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The True Cost of an Outdoor Kiosk?
Editors Note: Outdoor kiosks and outdoor displays come with their own particular requirements and environment durability is just one of the areas. One of the first questions you will be asked is “will there be any sort of awning to help mitigate exposure”. One has only to remember Redbox going with the cheapest of possible of touchscreens and having to drape basically a floor mat down over the screen so it would not burn out. Or vice versa someone like McDonalds paying top dollar for Samsung outdoor displays (OH55Fs), only to find improper engineering and fan flow turned their drive-thru menus into isotropic nightmares. So much for digital monitor specifications. How many field retrofits and downtime, and damaged brand image, was the cost for that? Maybe the original negotiated price is just the starting point for TCO (Total Cost Operating) or more commonly Total Cost of Ownership.
Simon Malls run outdoor shopping centers. Here in Denver they installed big dual-sided 55″ outdoor wayfinding and shopper assistance terminals at key entry points. Very nice software with multi-touch even. Turns out the outdoor displays selected were not up to the Colorado sun and “blacked out”. They now have static cardboard-like overlays (which will also fade in time). Poor decisions.
Large companies can absorb cost overruns and miscalculations (and errors in decisions). Seeing what the big company did and then trying to emulate that can be dangerous for a medium to small business. Could just as well be a Home Depot for that matter.
There is no substitute for due diligence as relates to your specific conditions. Craig Keefner
Nice article from Olea Kiosks on the factors involved in an outdoor kiosk. There are many, many ways to make a mistake.
For many, the most important question they have is ‘How Much?’ We’re bringing it up because when we discuss outdoor kiosks and someone hears the costs, they often seem quite surprised. Yet, all of the considerations mentioned below are extremely important if you’re going to deploy a kiosk outdoors and ensure it’s safe for staff and guests. Taking the right precautions up-front is far more cost-effective than having to face the consequences should an issue arise.
Outdoor Design Considerations
An abundance of thought, engineering, and testing goes into the design of an outdoor interactive kiosk that performs well and will endure the elements. Almost every aspect of an outdoor kiosk has to be scrutinized and designed properly to deliver the right user experience and survive extreme heat and humidity, extreme cold, moisture, and wind. Some manufacturers publish design restrictions on outdoor products suggesting that the kiosk can only face a certain direction due to temperature limitations. Olea’s outdoor universal designs do not have restrictions. These models are designed to be placed in outdoor environments with the following full considerations:
- Component Durability
- Heating and Cooling
- UL Approval and Safety Testing
- Enclosure Materials and Treatments
When considering outdoor self-service, be sure to ask about the components inside the kiosk because they’re not all built the same. Find out if the components are just outdoor grade or if they’re industrial grade because there is a difference.
Be sure to specify the right LCD monitors. There are many LCD monitors that suggest they are designed for outdoor use. High-bright LCDs with cooling technology to allow exposure to sunlight are necessary. Unfortunately, experience tells us that many monitors do not run according to factory specs and Olea has taken the time to test and understand these product nuances.
Touchscreens are by far the most popular as they allow the user to interact with the software as though they were using a mouse. Touch works best on larger screens when a user is given a number of clear touch choices on the screen, where little or no keyboard input is necessary.
Even though the enclosure will be UL approved, it is important to know whether or not the components inside are also UL approved. If the parts are UL approved, it does it make it easier to pass UL testing, but it doesn’t guarantee success.
With our outdoor universal designs, Olea also includes industrial-grade components inside the kiosk. Olea’s outdoor units are designed and built to keep both the users and the components inside alive without worry.
Heating and Cooling
The design of outdoor kiosk begins from the ground up as a watertight enclosure, with watertight seams and insulated inner walls to protect internal components from heat and cold. Olea kiosks are built with internal heating and cooling systems so they can withstand the harshest of weather conditions. Olea performs a heat chamber test on all outdoor designs to ensure the unit will live up to our stringent standards.
Olea’s Heat Chamber
Any kiosk that has specific cooling or heating will also have an air intake which also means that there are air filters that require regular maintenance.
Ultimate location is also important as that will dictate any additional special requirements. An outdoor kiosk located near the ocean might require more robust filtration. Parking garage kiosks may require a coating that will protect it from car exhaust in addition to the day-to-day heavy dust buildup.
UL Approval and Safety Testing
It’s important to ensure the product is grounded properly and certified safe. All Olea outdoor designs are third-party certified so buyers can be confident the units have been through stringent testing.
In addition, each Olea outdoor kiosk is fully tested in our own soak tank to guarantee all gaskets have been installed and placed correctly. As we all know, it is possible for mistakes to happen during assembly, so if each and every unit is watered down and then verified, we can guarantee success.
Kiosks for outdoor are typically deployed in public spaces with large volumes of foot traffic. When kiosks are publicly available with little protection, they can be prone to theft and vandalism. To discourage and prevent vandalism and tampering, outdoor kiosks should be designed with tamper resistance in mind. Olea outdoor kiosks feature compression-style locks to ensure a hardened product designed to be as trouble-free as any indoor kiosk.
Enclosure Materials and Treatments
There are a number of decisions to make in determining the base materials for the enclosure as well as the most appropriate treatments to protect these units from rust and paint deterioration. Powder coating is typically the best choice for surface finishing on kiosks because it offers better protection against the sun, water, solvents, chemicals, outdoor elements and heavy use. Olea’s universal outdoor products, the Geneva, Seattle and Detroit (drive-thru) models are designed with all of these considerations in mind.
Can you cut corners? Absolutely.
If you’re deploying a large number of kiosks and you have time for a custom design, this could bring the costs down significantly as you create some limitations to the solution. For example, it’s possible to deploy a lower cost hybrid LCD monitor in units that will be deployed outside but will be undercover in a large vestibule area. These units will only see minimal daylight and don’t need waterproofing, so that will save a good deal of cost.
If you’d like to discuss your outdoor kiosk project, contact us and we can help you determine the best solution for your circumstances.
Outdoor Kiosk Video FAQ
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More Resource Articles on Outdoor Kiosk Design
- Outdoor Kiosk Design Category News
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- How to build an Outdoor Kiosk
- If needed we have a copy of UL 60950-22 which is the UL spec for equipment to be installed outdoor. Everybody has an opinion on what needs to be done. The UL spec lays out what the lawyer is going to be quoting from.
- Outdoor Kiosk Design – How To Design(Opens in a new browser tab)
- Outdoor Kiosks FAQ(Opens in a new browser tab)