Interactive kiosks are useful in almost every industry - commercial real estate
is no different. While information kiosks were once limited to museums and automated
tellers, they now offer a wide range of possibilities for every sector of the
commercial real estate industry, including office buildings, hotels/resorts,
educational facilities, hospitals/healthcare facilities, and government buildings.
Once extremely limited in capacity and usefulness, the scope of these information
kiosks is expanding rapidly to provide interactive information and services
to consumers. The Internet and online services are reaching the private sector
through DSL and handheld computers, and interactive kiosks. Technology-savvy
consumers are demanding access to information that is more detailed and complex
than static signage, opening the door for property owners to step into the next
wave: interactive digital systems.
Interactive digital systems are unique, touch-screen information kiosks placed
within your facility, strategically located in the highest-traffic locations.
These systems can be set up using a variety of equipment - from 12-inch monitors
to 50-inch plasma screens - with a touch screen overlay. Some of these directories
also come equipped with sound systems that can provide an assortment of enhancements.
Each kiosk enables users to search for specific information, such as company
name, maps, local merchant information, weather, traffic or stock reports, directions,
and more. Systems are customized to accommodate the particular needs of the
facility and its customers. Perhaps a customer would like to search by floor
or industry type? No problem! Do you want to offer "Space for Lease"
information with details on the many benefits of your facility? How about customized
floor maps and directions to specific areas within the facility? All these things
are possible with an interactive digital system.
Hotel and resort systems, for example, can be set up to offer everything from
room descriptions and reservations to picking up text messages and ordering
room service. You may have as many or as few services as you feel your property
Most digital directory companies use Internet web browsers to host the information
that will appear in your directory. However, while that type of system works,
if and when the browser goes down your system becomes disabled. One company
uses a Virtual Private Network (VPN) as a secure way to manage a directory system,
which is independent of any web browser. Most updates on any of these systems
can be made in-house, and are almost instantaneous.
The costs of these systems can vary widely, depending on the types of equipment
and features you choose. One company offers a way to offset some of the expense
by allowing you to display television-quality commercials - rather than static
ads or graphics - which run in conjunction with your directory services.
Interactive digital systems have almost limitless possibilities for enhancing
your customers' experiences while visiting your facility. They can quickly provide
up-to-date information in a simple, very user-friendly way that allows a customer
to select anything from search criteria to the format of the results. These
directories require only a small effort to maintain, and offer an unprecedented
advantage over conventional, static signage.
Jill Henry is director of marketing for Dallas-based NuTouch Media Inc.
(www.nutouch.com), a digital
directory company serving the commercial real estate industry.