Multimedia Kiosks

Written by Stacy Chbosky
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Multimedia kiosks are so self-contained, so all-inclusive, and so high-tech that they remind me of something out of a science fiction movie. They remind me of those old cartoons where the lady of the house would press a button, and a five-course meal would pop out of a slot! I haven't heard of interactive multimedia kiosks that pop out meals, but I have heard of kiosks that have audio speakers, internet access, thermal printers, card readers and video cameras.

Multimedia Kiosks for Retailers

One of the first groups to benefit from multimedia kiosks were retailers. Nowadays, hospitals, human resource departments, and airlines all use kiosks. Retailers, however, were among the first to anticipate the impact of self-service kiosks.

For instance, in the mid-80s, long before the proliferation of the Web, Elizabeth Arden cosmetic stores deployed a number of kiosks designed to provide women with virtual make-overs. A woman's face was photographed, and the digital photograph was then virtually made over in four different ways. Without having to endure a lengthy real-time makeover, the woman could see what she looked like in a number of different lipsticks or color palettes.

Perhaps the most popular kiosk ever was deployed by Kodak. Over 46,000 Kodak Picture Maker kiosks have been deployed to date. These kiosks exemplify all that is positive about self service kiosks: they're interactive, self-contained, self-service and fun.

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