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When I first saw Elo Touchscreens
in the mid 1990's they were bulky CRT's, but still cool. I had an idea about an interactive kiosk that
could show store maps and give directions to items. Ever walk into Home Depot and can't find
the dry wall screws?
I sat on the idea for a few years but finally got more serious about it. I found a used touchscreen on Ebay,
built a prototype kiosk out of MDF and wrote a simple demo website.
Here's some notes I took down in 2001 ...
- The Find-It™ kiosk is an interactive touchscreen kiosk with printer.
- The kiosk has a 24/7 wireless connection to the Find-It™ internet server.
- The kiosk accesses (browses) a facility website on the server. (The software application)
- The application is specific to the kiosk's location and facility.
- The user cannot "surf" to other websites unless allowed by the facility.
- Main applications will be a facility directory and item/people search engines.
- The kiosk uses RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) to locate items within a facility.
- All applications include continuous and context sensitive advertising. (The revenue)
- Ads may include coupons that may be printed and used in the facility. (The user incentive)
- Advertisers pay a fee which is divided between the facility and Find-It, Inc. (The facility incentive)
- The goal of Find-It, Inc. is to attract users by providing an advanced facility search engine while generating advertising revenue using an untapped medium, the web enabled kiosk.
- It should NOT be our intent to compete with kiosk companies. There are many hardware companies that have years of experience and we should even employ one or more to produce our kiosks, such as KIS.
- Our goal should be to produce a single, consistent, unified kiosk package that provides powerful information retrieval for the user and effective advertising for merchants.
- The design of the kiosk (console shape, logo, labeling, colors, etc.) should be consistent and easily recognizable from one facility to another.
- The appearance and use of the kiosk should be simple and uncomplicated. This is why Google is one of the most used search engines.
- The kiosk should have no level surfaces that allow the placement of items such as drinks, papers or keys. People leave behind what they put down!
- The kiosk should be vandal resistant with replaceable touch surfaces for the monitor.
- The kiosk should use an inexpensive PC based computer with widescreen monitor support.
- The kiosk should use a widescreen (16x9), flat panel touch monitor with two vertical console bars separating Find-It™ navigation buttons, the application and advertising space.
- The monitor should be angled toward the user at a height that is comfortably touchable whether standing or in a wheel chair.
- The kiosk will have a reliable 24/7 high speed connection to the Find-It™ server.
- The kiosk will employ RFID technology to generate and update item locations.
- The kiosk will include a large roll (long life) thermal (quiet and inkless) printer.
Applications are staggering ...
- All kiosks access (browse to) a main Find-It™ server for their specific application.
- All applications are built with three columns; navigation, facility app and ad space.
- The left column should include the Find-It™ logo and familiar "Home", "Back", "Forward", "Stop" and "Refresh" navigation buttons that are consistent to all Find-It™ kiosks.
- The right column should include continuous and context-sensitive touchable advertising.
- The large center area is the facility application.
- Applications should include directory, item and people search engines with graphical keyboard.
- Item location databases are automatically generated and updated using RFID technology.
- RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) can be used to tag item location within a facility.
- Way-Finding applications should include printable maps.
- All applications should monitor and report kiosk operation, printer paper, etc.
- Mega/Depot Stores
- Warehouse Stores
- Department Stores
- Grocery Stores
- Shopping Malls
- Train/Bus Stations
- Car Rental Desks
- Convention Centers
- Information Counters
- Theme Parks
- Amusement Parks
- Office Buildings
- Medical Buildings
- Cruise Ships
- Trade Shows
Investors weren't interested in the idea at the time. People weren't tech savy 15 years ago :(
But, of course, now they're all over the place in all kinds of styles ...
Some Kiosk Samples
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