Breaking News Bar
posted: 10/30/2013 5:30 AM

Kiosks may replace tourist brochures from S.C. to N.Y.

hello
Success - Article sent! close
  • Chad Priest, the chief operating officer for City Corridor, demonstrates a touch-screen interactive visitor kiosk in the company's offices in North Charleston, S.C. The interactive kiosk allows visitors to click and print out everything from maps to menus and buy tickets for attractions.

      Chad Priest, the chief operating officer for City Corridor, demonstrates a touch-screen interactive visitor kiosk in the company's offices in North Charleston, S.C. The interactive kiosk allows visitors to click and print out everything from maps to menus and buy tickets for attractions.
    Associated Press

 
By Bruce Smith, Associated Press

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. -- In tourist towns worldwide, visitors are greeted with racks of brochures promoting everything from tours and museums to restaurants and hotels. But in the world of computers, smartphones and tablets, a new interactive visitor kiosk developed in South Carolina and deployed as far away as New York City might make such brochures a thing of the past.

Chad Priest says it was one of those cluttered racks in Charleston, a city that attracts 4.5 million visitors a year, that prompted the idea for the kiosk.

"We said there's got to be a better way, with all the technology we have now," said Priest, chief operating officer of City Corridor, the technology firm that developed the flat-faced kiosks with a large touch screen for visitors to see ads for attractions, make reservations and print out maps, menus and more.

Forty-two of the kiosks, an answer to what he called the "spray and pray mentality" of using tourist brochures, are now located in hotels and other businesses in Charleston. They also include a bank card reader so visitors can immediately purchase tickets to attractions.

Priest, whose background is in retail and digital signs, developed the kiosks with Caleb Yaryan, whose background is in software and network security. Yaryan is the company's chief technology officer.

They say the kiosks also serve advertisers by offering quick feedback on how many people click their ads or print coupons. And businesses can quickly alter the content of their ads, if needed, by computer. A camera on the kiosk also provides information on who uses the machines and whether they be children, young adults or retired people.

The Charleston machines have been nicknamed Charles, and each has a logo with a bow tie. Thirteen also have been placed on Hilton Head Island, S.C.

Last summer, four were placed at the New York City visitors center in Macy's in Herald Square. Those kiosks can print in nine different languages. Priest said City Corridor is working with New York City and Co., the city's tourism bureau, to place more kiosks there in the coming months.

Priest said the basic technology of the City Corridor kiosks is not new: "There is no one piece of technology that we have that no one else has." But he said there was no device bringing together the various tasks the City Corridor kiosk performs in one machine while providing feedback to advertisers.

Rick Mosteller, vice president of Fort Sumter & Spiritline Cruises in Charleston, said the kiosk is like having a billboard in a hotel lobby for his business.

"It's a perfect way to reach our clientele, and we have seen our sales increase as a result of that," he said.

The bank card reader also helps sell tickets immediately, as opposed to someone picking up a tour brochure and forgetting about it. "It helps consummate the sale right at the point where people's interest is piqued and they say yes, that is what I'd like to do," he said.

A few years ago, such kiosks would have been impossible, said Rick Swain, a systems architect with Verizon in South Carolina, whose wireless network is used for the Charleston machines.

"Solutions like this can't exist without powerful wireless backbones," he said.

Ken Finnegan, City Corridor's CEO, said, "Everyone would be reluctant to have it on their network and you would have firewall and security issues." But now he said the kiosks only require a small footprint -- often less than that of a brochure rack -- and an electrical outlet.

Share

Interested in reusing this article?

Custom reprints are a powerful and strategic way to share your article with customers, employees and prospects.

The YGS Group provides digital and printed reprint services for Daily Herald. Complete the form to the right and a reprint consultant will contact you to discuss how you can reuse this article.

Need more information about reprints? Visit our Reprints Section for more details.

Contact information ( * required )

Name * Company Telephone * E-mail *

Message (optional)

Success - Reprint request sent Click to close
Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.
    help here