|KING OF KIOSKS: TELeasy CEO Mansur Plumber stands aside his latest DVD-dispensing innovation.
photography by Jeremy Sharp
Behold the power of the kiosk.
Mansur Plumber, founder and CEO of Dallas-based TELeasy Corporation, certainly did. Plumber long ago realized the power of stripped-down commerce, where transactions are as easy as a using a phone booth.
Plumber’s first TELeasy endeavor was a credit card-operated Internet terminal where people—specifically businesspeople stuck in airports—could surf the Web and check e-mail for $0.25 per minute. But that was in 1995, back when people were not yet comfortable with credit cards at kiosks and the Internet was not as omnipresent as it is today. “We found that it was too early for its time, and there was no public acceptance for such a product,” Plumber says. He adapted the Internet kiosks to be coin-operated, and his hunch paid off. TELeasy manufactured, sold, and deployed thousands of them worldwide.
The Internet kiosks set the stage for other wares. TELeasy now offers a variety of self-service terminals: newspaper kiosks, bill-paying kiosks, and DVD rental kiosks, all designed to make peoples’ lives easier and more convenient.
“We are proud of many of our innovative kiosks,” Plumber says. “For instance, our newspaper kiosk allows you to select from 250 different newspapers worldwide, and the most current exact print version of the newspaper prints on double-sided tabloid-size paper within 4 to 8 minutes.”
TELeasy’s latest innovation, the DVD kiosk, allows users to browse through hundreds of movie titles and rent their selections directly from the kiosk. “We want to be able to make renting more convenient for customers,” Plumber says. TELeasy kiosks are popping up in the States as well as Ireland, Great Britain, and Hong Kong.
Plumber’s not done. He’s tight-lipped about the next kiosk offering but promises “a groundbreaking product that will help solve a big problem for the traveling public.” Credit card-carrying commuters stand at the ready.