August 31, 2011

Coca-Cola facial recognition kiosk uploads straight to Facebook

Coca-Cola facial recognition kiosk uploads straight to Facebook

Coca-Cola facial recognition kiosk uploads straight to Facebook (Video) | DigitalSignageToday.com

At the Coca-Cola Summer Love 2011 event, Coca-Cola Israel worked with Publicis e-dologic to integrate people's online experience with their real lives in an intuitive and easy way, resulting in the introduction of the FaceLook digital signage kiosk.

FaceLook, a real-life posting application based on Face.com facial-recognition technology, enabled Summer Love participants to post comments and pictures to their Facebook page, just by looking at the screen. The kiosk recognized their facies and uploaded to their pages using only their faces as identification.

At any of the event's venues, people could post experiences on their Facebook wall, just by looking at the FaceLook machine. The application recognized the person and posted an automatic comment, relevant to the attraction closest to where the machine was located.

According to Publicis e-dologic, tens of thousands of people used the FaceLook machines to share the fun with their friends and by doing so spread the Coca-Cola message and multiplied the buzz and engagement of Coca-Cola's summer activities.

Watch the video below to see the FaceLook kiosks in action:

YouTube video


Coca-Cola facial recognition kiosk uploads straight to Facebook (Video) | DigitalSignageToday.com

Posted by staff at 01:39 PM

August 19, 2011

Augmented Reality Stickers that come to life

Allstar Inks Deal With Sticker Technology Firm To Bring Augmented Reality To Flat Vending

AllStar Dino Website

POINTE-CLAIRE, QC, Canada -- Allstar Vending has announced the launch of Dinosaur AR, a series of stickers imprinted with dinosaurs. When held or placed within the field of view of the webcam on a computer or smartphone, the sticker’s dinosaur comes to life on the screen when the user logs onto the allstardino.com website. The resulting computer-generated animation is integrated into the scene being captured by the camera. A sticker held in the hand will spawn a tiny dinosaur on the display, interacting with the purchaser. | SEE DEMO

Allstar is in exclusive partnership with Augmented CPG Inc. of Montreal, the developer of the sticker technology, according to vice-president Sharon Shlien, who added that more of these products are under development.

The complete line includes 12 dinosaurs, which Allstar reports are the Jurassic kind. The company suggests a 50¢ vend price.

Augmented reality originated with special-effects technology developed for motion pictures. Television broadcasters have used it to “augment” the real world by superimposing “chalk talk” diagrams on replays of sporting events. Advances in computer and communications systems are suggesting a number of new commercial and educational applications for it, of which Allstar’s dinosaur stickers are an early example.

Active in bulk vending since 1969, Allstar is headquartered at 240 Voyageur, Pointe-Claire, Québec, Canada H9R 6A8; tel. (800) 685-7066.

AllStar Dino Website

Posted by staff at 07:43 AM

May 16, 2011

Pepsi's 'Social Vending' Machine Features 'Gifting' Function

PURCHASE, NY -- New from PepsiCo is the Social Vending System, a networked vending machine with large "full-touch" screen designed to enable consumers to connect with Pepsi brands (and one another) at the point of purchase. It made its debut in prototype at the National Automatic Merchandising Association's 2011 OneShow in Chicago

Pepsi's 'Social Vending' Machine Features 'Gifting' Function | Articles | Articles | Vending Times Inc.

Novel features of the system include provisions for a patron to "gift" a friend by selecting a beverage, then entering the recipient's name, mobile phone number and a personal text message – and, if desired, a short video recorded at the machine. Standard text message rates apply for the "gifting" function.

The gift is delivered with a system code and instructions for redeeming it at any PepsiCo social vender. The recipient may thank the original sender by dispatching a gift in return, or "pay it forward" by presenting a beverage to someone else.

The machines are equipped for remote monitoring, giving operators the ability to manage inventory levels and schedule deliveries remotely. Digital content also can be updated online, allowing easy changing of messages and media content.

"Our vision is to use innovative technology to empower consumers and create new ways for them to engage with our brands, their social networks and each other at the point of purchase," said Mikel Durham, chief innovation officer at PepsiCo Foodservice. "Social vending extends our consumers' social networks beyond the confines of their own devices and transforms a static, transaction-oriented experience into something fun and exciting they'll want to return to, again and again."

Social vending also makes it possible to perform a "Random Act of Refreshment" by purchasing a drink for a stranger through any other Social Vending System. For example, a consumer could send a message of encouragement to someone in a city smitten by challenging weather, or a congratulatory beverage to a student whose college or university has just won a championship.

The Social Vending System was conceived by PepsiCo's newly formed Equipment Innovation group, whose task is to apply emerging technologies to the delivery of relevant brand experiences for consumers through equipment. The design and user interface were created in collaboration with Milwaukee, WI-based DCI Marketing and Protagonist of Venice, CA.

"Our approach to technology innovation is driven by what we know consumers want," explained PepsiCo vice-president of equipment innovation Christine Sisler. "We're working with some of the best minds in the business to develop equipment that provides customization, personalization and choice."

PepsiCo explained that it sees large, prestigious accounts like colleges, universities and malls as offering a good fit for social vending. Further development of the platform is ongoing; a limited consumer test is underway now, and PepsiCo plans to test the concept with key strategic partners later this year.

The company reports that it respects its customers' privacy: email addresses and phone numbers are not stored unless expressly permitted by a user. PepsiCo does not share contact information with any other partners.


Pepsi's 'Social Vending' Machine Features 'Gifting' Function | Articles | Articles | Vending Times Inc.


Posted by staff at 07:43 AM

July 07, 2009

Movie Kiosks Dispense Coupons for Sprint

sprint_movie_100.jpgSprint Nextel is sponsoring a cinema-centric marketing effort, placing kiosks in about 500 movie theaters nationwide. Sprint customers can scan in a code from their phones, and the kiosks will print coupons, like a free upgrade to a bigger popcorn or larger soda.

Lights, Camera, Action for Concession Coupons

By STEPHANIE CLIFFORD
Published: July 6, 2009
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FILM producers spend millions every year to draw audiences to their movies. Now, advertisers are beginning to benefit from that, using not only movie screens for their commercials, but the lobbies of cinemas as well.

Sprint is placing kiosks in about 500 movie theaters so customers can scan in a code from their phones to get coupons for snacks.

This month through December, Sprint Nextel is sponsoring a cinema-centric marketing effort, placing kiosks in about 500 movie theaters nationwide. Sprint customers can scan in a code from their phones, and the kiosks will print coupons, like a free upgrade to a bigger popcorn or larger soda.

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“We see a very natural affinity between cinemagoers and our target audience,” said Simon McPhillips, director of media for Sprint. With more people going to see films, it’s a good time for Sprint to go to the movies, he added.

Companies have been expanding their cinema advertising recently, realizing that theaters are good places to reach audiences that don’t have too many distractions.

For years, companies like Screenvision and National CineMedia have been running on-screen commercials before trailers started, and lately they have been offering new products for advertisers. National CineMedia operates TV screens at concession stands that feature ads.

Screenvision has a few new projects in the works: with Cinema Scene, it will expand the number of theaters featuring stand-alone digital panels that replace movie posters. They show trailers or images that can be changed every day, or even every hour. And it will also introduce a backlit ministage that displays a hologram later this year. These stages, about 8 feet by 8 feet, will be placed in theater lobbies, and marketers can use them to display any image they want, like a candy bar or a cellphone.

Those are scheduled for limited introduction this year and are more for the “wow” factor than anything else, said Michael Chico, executive vice president for sales and marketing at Screenvision.

Sprint, too, is becoming more creative with its cinema spots, Mr. McPhillips said.

“People with high mobile phone usage do tend to go to cinemas more than people with lower mobile phone usage,” he said. “Years back, when cinema advertising was just launching, people were a little skeptical on how it would be received. It’s only been around for a relatively short amount of time, but all the research that came back said, despite initial skepticism, people feel that the advertisements are not intruding — in fact, in many ways are complementing — the overall event.”

Sprint uses National CineMedia’s network to run what are known as courtesy spots — reminders to silence cellphones — just before the movie (this spring, it added a warning not to text during a movie).

The idea is not to get moviegoers to switch phone companies then and there, but to show off what Sprint can do, Mr. McPhillips said.

“We’ve got a term called brand utility, and what we’re looking to do with brand utility is use the phone as a marketing device, leveraging the benefits of a mobile phone,” he said. “Any marketing is obviously looking to improve people’s perceptions of the brand and bring them closer to the Sprint experience: the ‘Now network,’ living in the now — what that means is being in touch, wanting to get the most out of ‘now,’ whether it’s getting data on your phone or sharing an experience.”

Sometimes, as in the red-carpet texting campaign, Sprint allows any cellphone customer to participate. But with the kiosk, Sprint has a different goal.

“The first was a reward for their own customers, building that loyalty, and the other was the envy factor,” said Christine Martino, national account director for Screenvision, which brought the idea to Sprint.

The kiosk works by instructing Sprint customers to text a certain word (like “Sprint”) to a certain phone number. The customers then receive a text message that includes a string of letters and numbers. The kiosk includes a computer screen next to a scanning device, and people hold up their cellphones, scan that code and can browse through a few offers on the screen. The customers select their offer, and the kiosk prints a receipt that people can take to the concession stand for free upgrades, like a larger popcorn.
Rest of article

Posted by staff at 12:21 PM

Payment Industry Perspectives: Q&A With Wayne Waxman of Coinstar

rixtyprocess-120.jpgTraditionally, Coinstar has dealt with transforming loose change into more manageable bills. More likely than not, most everyone has seen a Coinstar kiosk in grocery store or big box retailer, but in recent months, the company has been building more partnerships with online games and payment companies.


Back in April, Coinstar partnered with Rixty to create an alternative payment platform that turned loose change into “Rixty Cards” at Coinstar kiosks. These cards, the same Rixty cards you would see on rack displays, can then be used for the purchase of virtual currency within the Rixty platform. Furthermore, and more recently, Coinstar also delved into the realm of prepaid online gaming cards with partnerships with game companies such as Aeria Games, Spare Change, and Wild Tangent.

These are new waters for the folks over at Coinstar, but we recently spoke with Wayne Waxman, Marketing Manager for the company’s E-Payment Services group, to take a deeper look into the company’s plans.

[Inside Social Games] Thanks for taking the time to speak with us. First off, why is Coinstar getting involved in online games?

