The Communication Studio

Retail "Self-Service" Kiosk


In 1984 Rival Automotive's Automated Retail Information Systems (ARIS) approached AutoZone with a proposal to install point of sale kiosks with touch-sensitive screens in all AutoZone stores.

Great idea, but they need to demonstrate a prototype for this groundbreaking concept.

The Value Proposition

Automotive Parts


We needed to build a credible interactive self-service kiosk model which demonstrated value in to major areas:

AutoZone main menu

Inventory Maintenance

  • The underlying database system allowed Autozone employees to have direct access to their online inventory.

Customer Self-Service

  • The touch-sensitive graphical interface allowed AutoZone's customers to browse for parts.


Automotive parts

We modeled

  • interactive search mechanisms
  • visual browsing strategies
  • online ordering

We used early camera-capture technology to record images of the parts in a highly-compressed vector-graphic format.

The high quality of our graphic images was particularly important to this particular business, as we understood that many customers were more likely to identify the parts they needed visually rather than by name.

Engine map

Our prototype model showed how AutoZone could deliver accurate graphic product images efficiently over conventional telephone lines. This was important because the top modem Online communication) speed at that time was only 9600 Baud - a fraction of what we have today.