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PMA Coverage: Kiosk Offerings Look to Help Retailers in a Struggling Economy
Improving workflows and striving for upsells are the buzzwords.
by Steven Shaw

Noritsu Meets Individual Needs

Noritsu's CT-RS kiosk is a high-performance consumer input terminal that accepts a wide range of input media. The CT-RS offers fast response times, speedy data reading and a reliable, built-in thermal printer, according to Gregory Joe, marketing manager, Noritsu America Corporation. Available in a countertop configuration or as a stand-alone photo printing system, the CT-RS supports multiple internal printers. With an array of unique features, such as the ability to accept camera raw image files, the CT-RS enables retailers to meet the individual needs of a wide range of customers.

KIS Photo-Me Provides Instant Photobook Solution

KIS Photo-Me's Photobook Maker is a self-service instant photobook solution. As the name implies, it is similar to the Picture Maker that Kodak introduced where the customer can walk up, do a touch screen, and input their media card. "However, in this case, instead of delivering 4"x6" prints, literally in six to 10 minutes it delivers a finished photo book at the unit," reports Mark Lawrence, business development director, and KIS USA.

The Photobook Pro is a unit that sits behind the counter in a photo specialty area, where retailers can utilize their existing printing technology. "If there's a [retailer] who had one of our DKS minilabs or they had a Fuji Frontier or a Noritsu QSS or even some of the dry technologies [anything] that produces a photographic quality print, you can take those prints and feed them into the Photobook Pro. In two to three minutes, depending upon how many pages and the size of the book, the machine will deliver those pages folded and collated into a photobook of real photo paper," says Lawrence.

KIS Photo-Me is also displaying their Speedlab 200. "The Speedlab 200 is a vending kiosk," says Lawrence. "It's literally taking the concept of a photo kiosk, say the Picture Maker, and merging it with a Coke machine."

Speedlab 200 features a self-payment option, which means it can accept dollar bills, coins and even credit cards. There is also a prepaid payment option. The machine can produce prints from 4"x6" up to 8"x12", it can burn and dispense CDs, and the retailer can add an option to sell up to four different formats of media cards.

Liberty Synergistics Looks to the Future

Garry Green, president and chief operating officer at Liberty Synergistics, is anxious to see what's ahead in kiosk technology. "I would say, in terms of the movement for the future, the killer application is one where the consumer approaches the kiosk and is able to take their image and have a workflow where they're creating products that are lifestyle products beyond a square patch on a t-shirt," he says.

"So, it might be a mug with a consumer's image, and marrying that with some graphic or text to create a niche lifestyle. I'm actually anxious to see what the software developers have come out with, because I think that's the real future - to help consumers and walk them through - really explode the category."

Liberty's Lifestyle Photo Products are taking the concept of photo gifts one step further. "We are going beyond photo gifts and talking about lifestyle products that are more fashion forward, and products that you would want for yourselves, not just a product that you would give as a trinket for somebody else," says Green. "These are more fashion-forward products like higher-end apparel with great graphics, and marrying that with a consumer's image and enhancing that image, so your end resulting product goes beyond just a square patch on a white t-shirt."

Liberty will have model Claudia Verela, who was featured in the in the GoDaddy commercial during the Super Bowl, at the booth to model some of the high-end Lifestyle apparel. "We'll be taking pictures of Claudia and then creating lifestyle products onsite," says Mike Pearson, marketing manager at Liberty. "We'll create the lifestyle products - t-shirts, mugs, mousepads, plaques - by printing directly to wide-format printers, and we'll be printing on the Kodak professional inkjet paper and Epson paper - showing the workflow and how easy it is, and trying to educate our customers to diversify into some of these more profitable opportunities."

DNP Offers Multi-Purpose Products

DNP will be showing a prototype of a photo kiosk running on the Microsoft Surface platform. "We're showing a multi-touch version of our kiosk application that is called Tomo," says David Oles, senior vice president of research and development for DNP Photo Imaging America Corp.

"Version 3 of the Tomo software will be running on the surface platform, and we also have made a prototype, a photo kiosk that takes pretty full advantage of the multi-touch capability that the surface computer gives us. So we'll be able to place orders and actually fulfill them at the booth."

DNP will also be showing PrintRush MP, a multi-purpose photo kiosk that is designed to extend the functionality of kiosks by adding the ability to download, among other things, MP3 music offerings. "Our concept behind the PrintRush MP is that we can extend the functionality by working with third-party applications," explains Oles.

"So, we're not developing a music application, but we are integrating it into our system so the consumer can choose between a variety of complementary products and services at one terminal."

PrintRush features three customer-facing terminals that are running 22-inch wide screen displays. A consumer can call up a product catalog system that allows them to browse through the products that are available, watch a video that explains the product's service, and then proceed into that application.