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The kiosk: 20 years and counting

Published on  20 December by Rico Barandun , Head of Solution Specialists, Passenger and Bags, SITA
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What a great 20 years the SITA kiosk has had. As we approach the end of its 20th anniversary year, it’s exciting to think about what lies ahead as kiosks continue their rise in smoothing the flow of passengers, both on and off airport.

It’s true that some naysayers have in the past pondered the demise of the kiosk. But we’ve witnessed the opposite to be the case. SITA kiosk use, the world over, has done nothing but spread.

In fact, as of today SITA has installed 6,000-plus kiosks at more than 225 common-use airports.

Far from retreating into the background, we’ve seen kiosks emerge out of the check-in domain and into the forefront of other airport activities, taking on more and different responsibilities along the steps of the journey.

Myriad tasks

Today they're relied on for myriad tasks, from check-in to bag tagging, and more. Some 55% of airports have already implemented bag-tag printing at kiosks, for example (2017 SITA Airline & Airport IT Trends Insights).

In the kiosk's 20th year we also saw a milestone development as SITA introduced a Common Use Payment Service - the first and only payment solution allowing transactions by multiple airlines through a single payment terminal, which is now being deployed at SITA's common-use kiosks and bag-drop stations.

Eyes on the border

Now, all eyes are on border, where - with the rise of biometrics - we see great opportunities for kiosks as we at SITA continue to work with airports, governments and border agencies around the world to bring in the changes.

Indeed our work in the US shows that our biometric-enabled kiosks can securely process passengers on arrival, reducing the time passengers spend in line by as much as 40%.

I recall an Acuity Market Intelligence study a couple of years ago on airport eGates and kiosks at the border. It talked about the role of kiosks and the ‘holy grail’ for immigration and passenger processing being to provide a truly seamless and almost unnoticeable airport experience.

Making air travel easier

That is embodied in the visions and goals of strategic industry initiatives to enhance the passenger experience, such as Simplifying the Business, Fast Travel, Smart Security, and now the IATA and ACI initiative NEXTT (New Experience in Travel and Technologies).

Proving its longevity, the kiosk has been very much part and parcel of these key industry-wide initiatives, making air travel ever easier and meeting air transport community needs as they evolve. So here’s to the kiosk, for the next 20 years and beyond …

See also Kiosk advances.

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