June 14, 2006

HP and self-service photo kiosk industry

At the Retail Systems expo in Chicago last month, HP showcased two new self-service kiosks —HP Store Assistant and an updated version of Media on Demand, the first product of its kind to use content scrambling system (CSS) encryption, which enables DVD-length downloads. HP has licenses from Warner Bros. and Sony Pictures to burn movies.

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HP helps itself to share of self-service industry

by Valerie Killifer * • 12 Jun 2006

For several years Hewlett-Packard has been building a presence in the retail industry. Best known for its computing, printing and software products, the company has shifted some its focus to the self-service market.

At the Retail Systems expo in Chicago last month, HP showcased two new self-service kiosks —HP Store Assistant and an updated version of Media on Demand, the first product of its kind to use content scrambling system (CSS) encryption, which enables DVD-length downloads. HP has licenses from Warner Bros. and Sony Pictures to burn movies.

Both products focus as much on the back-end of the retail industry as the front, an important component of HP’s self-service philosophy, said Brent Brown, HP’s director for in-store retail solutions.

“When you start talking kiosks, the whole area of self-service comes into discussion,” Brown said. “You can really help a customer with a self-service device, but we know for certain there’s a return on investment when you serve the associates and employees.”

For managers, the HP Store Assistant offers alerts on out-of-stock or surplus inventory, and displays human resources data such as employee training schedules and store earnings.
Store-Assistant kiosk.jpg

The HP Store Assistant
For customers, the store assistant scans grocery loyalty cards, locates items, offers product details, displays sales on items relevant to consumers’ grocery lists, builds shopping lists by aisle number, and prints store maps and coupons with directions to desired products.

HP technologist Jarrod Sinclair said the program helps customers make buying decisions and gives employees quick access to product information.

“What HP is trying to build is a digital supply chain while making sure we don’t forget the physical supply chain in the process,” Sinclair said.

Media on Demand follows the same principle.

The software package reduces a retailer’s in-store merchandise, such as DVDs, video games and music, by storing it on the kiosk. Movies, video games and music files can be purchased at home or in-store then downloaded to a variety of formats within eight to 12 minutes.

“Our solution lets us provide content as it would come off a shrink-wrapped disk. That is especially true from the movie aspect,” Sinclair said. “People still have the tendency to want something physical and we’re working to bridge that gap.”

HP’s Media on Demand
Media on Demand and HP Store Assistant have been envisioned as a single platform strategy. One kiosk would offer every service, including the full range of photo kiosk functions.

“It’s a matter of plug-and-play,” Sinclair said. “You basically can have one series of kiosks that provide all of these services.”

HP’s entrance into the self-service industry may have started with printers, but its reach is extending beyond that foundation.
hp-stealth-kiosk.jpg

For closer look at the kiosk click here.

“If anyone has a chance in the kiosk industry, it is HP,” said Peter Honebein, president of Customer Performance Group and co-author of “Creating Do-It-Yourself Customers.”

“There are a lot of customers out there who trust the HP brand and the experience that brand offers," he said. "HP’s kiosks provide these customers with more choices to be consistent in their brand loyalty.”

HP will continue with its self-service quest, both for employers and their customers.

“We’re not trying to create a single product for a single issue,” Sinclair said. “We’re creating a solution for a business problem.”

Posted by keefner at June 14, 2006 07:43 AM