a self-service machine - at Newark airport, one of its hubs. Continental now has 779 kiosks in 130 airports around the country.

The machines caught on as airport gridlock worsened. "The airlines realized this was a technology that was part of their core business," said Robert R. Ranieri, who oversees I.B.M.'s travel kiosk unit in Toronto, "sort of the way the Internet is a mainstream tool.''

Plans by Northwest and other carriers to accelerate electronic check-in were put on hold by the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Before security procedures measures were tightened as a result of the attacks, passengers had been able to go through airport security with a printed confirmation of their flight and obtain boarding passes at the gate. Now, they must get the boarding pass first - on the Internet, at a ticket counter or at a self-service kiosk.

The kiosk can be fastest. Walter Jones, vice president for business development at Carrington Laboratories in Irving, Tex., recalled arriving for a flight at Salt Lake City International Airport and finding a long line. "It would have taken me at least 40 minutes," he said, "but there was nobody at the kiosk. I got processed in less than two minutes." Mr. Jones says he never goes to the check-in counter any more and flies on Delta Air Lines and American Airlines to take advantage of their kiosks.

A frequent passenger on Alaska Airlines, Tony Zawaideh, senior vice president for sales at Zapp Packaging, near Los Angeles, is able to check in electronically and to get priority security screening at some airports. On a December flight, Mr. Zawaideh helped his mother, who travels infrequently, obtain a boarding pass at the check-in counter. "I got through the kiosk in about five or six minutes," he recalled. "I had to wait in line with my mother for an hour and 15 minutes."

After Sept. 11, as stories about delays and missed flights abounded and more passengers avoided short flights, several major carriers expanded their kiosk services and others increased incentives to use them, like awarding bonus frequent-flier points. Increasingly, airlines have been promoting the kiosks in an effort to attract new customers.

Last fall, for example, in an attempt to take business travelers from American Airlines, America West installed 10 check-in kiosks at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and said it planned to extend use of the machines to all its markets in the next year. America West's kiosks allow passengers to check in, change seats, upgrade to first class and print receipts. The kiosks at US Airways can be used in Spanish as well as English, and allow the reissuing of tickets if a flight is canceled.

Some airports are having trouble finding space for all the new kiosks. McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas is testing a common-use check-in system called SpeedCheck, developed jointly by I.B.M. and Arinc of Annapolis, Md.

(Page 2 of 2)

In the first phase, 38 SpeedCheck kiosks in McCarran's ticketing area are being shared by 12 airlines. Six more kiosks are at the Las Vegas Convention Center, where those attending meetings can check in and, if they have only carry-on luggage, go straight to airport security points.

The second phase, intended to start in the second quarter of this year, calls for the installation of kiosks at airport counters for use by passengers with check-in baggage. For international flights, the kiosks are to be equipped with passport readers. Suitcases would be given to an airline employee behind the kiosk.

In the last phase, with no starting date yet established, according to Arinc, SpeedCheck will be extended to charter flights.

The SpeedCheck system has drawn the interest of airport officials nationwide. If it succeeds, it is likely to encourage other big airports to introduce common-use kiosk systems.

Before SpeedCheck, several major Las Vegas hotels offered airline check-in to their guests. Now, some hotel chains are testing the self-service concept for their own use. In October, Starwood began testing self-service kiosks at the W Times Square in New York and the Sheraton Boston Hotel.

A guest swipes a credit card at the kiosk to confirm a room reservation and receives an electronic room key - a process that can take less than a minute. Guests can also check out using the machine, which will either print a receipt or e-mail it.

Starwood is planning to expand its use of kiosks to other downtown, airport and convention hotels, and to add a feature that allows guests to change room assignments.

Hilton Hotels has scheduled tests of self-service kiosks at the Hilton New York and Hilton Chicago. On the basis of the results, it will decide whether to introduce kiosks throughout the chain. Hilton is talking with several airlines to see if the self-service machines can be enhanced with airline check-in systems, according to Thomas Spitler, a Hilton vice president.

"The airlines,'' Mr. Spitler said, "have really trained customers to look for alternatives to human agents."

Posted by Craig at 04:09 PM

January 26, 2004

Hotel Check In

Starwood kiosks debut, make check-in a breeze

01-26-2004 --

Last week's Starwood World Conference at the Phoenix Civic Plaza was the international resort group's launch pad for a new technology that officials hope will create a more convenient and pleasurable experience for travelers.

The conference was a worldwide gathering of Starwood employees, representing such brands as Sheraton, Westin and W to showcase the latest and greatest in everything from bedding to massage techniques and new resort technology. It was estimated by event organizers to have a $4 million economic impact and fill up more than 10,000 local room nights.

