Pilgrim’s Progress

Electronic kiosks are a self-service technology still on its rather torturous way to achieving the level of a boom, according to a 2003 kiosk benchmark study, “Technology Tamed,” from Kiosk Business magazine and Purcell & Associates. Having passed the Slough of Despond, or make that what the Gartner Group likes to call the Trough of Disillusionment, the kiosk industry may now consider that it has entered a period of deployment for “tangible business benefits,” even though most kiosk projects that have been implemented have failed to provide “definable” ROI. Kiosks remain a favorite of the retail industry, which accounts for 44.2% of installations, followed by 10.9% use in the hospitality/foodservice/lodging sector. Kiosk enhancements are attractive, especially printing, but printing is also the largest maintenance problem because it requires replacement of supplies and has many moving parts subject to failure.

At this stage of kiosk technology’s developmental journey, 67.4% of users cite improved customer service as their primary reason to install kiosks. Information/promotion is the second reason, at 59.9%, and generating revenue is third, at 48.3%.

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