Kiosks are basically a one stop information tool, let’s first define the word kiosk to see the history of where they’ve come from so we’ll be better able to understand what exactly what they are:
1. A small open gazebo or pavilion.
2. A small structure, often open on one or more sides, used as a newsstand or booth.
3. A cylindrical structure on which business advertisements are posted. The first recorded instance of the word “kiosk” was back in 1865 with reference to a newspaper stand. Kiosks are still known today as traditional freestanding retail booths. With the recent advent of low-cost pc’s and the internet kiosks are taking on a whole new shape and definition.
Computer Or touch screen kiosks have forged their way into main stream.
The technology used in interactive kiosks is basically the same as that used in computers. Touch screen kiosks are mainly operated with the help of a control unit and a touch screen sensitive LCD monitor. To operate a kiosk the user simply needs to touch the area of the screen to navigates the custom built show. The touch screen operation of the kiosk make the functioning very simple and user-friendly. Considering that computer kiosks are run via PC computers, the utilization of video, images and text with sound all combine to offer a truly business interactive experience.
When the Kiosks are not in use they can act as a screen saver to serve up advertising or upsell in store items to increase revenue.
The Benefits of Using Kiosks
Now a days kiosks have a wide range of applications and can be seen in business department stores, airports or in government offices. The different services provided by a kiosk are accessing of live news from the newsroom with the very latest news and information, accessing of popular galleries with stills and video clips, information on number of job vacancies, etc.
The popularity of kiosks are stated below:
1) The long lasting steel construction of the kiosk helps it to be rugged and secure and is suitable for placing it at any environment.
2) A kiosk helps a lot in saving the valuable floor space. Just by plugging them in they are ready to go as the hardware and software comes within a single unit.
3) Kiosks are very easy to maintain as all the components of the kiosks are easily repairable and replaceable.
4) With the help of remote administration options the tracking of kiosks can be done via the internet or via e-mail or phone alerts for low paper or power failure.
Kiosks can be used for an infinite number of applications, including: Gaming, bill payment, eCommerce, human resource, customer service, location and mapping, credit application, vending machines, sales and marketing, internet access and adverting just to point out a few.
A kiosk project typically has 3 main components: Hardware, Software and Post Production.
Any tangible portion of the kiosk project will fall into the hardware category. Depending on the type you require, this can simply be a metal enclosure with a touch screen monitor attached to it with a PC inside. More complex kiosks have hardware components inside such as card readers, printers, telephone handsets, ruggedized keyboards, ruggedized pointing devices and other specialized peripherals.
Depending on what your kiosk is supposed to do, there may or may not be off-the-shelf kiosk software available for it. Kiosk software typically does the following: displays the content you want to display, prevents users from making changes to the PC’s operating system, allows the owner to make changes remotely, make sure everything is working properly, and interfaces with peripherals inside the kiosk such as printers, card readers, scanners, etc..
Depending on the size of your kiosk project, there are services such as kiosk site acquisition, kiosk installation, and on-site maintenance. For a small kiosk project, typically the owner of the kiosk does these things on their own. For larger deployments, a kiosk implementation company will be your best bet.
For business owners a kiosk can be used in a wide array of applications as seen above – the one point to consider is that a kiosk can deliver the right message at the right time, consistently every time. There’s no doubt kiosks are here to stay – watch for them next time you go out into your community!