[Wayne Waxman] We entered this space for several reasons. The online gaming market potential is exploding. It’s a high-growth category that really caters to a young demographic, specifically teens who may not have access to credit. According to Mercator Advisory group, an estimated $3.8 billion will be loaded on game and ring tone prepaid cards in 2009. This number has grown from the $2.8 billion that was loaded in 2007.

This really is an exciting opportunity for us and for our retail partners. Prepaid gaming cards help drive repeat visits from the loyal gaming audience and the products’ low price points drive trial – pricing starts as low as $5 – and hopefully encourages adoption.

[ISG] Entering into this market has meant a lot of partnerships. We alleady know of the partnerships with Aeria, Spare Change, Rixty, and Wild Tangent, but whom else might you have in mind?

[WW] On the prepaid card side, we are always looking for new product offerings and partners that will help drive traffic to our retailers and increase their shopper’s overall market basket. This is true for all our categories including online games.

[ISG] Let’s talk about Rixty for a moment: When we first saw the concept of turning change into virtual currency, it did seem logical, but very unorthodox. What sort of numbers and revenue are you seeing?

[WW] We just launched Rixty in June, so........

Rest of Interview

rixtyprocess.png

Posted by staff at 07:15 AM

June 05, 2009

C3CUBE Initiates touch-screen Kiosk Entertainment Revolution in India

New Delhi: During this IPL season, if you had walked into any of the major outlets of McDonald’s or Nirulas, the DT Mall Food Courts and any of 27 prime retail locations across the Delhi NCR region, you would have seen a crowd of young people engrossed in a futuristic, interactive touch-screen kiosk. This was the Dilli Dil Se Network, part of the Coca-Cola Dilli Dil Se marketing program celebrating the Delhi Daredevils and India’s first ever network of multimedia, broadband-enabled entertainment kiosks.

The Dilli Dil Se kiosk network was conceived and developed by acclaimed multimedia producer Raja Choudhury and his digital agency, C3CUBE Multimedia – www.C3Cube.com - for Coca-Cola India as part of its integrated marketing program to leverage its sponsorship of the Delhi Daredevils during the DLF IPL 2009. This program also included a website, www.DilliDilSe.com, designed by C3CUBE.

Traditionally, touch-screen kiosks are visible in banks, at airports, stations, museums aimed at facilitating customer transactions, information or ticketing. This is the first time a kiosk network has been created solely for the purpose of promoting a sporting event and providing entertainment in a safe, fun-filled environment. And the formula worked! During the DLF IPL 2009, over 20,000 enthusiastic users between the ages of 13 and 30 logged on to the Dilli Dil Se kiosk network to cheer and celebrate the Delhi Daredevils steady climb to the top of the league table, and into the semi-finals.

The cutting-edge kiosk network integrated a large 19 inch letterbox touch-screen interface and a 32 inch LCD TV and provided dynamic content such as a promotion, games, a private social network, video mail, SMS tweets, a juke box, Bluetooth 2.0 downloads, videos, ads, team player game cards, 3D virtual tours and much more.

“This is a first-of-its-kind entertainment kiosk network” says Raja Choudhury, who has been building award-winning kiosks, websites, videos and TV programs in the US, UK and Indian markets since 1993. “We believe such a network that integrates Web 2.0, flash games, a social network, Bluetooth, video mail, SMS and music over a 2 Mbps broadband connection, has not been deployed so far. Coca-Cola India believed in our vision and we were able to make this possible during the IPL.”

C3CUBE and Coca-Cola India were able to attract some key partners to this pioneering experiment during the DLF IPL event including McDonald’s, Nirulas, DLF DT Malls, Kwality Group, Pind Baluchis, Zenga Mobile Apps, Waves, INOX cinemas, Vikings Game Zone and Airtel Broadband.

Mansoor Siddiqi, Director - Integrated Marketing Communications at Coca-Cola India said that “The Dilli Dil Se kiosk network was a fresh initiative in the marketing of a brand asset. It enabled local Delhi Daredevils fans to cheer their team on, in an involving and fun manner, and achieved engagement metrics beyond our expectations.”

C3CUBE Multimedia - www.C3Cube.com - is a two-year old agency with offices in New Delhi and New York that has already notched up major interactive successes including 2 Webby Honoree Awards in 2008 for www.OurWeddingDay.com and www.CBCWorldwide.com as well as numerous awards for www.JadeNYC.com and the documentary film “Spirituality in the Modern World.” The company now plans to launch a series of public multimedia projects in the Indian market, including a new tourism, information and entertainment kiosk network for Delhi called the Delhi I-Zone in time for the Commonwealth Games in 2010.

Slideshow with pictures

For press backgrounder on C3CUBE Multimedia Pvt. Ltd. click here

Media contact details

Kritika Singh,
C3CUBE Multimedia Pvt. Ltd.,
+91 989984749,
Kritika@c3cube.com

Credit: Raja Choudbury via Kiosk Industry Group on LinkedIn

Posted by staff at 07:28 AM

June 01, 2009

NCR Appoints Alex C. Camara as Vice President and General Manager of NCR Entertainment Solutions

NCR Corporation (NYSE: NCR) announced today that Alex C. Camara has joined the company as vice president and general manager of NCR Entertainment Solutions. In his new role, Camara will lead NCR’s entertainment business, which includes its Blockbuster Express DVD rental operations.

Camara joins NCR from Coinstar, Inc, where he served for ten years including most recently as senior vice president and general manager of Coinstar Coin and Entertainment. In that role, he consistently grew revenues and profits in Coinstar’s largest business unit. Camara has more than 25 years of leadership experience in operations, sales, supply chain, business development and general management from the retail industry and self-service technology.

"Alex is the ideal person to drive NCR’s entertainment business and fulfill our goal of becoming the worldwide leader in entertainment self-service solutions,” said John Bruno, executive vice president, NCR Industry Solutions Group. "Alex is a proven leader with exceptional skills in both guiding strategy and driving execution of a global, self-service kiosk operator business. Together with his strong global experience in the retail industry, Alex will help us accelerate the growth of our Blockbuster Express business as well as continue to build our capabilities in downloadable digital content, video game buy/sell/trade solutions, and additional new technologies.”

"NCR has put all of the pieces in place to become the leader in entertainment self-service solutions. The capital investment it is making to roll out its DVD kiosks, its strategic partnership with Blockbuster, its capabilities through the TNR acquisition and its partnerships with other next-generation technology providers put NCR in a unique position to grow its business rapidly in the entertainment space,” said Camara. "I am looking forward to joining NCR’s world-class entertainment team and working closely with our customers and partners in order to profitably grow NCR in this industry.”

NCR believes the entertainment self-service industry represents a substantial market opportunity, and the company has made significant investments in that space over the past 12 months. In the fall of 2008, NCR began a strategic alliance with Blockbuster Inc. to deploy Blockbuster Express branded DVD rental kiosks. In April 2009, NCR accelerated that strategy by purchasing the remaining equity in TNR Entertainment, an operator of DVD rental kiosks – enabling the company to become an owner/operator of the devices and marking the first step of a North America rollout of thousands of units.

NCR also has invested in other technology firms, including ePlay Inc. – which operates buy/sell/trade kiosks for video games – and MOD Systems – a pioneer in digital media downloads.

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, entertainment, gaming and public sector organizations in more than 100 countries. NCR (www.ncr.com) is headquartered in Dayton, Ohio.

NCR is a trademark of NCR Corporation in the United States and other countries.

Posted by staff at 07:51 PM

May 27, 2009

Wal-Mart’s Kiosk Trial Raises Serious PCI, Data Ownership Issues

walmart.jpgWal-Mart, E-Play and NCR get called to explain by StorefrontBacktalk and Fred Aun article. Gist is trial of 77 stores running trial of used video buyback kiosks that take card data and drivers license info, and then talk about linking into retailer POS.

Written by Fred J. Aun of StorefrontBacktalk.com

Wal-Mart this month became the latest major retailer to experiment with self-service kiosks, selling space in 77 stores for units that buy back used video games and issue credits directly to various payment cards.

The initial trial is entirely isolated, with the kiosk vendor having access only to its own network and not to Wal-Mart’s. But the $375 billion chain is officially considering having the machines offer in-store credits in the form of gift cards, which would mean allowing the kiosks two-way access to POS and potentially CRM data. That would force some serious strategic debate about how far outside vendor kiosks can—and should—be allowed to play inside a retailer’s databases.

The initial version of the kiosks collect payment card information as well as drivers license data. Even setting aside the potential future POS/CRM access, the payment and highly-sensitive driver’s license data will force some of that debate right away. How secure are the kiosks? Who is ultimately responsible in the event of a security breach, both from a legal and PCI perspective?

Beyond lawyers and assessors, consumers and the dollars they control will likely blame the retailer for any problems that started with a kiosk in or right next to its store. Wal-Mart officials are stressing that the Wal-Mart logo will not be used on any of the trial kiosks, although the Wal-Mart blue and yellow brand colors will absolutely be used. “This is not Wal-Mart’s machine,” said Melissa O’Brien, a spokeswoman for Wal-Mart’s entertainment division. “We are leasing space to them in our store vestibules just like with do with other companies.” And that nuanced distinction will be explained to every Wal-Mart customer how?

The insistence that no brand be used displayed will be a nice point for the lawyers, but it won’t do much for public perception. PCI Safe Harbor and legal indemnification won’t help much if consumers feel betrayed.

Another troubling issue is data ownership. If Wal-Mart gets consumers to come to their stores and asks them to interact with a kiosk in the store, can the kiosk vendor use that information to help other retailers? As a pragmatic matter, how can they not do so?

Rest of article

Posted by staff at 11:06 AM

May 18, 2009

Wal-Mart to test E-Play game kiosks

Wal-Mart might be considering a challenge to specialty videogame retailer GameStop, if a new test of self-service kiosks that allow for videogame rentals and trade-ins as well as DVD rentals is any indication.


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Kiosk operator E-Play, based in Columbus, Ohio, will install machines at 77 Wal-Marts in New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island by the end of the month. Most of those stores don’t have machines operated by Coinstar’s Redbox unit, the U.S. DVD-kiosk leader that agreed last year to install its machines in most of Wal-Mart’s 3,600 U.S. stores.

In addition to offering $1-a-night DVD rentals like kiosk leader Redbox, the E-Play machines will let users turn in Nintendo Wii, Microsoft Xbox and Sony PlayStation games in exchange for credit on their credit cards, the companies said. The E-Play kiosks, which can hold about 4,000 movie and game discs, pay as much as $25 for a copy of a high-demand game such as Resident Evil 5 or as little as 50¢ for older titles, E-Play CEO Alan Rudy said. He noted that the DVD-rental function will be turned off on machines that share stores with Redbox kiosks.

