Kiosk Solutions Issue 19 - Page 29

interview Expertise  across verticals A blend of specialisation and diversification is one way the self-service industry can weather the inevitable storms of the future By Philip Murphy, Business Development Manager, IOResource Ltd – IOResource was established in October 2002 and has become a major distributor of retail automation and mobility products. As a trade only organisation, IOResource is working with some of the world’s leading retail automation and mobility vendors to provide the latest technology and solutions. What have been the most significant changes to the industry over the past five years? The principal change in the industry has been the rise of self-serve checkout and kiosks; this demand has been driven by both businesses and consumers. The grocery and convenience sector has seen a substantial change in this regard with cinema chains and quick service restaurants following close behind. Another significant change has been the trend towards card only terminals and away from cash. A key influence of this trend is the tap and pay functionality now available via Android and iOS devices, as well as contactless debit and credit cards for small purchases. The migration away from predominantly cash-based transactions 1 has also influenced the increase in use of biometric payments in some markets. Most recently, the launch of facial recognition software with self- serve units for age-controlled products such as alcohol and other software enhancements. These include Pick List Assist and Produce Assurance, which use imaging technology to identify the product to increase customer service and product security. What have been the main challenges for your sector? There has been an increase in the number of consumer-grade tablets that have entered the market; these entry- level tablets aren’t fit for purpose in a commercial environment. Mostly, they’re used with Cloud SaaS software with no support engineers physically on the ground. Invariably, these units fail early on in the life cycle of the technology project, and the resulting disruption of the business can be costly. Retailers usually write off this initial investment and deploy a device that's designed for retail. The main challenge is to educate the market that value 2 always outweighs the price. The current large growth in mobile POS must be combined with the right hardware to ensure its success. Where do you see the kiosk industry in the future? The kiosk industry will expand at a fast rate due to lowering costs and consumers driving demand. Kiosks will inevitably become more affordable for the smaller retailer etc. This combined with the SaaS model will help small and medium enterprises to benefit from the many advantages larger retailers do today. Personalisation for each customer will become the required norm, while in non-transactional use kiosks will continue to impact on the digital signage industry as true interactive solutions become more prevalent. 3 What will be the market drivers for the future? A lot of drivers will be the same as those we have today, but the primary difference will be that the size of the market behind these drivers will become much larger as adoption of self-serve solutions by consumers increases. Consumers want speed of service, so customers choose self-serve because they find it more convenient, simpler and faster than 4 KIOSK solutions 29