Introduction of Touch Kiosk
In the past, a kiosk referred to a manned booth in a public area that offers retailing services. People get to buy snacks, newspapers, magazines, records, tickets, etc. at these small one-open-side structures. Today, when it comes to a kiosk, it is usually a stand-alone (or wall-mounted) LCD panel featuring an interactive touch screen that comes to our mind. So what exactly is a touch kiosk and what does it do? Let us take a look.
What is a Touch Kiosk?
A touch kiosk (sometimes touch screen kiosk or interactive kiosk) is a device that allows a high level of interactivity for the user to get access to the services. These devices are commonly seen in high foot traffic areas, including malls, theaters, transportation centers, office buildings, and more. The key difference between the touch kiosk and its conventional counterpart is that it provides digital services instead of physical products. This very characteristic comes from the modern features of the device.
As opposed to its conventional essence, an interactive touch kiosk is an unmanned structure. The self-service feature eliminates the need for personnel. All services are displayed on the screen panel. Users simply have to tap on the icons or swipe on the touch screen to get access to a wide range of applications the kiosk offers. In some business settings, the touch kiosks are taking over human receptionists and manned counters and its application is still expanding.
Since the software connects to a central system and the Internet, the interactive kiosk provides the user with real-time information. This feature is necessary for booking and ticketing services. Users can check the schedule, flight, rates, accommodation, and the information they need at the kiosk, rendering an extremely efficient consumer experience. Below are some of the applications of the kiosks.
At the current state, the applications of interactive kiosks still lie in the business and commercial settings predominantly. They are also found in entertainment centers, transportation stations, and small shops. The kiosks in such settings sell tickets, receive payments, and check bills for customers. People living in loud cities probably get to use these machines on multiple occasions on a daily basis.
Restaurants, especially the QSRs, such as McDonald’s, Starbucks, and Taco Bell, implement the touch screen kiosk most often. Some of these shops still keep one or a couple of manned counters while installing a wall of kiosks at the same time. The customer can place the order through the interactive interface and make the payment with a credit card, debit card, or mobile carrier.
Ticketing and Booking
Ticketing is another common application of touch screen kiosks. You can find the ticketing kiosks in the movie theater, airport, metro system, parking lot, just to name a few. They basically deal with ticket sales and dispensing. They are the terminals that connect to the central computer. Users can use the software to check the information (flight, trip, schedule, etc.) and buy the ticket. With the touch kiosk, buying the ticket and booking a service are done more rapidly and effortlessly.
More and more hotels and transportation centers adopt the kiosk for the self check-in service. As digitization turns information into a digital format, it makes self check-in possible for people. When checking-in in a hotel or for a flight, guests and passengers can key in their information on the touch screen or just scan the barcode or QR code. It simplifies the confirmation process by turning it from a manual process into a digital one.
The touch kiosk can receive payment for almost all types of products and services, including retailing, ticketing, and taxing. In general, the machine accepts all forms of currency. Most interactive kiosks today are designed to process digital currencies and plastic currencies, but some models are customizable for physical currencies. Namely, they can take coins and cash just like the vending machine. Though not common, the kiosk that takes physical currencies provides more convenience to the user. They are typically seen in arcades, parking lots, and retail shops where coins are more frequently used.
The kiosk used for advertising is considered a type of digital signage. Digital signage refers to any form of multimedia display that supports not only images but also videos. Its form includes billboards, video walls, and LCD screens. The kiosk in this case still features a certain level of interactivity. But it does not provide digital services and does not involve any consumer behavior. Rather, the user can swipe through the catalogs and carousels (the slider) to browse images and product information.