“The Redbox machine does not sell games or allow for trade-ins,” said Wal-Mart spokeswoman Melissa O’Brien, who added that the company hadn’t made plans to install more E-Play machines beyond the pilot program. “We’re interested because of the added convenience of games in these units. It provides a great competitive price for games.”

Last July, NCR, the world’s largest automated-teller machine maker, bought a minority stake in E-Play in an agreement that the companies said would add several thousand DVD-trading self-service machines in GameStop and Dollar Tree stores as well as other U.S. retailers within the next few years. E-Play, which doesn’t disclose total units, also has machines in some Wal-Mart stores in Canada.

Although E-Play’s Wal-Mart machines will have the same blue-and-yellow colors as Wal-Mart stores, they won’t have a Wal-Mart logo on them, and they’ll be owned and operated by E-Play. The kiosks will charge $1 a night for both DVD rentals and game titles, and $2 for the first night for Blu-ray titles and $1 for each night thereafter.

“There’s a big difference between what we’re providing and other DVD rental kiosks,” said Rudy. “We hope there’s going to be a broader rollout.”

Posted by staff at 08:25 AM

January 07, 2009

Fujitsu to Demonstrate Industry’s Most Comprehensive Full-Service Digital Media Solution

It enables retailers, restaurants and other businesses to cost-effectively deliver digital content, engage their target audience, bolster brand awareness and enhance the overall consumer experience. Fujitsu will demonstrate the Digital Media solution—including the newly integrated MediaStaff interactive digital signage kiosk—during International CES 2009.

Fujitsu to Demonstrate Industry’s Most Comprehensive Full-Service Digital Media Solution during International CES 2009 : FUJITSU United States

Fujitsu to Demonstrate Industry’s Most Comprehensive Full-Service Digital Media Solution during International CES 2009

Sunnyvale, CA, January 6, 2009 — Fujitsu Computer Products of America, Inc., a leading supplier of innovative computer products including hard disk drives, peripherals and biometric security solutions, today announced that it will showcase the Fujitsu Digital Media solution during International CES 2009. First brought to market in October 2008, the Fujitsu Digital Media solution is the industry’s most comprehensive offering that integrates all components of the digital media process to provide customers with a complete end-to-end solution. It enables retailers, restaurants and other businesses to cost-effectively deliver digital content, engage their target audience, bolster brand awareness and enhance the overall consumer experience. Fujitsu will demonstrate the Digital Media solution—including the newly integrated MediaStaff interactive digital signage kiosk—during International CES 2009 (booth: Central 13244), January 8-11, 2009 in Las Vegas.

“Since introducing the Fujitsu Digital Media solution to the global marketplace, we have received a tremendous amount of interest from companies in all industries who recognize our offering as the most complete for reaching and interacting with their target consumers,” said Steve Beecher, director of business development, Fujitsu Computer Products of America, Inc. “The Fujitsu Digital Media solution is the most comprehensive offering of its kind—especially now that we have added the MediaStaff component—providing customers with industrialized players and displays, a robust software solution for managing content, hosting services to monitor customers’ assets and consulting services, as well as installation and maintenance services.”

The Fujitsu Digital Media solution combines innovative technologies and services from Fujitsu Computer Products of America, Fujitsu Components America, Inc., Fujitsu Transactions Solutions, Inc. and several strategic partners. The Digital Media solution provides customized hardware, Fujitsu-developed TELentice software, installation consulting services, optional hosting and managed services. MediaStaff, the newest enhancement to the Digital Media solution, uses an LCD touch screen monitor to display highly interactive digital content, enabling businesses to more closely engage with customers at the point of sale.

The Fujitsu Digital Media solution is a complete, end-to-end offering that enables customers to create, deploy and manage multi-media information campaigns that intelligently deliver video, animation, text, audio and other visuals directly to a variety of electronic media. This enables retailers, restaurants, entertainment organizations and other consumer-facing companies to build their brands more creatively and cost-effectively by facilitating continuous, targeted impressions on key customer demographics.

*

About Fujitsu

Fujitsu is a leading provider of IT-based business solutions for the global marketplace. With approximately 160,000 employees supporting customers in 70 countries, Fujitsu combines a worldwide corps of systems and services experts with highly reliable computing and communications products and advanced microelectronics to deliver added value to customers. Headquartered in Tokyo, Fujitsu Limited (TSE:6702) reported consolidated revenues of 5.3 trillion yen (US$53 billion) for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2008.
For more information, please see: http://www.fujitsu.com
About Fujitsu Computer Products of America, Inc.

Fujitsu Computer Products of America, Inc. conducts engineering and marketing activities in Sunnyvale, California, and sales operations throughout the United States. Fujitsu Computer Products of America, Inc. currently offers products and services including hard disk drives, scanners and scanner maintenance, broadcast video products, palm vein recognition technology and 10Gb Ethernet switches. Fujitsu Computer Products of America, Inc. is located at 1255 East Arques Avenue, Sunnyvale, CA, 94085. For more information about Fujitsu products and services, call us at 800-626-4686 or 408-746-7000.
For more information, please see: http://us.fujitsu.com/fcpa

Posted by staff at 08:00 AM

September 25, 2008

Digital Downloads of Movies and Music Get Faster

MOD Systems announces equity investment 0f $35 million by NCR and Toshiba. MOD has system for downloading digital content to Secure Digital (SD) cards. Retail, airports, QSRs are target market for NCR, set-top boxes is target for Toshiba.

Digital Downloads of Movies and Music Get Faster, More Convenient With Breakthrough Portable Storage Technology

SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--MOD Systems, an industry-leading provider of digital media delivery systems for retailers, today announced that Toshiba Corporation, NCR Corporation, and others, have agreed to invest $35 million, giving the companies minority stakes in MOD Systems.

The investment is part of an ambitious initiative to leverage breakthrough portable digital storage technology that offers the potential to revolutionize how consumers download movies, TV shows, music and other digital content at a wide variety of locations, and then replay it on multiple devices. The initiative will combine technologies developed by the companies, and is aimed at meeting the explosive demand for easier access to high-quality digital entertainment and other content.

Under the initiative, consumers will download digital content to Secure Digital (SD) cards and portable devices such as mobile phones through kiosks and other self-service devices deployed, integrated and maintained by NCR at retail stores, airports, quick-service restaurants and other outlets. Toshiba will develop dedicated set-top boxes for the service, and develop and market high capacity SD cards for the system, improving the speed of downloads in the future.

The kiosks and other self-service devices will use the MOD Retail Enterprise System for “multichannel” digital media delivery, which enables digital content to be managed and distributed securely using portable devices and portable storage media, including SD memory cards.

“Digital distribution of content to SD cards offers consumers a convenient, faster, more portable way to buy content and access and use their growing entertainment libraries,” said Yoshihide Fujii, Corporate Senior Vice President and President and CEO of Digital Media Network Company, Toshiba Corporation. “We’re very pleased to join with MOD Systems, an innovative company with unmatched expertise in digital content distribution systems. This investment is key to our strategy for migrating consumers to digital.”

“This technology and initiative have tremendous potential,” said Bill Nuti, Chairman and CEO of NCR. “We continue to see opportunities to extend our experience in self-service to promising new industries like entertainment. Our initiative with MOD Systems is designed to offer consumers one of the fastest, most convenient ways to access high-quality digital entertainment.”

MOD Systems provides retailers with a complete digital media system for consumers to load entertainment to portable devices and storage media, or burn content to an optical format (CD/DVD). The MOD Retail Enterprise System, deployed with leading global retailers, supports all content types and distribution scenarios including manufacturing-on-demand, delivery in optical or digital format, and hybrid online and in-store systems. Video entertainment content will be provided by major and independent studios, which will provide approximately 4,000 titles at the launch of the service. Initial content downloads will be in standard definition, and the service may also be applied to downloads of high definition content in the future.

“Digital media has not been able to truly impact sales at retail and therefore has not become truly pervasive and accessible to all consumers,” said Mark E. Phillips, CEO of MOD Systems. “Our goal of creating richer retail destinations for digital entertainment will be furthered with Toshiba and NCR as strategic partners. We are humbled and excited to have leaders in consumer electronics and self-service accelerate our vision for entertainment in retail.”

About Toshiba Corporation

Toshiba is a world leader and innovator in pioneering high technology, a diversified manufacturer and marketer of advanced electronic and electrical products spanning information & communications equipment and systems; digital consumer products; electronic devices and components; power systems, including nuclear energy; industrial and social infrastructure systems; and home appliances. Toshiba was founded in 1875, and today operates a global network of more than 740 companies, with 198,000 employees worldwide and annual sales surpassing US$76 billion. Visit Toshiba's web site at www.toshiba.co.jp/index.htm

About NCR Corporation

NCR Corporation 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, entertainment, gaming and public sector organizations in more than 100 countries. NCR (www.ncr.com) is headquartered in Dayton, Ohio.

About MOD Systems

MOD Systems provides retailers with a complete digital media system for delivering content to consumers. The MOD Retail Enterprise System enables consumers to fill portable devices and storage media, or burn content to an optical format (CD/DVD). The system also supports hybrid “multi-channel” online and in-store solutions. With an extensive entertainment catalog of video and music, and an interactive touch-screen kiosk, the system allows consumers to shop for and buy the entertainment they want in the places they already shop. www.modsystems.com

Posted by staff at 08:29 AM

August 14, 2008

MaxBox confirm Caribbean kiosk deal worth over $6.5m

Always good to see what Andy Egan and Maxbox are up to, and here is latest release from them -- The MaxBox push for international expansion continues apace as they sign up Advanced Integrated Systems in Jamaica as exclusive distributors for the Caribbean and they place their first order for 300 kiosks.

The three year distribution deal with Jamaica based Advanced Integrated Systems (AIS) gives the company exclusive rights for distribution of MaxBox digital retail kiosks and all of its applications across the whole of the Caribbean.

AIS will initially focus on Jamaica to deploy the first order of 300 MaxBox kiosks, capitalising on the long standing links they already have with Jamaican companies across all business sectors – including government, retail, tourism and banking. They then plan to expand into other parts of the Caribbean.

Both companies are raring to go with the new deal and the AIS project team from Jamaica will be joining MaxBox in Cheshire in September for an intensive training and development session on software/hardware and application development and marketing of the MaxBox.

