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Green Kiosks Interact with Mobile Phones, Part 1

Dec 9, 2008 12:00 PM, By John W. DeWitt

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How do you handle connectivity? What are your hardware requirements?

We are network-access agnostic. We work on all kinds of players, from rackmount systems to little players no bigger than a notebook. Some have Wi-Fi connectivity, most have wired connection, a few have cellular connection.

An operator like Kimco has their own hardware procurement process. We just certify the hardware and have our software preloaded. They’re using an Intel-based player with 1GB of memory and 40GB of disk space. It’s fairly vanilla; when you’re doing large networks, keeping the hardware cost low is important. The kiosk screens are LG with a laminate touch-sensitive screen, though our software can work outside a touch environment.

What makes the mobile-phone coupon application work? Why don’t customers balk at interacting with the kiosk?

Their call to action is to send the keyword to this particular number. That message comes to our wireless gateway, which will then match the keyword to the discount and send a message back. It allows the shopper to very quickly opt in for something he or she is interested in and not have to put in the 10-digit cell-phone number in a public kiosk. We send the coupons back, and there are no visible target numbers. And because it’s an opt-in process, our rule is that the number cannot be used for follow-on solicitation.

What’s the format of the coupon? Do your advertisers worry about it getting forwarded?

Generally the coupon is a text message. We also can do 1D or 2D bar codes on smart phones. But it’s really the coupon ID that retailers care about. Generally they will have a button on the cash register that allows the cashier to key in the number.

There are different kinds of coupons. Single-use coupons will have a unique ID and cannot be used more than once, whereas generic coupons are just to generate traffic, and retailers don’t mind if they are used by multiple people. Typical coupons like the ones that EcoZone is doing are just to create demand—so they don’t care if you forward to all your friends.

The beauty of this coupon is that you don’t forget it at home, you don’t have to snip it and put it in your pocket, it’s in your cell phone and you carry it anywhere you go.

In the next issue, Digital Signage Update’s conversation with Manandhar will explore the deployment challenges and future trends for interactive applications between mobile phones and digital signage.

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