About 2,500 employees from 84 countries attended the show Jan. 14-15, and one of the highlights was the debut of Starwood's self-service electronic kiosks. The kiosks were rolled out not only at the show, but now are being used locally on a test basis at The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa and the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts has 11 properties in Maricopa County and Tucson and employs more than 3,000 residents in the state.

While the technology behind the self-service kiosks is not the out-of-this-world type, it is a technology that has significantly transformed one industry and soon may drastically change another.

The kiosks are similar in size and function to those used at airports for travelers to check in for airline travel. Those have proven to be a big success on a wide scale, particularly with business travelers.

The Starwood kiosks are designed to do the same thing as airline kiosks, with a major emphasis put on customer convenience and speedy service. If a reservation has been made, a guest can be checked into or out of a hotel in less than a minute.

The kiosk contains a credit card swiper and touch-screen computer monitor where guests can navigate through a series of steps to check fully into or out of their rooms.

A receipt and room card key is released from the machine, and the traveler is on their way without ever stopping at the counter to check in.

The desire to lessen the stresses of the business traveler is at the heart of what Starwood is trying to accomplish with the kiosks.

"The check-in after a long trip can be very frustrating," said Carl Cohen, vice president of Starwood's property technology business. "This is something that will enhance the travel experience."

Rod Mano, senior director of broadband business for Starwood, said the company has done a good deal of guest surveys on check-in procedures, and the most common complaint was that it took too long.

"These kiosks connect up to our whole back-end registration system, so they are very easy to use," he said. "We've been getting great feedback."

As of now, a pair of test units at the Westin Kierland and Sheraton Wild Horse Pass allow only for check in and check out, but when a larger roll-out happens throughout 2004 and into 2005, the units will offer more.

"We're about to add a feature where you can select a specific room or change your room altogether," Cohen said. "First you will only be able to change to rooms with the same rate, but eventually you will be able to upgrade."
Source: The Business Journal

KioskCom Industry News

Posted by Craig at 05:05 PM

December 03, 2003

Hotels Begin to Test Touch-Screen Kiosks for Check-In

Kiosks seem to be the hot item, as several chains are running tests to see if guests are willing to bypass the personal touch at the front desk in favor of a quicker check-in and check-out.

December 02, 2003 21:14

Hotels Begin to Test Touch-Screen Kiosks for Check-In
Jump to first matched term

By Kevin G. DeMarrais, The Record, Hackensack, N.J.

Dec. 3--Time is precious to business travelers, which explains why major hotel chains around the nation are testing ways to speed customers from the front door to their rooms, and out again.

Advocates promise this new technology -- touch-screen kiosks, small portable computers, and off-site baggage checks -- will reduce waiting time. But only time will tell if customers will embrace the devices as great conveniences, or reject them as gimmicks.

Hotels and other service providers are looking to make the whole process as easy as possible, said Craig Mateer, president of an Orlando, Fla.-based company that is testing a system that allows airline passengers to check their bags through from a hotel to the airport far in advance of their flight.

"It's just good business," Mateer said.

Kiosks seem to be the hot item, as several chains are running tests to see if guests are willing to bypass the personal touch at the front desk in favor of a quicker check-in and check-out.

Marriott is among those in test mode, with trials under way at two hotels, one at Newark Liberty International Airport and the other near Washington, D.C.

Thus far, acceptance is slow, as the two kiosks in each hotel often sit idle in the lobby, flanking the front desk. "But we're picking up momentum," said Walt Ensminger, the general manager of the Newark hotel.

The tests are part of the hotels' search for new ways to attract and retain customers, a search that has taken on added emphasis since business fell off post-9/11.

Saving time is "absolutely critical," ranking right after security in what's important to guests, said Jim Gard, vice president of marketing services for Prime Hospitality Corp., a Fairfield-based company that owns, manages, and franchises 247 North American hotels.

"Time is probably more important to the modern business traveler than dollars," Gard said.

The Hilton Hotel Corp. brought kiosks to the forefront of the amenities competition in September when it announced it would begin testing them in New York and Chicago. Those trials are scheduled to begin in January, but kiosk tests are already under way at Sheraton Hotels in Boston and New York and the Marriotts in Newark and Washington.

"Today's frequent travelers are increasingly sophisticated technology users who have been using self-service technology X for several years," such as airport kiosks and automated teller machines, said Tim Harvey, Hilton's chief information officer.

"When people go to the airport, they look for kiosks as a faster way to check in," said Andrew Kraemer, senior director of technology for Cendant Corp.'s Parsippany-based hotel group. "They're more comfortable with the new technology." Hotel kiosks aren't new; they were tried and rejected in the past. But that doesn't mean they won't work now, at least in certain situations, Kraemer said.