Stacey Halsall-Peart, Chief Operating Officer AIS

“We are very excited about achieving the official exclusive distributorship in the Caribbean for MaxBox. We firmly believe that with our existing government, tourism, banking and retail clients AIS will be able to offer another great solution to our clients for either sales or data capture. AIS specialise in putting together IT solutions and MaxBox now gives the opportunity for communication directly with the consumer, not just business to business. The initial order of 300 kiosks will get us started with our immediate clients, but we can really see this taking off in the Caribbean and hope to have 500 placed before Christmas”

MaxBox Digital Retail already deploy their touch screen digital retail kiosks across the UK and Ireland in retail, leisure, corporate workplace and transport sectors and with the help of partner distributors TCSJOHNHUXLEY have this year started to hit the casino and gaming sector worldwide. Deployment into the Caribbean augments MaxBox’s worldwide distribution push.

Andy Egan, Chairman and CEO MaxBox Digital Retail Ltd

“This latest distribution deal fills another gap for us in our worldwide distribution network, we are making good headway with the distribution deals we signed earlier in the year to hit the casino and gaming sectors and also into the retail sector in Ireland, and this new deal in the Caribbean gives us a really exciting new dimension to our business.”


Notes to editors

About Advanced Integrated Systems (AIS)

Jamaican based Advanced Integrated Systems was founded in 1987 and is an IT solutions-driven company committed to hardware and software integration. AIS has clients across all business sectors in the Caribbean and specializes in transaction processing and spin-off services.

About MaxBox Digital Retail Ltd

MaxBox Digital Retail Ltd is an aggregator and software developer of digital based leisure, entertainment and retail content which is vended over its own estate of MaxBox kiosks.

MaxBox Digital Retail Ltd also licenses its content to other broadband enabled kiosks and devices.

The company also offers bespoke kiosk and self service design and content solutions to meet specific business needs. MaxBox kiosks are placed in leisure, entertainment, retail, transport and corporate environments.

Andy Egan and British Olympic Appeal

Andy Egan has recently been invited to join the British Olympic Association Appeal 2008 as a council member. The British Olympic Association (BOA) receives no government or lottery funding and depends heavily on the Fundraising Appeal.

It costs BOA approximately £18,000 to support each athlete and 100% of the funds raised goes directly towards ensuring that the sportsmen and women arriving in Beijing will be able to compete on equal terms with the best in the world.

www.themaxbox.com


For further information, interviews and photography please contact

Jill Taylor +44 1565 831100
Jill@theMaxBox.com

Posted by staff at 03:53 PM

March 18, 2008

Music Kiosks PR - MaxBox Signs Distribution Deal

maxbox-logo.jpg MaxBox Digital Retail Ltd announce another major distribution deal just months after being acquired from Felix Group plc and relaunching as a privately owned company.


Press Release
March 2008

MaxBox goes global

MaxBox Digital Retail Ltd announce another major distribution deal just months after being acquired from Felix Group plc and relaunching as a privately owned company.

MaxBox Digital Retail Ltd, developers of the MaxBox digital retail kiosk, have signed a deal with TCSJOHNHUXLEY Europe, one of the largest solutions providers to the international casino, gaming and betting industry, to be their exclusive Sales and Marketing Representative within the worldwide gaming sector for the MaxBox kiosk and its associated products and services.

Under the terms of the three year agreement TCSJOHNHUXLEY Europe will be targeting the distribution and placement of a minimum of 5,000 MaxBox kiosks to its gaming client base worldwide.

The MaxBox digital retail kiosk vends a range of ‘off the shelf’ digital retail services including mobile top-up, jukebox, digital printing, premiership football team photos, mobile phone content download, games and music download and also works with clients to create bespoke applications.

MaxBox are already responding to demand from TCS customers by developing a customised ‘through the wall’ kiosk to help combat the impact of the revenue loss from the smoking ban. The new secure ‘through the wall’ MaxBox kiosk is designed to keep customers entertained and engaged whilst on smoking breaks outside the building, allowing them to play games, check out club and online promotions, sign up for associated club membership and use the other MaxBox digital retail services.

Andrew Davies, Commercial Development Manager of TCSJOHNHUXLEY, is particularly excited by the flexibility of the MaxBox offering:

“I have always been a fan of the MaxBox because it instantly provides incremental revenue opportunities for clients. Now we have MaxBox in our portfolio we will be able to develop bespoke applications on the kiosks for our clients including games, membership sign up and other applications that may be required to meet the needs of their own business in a fast moving and ever changing market place, including the ‘through the wall’ kiosk to keep customers engaged while they are away from the tables or other gaming or betting activities”

This new deal with TCSJOHNHUXLEY comes hot on the heels of a UK service and installation contract between the two companies which was signed at the ATEi trade show in January. The service and installation agreement will see TCSJOHNHUXLEY providing full operational and service support to MaxBox Digital Retail Ltd on their existing estate of UK based MaxBox kiosks and any future installations across the UK. It is anticipated that this agreement will become fully international within the next few months to take advantage of TCS’s global infrastructure.

Andy Egan, Chairman and CEO of MaxBox Digital Retail Ltd,

“This new alliance with TCS really strengthens our proposition both from an operational and logistics point of view and also in our capability to ramp up our deployment. We are already making significant inroads into the retail, leisure and corporate sector with our MaxBox kiosks and with TCSJOHNHUXLEY onside we can expand quickly into the gaming sector”

The TCS deal for deployment of 5,000 MaxBox kiosks is announced only weeks after MaxBox signed up a 1,000 kiosk distribution deal with Cyberhut concentrating on the retail sector in Northern and Southern Ireland and is a further consolidation of MaxBox Digital Retail’s plans for worldwide deployment of their kiosks over the next 3 years.

ENDS


Notes to editors

About TCSJOHNHUXLEY

TCSJOHNHUXLEY delivers profitable solutions to international casino operators through the most comprehensive and complete portfolio of products. Its total turnkey solutions are backed by unrivalled levels of service and support. From tables to roulette wheels, chipping machines and table displays to electronic gaming – TCSJOHNHUXLEY’s world famous products form the foundation of every casino.

With strategically based offices throughout the world TCSJOHNHUXLEY provides personal after-sales service along with quality technical support that is second to none. From state-of-the–art manufacturing facilities, such as Stoke-Upon-Trent in the United Kingdom and Las Vegas in the United States, modern procurement, processes and equipment provide the formula for the TCSJOHNHUXLEY standard.
www.tcsjohnhuxley.com

About MaxBox Digital Retail Ltd

MaxBox Digital Retail Ltd is an aggregator and software developer of digital based leisure, entertainment and retail content which is vended over its own estate of MaxBox kiosks.

MaxBox Digital Retail Ltd also licenses its content to other broadband enabled kiosks and devices.

The company also offers bespoke kiosk and self service design and content solutions to meet specific business needs. MaxBox kiosks are placed in leisure, entertainment, retail, transport and corporate environments.

Andy Egan and British Olympic Appeal

Andy Egan has recently been invited to join the British Olympic Association Appeal 2008 as a council member. The British Olympic Association (BOA) receives no government or lottery funding and depends heavily on the Fundraising Appeal.

It costs BOA approximately £18,000 to support each athlete and 100% of the funds raised goes directly towards ensuring that the sportsmen and women arriving in Beijing will be able to compete on equal terms with the best in the world.

www.themaxbox.com

For further information, interviews and photography please contact

Jill Taylor +44 1565 831100

Posted by staff at 09:46 AM

January 18, 2008

Kiosk Case Study: Multiuser Stations for Internet access

dia-zoox-100.jpgMultistation or Multi-user stations and kiosks are beginning to emerge as significant market particularly with advances in thin client services. Included here is nice picture of multi-user stations installed at Denver International Airport.

Louisville, CO – January 21, 2008

The Procrastinator’s Dream - Denver International Airport (DIA) Now Offers Self-Service Business Centers in Main Terminal

Waiting to board a flight in Denver has never been so productive. Catering to the stringent time demands of today’s road warriors, Denver International Airport (DIA) is expanding services designed specifically for business travelers. ZOOX Stations, Inc. and RMES Communications, the prime contractor, have recently teamed up on self-service kiosk installations that provide passengers a full complement of office services throughout all concourses and the main terminal.

View image

Armed with nothing more than ideas and a credit card, passengers can now sit down to state of the art office terminals with word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation applications. High-speed laser printers, media drives, USB ports, and laptop charging equipment provide a turnkey self-service business center on the road. The kiosks are designed for comfortable extended use; featuring a seated station, traditional office keyboard & mouse, and a 17” flat panel monitor. The enclosed booth design and privacy filters on the screens provide passengers all the necessary security to confidently tackle even the most confidential content.

In addition to the full application suite, clients can readily access high-speed Internet to efficiently manage email or distribute their work. And for those that really work best under pressure, there are also popular gaming options on these machines. While not as fully loaded at the neighboring ZOOX Stations PC Game Cafes, a complete range of casual user games are available on the business center machines as well.

The business center kiosk (commercially branded as ZOOX WORX) is the creation of ZOOX Stations, a Louisville based division of KIOSK Information Systems, the largest manufacturer of self-serve terminals in the world. ZOOX Stations was incorporated in 2006 as a subsidiary dedicated to development of cutting edge new products in the pay-for-use environment. According to Rick Malone, President of KIOSK and ZOOX Stations, “RMES Communications and DIA have beautifully equipped Denver passengers with a full range of self-service business and entertainment options. It’s consistent with the high-end passenger focus DIA is known for. The profitability and quick adoption of the equipment is a natural extension of a well-developed service offering.”

There are currently 64 ZOOX Stations Game Cafes and four business center kiosks located in the concourses and main terminal. RMES Communications and KIOSK Information Systems are currently evaluating expanding services in other selected airport locations.

About ZOOX Stations, Inc.:
ZOOX Stations manufactures & designs cutting edge business, entertainment and gaming platforms. The library of games includes titles from Microsoft, EA, Valve, Ubisoft and other prime leading developers. The products are completely turnkey, but are available in custom branded configurations. Complete installation, service, remote monitoring and activity tracking is provided. Call 1-888-661-1697 for more information or visit www.zooxstations.com.

ZOOX Stations, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of KIOSK Information Systems. Kiosk is the world leader in design, manufacturing, service and support of indoor and outdoor kiosks, public Internet stations and other electronic self-service informational terminals. KIOSK is the OEM manufacturer of self-service terminals for WalMart, Hewlett Packard, AT&T, Sony Photo, US Transportation Security Administration, and many others. www.kiosk.com.

