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In the early 2000’s, along with other myriad of hats worn, I was an Adobe and Macromedia certified contract trainer. I remember teaching Advanced Flash Technologies and wowed the class by showing how you could embed video into the Flash presentation.   I suggested, at a time when the default Internet speed was a struggling 56K, that within 10 years we would be streaming movies online.  Incredulous looks and groans of protest filled the room.

It was then, I remember perusing the aisles of the local video store to find a new release movie on DVD.  Only a small step back, and they were only available on VHS tapes.  Technology is ever changing, as is the face of engagement. Just think, YouTube has only been around since 2005, and the iPhone debuted in 2007 (the same year Netflix started streaming services.)

Now in the course of the typical weeknight, a full third of all Internet traffic into North American homes is consumed on Netflix. With 36 million subscribers watching over 4 billion hours of video per quarter on a platform of over 1,000 devices – the math gets a little daunting.  CEO Reed Hastings said, “We think of the technology as a vehicle for creating a better, more modern experience for the content we have.”

In the self-service marketplace, we ride the cusp of innovations in technology, providing solutions that were unheard of just a decade before. Where will the next innovation come from?  Where will it drive the market? As we gear up in conceptualizing next year’s kiosk or software solutions – we look at the emerging critical mass wave of consumer engagement, leverage existing technology and then design solutions that can effectively engage the market.

I have to agree with Hastings that technology is a vehicle.  You have to leverage it to find ways to improve delivery and enhance the user experience.  At Meridian we find ourselves daily faced with the tools of industry, the platform of technology and a blank slate of opportunity.  I have a new prediction by the way, in 5 years… I guess I will save that one for the next sales & marketing meeting.

A kiosk is a box.

Sure, it has hardware, sophisticated electronics, a user interface, graphics, etc…. but ultimately it is still a box.
It starts as a box.  A box of possibility. An open, empty container waiting for solutions to fill it.  It is a need fulfillment device.  A way to engage the intended audience, shape their interaction with the brand/product being promoted and in the end – fulfill a need.  Before you buy the box, you need to see it as it is.  A box of possibility not hampered by constraints or improbabilities, and most especially “we have not ever done that before.”  It needs to be a container of what-ifs ready to be explored.  It needs to reach beyond the basics of gadgetry and become a possibility waiting to be discovered.
  • What do you want / need your box to do? (FUNCTION)
  • How do you want people to engage your box? (INTERACTIVITY)
  • What do you want to put inside your box? (PERFORMANCE)
  • How do you want your box to look? (VISUALIZATION)
  • Where do you want your box to be? (PRESENCE)
Again, a kiosk is a box. What do you want inside?