For big, busy hotels that often have "queues to check in and check out, this is something you'd want to watch," Kraemer said. But it has less appeal at hotels where customers can go straight to the front desk, without waiting on line, and deal directly with a human.

"It's something we had for a while for our Wingate brand, but it didn't quite work for us," Kraemer said. "We found the business traveler preferred to be serviced by the customer service rep at the desk." Wingate hotels are at the top of Cendant's brands, which also include Ramada, Super 8, and Days Inn.

Even as the kiosk trials take place, Prime is testing a wireless check-in system at its Radisson Hotel in Secaucus, Gard said. Customers can use their personal digital assistants to check in before they arrive at the hotel, and stop at the front desk only to pick up the key.

One of the more unusual experiments began in Florida in August when Mateer's Baggage Airline Guest Services Inc., or BAGS, set up shop at the Rosen Centre, a 1,334-room hotel that is near the Orlando International Airport and next to the Orange County Convention Center, one of the nation's busiest exhibition halls.

The new service allows passengers to pay $10 to check their bags at the hotel up to 12 hours before a flight and not see them again until they get off the plane.

The key is that the baggage remains in a locked, secure location it is until trucked to the airport for pre-flight screening. Because of heightened security concerns after 9/11, as well as the need to work out technological bugs, it took 2 1/4 years to get the pilot program started as federal officials worked out security details, Mateer said. But it's "going wonderfully well" now, he added.

"In one sense, the timing couldn't have been worse, but it also couldn't have been better," Mateer said. "Now it's a nightmare at the airport; who wants to deal with the lines? The hassle factor associated with checking your bags is eliminated with our concept.

"The challenge is to change the mindset of how people check in. For a small price, you don't have to schlep your bags around anymore." BAGS is the first remote passenger check-in system in the country approved by the federal Transportation Security Authority, the company said. American, Continental, and Delta airlines are participating, and other airlines and hotels are expected to join in soon.

"We're really focusing on negotiating with major cities across the country and with hotel chains, and should have some announcements soon," Mateer said.

While Mateer speaks of benefits to business travelers, the service should also be attractive to leisure passengers, especially those with early checkouts and late flights, Kraemer said. "It gives them a little more free time." Whether it's advance check-in, kiosks, or PDAs, value-added services are what it's all about these days, officials say.

"The environment has changed significantly in the last five to 10 years, and people are much more savvy, much more price-conscious," Kraemer said. And hotels are trying to find ways to provide value to distinguish themselves from the competition.

That means access to high-speed Internet service in every room -- a must for today's business traveler, even in midprice hotels -- along with a host of other amenities, from free continental breakfasts and free fax service to on-site health clubs.

But food, faxes, and fitness facilities may not be enough to gain customer loyalty if getting in and out of the hotel are a hassle.

Many hotels now slip bills under the door during the night so guests with no late charges can leave without going through a formal check-out process. Others process check-out via the remote and the TV set in the room.

If the traveler needs a paid receipt, not just a final bill, hotels such as the Wingates offer the option to enter an email address during the TV check-out process so the paid receipt is delivered to the customer's office, Kraemer said.

"With that, I cruise by the desk," he said.

Posted by Craig at 08:45 PM

November 06, 2003

Multi-Carrier Check-In on Airlines

Northwest Offers Check-In On Multi-Carrier Itineraries

nwa.com Check-In now issues boarding passes for connecting flights on six partner airlines in addition to Northwest

ST. PAUL, MINN. (November 6, 2003) Northwest Airlines today said that it is offering customers the ability to check in at its Web site for travel involving multiple airlines.

As a result of a recent enhancement to its nwa.com Check-In service, e-ticketed customers, regardless of where they purchase their ticket, can now obtain boarding passes at www.nwa.com for both their Northwest flight, and at the same time, for their connecting flight on any of six partner airlines.

The partners included in the initial launch of the new service include KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Continental Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Alaska Airlines, Horizon Air and Hawaiian Airlines.

This smart enhancement will extend the convenience, speed and control of nwa.com Check-In to even more Northwest customers, said Al Lenza, vice president of distribution and e-commerce. Services such as global Web check-in available up to 36 hours prior to departure demonstrate that nwa.com Check-In continues to offer travelers self-service functionality not found at any other airline.

AIRPORT KIOSKS OFFER SERVICE AS WELL

Simultaneously, Northwest announced that its 755 airport self-service check-in kiosks, located at 188 airports, are also able to provide customers with boarding passes on itineraries involving both Northwest and the six partner airlines.

Since its 2000 launch, nearly seven million Northwest customers have printed their boarding pass from the convenience of their home or office through nwa.com Check-In, Lenza added. A record 67% of our customers used nwa.com Check-In or one of our self-service check-in kiosks during October to speed their way onto a Northwest flight.

Posted by Craig at 06:27 PM