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Kiosks Could be Cool!

OK… so kiosks aren't all that new… and they've got the worst description of any piece of technology equipment... How can something that sounds like a photo or voting booth sound cool? How about a "World Human Information Portal (WHIP??)" or something funky like that? Kiosk sounds boring... so is it any wonder why it hasn't got far?

Have you seen Minority Report? No... No...not the bit all the marketing teams drool over when the Tom Cruise character walks into Gap and has all of this CRM stuff happen as a result of remote iris scanning (he's actually just had someone else's eyes transplanted into him, so Gap now thinks he's a Japanese fellow. I wonder how the database cleansing routines would resolve that!).

No… I'm talking about the computer he uses at the start of the movie to sort through lots of video data (I won’t go into details of what the data really is… you'll have to watch the film to get that). OK, so this computer is fabulous. It uses his finger tips with special gloves for him to manipulate the screen and move stuff around, without needing to ever touch the screen!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3bn-zZX9kdc&feature=related

OK…OK… wake me up now… I know it’s all CGI, and not real... but we're getting there! The Apple UI on the iPhone/iPod Touch, and the Microsoft Surface initiative are finally nudging us in the direction of cool interaction with technology. It has to be something better than a mouse click! When we get to the stage of having cool ways of browsing through data on a device in the store that is fun, fast, and more interesting than the technology I have at home or work (where, thanks to the internet and the desktop I have all this set up just how I want it to be able to do stuff quickly in my own way)… ONLY THEN will I think it is a great idea to use a kiosk… It's got to be different, and not a poor relation to something better. It’s got to do something more imaginative that being able to launch Google on my Blackberry (that may be my retailer kiosk today). If kiosks can leap ahead in some way and get us wanting to play with them when we spend time in the stores, maybe THEN they will be worth the investment. Until then… keep putting great signage around them offering something that they could not get by talking to a real person, because when I walk into a store, I'm in “touchy feely” mode. My technology in my pocket, my laptop (hopefully) still in my car, and my desktop PC charging up my iPod… and I want to see, hold and touch what I’m going to buy. If I’m going to touch technology in the store... it has got to be REEEEEEAALY cool…

Posted by Duncan Taylor, Director of Product Management, Epicor

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