The Self-Service Saga Dates Back 40 Years

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Date: Oct. 9, 2009
Publisher: Investor's Business Daily, Inc.
Document Type: Article
Length: 590 words
Lexile Measure: 1200L

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1969: First modern automated teller machine deployed, at Chemical Bank in Rockville Centre, N.Y. Docutel built the machine. Stated the bank's ad campaign: "On September 3, 1969, our branch will open its doors at 9:00 a.m. and we'll never close again!"

(London's Barclay's Bank deployed a voucher-based cash dispensing machine built by De La Rue in 1967, but experts don't consider that a true ATM.)

1971: Docutel introduces its Total Teller, the first full-function bank ATM. The machine could accept deposits and make transfers as well as dispense cash.

1977: The University of Illinois deploys the first self-service, interactive kiosk. The public kiosk had a plasma touch screen and used the school's Plato computer network. It let users find maps, directories, bus schedules and more.

1977: Elographics patents five-wire resistive technology, the most popular touch-screen technology today. The company, now called Elo TouchSystems, is a unit of Tyco Electronics.

1981: 7-Eleven gas stations in Hawaii install the first pay-at-the-pump systems. Inventor Randy Nicholson of AutoGas says these early systems are best described as "pay beside the pump," since the credit card-accepting devices were on pedestals next to the gas dispensers.

1982: Elographics displays 33 TVs covered with new transparent touch-sensitive panels called AccuTouch, at the 1982 World's Fair in Knoxville, Tenn., the first chance many folks had to use a touch screen.

1985: The Florsheim Shoe Co. installs the first "interactive shopping system" kiosks. Florsheim Express Shop terminals, deployed in U.S. shoe shops and Sears stores, let customers view shoes on a computer monitor and select any style and size in stock. The system linked to the firm's Chicago warehouse. Buyers would receive the shoes via UPS within a week.

1986: Gas-station-pump maker Gilbarco pioneers a pay-at-the-pump system with a built-in credit/debit card reader called CRIND.

1987: CheckRobot installs the first self-checkout register at a Kroger grocery store in Atlanta.

1991: 3M introduces the first successful automated check-out system for libraries. The SelfCheck System was tested first at Australia's University of Western Sydney. The system was offered to U.S. libraries in 1992.

1992: Coinstar installs the first consumer self-service coin-counting kiosk, at a Bel Air supermarket in Carmichael, Calif.

1993: Eastman Kodak introduces the first retail kiosk for consumers to copy and print photos, in Perth, Australia.

1994: Kodak debuts its Kodak Creation Station, which let users make digital prints from negatives, slides, prints and photo CDs.

1994: Netscape Communications introduces the Navigator Web browser. The point-and-click Web browser opened the floodgates for e-commerce and PC-based consumer self-service.

1994: Stanford Federal Credit Union became the first financial institution to offer online Internet banking services to all of its members.

1995: Amazon.com and eBay.com, the two biggest online-only e-commerce firms, are founded.

1995: Continental Airlines installs the first airport self-service check-in kiosk, at Newark Liberty International Airport.

1996: Travelocity launches the first Web site that lets consumers buy airline tickets without any help from a travel agent or broker.

1996: Radiant Systems installs the first self-service movie ticket kiosk, at Sony Lincoln Square Theatre in New York City.

2002: Silicon Valley's DVDplay deploys the first fully automated and remotely managed DVD movie rental machine.

2004: Redbox installs its first 12 machines, at McDonald's restaurants in Denver, after two years of testing.

2004: Wincor Nixdorf and IBM install the first Automated Postal Center machines at U.S. Postal Service branches. The self-service machines let users weigh packages, determine postage, print stamps, and mail envelopes and boxes.

2006: Alamo Rent a Car installs the first self-service car rental kiosks, in Dallas and Las Vegas.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A209344941