Laura Tate, Director of Digital Marketing, Kardome.com
As people throughout the world resume activities that have been on hold for the past year, such as dining out, travelling, shopping, and engaging with the world around them, doing so safely remains a concern. The kiosk industry can help provide safe, interactive solutions for many facets of this new contactless world, by integrating touchless technology.
There are various touchless solutions for interactive kiosks and displays, and many provide benefits beyond any immediate safety concerns. These can offset the costs of upgrading existing kiosks or building new lines.
Touchless technologies for kiosks
Touchless technology for kiosks can include using feet or hand gestures to make choices, converting mid-air hand gestures into an on-screen cursor, or using the feet to manoeuvre a pedal to allow for contactless navigation of a kiosk or interactive screen.
QR or bar codes are also touchless solutions that industries can customise for specific uses. A user can scan a code to use their smartphone to use as a remote control to interact with a kiosk.
Airlines have implemented code scanning to allow travellers to check-in, print boarding passes and check-in bags, providing a complete contactless solution. Travellers can also self-scan their tickets in order to board a plane.
Voice user interface design that combines speech recognition, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning is another touchless technology that makes interacting with kiosks simple and seamless. In this case, consumers need only to issue a voice command to achieve desired results, such as ordering via a drive-through restaurant order screen. Using AI, machine learning, and natural language processing make the experience easy, fast, and safe.
The benefits of contactless kiosks
Besides health safety benefits, contactless or touchless technologies also provide other advantages for the industries that utilise kiosks:
Improved hygiene and safety for customers and employees alike
Touchless technology can make consumers feel safe, whether they’re ordering food at a drive-through restaurant or getting information from a kiosk to navigate a busy airport.
The fact that a person need not touch a screen that hundreds of people may have touched before is a positive factor of touchless technology. The health benefits of providing a touch-free experience with kiosks go beyond protecting consumers, it also increases the health and safety of employees by reducing or eliminating contact with screens.
Touchless technology can lead to reduced employee sickness and downtime, improving overall productivity and profits.
Seamless, fast interactions
Touch technology requires the consumer to view and understand how to use a display screen or kiosk. If it’s not presented in a simple enough format, the customer has to spend time to figure out how to use the interactive kiosk, what buttons or areas to press next in order to follow the flow of information to achieve the desired results.
Voice user interfaces enable users to issue a voice command to launch a program and navigate a display screen. For example, in an airport, a traveller can walk up to a ticket kiosk and say, “print my boarding ticket”. The booth, operating with technology that utilises an ASR engine, combined with artificial intelligence and machine learning, can respond with questions to get the necessary information to complete the transaction, such as “please say your ticket number”. Such an interaction takes only moments to complete.
Improved customer experience
Interacting with a kiosk using hand gestures or voice speeds up ordering or finding information, freeing up time for consumers and employees alike.
Fast-food restaurants McDonald’s and Good Times Burgers in the United States have already employed voice-automated ordering at drive-thru restaurants. The touchless technology has sped up the ordering and payment process, which frees employees to devote time to other duties such as cooking, cleaning, or dealing with more complicated orders. The AI-driven touchless technology improves both customer and employee satisfaction.
Touchless technology that enables fast, customised service leaves customers happy and improves employee performance, satisfaction and retention, affecting the bottom line.
The touchless technology that enabled Good Times Burgers to shave seven seconds off wait times also improved upselling. AI can be programmed to upsell 100% of the time, while human employees upsell only 40% of the time.
Contactless solutions that keep employees healthy and on the job stabilise a company’s operations and improves profit margins.
Improvement of interactive transactions
While touchless technology is still in its nascent stages, many viable contactless solutions can turn existing and new kiosks into touchless experiences. Many are simply a matter of plug-n-play, while others may require minor modifications. These touchless solutions offer consumers and the industries that serve them, benefits that will improve interactive transactions to make life and business more accessible and better overall.
Laura Tate is the Digital Marketing Director for Kardome.com, a voice user interface technology company.