The Definition of a Kiosk or How do we most often Define Kiosk
The kiosk originally began as the town square notice board for the community to post notices. The usual reference in Wikipedia will call out Persia as the originating language for the word. What began as common ground notice posting location matured into RMUs (Remote Merchandising Units) that you see in malls or wherever. With advent of common internet they took on their electronic iteration in the late 90s.
For the masses it started with airline check-in terminals and photo kiosks (from Kodak and Fujifilm) and also ATMs.
- They allow interaction usually with touchscreen
- Usually customers/prospects oriented
- Many are employee oriented
- Generally a touchscreen.
- Either informational or transactional in nature.
Kiosks today are very much different than those. They are self service kiosks, usually electronic, and can be found in all walks of life. The form factor ranges from a mobile device to a tablet to a larger enclosures (usually metal but also plastic and wood).
Here are some the main categories for the modern day kiosk.
- In malls, events, tradeshows and other locations you have the RMU, which is a Remote Merchandising Unit. Point of Purchase fixture iterations. Many current self service kiosk companies evolved from these units design and manufacture and continue to do a large business in these. Examples would be Frank Mayer Associates & Inc., Olea Kiosk and Ikoniq (main business being RMUs).
- It is generally interactive but not always.
- It most often provides a computer (such as Dell Optiplex) and has a 17 or 19″ 5:4 aspect touchscreen (between 7 and 84 inches).
- Most often it is unattended.
- It is a standalone enclosure in most common iteration.
- Examples follow
- Airline Check-In Kiosks – pioneered by Kinetics and others. Major vendors include NCR, SITA, and dwindling IBM. They have also moved into the baggage area.
- ATM Machines – Historically it has been NCR, Fujitsu, Nautilus, Triton, IBM with Wincor Nixdorf and the ISOs (Independent service operators).
- Electronic kiosks – this is the big category. It basically includes all categories which can be bill pay kiosks, kiosk software for lockdown, financial kiosks and more.
- Internet Cafes – sometimes a keyboard can’t be beat. These are one of the originals and helped educate the masses on using the Internet everywhere. We used them all the time when we would visit London, England.
- POS Terminals – includes customer facing POS terminals whether for entering loyalty number.
- Food Order Kiosk – McDonalds kiosk is prime example. Order your own burger made to your preferences.
- Gaming Kiosks – the military uses these for letting the soldiers relax (and train) at the same time.
- Parking kiosks – whether on the street or in the garage
- Outdoor kiosks – all kinds.
- Hoteling – this is where office workers work at same building but can sign up for any desk for the day. Larger companies experiment with this and in this age of BYOD it is relevant.
- Information Kiosks terminals – can be as simple as barcode lookup in grocery aisle or online “showrooming”. AKA Interactive kiosk.
- Interactive Digital Signage – a contradiction in terms but Digital Signage often is a large touchscreen and offers Content Management Services as well as Advertising. The touchscreen provides major ROI component.
- Immigration and Security Kiosks – found at airports as well as Border Control. These units typically utilize biometrics.
- Registration kiosks for loyalty and membership.
- Gift card kiosks such Coinstar Gift Card Exchange.
- Retail kiosk – this can be many iterations. The latest ones are beginning to introduce Beacons and Facial Recognition for recording demographics and traffic patterns and customer flow.
- Gift Registry kiosk – one of the originals and still going. Our teeth were cut developing the Bridal Registry and Baby Registry kiosks for Target. Multi-generational marketing at its best (kids shop where Mom shopped)
- Tablet kiosk – typically used for registration and quick lookup they have the advantage of being small and can be place at eye level.
- Vending – these can add nutritional information mandated by the government. They can dispense sandwiches, coffee and a large range of merchandise (Zoom is a pioneer).
- Pharmacy kiosk – medicine prescription dispensing kiosks are becoming more popular.
- Lockers – picking up your merchandise from Amazon or Fedx or UPS.
- Charging kiosks – need to charge your mobile phone? There are kiosks for doing that.
- Coin KIosks – the most famous is Coinstar.
- Music, Movie and Media download kiosks – get your DVD on USB now
- DVD kiosks – still going with Redbox and others. Locations and demographics are important.
- Hospitality – hotel check-in kiosks
- Healthcare – patient check-in kiosks
- Telemedicine and Telehealth – whether at the supermarket or at corporate headquarters, remote healthcare structures are hybrid of RMUs. These extend into home monitoring and follow up for post operative patients to maximize results (and government incentive rewards).
- Marijuana & Cannabis – one of the emerging markets with its high use of cash, security and new multiple form factors such as edibles.
- Photo Kiosk – still going strong and one of the original heavy hitters. Kodak at one point had over 60,000 in place.
- Prison kiosk – video visitation and more
- Social kiosks – interacting with your friends at wanna-be-seen locales becomes fodder for Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. The payback is demographics.
- Kiosk Software – lockdown software or Windows Kiosk Mode software is very popular. PROVISIO and KioWare are prime providers but versions for thin clients, Chrome Kiosk, and more are available.
- Survey Kiosks – can be as simple as a 4 button “How Was Your Experience?” device (we like those) or a tablet. Surveys are better being short to improve response rate.
- Wayfinding kiosk – despite GPS enabled mobiles navigating a large structure can require clear instructions whether consumer or corporate.
- Wine Kiosks – As a recommendation and selector function these do quite well. Experiments in dispensing wine were plagued by being poorly regulated and operated.
So what might be the definition? Here is one:
A computer terminal used by public or employees for services.
We’ll continue to add details and more information in the future.