A kiosk, or terminal, is a modern display unit that is used to display information and provide interactive displays. Most commonly, kiosks are used for transactions in airports, retail stores and waiting areas. However, kiosks can be adapted to almost any location. Kiosks can also be used as information displays at theme parks, hotels, restaurants, offices and other venues. Kiosks and information displays are becoming more common place and as technology advances they are expected to become even more popular.
The most common touch screen kiosks available are the push-type. These usually have a rectangular or square shaped screen that can be pushed up or down and has a movable stand on top of it with a controller. Some have a touch sensitive screen while others rely on the reader’s touch to detect items placed on a virtual rack, menu or screen.
Other types of kiosks include the RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) kiosks which are able to store and remotely retrieve customer data, including names and inventory. The HID (High Intensity Discharge) kiosks are used to display high resolution images and as a result are very popular with retailers and museums. These types of kiosks are generally designed to work with credit cards and carry a magnetic stripe that is scanned with the customer’s card to gain access to goods or services.
Touch screens are not only used for cashier operations. They can also be used in customer care or customer service applications. In this case, the kiosk is used for greeting customers, conducting transactions or providing other information to customers. They are also commonly found in hospitals, airports, retail stores and other venues.
Since a kiosk is basically just a computer system, touch screen models come in many different models. These include touch screen monitors, printers, keyboards and other accessories. Depending on the model, most kiosks use a combination of hardware and software to maximize functionality. Common software used in digital kiosks includes Java, Perl, Pearl and CRM/ACE.
A touch screen kiosk can be controlled either by touch input devices or keyboard and mouse. Some may allow a user to control the kiosk through use of a head set like those found in banks and other financial institutions. Kiosks also use touch screen technology to add additional functionalities, such as video-based displays. Common video displays include on-screen information, streaming video, weather reports, news and movie highlights.
Touch screen kiosks can also be networked to allow a wider range of users to connect to the same system. Networked kiosks allow for automatic redirection of menu selections based on entered names or passwords. This feature is commonly referred to as ‘virtual menu printing.’ In other networks, the kiosk can use voice recognition technology to automatically print out menus based on entered commands.
Many kiosks are designed to accommodate a wide variety of languages, including English, Spanish, Chinese, German and French. Other languages can also be installed as content systems, which allows a variety of languages to be added into the kiosk. Adding languages that are not spoken around the globe will provide an even greater variety of choices to customers. These displays are also often used as part of Destination Point Systems, where they allow travelers to locate restaurants, showrooms and other businesses.
Another function that some kiosks perform is facial recognition. Touch screen displays that have this capability will recognize a customer’s face and automatically bring up relevant menus and other options based on that image. A kiosk may also incorporate a camera to scan a customer’s face and then analyze and upload the data to a database, which can then be used to personalize the experience. This allows businesses to take advantage of social media marketing to promote their services and products to a larger customer base.
Certain kiosks are also equipped with software that allows a user to access media-based applications. Examples of media-based applications include maps, tickets and the web browser. Some kiosks are capable of displaying media files such as trailers for movies and television shows, along with popular internet media like YouTube and Vimeo. Digital kiosk systems can also allow a customer to download free ring tones, wallpapers and themes.
A digital kiosk is an investment that requires careful consideration and planning. There are many components to consider such as cost, performance and security. It is important to choose a vendor that is experienced in installing and supporting digital kiosks and has packages that are flexible and easy to deploy. A digital kiosk system should also offer scalability, customizable add-ons and reliable operations and maintenance. If a business owner decides to add more screens or change the programming of its existing system, it is best to work with a vendor that offers a comprehensive solution and extensive training.