In 2013, the Department of Labour devised an innovative plan to combat the country’s unemployment rate. The idea was to deploy self-service touch screen kiosks throughout the country’s municipality buildings, which could be used to connect South Africa’s job seekers with potential employers. After much discussion and organisation, the Department of Labour brought Tactile Technologies on board, via ICT solutions provider Datacentrix Gauteng, to design and deliver these self-service kiosks and, to date, 12 have been completed and deployed in Richard’s Bay, Kwa-Zulu Natal.
Self-Service Kiosks: Concept to Reality
Most of South Africa’s unemployed do not have access to computers, the Internet, or reliable transport, which makes job seeking exceptionally challenging. The concept was to make it easy for unemployed people to come to one of the Department of Labour’s buildings, sit down at a self-service touch screen kiosk, and upload their CV to the computer’s database. The kiosks also maintain a real time, up-to-the-minute database of available jobs and businesses looking for employees. The system then matches the user to the relevant job offers, given their experience, skills, education, and other credentials.
By allowing people to come in and check job opportunities – and to help them along with suggestions based on their credentials and what matching jobs are available – the touch screen kiosks are intended to help combat unemployment, one person at a time.
Touch Screen Kiosk Hardware and Features
To fulfil the brief put forward by the Department of Labour, Tactile Technologies decided on the 17-inch Elo All-In-One (Elo 17-inch 17B2) with an added integrated web camera and rugged keyboard. The camera is intended to take photos of the users for identification purposes, while the built-in keyboard allows users to type in their credentials, experience, and other personal information onto the database. The keyboard itself is rugged and made from stainless steel so that it can withstand the rigors of public use.
To prevent theft, this whole integrated solution was built into a special enclosure that made the unit incredibly difficult to move.
All-In-One Intuitive Solution
The decision to use a touch screen in the self-service kiosks was made because (1) it negates the need for a computer mouse, which isn’t easy to use if you’ve never used a PC before, (2) a mouse would be a little too easy to steal, and (3) a touch screen is operated intuitively so even people with next to no experience with computers would be able to use the kiosks. Tactile Technologies went with an All-In-One solution to keep the overall design small, compact, slim, and restricted to the desktop area. Having a separate touch monitor and PC just increases the size of the solution and the number of moving parts, and therefore the increased risk of theft or damage.
Looking Ahead: Possible Expansion
Tactile Technologies fulfilled the Department of Labour’s order for 12 kiosks back in 2013 and they have been put to good use in Richard’s Bay (Kwa-Zulu Natal) ever since. Being a government department, the wheels grind slowly, but since the concept of using self-service kiosks to combat unemployment would appear to be working, the system has great potential to go nationwide.
For more information about the 17-inch All-In-One Elo touch screen monitor used in this project, Click Here.