How the EMV Liability Switch is Affecting Food Service…So Far

The seemingly-forever-looming deadline of October for the switch to the new EMV chip readers has come and gone and it appears that everyone has survived what at times was made out to be an apocalyptic-grade sea change in the way payments are processed.

Now that EMV chip readers have been in place for 6 months, we decided it might be time to take a look at how these readers have affected one of the most common places of use, and that’s food service. This week, we’ll review how fast-food/counter service restaurants have been faring with this new technology and the challenges they’ve uncovered during the move to EMV.

One of the biggest advantages of fast food, quick service and counter serve restaurants is exactly what they claim to be — they are a way to get a meal, pronto. Let’s be honest — most fast food may be pretty good, but it’s not going to compare to a fancy, sit-down steak house. It’s not Ruth’s Chris. Most people don’t have the time or money for that kind of indulgence regularly. So the fact that fast food can be a quick way to eat something satisfying under time constraints is a pretty big deal. One of the biggest obstacles anticipated with the 2015 EMV mandate was the added processing time transactions would likely take, which would affect both the time waiting in line, and the overall feel of the customer service. Turns out, the concern was, in fact, legitimate; while EMV does generally make transactions more secure, it also increases wait times, which in turn impacts perception of customer service as being slightly less positive than it was previously. Because it’s not a simple swipe-and-go process anymore, an additional 15-45 seconds added to a transaction can really add up when the line is 5+ people deep, it’s the lunch rush and everyone is trying to get back to work on time.

Although EMV is causing some delays currently, there is at least a little relief in sight. Visa issued a statement late this month saying that they are releasing a free software upgrade that shortens transaction times by at least a few seconds. While this may not be a complete solution by any means, it certainly can’t hurt. And it also means that major credit card providers hear the concerns of the companies using their technology, and are continuously working toward a more efficient solution.

RedyRef, a provider of vertically integrated kiosk solutions, is helping food service companies of all sizes navigate the complexities of the liability shift. Looking for assistance? Submit a request for proposal online or call (800) 628-3603 today for more information.

Automated Retail Kiosks — The Future is Now

The word “kiosk” brings to mind something a little different for everyone. Most probably think of kiosks as freestanding (even though both desk-mount and wall-mount kiosks are popular choices in certain environments), but after that, perception and expectations tend to go in any one of many different directions. wayfinding, coin-counting, ticket dispensing, digital receptionists…there are countless applications.

Beyond more traditional interactive kiosks, there is an entire category experiencing tremendous growth, and that’s automated retail. These modern kiosks dispense products that are far beyond what anyone would expect from a typical vending machine. They feature high-end technologies that match consumer expectations based on the idea that if a customer is about to shell out big money, creating a user experience that is streamlined, personalized and essentially flawless is really the only way to ensure success. This is especially true when there’s not a single salesperson in sight to buffer the transaction if something goes awry.

Brands that have jumped on the automated retail bandwagon are not exactly boutique or experimental; instead, they are highly recognizable, respected companies in their respective industry spaces. Think Lego, ProActive, Apple, Best Buy, and even BMW/Mini — just to name a few. There are several reasons these brands are utilizing automated retail. Some, such as Mini, use these interactive vending machines as a kind of showcase for their product. After all, a car vending machine is quite a novel approach to purchasing — and a good way to attract attention at that.

Other companies — those that put more emphasis on bottom lines than PR — are looking at automated retail kiosks as a smart way to optimize revenues in situations where a traditional store may not make good fiscal sense. Airport space, for instance, is notoriously expensive to lease on a square foot basis so it’s easy to see why building an entire store may not be an optimal solution. However, establishing an automated retail kiosk with a carefully-curated selection of merchandise could very well be an efficient way to establish a presence without committing to 5-10 years on a pricey airport (or shopping mall) lease. With revenues for these machines often averaging $50,000 a year in a comparatively small space, it would seem that automated vending could be an excellent option for smart companies that are willing to look to the future for their selling solutions.

If your company is ready to explore high-tech dispensing kiosks, our experts are available to assist businesses of all sizes in developing a program that is right for their specific needs; just give us a call at (800) 628-3603 ext 525 or submit a request for proposal online and our team will be with you every step of the way.

Digital Signage and Interactive Wayfinding in Military Environments

Both interactive and static digital wayfinding solutions have founds homes in almost every area of industry. Although commonly part of the conversation in retail and business environments, the public sector is also making a strong case for these types of use cases as well. This week, we’ll take a look at some of the interesting ways touch and non-touch wayfinding technologies are being deployed in military domains.

