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Australian Entertainment Company Expanding RFID-Enabled Kiosks

The Franchise Entertainment Group kiosks use HF RFID technology and a cellular connection with Canopy software from Banyan Hills Technology to manage approximately 1,300 kiosks at which movies are rented throughout Australia and New Zealand.
By Claire Swedberg

The Canopy system enables the company to track not only each kiosk's inventory, but also how often the machine has been used, how often specific movies have been rented and which movies are not being rented at all. It can then conduct a variety of analytics. For instance, because Canopy's management console software, hosted on a cloud-based server, displays each purchase transaction, it knows how often the POS mechanisms are used, and can thus identify when they will require maintenance or replacement.

The RFID data enables the company to view how often movies or TV shows are rented at each location, when and on which days this occurs, and which disks are most popular at a specific site. Banyan Hills already uses its own analytics to predict the popularity of a specific film or show; for instance, if a newly released movie is part of a series, it can use the sales of previous films in that series to determine how many disks should be stocked in the kiosk. That data can be compared against reviews for the particular movie and, over time, the actual rate of rental at each kiosk.

The kiosk itself uses the Canopy software to determine which movies are most commonly requested, Latham explains. "When a machine is idle," he states, "it can detect that and reshuffle the disks," moving the most popular titles closest to the dispensing unit. This reduces the amount of time someone renting movies will have to wait, Nedelko says, and also provides a better customer experience and the ability to serve more customers, thereby increasing revenue per kiosk.

FEG can run daily reports from Canopy, as well as schedule recurring reports, in order to gain insight into how the kiosks perform over time. "I get reports every morning" related to kiosk rentals, Nedelko says, "and I can look at every kiosk in real time." The firm has operators on staff who can watch the software results in real time and immediately identify if a mechanical problem causes a kiosk to not properly dispense movies. It can then attempt to correct the problem remotely from a location in China, or forward the issue to local personnel, who could physically visit the kiosk. "Every kiosk has its own heartbeat," Nedelko says, and the Canopy system "keeps those kiosks alive."

According to Nedelko, the greatest challenge now, several years after the technology was deployed, involves working with the vast amount of data the kiosks can collect. He plans to continue deploying kiosks, while experimenting with the analytics provided by Canopy.

For Banyan Hills, the FEG deployment is just the beginning. The company offers the Canopy software for a variety of self-service technology devices, including kiosks, vending machines, digital signage and unattended retail devices, such as mobile POS systems. This includes users far beyond the retail industry, including those in the sports and entertainment sectors.

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