For more information on multi-user multi-station thin clients visit http://www.thinclient.org

Posted by staff at 11:27 AM

January 15, 2008

Tradeshow News - NRF has digital media kiosks and Macworld does movie rentals on iPod

Nice writeup by Patrick Avery of Kioskmarketplace on digital media kiosk news out of NRF show. These types of units attract a lot of attention but with exception of movie rentals in supermarkets it has never been able to gain any traction. Now it's the idea of movies and DVDs but wait...isn't Apple now offering movie rentals on iPod for $3 a pop ($4 for new releases). Maybe the Apple TV lives after all?



Digital media kiosks grow in numbers
by Patrick Avery * • 15 Jan 2008

NEW YORK — The popularity of Apple’s iTunes and Redbox’s DVD-rental kiosk was evident Monday at the National Retail Federation’s annual Show & Expo, though not in the form of those devices.

The popular online digital music store and DVD kiosk were not on display at the NRF show, but their influence was felt on several of the retail digital media offerings on the show floor. Digital media kiosks were introduced by self-service giants IBM and NCR as smaller companies like Mediaport introduced their own products.

The rise in digital media kiosk popularity is due largely to consumer demand and the fact that only a small portion of music is bought on the Internet, said Dave Champlin, vice president of marketing for Mediaport.

“We offer them a place to get quality content onto their cool devices (such as a cell phone or MP3 player),” Champlin said.

Mediaport's MediaATM system is a self-service kiosk that allows consumers to download digital content such as movies and music on-demand. The company recently inked its first video-download deal with a major studio, NBC Universal.

Last week, Mediaport installed several of its kiosks at the Consumer Electronics show and let convention-goers download free NBC Universal-owned episodes, spanning such shows as 30 Rock and Project Runway. At NRF, Mediaport let attendees create a custom mixed-CD from the kiosk’s music catalog, which included Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd.

The launch of NCR’s Xpress Entertainment follows the company’s acquisition of Touch Automation, a privately held firm that provides the digital media merchandising kiosk.

The machine enables rentals, sales of shrink-wrapped media or a combination. In addition to transactions at the kiosk, future versions of the device will allow consumers to interact and download content via the Internet or their mobile devices.

“Self-service is best when all three self-service channels (automated kiosk, Internet and mobile device) are utilized,” said Mike Webster, vice president of NCR's self-service solutions. “This is only the first phase for this kiosk.”

Webster said the kiosk can be deployed in virtually any venue, including retail stores, convenience stores, supermarkets, quick-serve restaurants, shopping malls and airports.

IBM’s Digital Movie Kiosk, touted as the ATM for movies, is the culmination of a partnership with Ireland-based Portomedia. The kiosk allows consumers to rent or purchase DVD-quality movies, which are downloaded in under a minute to a small USB device called the Movie Key. The kiosk itself can be loaded with anywhere from 500 to 1,000 movies and can be refreshed with new content from a remote location.

“It’s essentially a Blockbuster in a box,” said Cathal Deavy, Portomedia’s director of marketing.

One of the reasons movie studios have allowed companies like Portomedia to sell its content is the kiosk’s use of DRM, or digital-rights management. For example, if a consumer rents a movie, that person may only have 48 hours to watch that movie before the movie’s license expires. That person would then have a chance to either rent the movie again or purchase it before they could watch it yet again.

Portomedia and IBM bypassed the Redbox-like DVD-rental kiosk for digital content because they see it as being more flexible, Deavy said. With a digital download kiosk, the content is always in stock and there are no returns.

Watch this Web site in the coming days for more news and insight from NRF 2008.


http://www.wired.com/gadgets/mac/news/2008/01/macworld_keynote
Apple Reinvents Film Biz With iTunes Movie Rentals
By Eliot Van Buskirk Email 01.15.08 | 3:30 PM
Apple CEO Steve Jobs announces the new iTunes movie rental service.

Apple is about to turn the movie rentals business on its ear.

The new iTunes movie rentals service, announced Tuesday by Apple CEO Steve Jobs during his Macworld Expo keynote, is powered by deals with all the major film studios and stands to reinvent the way people rent and watch movies, analysts say.

"They really nailed it," Jupiter Research Vice President and Research Director Michael Gartenberg said of Apple's move into movie rentals. "This is going to be extremely disruptive, doing for movies what the iTunes music store did for music."

The new service will let anyone with iTunes or an iPod rent DVD-quality movies with stereo sound for $3 ($4 for new releases). HD movies with 5.1-channel sound cost a dollar more. The "completely reinvented" Apple TV -- sporting an upgraded user interface at a lower price -- allows viewers to place orders from their couches. Unlike Amazon Unbox, which doesn't allow movies to play until they are totally downloaded (generally taking a matter of hours), Apple's new service allows movies to begin just seconds after an order is placed.

Gartenberg said he sees Apple's online movie distribution plan as a likely success due to the ease and flexibility of Apple's content/hardware ecosystem, as well as Jobs' ability to strike deals with the movie industry where other manufacturers have failed.

Jobs changed the music business forever when he unveiled the iTunes Store in 2003, and he hopes to do the same for movies. This is a massive market: The Digital Entertainment Group says rentals and sales of DVD discs in the United States totaled $23.4 billion in 2007. As movie rentals and sales migrate online, the stakes are high. Someone will win big, and that winner could be Apple, despite some stiff competition.

Apple says it plans to add more than 1,000 films by next month; the company will likely continue scrambling to increase its catalog. Apple's ability to add films quickly will be crucial to its success in this area, because when people decide they want to see something, they'll search for it where they know it is available -- not where it might possibly be in stock.

If you're a consumer, are you thinking about buying HD-DVD or Blu-ray, or are you thinking of going through iTunes, renting the stuff you want and linking with the rest of the iTunes ecosystem?" Gartenberg said. " Over the longer term, this is going to be very important."

With iTunes movie rentals, customers can view rented movies on their iPod, iPhone, computer or television, and the service can be used without a computer, since Apple TV can now download videos on its own. Once a title has been downloaded, the renter has up to 30 days to watch it. Movies expire 24 hours after being played for the first time.

In order for consumers to add another box to their entertainment systems -- even a box as nicely designed as the upgraded Apple TV – they need one that combines the convenience of on-demand cable with the breadth of Netflix. Jobs, who has run out of charm as far as certain record labels are concerned, will need to keep the movie studios on board long enough for the Apple TV to catch on. Certainly, 1,000 titles from all the major studios -- including 20th Century Fox, The Walt Disney Studios, Warner Bros., Paramount, Universal Studios Home Entertainment, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Lionsgate and New Line Cinema -- is a great start.

Even though the studios have granted Apple the wide, deep licensing it needs to succeed, Jobs won't be able to dominate online movies the way he has music. The iTunes music store launched into a vacuum; no other e-tailer had previously succeeded in signing deals with all the major labels. But these days, movies are distributed online not only by Amazon Unbox, Netflix and Movielink, but by massive cable companies and retail giants.

Posted by staff at 03:55 PM

January 04, 2008

NBC Providing Kiosk Downloads at CES

JAN. 4 | Entertainment kiosk company Mediaport has inked its first video download deal with a major studio, NBC Universal, and the pact will kick off at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Jan. 7-10.


NBC to provide kiosk downloads at CES - 1/4/2008 - Video Business

Booth visitors can take 30 Rock on a flash drive
By Susanne Ault -- Video Business, 1/4/2008

JAN. 4 | Entertainment kiosk company Mediaport has inked its first video download deal with a major studio, NBC Universal, and the pact will kick off at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Jan. 7-10.

Mediaport will be installing several of its kiosks at the studio’s CES booth, which will let convention-goers download free NBC Uni-owned episodes, spanning such shows as 30 Rock and Project Runway. The CES attendees will receive a 1GB flash drive in order to access the episodes from the kiosks, dubbed Mediaport ATMs.

NBC Uni was attracted to Mediaport by its customized digital rights management. In this case, after transferring the NBC content from the flash drives onto computers, episodes will play for 14 days and then disappear. Also, users will not be allowed to make copies of the episodes retrieved from the flash drives. Additionally, NBC content from the drives can only be played back through Windows Mediaplayer 9 or greater.

“This is such an interesting digital method, and it fits with our philosophy about distributing digital content with DRM that satisfies the needs of NBC Universal,” said Frank Radice, executive VP of on-air advertising East Coast & MSNBC, NBC Agency.

At this point, the NBC Uni and Mediaport kiosk TV download offering is limited to CES attendees during the course of the convention. But Mediaport hopes its CES appearance will help show off its kiosk video capabilities to a wide and influential audience. To date, Mediaport is best known for its retail kiosks that let shoppers download music tracks onto CDs or Plays4Sure hardware, which excludes Apple products but includes most MP3 players and other portable devices, at retailers including Virgin Megastores and HMV.

“We have 500 [music kiosks] globally, and tomorrow we can enable the retailers to also handle video without any major equipment upgrade,” said Mediaport president and owner John Butler. “We are introducing the concept at CES. We can do the same things with TV and movies that are being done with music.”

Mediaport kiosks also can be updated to create manufactured-on-demand DVDs or provide video downloads directly to devices, bypassing the need for a flash drive.

NBC management has been bullish about getting its content out digitally. Although the company stopped offering content on iTunes over a disagreement with Apple’s pricing restrictions, NBC is finding many digital outlet alternatives. Many of its current primetime series can be streamed on its Web site, NBC.com, and the network counts about half a billion streams of its content since October 2006. NBC also is beta-testing new video streaming site Hulu, a joint venture with News Corp.

“I think we are aggressively looking at every way to distribute our shows,” said George Kliavkoff, NBC Uni chief digital officer. “Our end goal is to widely distribute them so the end user can choose the place and the time and the device to consume it.”

Posted by staff at 05:10 PM

December 11, 2007

Another music download machine concept bites the dust?

Article in Manchester Evening News in U.K. lays out scenarios for Andy Egan and Felix now that they are re-evaluating business model and Egan has stepped down.


Has Andy's luck finally run out? - Business - News - Manchester Evening News

Has Andy's luck finally run out?

10/12/2007

HE has always lived life to the max, but his dream of creating an international phenomenon with his digital retail kiosk, has come crashing down.

Andy Egan, a former stuntman and promotions king, quit as chief executive of the Felix Group, after differences over strategy emerged between him and chairman, Richard Rose.

