Self-service: a key building block in the BRIC economies
There is an ongoing worldwide boom in the use of interactive kiosks, not least in the BRIC economies (Brazil, Russia, India, and China).
In Brazil, some of the most recent projects have involved the installation of self-service check-in desks at airports. One of the biggest installations is at the new Viracopos-Campinos International Airport terminal, close to Sao Paulo, which is intended to have 53 self-check-in desks. These will be able to do everything from printing baggage tags and reading RFID passports to selling premium seating. This will greatly reduce the staffing requirement at the new terminal and ensure faster check-in for many passengers. The kiosks, complete with innovative kiosk software, are going to be dual screen, enabling revenue-boosting advertising and the display of information.
Indian airports have also turned to self-check-in and the latest kiosk software to make life easier for passengers, save on airline costs and enhance security. The kiosks are able to read the 2D barcodes on boarding passes, verify clearance for passengers and issue warnings and alerts when necessary. This makes it much more difficult, if not impossible, for counterfeit boarding passes to be used. The trend for self-service kiosks is not limited to airports either, with kiosk installations popping up everywhere from banks to shopping malls. There are even kiosks available to allow passers-by to top up their pre-pay mobile phones.
Bill payment kiosk software is now prevalent right across Russia to help people switch from hard currency to digital payments. They are located everywhere from apartment lobbies and street corners to grocery stores and other shops. There are thought to be more than 400,000 such kiosks in Russia alone. To put this into perspective, consider the fact that this is similar to the number of ATMs in America, which has more than double the population. A bill payment kiosk allows the cash which is the main method of payment within the Russian consumer economy to be conveniently transformed into e-payments.
The use and manufacture of self-service kiosks in China is now so prevalent that the country hosts its own speciality show. The eleventh annual China Kiosk Show in September 2014 is expected to attract around 20,000 visitors when it is held at the Shanghai World Expo Exhibition & Convention Center.
There are many ways in which the locals and visitors in China are using self-service to improve their experiences, streamline day-to-day tasks and make running businesses more cost-effective and profitable. These include everything from picking up a hire car and buying train tickets to doing their banking and picking up tickets for a night at the cinema.