The ways in which customers to Tourist (Visitor) Information Centres (T/VIC) access information is changing. Kiosks are just one way T/VICs will need to provide information to keep up with increasing technological abilities and expectations.
Customers are changing. So is how they access visitor information and how and when they expect information to be delivered. Increasing Internet use, availability of broadband and mobile phone advances mean customers can source the best deals and seek customised information – all the time raising their expectations of information services. They seek convenience, control and freedom with independent choices and ease of access.
Conwy County Borough Council, Monmouthshire District Borough Council and soon to include Wrexham County Borough Council are all recent examples where kiosks have or are being introduced to serve towns and rural areas either without a staffed T/VIC or to supplement existing staffed visitor information but operating 24 hours a day.
Kiosks are an attractive option in areas where falling use of T/VICs makes the service unviable and vulnerable to budget cuts. Replacing ineffective centres with kiosks provides more information to more people and still achieves savings on the overall service cost.
- Visitor friendly and simple to use, with a choice of interaction methods.
- Extends reach & service into new locations around the clock.
- Extends access to real-time information, informing & encouraging visitors to extend their stay & subsequent spend.
- Improves service enquiry management, customer relationships & the overall visitor experience.
- Captures feedback & user data in real-time via the management portal.
- Builds better, lasting visitor relationships, encouraging return visits.
- Extends value beyond traditional touch screen & kiosk solutions with unique proprietary software features.
- Provides an opportunity to immediately engage with & deliver offers, vouchers & promotional material.
- Revenue generating through advertising, room bookings, ticket purchases etc.
- Provides far more for less investment than alternative measures to deliver the content.
- Reduce communication & service costs.
- Broader future service potential.
- Simple administration interface to update content across the network in real-time.
From the visitor/user perspective:
- Quickly discover what to see & do.
- Select & reserve accommodation & other offers.
- Avoid having to travel & find tourist information offices.
- Take advantage of exclusive offers & discounts sent directly to mobile phones.
- Make transport enquiries.
- Provide instant feedback.
- Continue interacting on your Smartphone
The physical kiosk infrastructure is designed to ensure that accessibility and interaction with information and services is appealing and user intuitive.
Outdoor includes unprotected environments such as city centres, remote countryside locations, outside tourist attractions and many others; anywhere where a unit is exposed to the elements.
Designed and constructed to be robust, weather, vandal and theft proof. The units have an integral alarm and webcam designed to raise configurable alerts and notifications in situations such as attack, streaming and recording live video footage to a secure website with controlled access. Together with service interruption notifications, the solution is guaranteed maximum continuity and availability. The units also support video playback and audio.
The kiosks contain a high brightness screen, ensuring clarity of screen content with auto dimming to cater for changes in light. The kiosks support multiple methods of interaction for screen navigation and downloads e.g. maps, vouchers, podcasts etc; namely:
Touch Screen; Mobile phone control (handset and network independent); QR (Quick Response) – allowing users to scan 2D Bar Codes using their Smartphone to link to automatically optimized web content to enable continued interaction with content and services even having left the kiosk; NFC (Near Field Communication) technology – as above but the user simply has to touch their compatible Smartphone against the kiosk to automatically link to content on their phone; Wi-Fi – mobile phone control using mobile handset application for Smartphone users; SMS; WAP; and Email. Other communications methods include voice and Video conference.
Indoor includes secure areas such as receptions, indoor information points, show rooms, entrance halls etc.
Offering exactly the same features and functionality as the outdoor kiosks, but without the need for weather-proofing, which also helps to reduce the cost.
All units are manufactured to order in the UK enabling an extensive range of customisable options and variations.
The software solution is leading edge and includes:
High visual impact and appealing kiosk interface including welcome page and attract mode graphics, clearly informing what is available so that visitors can access information quickly and easily.
Simple means of navigation to access data/content delivered via automated feeds from defined websites and RSS feeds e.g. Travel Line, BBC weather etc.
Highly functional back-end system including content management system providing you with remote, real-time management of information (create, edit, modify) and the publication of content including text, photos, video links, adverts etc. Due to the unique interactive capabilities of the kiosk, premium rates could be generated for the advertising space above traditional broadcast methods to help fund the project.
Content is managed and can be localised by kiosk using a very simple browser based solution that does not require a skilled administrator. The system is template driven enabling simple control and population of dynamic information and advertising which caters for the major event or news bulletin requirement defined in the specification. This could be driven through automated feeds or be entered and managed manually.
The solution caters for multilingual content and is capable of integration with a range of databases to deliver news, documents and links etc, along with interfaces to relevant websites and live data feeds from other approved third party content providers.
Audio capability via in-built speakers, mobile phone or downloadable podcast.
Management portal including analysis of kiosk use, template suite for easy offer entry.
The following screen shot demonstrates how a user, having developed an itinerary and plotted a route via the kiosk, can select a mode of transport such as bus, walk, cycle etc before relevant timetables, cycle lanes, footpaths and GPS options are presented. Using QR codes, NFC technology (as defined above), or by entering a simple web address URL, users are able to access the relevant information on their Smartphones for use away from the kiosks. This information is optimised for mobile phone viewing, the system having automatically detected the type of handset with which it is interacting. The same principal applies to all content including events, accommodation, travel, things to see and do etc.
The following screen shots are examples of content presented on to a mobile phone having previously interacted with the kiosk.
Interaction methods comply with DDA requirements and guidelines. DDL’s solution offers the most variety of communication protocols in the marketplace to cater for each user’s preferred communication methods. Not only does this differentiate the solution compared with competing providers, it also ensures the most flexible and future proof solution currently available.
A full site survey is undertaken and risk assessment submitted for approval prior to the commencement of any works. This includes liaison with relevant agencies, energy source and internet service providers where necessary.
On-going Support and After Care
Together with remote automated service interruption notifications, the solution is guaranteed maximum continuity and availability. Usually we will know about any problems before you do, but in the event that you do need to contact us, our customer support line is available to report issues which will be progressed in accordance with an agreed Service Level Agreement (SLA).