Self-service printing trends
KIOSK EUROPE: What are the key trends driving the kiosk market today and how are these impacting on the POS printer industry?
ANNETTE TARLTON: With the emergence of more compact, slim, sophisticated and challenging kiosk designs there is a growing need for flexible kiosk printing solutions. As a result, alongside dedicated open frame printers we are seeing the increased use of packaged printers which are transforming the kiosk, given that the same printer and level of service provided at the checkout can now be provided at the kiosk. Furthermore, while the actual kiosk design is down to the retailer based on budget available the one consistent product whatever the kiosk design is the printer, thus allowing retailers of all sizes to benefit from advanced printing technology.
With the increasing use of Apple, Android and Windows tablets within retail and such devices being integrated into kiosks, as demonstrated by the EVO Pad kiosk from Evoke Interactive Kiosks, this is putting greater demands on the POS printer to successfully integrate with such devices.
KE: How is Star contributing to the evolving marketplace?
AT: While certain system integrators have typically shied away from incorporating packaged printers into kiosks, the benefits associated with printers such as the TSP100 futurePRNT from Star include ease of installation, software tools which facilitate the printing of relevant coupons as well as a 4 year warranty.
With more and more retailers wanting to use mobile devices Star is ready to support the customer whichever way they jump. AirPrint has always been difficult but Star’s unique new intuitive Software Developer Kits (SDKs) overcome this problem with customer-based working solutions for AirPrint already in the field.
In fact, Star’s SDKs simplify the entire integration process with Apple, Android tablets and smartphone devices. With a greater array of operating systems and languages supported with organised and integrated files and actual code samples, Star vastly improves on the confusing choice of zipped files available from other printer manufacturers. Whether using an open frame, packaged printer or even a mobile printer Star provides ease of integration with such devices to promote queue busting and in turn provide the potential opportunity for increased sales.
KE: There are a number of kiosk printer manufacturers in the market today. What makes Star different?
AT: Star was pleased to see at Retail Business and Technology Expo 2012 nine out of the ten kiosk integrators present at the exhibition were usingStar printers in their kiosks. Why? With over thirty years experience within the kiosk industry Star has developed an extensive portfolio that offers kiosk integrators flexibility coupled with high quality and reliability. Furthermore, Star provides exceptional support and will without question go the extra mile to tailor printers to meet the specific requirements of individual customers.
KE: As new kiosk designs are developed to meet the demands of an ever wider range of environments and applications in the future, how will Star respond?
AT: Star will continue to develop its portfolio to respond to the changing environment and applications that emerge in the future. Star has already demonstrated its flexibility in a major project carried out by EDS for the UK Employment Agency in which 8,400 kiosk printers were rebuilt to meet the specific demands of the customer. The open frame model, based on a ‘mecano’ design, can be easily modified and it is precisely this ability to effectively respond to such applications that means Star will remain the printer manufacturer of choice for the majority of kiosk integrators.
Editor's note: To find out more about Star Micronics EMEA, visit stand E.14 at Kiosk Europe Expo 2012.
Tuesday, May 15, 2012