Anyone who has ever visited or lived on a military base understands that to say that they are large would be an incredible understatement. To illustrate the incredible size take a look at this short list of some of the largest bases in the US:

  • Fort Bragg (NC): Population: 238,646; Area: 255 sq mi
  • Fort Campbell (KY): Population: 234,914; Area: 164 sq mi
  • Fort Hood (TX): Population: 217,003; Area: 336 sq mi
  • Joint Base Lewis-McChord (WA): Population: 209,486; Area: 646 sq mi (!)
It’s easy to see how digital way finding and signage would play an important part in keeping military bases running smoothly. This is especially true when you consider that some, like those above, have populations that are more than 10x the size of the average American town (pop. 20,000).

So how does the military utilize digital technologies to simplify life on base? One is to streamline communications. Much like in an actual city, there are events, meetings and initiatives that need to be shared with both individuals and departments on a macro level. That type of information is more generalized and can be pushed out from a central location and easily changed, even multiple times per day.

Then there is information that needs to be customized for different areas of the base and for different audiences. Military bases are home to not just active-duty soldiers, but also their families and often retirees. They also employ thousands of civilians to carry out all of the many duties that must be taken care of on a daily basis, from PX staff to IT professionals. Each segment of the population — even for those that do not live on base — can be easily and appropriate messaged based on their status, role and location. The military also utilizes digital signage for emergency messaging to help keep their population safe. Because this type of signage can be so quickly changed out, it is easy to keep an audience of almost any size actively informed about any issues that may arise.

Interactive wayfinding can also play a critical part in making life on base easier, especially for the thousands of visitors that regularly come through for reasons such as supplies delivery or specialized training. With hundreds of square miles to navigate and what likely feels like countless (seemingly-identical!) buildings spread out over that area, it is imperative that negotiating that space is made as efficient as possible — especially in case of an emergency.

Ready to make the leap into high-tech digital signage or interactive wayfinding kiosks? Our experts are available to assist government and military agencies of all sizes in developing a program that fits their specific needs; just give us a call at (800) 628-3603 ext 525 or submit a request for proposal online and our team will be with you every step of the way.

Digital Signage and Interactive Wayfinding for Government Agencies

Digital signage and interactive wayfinding have founds homes in almost every area of industry. It’s also becoming a go-to solution in the public sector. This week, we’ll take a look at some of the interesting ways touch and non-touch technologies are being deployed in government domains.

Why are so many branches of government rolling out digital wayfinding and directory solutions? Honestly, there is an incredible variety of reasons, and it depends mainly on the target audience to be reached. But the underlying rationale revolves around one key factor, and that’s the desire to clearly and easily communicate information of all types — including information that is frequently changing, or may even play a part in keeping people safe from harm.
Interactive wayfinding and digital signage implementations in government environments span an incredible range of use cases, because we’re not just talking about deployments at the federal level. There are many municipal and state branches of government that utilize these technologies to do everything from keeping constituents up-to-date on local events and community initiatives, to emergency and extreme weather alerts. Library systems, community centers, fire and police stations, DMVs and social security offices all make use of digital signage to simplify the dissemination of important information. Speaking of which, digital signs have another, substantial advantage: they can reduce perceived wait time by as much as 35%, according to a Lavi field study.
Larger facilities, such as statehouses, courthouses and chambers of commerce can benefit by allowing self-service digital signage and wayfinding kiosks to take some of the pressure off of front-desk staff. Offering the opportunity to utilize a self-service interface to obtain directions and building or campus information empowers visitors by putting some control back in their hands, therefore increasing their overall satisfaction as the “customer.”
Besides their convenience, interactive signage solutions are also cost efficient due to their efficiency. Although many may balk at the initial investment required, a quick look demonstrates the incredible savings that can be generated in the long run. For example, RedyRef offers customized software solutions that allow both signs and kiosks to be updated remotely and instantaneously over multiple locations, with variable messaging to target specific audiences. They are also more likely to be noticed and read; a study by Intel determined that digital displays capture 400% more views than their static counterparts.
Next week, we’ll discuss how the military is utilizing similar technologies to simplify wayfinding and communications around the world. Ready to make the leap into high-tech digital signage or interactive wayfinding kiosks? RedyRef’s experts are available to assist government agencies of all sizes in developing a program that fits their specific needs; just give us a call at (800) 628-3603 ext 525 or submit a request for proposal online and our team will be with you every step of the way.