Automatic for the people: How self-service is changing our lives, for the better

By Richard Dinkelmann

The advantages of self-service automation from a business point of view are very clear – from increased efficiency to reduced costs to better space utilisation. But, when it comes to those day-to-day physical tasks automation is also greatly improving the customer experience.

Here are four spaces where we believe that automation is making life much better for everyone:

Airport check-in:

Despite the proclamations that, ‘Your holiday starts when you get to the airport’, we all know that your holiday actually starts when you get past the huge nightmare of check-in queues. Now airports are latching on to this and are trying to make this process much more streamlined – hence, the self-service baggage handling service that takes the stress out of holiday stage one. ICM Auto bag drops have processed over 25 million bags in airports across the world, saving passengers millions of hours in queuing times.

At the supermarket:

For those days when you just want some milk, there is nothing worse than getting stuck in a supermarket payment queue behind those doing their monthly shopping. Thankfully, self-service till points have revolutionised this necessary chore. In fact, according to one industry estimate from London based RBR research, by 2018 the global installed base of self-service retail check out terminals will reach 320,000 worldwide.[1]

Petrol pumps:

You know the feeling, you’re running late without a minute to spare – and the warning light pops up on your dashboard informing you you’re about to be delayed even more. After an internal assault on yourself (or whoever’s to blame for this stressful scenario), you pull up at the nearest petrol station, obviously its raining, you fill up your tank, race across the station to pay, queue behind someone and then finally complete the transaction before you spontaneously combust with rage. Well, thanks to Husky and Fuelmatics this headache may become a thing of the past – a robotic fuel pump may soon fill your vehicle when you pull up!

Car wash:

Whether you’ve been off-road racing, a freak shower just laughed all over your vehicle or a bird decided to relieve itself… ever noticed how your once sparkling chariot always shows you up at the worst moments? Some of you might not remember the days when a car wash meant awkward smiles at the man slaving over your mud-caked vehicle, making you feel lazy and inadequate even though you’re paying for a service. The introduction of self-serve car washes was a gift from above, as you can now pop a few coins and sit back guilt-free, without even having to touch your steering wheel, as the big machine with the large brushes does all the heavy work. Spoilt.

Richard Dinkelmann is CEO of ICM Airport Technics.