Now, the future of the company he founded back in the late 1990s hangs in the balance after a statement to the stock market by Mr Rose he had begun a `detailed review of the viability of the group's business model' sparked a major sell-off of the its shares.

The stock tumbled 80 per cent and shares in the Rostherne-based group were suspended last week. At the same time it was announced Mr Egan was stepping down.

Sources said there had been a `difference in view' between Mr Rose, who had recently taken on an executive role, and Mr Egan over the group's future and viability of its leading product, Max Box.

It is a retail kiosk with cashpoint, digital photo processing, gaming and shopping functions, such as ordering flowers.

Mr Egan believed Max Box was going to be an international hit because, until its launch, consumers had access to digital services such a photo processing and mobile-phone top-ups `but nobody had put it all in one box' and it offered retailers a `100,000 sq ft megastore from one square metre'. He even had his sights on cracking the North American market through licensing deals.

It was a concept the City and investors bought into - Mr Egan managed to secure private equity investment before Felix reversed into Chestn ut, a shell set up by serial AIM entrepreneur Michael Edelson. It floated in 2004 at 20p per share with a market value of £24.7m. Shares rocketed to more than 70p, but later nose-dived to around 4p. Mr Egan has said the major fall, which wiped £50m of the company in one day, came when it announced that a working partnership with Alliance & Leicester had lapsed, which he claims was misinterpreted by the institutional investors as collapsed.

Bouyed

The stock recovered slightly - buoyed by announcements that retailers were trialling the Max Box.

In June of this year, it announced Odeon Cinemas was trialling it in 19 venues, with a view to rolling out nationally.

In October, it issued an upbeat statement announcing a deal with T-Mobile to trial Max Box in 18 stores, while Mr Egan's dream of breaking into the US market seemed closer when it secured a licensing agreement with US group Kiosk Information Systems. The granted it the right to install Felix software on its own kiosks worldwide. The group also signed a licensing deal with ABK Group, which provides leased laptops to university students and staff. A PC version of the Max Box was to be incorporated into 1,600 laptops.

At the time, the group acknowledged the deployment of kiosks into shops had been slower that anticipated, 120 had been installed by October 2007, but after raising £4.15m in funding, it had started to generate more income. In the year to May 31, turnover was only £81,000 with pre-tax losses of £5.4m.

However Mr Rose seemingly does not share Mr Egan's faith in the long term viability of Max Box and said: "We have been placing trial kiosks with various high street multiples in order that both parties may evaluate the commercial returns.

"We have also been enhancing and adding applications to the portfolio of Max Boxes already established with the objective of achieving a near-term break-even position.

"The results of these initiatives have been disappointing, particularly when the cost and time of providing central support and marketing is taken into account."

Mr Rose has asked KPMG to carry out a review of the business model, and it is hoped it will be completed this week.

Mr Egan began his career as a stuntman after being persuaded by a BBC camera crew to ditch his canoe and go down a white water river on a lilo

During the 1980s, he worked on the Noel Edmonds Late Late Breakfast Show. When he lost part of his hand in a firework accident, he decided to move into promotions and set up Sky High Promotions. The business was behind a number of high-profile initiatives including the BT and BP share launches.However, in 1999 he came up with a plan to cash in on the new premium phoneline phenomenon and developed a game called Everyone's a Winner.

It was a simple concept where callers paid £4.50 for a 90-second phone call but were guaranteed to win a prize worth double the cost of the call. Andy then went to games maker Sega and asked them to design a kiosk version of Everyone's a Winner. The kiosk was launched in partnership with the Laurel Pub Company, operator of the Hogshead brand, in June 2004, and a year later the group expanded its products to include digital photo printing and mobile top-ups, and the Max Box was launched. But Max Box has so far failed to set the world alight, users says it is too slow, while others believe the concept was flawed, asking why would people want to take a trip to a cinema or into town to order flowers or download ringtones when they can do it over the web from their homes

Some now believe the Max Box itself will be scrapped and the company will focus on its selling its software through licensing deals.

However others were more scathing. Nigel Mills, director at WH Ireland, says the best outcome the group can hope for it is that someone uses it as a shell to reverse into.

He says: "However, there are plenty of shell companies knocking around that are clean as opposed to inheriting people's rubbish. Felix is the Latin word for lucky - but it looks like its luck has run finally run out."

Posted by staff at 07:51 AM

May 25, 2007

Music Kiosks

Trans World which purchased Mix and Burn in 2006 is looking to rebrand in order to turn around poor results.

SmallCapInvestor.com: Trans World Entertainment Corp. hopes re-branding will jolt anemic sales

Trans World Entertainment Corp. hopes re-branding will jolt anemic sales

Will Atkinson | May 24, 2007 11:39am EDT | User Rating N/A

Trans World Entertainment Corp. (Nasdaq: TWMC) executives said on a Thursday morning conference call the company will focus on re-branding in an effort to turn around poor results. The Albany, N.Y.-based company, which owns Coconuts Music and Movies, Wherehouse, Sam Goody, f.y.e., Suncoast and SecondSpin.com, plans to brand all the stores f.y.e., except for Suncoast.

“By the end of the second quarter, the stores will be under the f.y.e. brand,” CEO Bob Higgins said on the call.

Higgins said the company spent “several hundred thousand dollars” on re-branding during the first quarter ended May 5, and plans to spend a similar amount during the second quarter ending July 29.

Trans World Entertainment wants to expand its Mix and Burn mall kiosks, but does not have the “proper metrics” to make a decision yet, Higgins said. The company bought Mix and Burn, a kiosk merchant that offers CDs and downloads of customizable songs, during the first quarter of 2006.

Video game sales were “disappointing,” Higgins said, with a 12% decline in comparable store sales on a quarter-over-quarter basis. A lack of available game hardware hindered the company’s progress, he said, and the supply deficiency is “a problem we will fix.”

Posted by staff at 09:32 AM

May 10, 2007

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 20, 2007

KIOSKS Case Study -- RFID and DVD Dispense

Grocery Stores Use RFID to Dispense Rental DVDs. Self-serve kiosks employ passive 13.56 MHz tags to dispense and track the discs that customers rent and return.

source link

April 18, 2007—Touch Automation, a Milwaukee-based provider of automated dispensing equipment, is using RFID technology in CD and DVD rental kiosks installed in stores. Within the past two years, the company has deployed at least 1,000 merchandising systems designed to provide customers the rental DVDs of their choice. Most of the installations have taken place within the past six months.

Unlike other automated disc rental machines, this solution uses RFID, rather than bar coding, to keep track of the discs checked into and out of the machines by customers. "The concept of utilizing RFID in this rental environment is new," says Brian Fitzpatrick, Touch Automation's director of engineering. Retailers can monitor and validate RFID-tagged CDs and DVDs entering and leaving the machine more accurately than they could with dispensing systems that used bar-coded labels to track the discs. Bar-coded labels are more susceptible to damage and can be read only if a bar-code scanner has a clear line of sight with the label.


The Touch Automation system allows customers to rent CDs and DVDs using RFID-enabled kiosks installed in stores.
Touch Automation machines, installed in retail locations across the country, are most commonly found in grocery stores. In most cases, the self-serve kiosks are owned and operated by private CD and DVD rental companies that have entered into hosting agreements with the grocery stores to lease space and/or provide a percentage of revenue from the system. Other grocery stores own and operate the system themselves. Either way, the kiosks allow customers to quickly rent a film or films while doing their regular shopping, providing immediate access to movies without having to either visit a video rental store or order the films online.

Touch Automation provides the kiosk, which measures 28 by 36 by 66 (or 84) inches and consists of a built-in RFID reader, a robotic mechanism for dispensing and receiving DVDs, a touch-panel screen and point-of-sale software. The kiosk is connected to a server via the Internet so the system owner can monitor it remotely. Touch Automation can host the Internet-based server for smaller companies, such as a small grocery store with its own kiosk. In most cases, however, all RFID and POS data is routed directly to the video retailer's own server.

According to Jan Svoboda, UPM Raflatac's sales and marketing director for the Americas, the Touch Automation system uses UPM Raflatac's circular Rafsec BullsEye HF 13.56 passive RFID tags, which comply with ISO 15693. The self-adhesive tags are applied to the disc's upper side, either by the disc rental company at the distribution center, or by a media distributor before it reaches the rental company's distribution center. At the same time, the DVD's unique ID number, SKU number, the movie's name and genre, as well as any other details the rental company chooses to write, are encoded onto the tag.

"The tag is used to manage inventory," Svoboda explains, "and to ensure a customer is getting the movie requested and returning the movie originally rented."

A customer using the kiosk follows prompts on the 17-inch screen to find the desired movie. After choosing what to rent, the customer presses the "checkout" prompt on the screen and swipes a credit card using the kiosk's built-in card reader. The machine's robotics system then pulls each chosen title from the storage area and brings it within an inch of the RFID reader, which captures the tag ID number of the movie. The Touch Automation system compares the RFID data with the data related to the customer's selection. If the information matches, the DVD is provided to the customer through a slot.

When returning the DVD, the customer presses the "return" prompt, the robotic system draws the disc into the machine and the reader captures the RFID data on the DVD's tag once more. If there is a match, the disc is returned to its storage position and the point-of-sale process proceeds to charge the customer's credit card the appropriate amount for the duration of the rental. The data related to the rentals can then be stored in a hosted Web site via a broadband Internet connection.

Posted by staff at 10:38 AM

April 03, 2007

KIOSKS Case Study -- WoW and Halo gaming at the Airport

News story on Colorado television station on new kiosk mpog game stations installed at Denver International Airport. Nice video of the kiosk units. Not your usual units as they have large 26 and 22 inch LCD screens and are housed in a payphone type private sitdown. Users can check their favorite portal like MySpace or YouTube or they can log on and play high end games like World of Warcraft, Battlefield, or any number of Steam/Valve. Here's the link to the video. The units are the Zazoox units and their website is here.




repeat -- News story on Colorado television station on new kiosk mpog game stations installed at Denver International Airport. Nice video of the kiosk units. Not your usual units as they have large 26 and 22 inch LCD screens and are housed in a payphone type private sitdown. Users can check their favorite portal like MySpace or YouTube or they can log on and play high end games like World of Warcraft, Battlefield, or any number of Steam/Valve. Here's the link to the video. The units are the Zazoox units and their website is here.

