Interactive New age of kiosks

.The launch of three interactive kiosks in Canada takes electronic retailing beyond automatic teller machines and into new product categories - electronics, movie tickets and pharmaceuticals.The kiosks are a joint venture of Northern Telecom and The Bulldog Group of Toronto.This month,...

.The launch of three interactive kiosks in Canada takes electronic retailing beyond automatic teller machines and into new product categories – electronics, movie tickets and pharmaceuticals.

The kiosks are a joint venture of Northern Telecom and The Bulldog Group of Toronto.

This month, the community of Pacquetteville, n.b. will be getting a badly needed pharmacy in the form of an interactive kiosk called the Meditrust PharmaPhone.

The kiosk will allow the town’s residents to talk face-to-face with a pharmacist and have prescriptions filled overnight.

Toronto-based Meditrust, which has been in business about 18 months, takes prescription orders over toll-free phone and fax lines and delivers them nationwide within 24 hours via Canada Post services.

Last September, when The Bulldog Group of Toronto and Northern Telecom announced the formation of a joint-venture company to develop and market a new product called the Multimedia Transaction Centre (mtc), Meditrust was first in line.

NBTel (New Brunswick Telephone) was later approached by Pacquetteville’s mayor, who had heard the Meditrust kiosk would be tested in that province.

The mayor was concerned that Pacquetteville would lose its doctor unless it had a pharmacy because many patients were now switching from the town doctor to a doctor in a nearby town with a pharmacy.

The kiosk, located in a local convenience store, will enable customers to have a face-to-face conversation with a pharmacist located at a call centre in Saint John.

The pharmacist will also be able to use the screen to display product information, articles on issues such as generic drug pricing, and customer information for verification.

The prescription is transmitted immediately to the call centre via a desktop scanner and then inserted into a slot to be picked up later for hardcopy records.

The prescriptions are filled at the Saint John centre and received by the patient in Pacquetteville the next day.

Based on the success of this trial, Meditrust plans to install kiosks in other remote areas of the country.

New Brunwick has Canada’s only entirely digital telephone network which can transmit more than 10 times the information than standard copper wires.

That extra power is needed to transmit multimedia, which means kiosks can be located even in remote areas of the province, while in the rest of Canada they have to be placed in central business areas where data lines already exist.

In Toronto later this month, Famous Players begins testing express ticketing kiosks in a couple of its Metro Toronto movie theatre locations.

Customers will be able to go up to the kiosk and, using a credit card, be able to buy tickets, including advance tickets, and concession item vouchers that will allow them to enter express lines.

The company is planning to use the kiosk universally, and the electronic capability is now being set up throughout all the theatres.

Phase two testing of the Famous Players kiosk will include multimedia enhancements such as movie previews and coming attractions.

It was natural for Apple Canada to move into electronic retailing since many of its products are used in the development of the kiosks.

Last month, Apple’s Newton Interactive Kiosk was unveiled in Terminal Two of Toronto’s Pearson International Airport.

The kiosk introduces customers to the Newton personal digital assistant and allows them to explore its capabilities using Apple hardware, screen and keypad with audio and animation that has been customized by Bulldog.

The next phase of the kiosk will allow customers to connect with an Apple representative in a face-to-face conversation.