Elo TouchSystems Touchscreens Selected by NeoProducts for the World's Largest Networked Kiosk Project from the UK Government's Employment Services
Part of the UK Government's modernisation programme created the world's largest networked kiosk order for 9,000 units. They are used in the prestigious Employment Services Agency Jobpoint kiosks built by NeoProducts using Elo TouchSystems' touchscreens and installed by EDS, the Employment Services' IT partner. These kiosks, manufactured at NeoProducts' UK plant, are designed to make life easier for both jobseekers and the Employment Services staff.
More Jobs and More Accuracy than Ever Before
Traditionally, jobseekers would read about job vacancies on printed cards displayed on boards at Jobcentres. There are limitations to this method of displaying jobs and these include the limit to the number of situations vacant it is possible to display on the boards in addition to the time and effort required by Jobcentre staff to keep the job card vacancies up to date.
The Employment Services is a government agency responsible for helping those out of work and on welfare back to work. With around 1,100 Jobcentres, the Employment Services took a decision to modernise the system and to employ touchscreen-based kiosk terminals which would offer up to 600,000 vacancies from local opportunities, vacancies nationwide and from across Europe. So, they called in their IT partner EDS, to find a solution for touchscreen kiosks.
Gary Rowing-Parker, project manager for EDS, commented: "For such a high profile and business-critical installation, it was essential that we used tried and tested systems for the touchscreen kiosks. We selected NeoProducts for their design and manufacturing experience in this field. The actual installation of kiosks in the Jobcentres to date has been one of the smoothest I have worked on."
Kiosks and Touchscreens Are Easy to Use for Everyone
A number of key factors were required in the kiosk solution and these included an ergonomic design to meet the demands of different users' physical heights and to provide wheelchair access. Additionally, the kiosk had to be easy to use and operate, simple and quick to install on location and, of course, be highly reliable in use. The Jobpoint kiosk is a highly engineered unit featuring a 15.1 inch LCD surface wave touchscreen plus a wide range of monitoring and management facilities. It is based on an attractively designed powder-coated steel chassis with injection moulded plastic body panels (UV stabilised and flame retardant for long life and safety). The design is optimised for use by disabled persons in accordance with ISO 1428 and complies with current IT equipment electrical safety requirements (CE approved).
The kiosk offers an attractive, versatile and stylish housing and it comes with lockable upper and lower sections accessible through a single access point. A hinged top fascia allows for easy maintenance access to the printer assembly to replenish the printer consumables while a locking-arm holds the top fascia when open.
A Touchscreen at the Core of the Kiosk
With any unattended kiosk a keyboard or mouse is a totally unsuitable input device as it is easily damaged or stolen and it takes up valuable space. Additionally, some people are unaccustomed to using a keyboard or a mouse and they may shy away from these systems. Not so with a touchscreen: It's so intuitive and the user simply touches the on-screen prompts without the need for training or explanation of its use.
As the touchscreen display is a key component of the system it is important that it operates effectively and reliably with the minimum of attention. Mike Smith, Managing Director of NeoProducts commented: "When selecting a touchscreen manufacturer and technology we took into account a number of issues including product quality and reliability. Additionally, with large volumes of touchscreens to install, it's important we were able integrate the touchscreen display into the kiosks with the minimum of fuss, quickly and easily. Finally, the touchscreen had to be competitively priced to ensure our Jobpoint met the desired target price. After extensive research, we selected Elo's IntelliTouch touchscreen as it gave us the perfect solution for this important project."
Elo's Surface Wave Technology Fits Best
As the electronics do not rely on external variables that are subject to change, surface wave technology is inherently stable offering drift-free performance, unlike some other touch technologies. With its all-glass construction, surface wave touchscreens offer excellent picture quality and are highly resistant to surface damage. This means IntelliTouch is capable of standing up to abuse or high use in public environments.
With as many as 600,000 jobs on the networked system, the job search is kept manageable by searching for jobs in different ways, including by type of job, by hours per week and by using the maps to choose by location. When a suitable selection is made, the jobseeker simply prints out the job details from the integrated printer and takes it to a member of the Jobcentre staff. Feedback from the Jobcentre managers is proving positive with less tangible benefits too. For example, the high-tech systems contribute to an improved general atmosphere in the Jobcentre. Additionally, the centre managers and their staff can spend more time assessing the jobseekers requirements and spend less on administering the antiquated card-based system. One of the other key aspects of the Jobpoint system is that it has the capability for further enhancements, including adding other services and applications, or to be deployed in remote locations, as and if required.
Proof of Excellence
The Jobpoint kiosks have won the prestigious "Most Innovative e-business Project" for the EDS/Employment Service Strategic Partnership in the UK Computing Awards for Excellence 2001.
The Computing Awards for Excellence promote high standards of individual and collective achievement and are the most established and renowned awards in the UK IT calendar. They are also widely recognised as the benchmark for excellence throughout the UK computing industry. An independent panel of highly respected individuals from within IT and experts from outside the industry judge the awards.
Commenting on the award, Mike Smith, Managing Director of NeoProducts, said: "This award for the EDS/ES Jobpoint project affirms the key role that kiosks are now playing in the delivery of government services to the public and demonstrates the effectiveness of kiosks in making electronic services available to citizens throughout society."
EDS is the leading global service company and provides strategy, implementation and hosting for clients, managing the business and technology complexities of the digital economy. EDS brings together the world's best technologies to address critical client business imperatives. It helps clients eliminate boundaries, collaborate in new ways, establish their customers' trust and continuously seek improvement. EDS reported revenues of $19.2 billion in 2000.
NeoProducts has facilities in both the UK and Australia, and, in the last 10 years, has sold over 30,000 touchscreen terminals worldwide. Last year, the company was awarded the Frost & Sullivan "Best Customer Focus Award" in its annual report on the world kiosk market. ISO 9001 accredited, the company serves a wide range of clients from a variety of industries including government - both national and local - telecommunications, retail, leisure and entertainment, travel and ticketing and financial.
About Elo TouchSystems
Elo TouchSystems, Inc., global leader in touch technology, is a unit of Tyco Electronics. Elo develops, manufactures and markets a complete line of touch products that simplify the interface between people and computers in both public-access and employee-activated applications. Founded in 1971, the company is headquartered in Fremont, California, with manufacturing sites in the U.S., France and Japan. Elo's main regional offices are in Kessel-Lo, Belgium and Yokohama, Japan, with additional sales and technical support offices worldwide. For more information on Elo TouchSystems' products and services, call +32 (0)16 35 21 00 in Europe or visit our Web site at www.elotouch.com.
About Tyco Electronics
Tyco Electronics is one of the major business units of Tyco International Ltd. (NYSE: TYC, LSE: TYI, BSX: TYC). Headquartered in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA, Tyco Electronics is the world's largest passive electronic components manufacturer; a world leader in cutting-edge wireless, active fiber optic and complete power systems technologies; and is also rapidly developing extensive networking and building technology installation services. The company has facilities located in 51 countries serving customers in the aerospace, automotive, computer, communications, consumer electronics, industrial and power industries. Tyco Electronics provides advanced technology products from over forty well-known and respected brands, including Agastat, Alcoswitch, AMP, AMP NETCONNECT, Buchanan, CII, CoEv, Critchley, Elcon, Elo TouchSystems, M/A-COM, Madison Cable, OEG, OneSource Building Technologies, Potter & Brumfield, Raychem, Schrack, Simel and TDI Batteries.
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