Posted by staff at 03:32 PM

November 21, 2006

Content Channels - eMusic Hits 100 Million Downloads

With all the talk about Zune and iTunes, the "no-DRM" solution from eMusic notes that they are nearing the 100 million download mark. Its worth noting the iTunes hit the Billion downloads-to-date mark recently and that the sharing services still see over a billion downloads every week. eMusic delivers its music in Open MP3 format (unlike the Windows WMA DRM or Apple's Fairplay).

Independent digital download store eMusic is nearing the 100 million-mark, a milestone that should arrive within "the next few weeks". eMusic started its download ticker on November 1st, 2003, the point at which the company moved away from an unlimited monthly download model. Ahead of the accomplishment, the company has tapped pop rock group Barenaked Ladies to pen a song for the winner, a unique digital commission. The lucky downloader will also receive a lifetime eMusic subscription, and inclusion within an upcoming print advertising campaign.

eMusic has long billed itself as the number two paid download provider behind iTunes, and the latest tally helps to validate that claim. eMusic is catered towards a targeted audience, one that prefers lesser-known indies over blockbuster artists and smash hits. Depending on the specific tier, the company offers its users a fixed number of downloads per month, part of a hybrid subscription and download model. And eMusic offers all of its tracks as open MP3s, enabling iPod compatibility. Meanwhile, Apple has crossed the 1.5 billion mark on its iTunes Store, a number that eclipses eMusic and other competing download providers. Others like Napster, MSN Music, and RealNetworks have not shared download figures.

Posted by staff at 07:18 AM

November 14, 2006

Cisco, Oakland and Kiosk

Press conference today with Cisco has kiosk featured on the side of the press conference which was John Chambers, Commissioner of Baseball and owners of Oakland A's. News @ Cisco: Oakland Athletics and Cisco Systems To Host Press Conference

Watch ESPN and other news outlets today as the Kiosk will be on stage with the President of Cisco, the Commissioner of Baseball, and the owners of the Oakland A's. We are doing a press conference with the A's starting around 11:15 Pacific. There is a live web cast as well.

http://cbs5.com/local/local_story_318112754.html
cisco link


Posted by staff at 01:18 PM

November 11, 2006

Interesting Outdoor Goverment Kiosk

dataweb.jpgPublic Access Kiosks in Aberdeen by an organisation called 'Public Dataweb'. These units are outdoor and have an umbrella above them. Statistics on usage by the people are also pretty interesting as Entertainment and Sports dominates the usage with things like Email barely being used. The units also provide wireless WiFi download to mobiles.

outdoorkiosk.jpg

The Umbrella Kiosk 2006

First introduced in April 2006 in the city centre streets of Aberdeen Scotland.

The 'i' Kiosks have dual operational viewing screens.

They generate a Wireless / WiFi service

Provide all the Public DataWeb multiple content service's.

Plus Video Email and VOIP/SKYPE Freephone telephony

A Verbot / Avatar assists and can also read out messages.

One major factor in collecting usage statistics over many years shows that when we introduced the Umbrella kiosk design usage shot up! With far less kiosks the usage on our new street kiosks rapidly exceeded the other designs. We believe this is due entirely to the open access design.

Public DataWeb usage statistics are collated and analyzed regularly.

The chart shows a typical month from a small random selection of kiosks.

The hit rates are very reasonable and are typical of the usage on the service over the past 3 years. The previous 18 months were much more erratic. This shows that access has settled down and a pattern of use has emerged, with reasonable access to council services and other citizen government facing options keeping pace with obvious top selections like entertainment, news and sport.

The statistics break down: usage by context/categories.

Importantly the usage hits are further automatically analyzed by our unique statistics profiler that generates the variable of hits that are associated with finding the exact need of the user.

Percentage of navigation against finding requirements:-

It is important to know the need itself is being satisfied e.g. for example, typically for job vacancies a person searches first by location or job category then a list of available vacancies, the links selected before reaching the target and actually finding jobs are in a percentage amount of the total links. People want the jobs not the links and probably other systems count these links as hits, they are not. The statistics show users are consistently reaching over 70% of their target need; thus the system is engaging them and providing rapid demonstrable access to their requirements.

Time in use: average time spent each session is 4.5 minutes.

Average time taken traversing links to exact need i.e. a job category is 5 seconds.

Notes; Percentage profiling also proves that genuine users are in the main as over 70% reach their choice whereas children or browsers will be mainly collected within the links rather than the results.

Weather plays a role in usage winter months and holiday periods reduce access.

In the evening the top shelter structure becomes illuminated.

The design maximises the visibility and the functionality.

It has increased usage dramatically.

Download file


Dataweb site

Sheffield Stats
Stats_Sheffield_G.jpg

Aberdeen
Stats_Aberdeen_G.jpg

Posted by staff at 02:12 PM

July 16, 2005

Digital Media Kiosks Gaining Acceptance

Photo Industry Reporter picks up on and writes on McDonalds music kiosks by DTM then goes into photo kiosks. Its a nice article.

Noted: KioskCom.com Website

n Munich, Germany, a large McDonalds outlet frequented by tourists has been testing multifunctional kiosks24 E2Go terminals from U.S. manufacturer Digital Transaction Machines (DTM). These kiosks allow customers to download ring tones for their mobile telephones, download music onto a CD, download images from memory cards onto a CD, or make 4x6-inch prints on an Olmec dye-sub printer.

An article in the current issue of International Contact provides a detailed description of the operation of these kiosks. Upon completing an order, users print out a payment ticket with an order number, which is taken to a "cash machine" that accepts cash, credit cards or the euro card. Once payment is completed, the CDs are burned and pictures printed.

The system in Munich was installed by Contnet AG, a local service company that remotely monitors, diagnoses and changes software for the kiosks via the Internet and a DSL connection. The terminals are subject to vandalism, such as "kids feeding the card slots with slices of pickle or ketchup," according to Thomas Kienbauer, a DTM representative in Germany. However, he feels that this, along with software glitches, is being solved. "In the first three months of operation we had some 18,000 downloads of current music titles without spending a single euro on advertising," he said. Based on the initial success of this test, DTM is planning to expand its placement of kiosks in other non-traditional locations.

What does this mean to Photo Industry Reporter readers? As we talk to people in the industry we are amazed how many dont consider these non-traditional installations to be "serious" competition. For the McDonalds test in Munich, the primary revenue source is downloading songs. But, we are sure that there are some photo prints and CDs being made, and these are prints and CDs that wont be made at a traditional outlet. So, in addition to being profitable, these kiosks are taking business away from photo retailers. PIR readers need to consider how they can gain access to these non-traditional venues before non-industry companies gain a strong foothold and start chipping away at "our" print/CD business revenues.

Considerations When Buying A Photo-Imaging Kiosk

Opening his presentation, "Practical Strategies for Maximizing Your Kiosk Investment," George Briggs, CEO of Pixel Magic Imaging, said that the real cost of a 4x6-inch print at home is 29, although consumers often experience "sticker shock" when buying a replacement inkjet cartridge and photo-quality paper. The "perceived" quality is good, but is it the best possible? And, while home printers are slow, they are getting faster and certainly easier.

Should consumers print at retail, the everyday retail price for digital prints has settled at around the same price as prints from film, and the everyday self-service prices are in the 2939 range. Consumers know they will get photo quality at retail, and it is fast and easy to make prints.

Briggs showed a slide with kiosks from eight different manufacturers. They all have touch screens and media drives, but they differ in many other aspects. He addressed these from the viewpoint of what retailers should consider.

Rest of the Story

Posted by keefner at 02:40 AM

March 31, 2005

Sony Goes Movie Download

Sony to develop digital movie download service

Sony to develop digital movie download service

31/03/2005 by Leigh Phillips

An executive with Sony Pictures has announced that the movie studio wants to develop a digital download service for films.

The company is to make the 500 most popular films in its catalogue available in digital formats some time over the next year.

The senior vice-president, Michael Arrieta, of the firm made the announcement at a conference in the US. He also said that Sony is to put movies onto flash memory for mobiles and portable game players that are capable of playing video such as Sony's own Playstation Portable device.

story link

Posted by keefner at 02:20 PM

March 24, 2005

Ringtones and Albums

The new CD single "Baby" from rapper Fabolous allows UK consumers to choose which part of the song they want to use as a mobile phone ringtone, a feature that Warner Music said on Thursday was a first for the industry.

Until now, the 30-second ringtone clips packaged with singles have been pre-determined by record companies.

The Fabolous single from Warner's Atlantic Records, which includes built-in software that lets listeners isolate any part of the song and load it onto their phones, retails for 3.99 pounds ($7.51), the same price as other CD singles.

"It's the next step for music lovers," said Crispin Futrille, whose company Bounce supplied Warner with the technology. "Ultimately the idea is to get this included on all CDs."

Record companies are seeking new ways to capitalize on the desire among consumers to use their favorite songs as ringtones as the industry reshapes itself amid a fight against piracy and illegal downloading.

Some analyst estimates have put the global ringtone market at more than $3 billion. Industry trade magazine "Billboard" last year even launched a weekly ringtone chart of top sellers.

Warner Music, smallest of the four major music companies, declined to comment on prospects for the ringtone technology, citing its announcement earlier this month that it would sell shares to the public and the related prohibitions on discussing forward-looking plans.

link

Posted by Craig at 07:52 PM

September 23, 2004

digital audio players

Sales of portable digital audio players like Apple Computer Inc.'s trendy iPod are booming and are expected to generate $58 billion in revenue worldwide by 2008, according to a research report released Tuesday.

Sales of portable digital audio players like Apple Computer Inc.'s trendy iPod are booming and are expected to generate $58 billion in revenue worldwide by 2008, according to a research report released Tuesday.

The report, from research firm IDC of Framingham, Mass., is another indication of how portable MP3 players -- introduced in late 1998 -- have evolved from a niche technology gadget into a mainstream consumer device, said Susan Kevorkian, an IDC senior analyst.

Apple Computer has captured more than 50 percent of the digital player market with its iPods. These use small internal hard drives to store thousands of songs. But the Cupertino computer-maker may have to adjust its focus because prices for digital audio players that use flash-memory cards are falling, Kevorkian said.

"Although Apple will continue to have a leading position in the portable jukebox market, they may eventually offer a flash-based iPod branded player as well,'' she said.

The report said revenue from digital audio players is expected to reach $7 billion by the end of 2004, up from $4.4 billion in 2003. The category also includes portable CD players that are designed to play CDs with songs recorded in the compressed MP3 audio format.

By the end of June, Apple Computer had sold more than 3.7 million iPod and iPod Mini players since they were introduced in 2001.

Apple has been most successful in North America, where it has tied marketing of the iPod to its online iTunes Music Store.

However, Kevorkian said, smaller-capacity flash-based MP3 players remain more popular overseas, particularly in regions of Asia where "they are used more as a fashion accessory.'' More 22 million flash players are expected to be sold worldwide by the end of 2004, compared with a projected 8 million hard- drive players.

Kevorkian also said declining wholesale costs of flash-memory cards should bring average sales prices of flash-based MP3 players down from $117 in 2003 to $98 in 2008. Meanwhile, average prices of hard-drive players should decline from $304 last year to $171 in 2008.

More than 20 million combination CD-MP3 players will be sold this year, but that number is expected to rise only modestly in the next few years.

However, Kevorkian said, regular CD players won't disappear quickly because the CD remains the core distribution medium for the recording industry, "and we don't expect that to change overnight.''

http://www.sfgate.com/

Posted by Craig at 07:52 PM

July 26, 2004

Amusement Parks

Theme park tracking system lacks user-friendly features

Posted on Mon, Jul. 26, 2004


review


Theme park tracking system lacks user-friendly features

DEVICES ARE HANDY, BUT KIOSKS ARE HARD TO FIND

By Margot Leong and Vikram Mahal

Special to the Mercury News


Anyone who's ever gone to an amusement park with a family or a large group knows how tough it can be to keep track of everyone.

Paramount's Great America in Santa Clara launched a high-tech service this season that should solve that problem -- or so it would seem.

Star Watch -- a tracking system that involves a wrist watch-like device and kiosks scattered throughout the park -- is far from a problem solver. It's a step in the right direction for using Silicon Valley technology to keep people in touch. But it needs so much refining that it was tough for us to get excited about it.

The device charts the journeys of different group members by using a local positioning system operating over radio frequencies. The park is divided into different zones. As a Star Watch user moves through those zones, antennas placed throughout the park transmit data about his or her whereabouts to a central computer.

The problem is that all of the cool things that Star Watch offers -- the ability to track people in your group, even find the nearest restroom or send e-mail and instant messages -- is dependent on finding one of the seven kiosks.

Finding the closest restroom was easier than finding one of the kiosks, which aren't marked on the Great America park map. The stations are very inconspicuous, looking like 4-foot campsite trash cans with touch screens. Also, there are no signs pointing out any of the stations and they have no lighting around them at night.

The e-mail and instant-messaging features at the kiosks were very cool, but Star Watch offers no alert system to notify users when they have a new message. Who wants to keep looking for a kiosk just to see if they have new messages?

And if Great America really wants people to use Star Watch, the rental booths need to be easier to find. It was in an obscure area next to a popcorn stand, not next to the park's entrance. It seems as though it would be really easy to just walk out of Great America with the watch because there are no security measures to make sure that forgetful users -- exhausted after a long day with children or a large group -- return it.

Star Watch rents for $5 per day per watch, which seems a bit high after we learned that the handful of other parks across the country with Star Watch charge customers about $2.50 a day.

Great America and the other parks are smart to offer a tracking system such as Star Watch. The walkie-talkie radios so many families use to stay in touch become a garbled mess when too many people try to talk to each other over the same radio channels.

But Star Watch -- or something like it -- needs more research and more fine-tuning for the future. While the proposed ideas of the Star Watch seem to offer many benefits, the device -- for now -- just doesn't seem very practical.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Margot Leong, a student at Menlo School, and Vikram Mahal, a student at Bellarmine College Preparatory, wrote this story for Mosaic, a high-school journalism workshop sponsored in part by the Mercury News.


MercuryNews.com | 07/26/2004 | Theme park tracking system lacks user-friendly features

Posted by Craig at 02:43 PM

June 15, 2004

Entertainment Events

Concertgoers could interact with mobile kiosks to send customized epostcards to friends and family, listen to music, and surf the web.

Nanonation Software Rocks Crossroads Guitar Festival

Billed as the Super Bowl for Music Fans, the Crossroads Guitar Festival held in Dallas this past weekend treated people to all-star concerts featuring Eric Clapton, B.B. King, James Taylor, Carlos Santana, ZZ Top and many more. This one-of-a-kind event brought together the biggest names in music, together with clinics, displays, a host of music enthusiasts, and localized, targeted, event-based marketing developed by Nanonation.

To make the experience more than just a typical music festival, sponsors such as SBC hosted the festivals Guitar Center Village. At the Village, concertgoers were encouraged to explore and immerse themselves in the products and people. Concertgoers could interact with mobile kiosks to send customized epostcards to friends and family, listen to music, and surf the web. A total of 10 stations were set-up specifically for the event and powered by Nanonations award-winning software. Over 170 hours of usage were reported and an additional 400 e-postcards were sent during the event, each one containing a picture of the concertgoer and a viral email message that highlighted the brand and product offerings of SBCs DSL service.

Bradley Walker, CEO of Nanonation, said this about the festival, The Crossroads Guitar Festival showcases legendary talent and gives the music fan an unprecedented experience. Nanonation is proud to be able to deliver a fan experience that matches the excitement and talent surrounding this festival.

For more information on Nanonation, please log onto www.nanonation.net or contact Brian Ardinger at 402-323-6262 or brian@nanonation.net

About Nanonation (www.nanonation.net)

Nanonation helps businesses stand out and deliver more with their proprietary, enterprise-class software for interactive, self-service kiosks and dynamic digital signage. Nanonation's patent-pending software is one of the most highly acclaimed in the industry for delivering high impact, high involvement, customer satisfaction at point-of-service. As a result, businesses can now offer a unique customer experience without complex, expensive, and lengthy system integration and programming. Nanonations client list includes the Mazda, Minnesota Wild, Douglas Theatres, Nebraska Book Company, Burger King, Petro, Yahoo, and many others in the retail, hospitality, entertainment, and education markets. More information about Nanonation can be found at its web site www.nanonation.net or by calling 402-323-6262.

Posted by Craig at 04:15 PM

June 04, 2004

DVD Rentals

Nice article on DVD Rentals from Mercury.

Posted on Fri, Jun. 04, 2004
Butch Oustalet Lincoln Mercury

Los Gatos firms revolutionizing movie rentals

NETFLIX, DVDPLAY OFFERING CONSUMERS APPEALING ALTERNATIVES TO BLOCKBUSTER

By Mike Langberg

Mercury News

Blockbuster's mighty grip on home movie rental is loosening in the face of new technology, much of which is coming from University Avenue in Los Gatos.

On University near Lark Avenue is the headquarters of Netflix, which has signed up 2 million subscribers to rent DVDs from the company's Web site for delivery by mail.

A mile south on University are the offices of DVDPlay, which has developed an Internet-connected DVD rental kiosk. It works something like an automated teller machine, dispensing movies instead of money. It's small enough and inexpensive enough -- at $10,000 to $17,000 a machine -- to fit into all kinds of locations Blockbuster could never reach.

While Netflix has become a household name, DVDPlay had been quietly struggling along for several years with only a small number of pilot installations around the country.

That changed in a big way May 24 when McDonald's announced it would put DVDPlay kiosks in all 104 of its restaurants in the Denver area.

The phones at DVDPlay headquarters have since been ringing off the hook. In a weird coincidence, the offices were previously occupied by Netflix, although the companies otherwise have no connection.

Netflix and DVDPlay, as I see it, are taking advantage of two things Blockbuster and other traditional video rental operators have been slow to recognize:

First, DVDs are much smaller and more durable than VHS cassettes. That makes it economical to deliver rental DVDs by mail or stock them on a big jukebox-type wheel inside a kiosk. The fact that DVDs provide superior picture and sound quality to VHS tapes is just icing on the cake.

Second, the Internet brings huge efficiencies to businesses that deal with large numbers of consumers. Netflix could never hire enough phone operators to take rental orders from its members; instead, the members manage their own request lists thorough the Web. DVDPlay's Internet-connected kiosks provide the distributors or retailers who own them with instant updates on which titles are renting, verification of credit-card numbers and reports on kiosks that are malfunctioning, and allows on-the-fly pricing changes.

Blockbuster, the national colossus of movie rental, is feeling the heat. On May 25, the Dallas-based chain announced unlimited rentals for a fixed monthly fee -- an offering very similar to Netflix, except that customers would pick up and return movies to Blockbuster stores rather than using the mail.

The monthly fee, which Netflix has used since its launch in 1999, means there are no late charges. That undermines one of Blockbuster's biggest sources of revenue: forgetful customers who regularly get dinged for keeping movies too long.

It's too soon to say whether DVDPlay will survive in this tough market, but the company's current offering is very attractive.

Two DVDPlay kiosks are installed in the South Bay, each storing up to 100 DVDs, at Zanotto's Family Markets on Naglee Avenue at Bascom Avenue in San Jose and at Victor Square in Scotts Valley.

I stopped by the Zanotto's on Naglee earlier this week and found the bright red kiosk easy and quick to use. Tapping the touch-sensitive screen with my finger, I flipped through the kiosk's selection -- mostly new releases -- and picked ``Kill Bill, Volume 1,'' a gory Quentin Tarantino movie I'd been curious about.

I swiped my Visa card through a reader on the machine and the DVD popped out a few seconds later in a plastic case. The rental fee for 24 hours: 99 cents, or $1.08 with tax.

I watched the movie that night, found it gross and silly in about equal parts, and returned it the next day. All I had to do was stick the case back in the same slot where I'd received it the day before.

Here's the kicker, an important marketing angle for DVDPlay: I returned the movie at lunch time. So I stopped at Zanotto's deli counter to buy a turkey-and-brie sandwich and a bottle of lemonade for $5.49. That was a nice bonus for Zanotto's, because I would never have been in the store if I weren't returning the DVD.

DVDPlay does have some competition, including MovieMat of Israel and Mediabank of Italy. There's a Mediabank machine running on the side of the Mac-Pro computer store at 2360 S. Bascom Ave. in Campbell.

But DVDPlay looks to have an edge in ease of use. Its kiosks are also smaller, making it easier to install them in tight spaces. A new model, just entering production, will hold 300 DVDs.

And DVD rental could just be the start. Jens Horstmann, DVDPlay's chief executive officer, told me the company is looking for other products to sell from its kiosks, everything from computer games to cosmetics. Future versions could also fetch music and movies on demand from the Internet, burning them to disc on the spot -- so you could buy or rent anything you want at any time. That's when Blockbuster will really have to start worrying.


MercuryNews.com | 06/04/2004 | Los Gatos firms revolutionizing movie rentals

Posted by Craig at 07:18 PM