Category Archives: Kiosk Application

Application – Leftover foreign currency? There’s a cash recycling kiosk for that

Application Showcase – Leftover Cash and Coin recycling

Anyone who’s ever traveled outside the United States has been in a similar situation. They still have a few Euros, British pounds, Canadian dollars or Japanese yen in their pocket, but nowhere to spend them.

In many cases, the value of the currency would barely cover the exchange fees, so those extra coins and bills usually end up at the bottom of the sock drawer or given to the kids as mementos to show off to their friends.

A new kiosk project is offering another option for that leftover currency. The project, being pilot-tested by Los Angeles-based Leftovercash, allows those world travelers to exchange leftover coins and bills for gift cards and/or donate the equivalent amount in U.S. currency to the company’s charitable partner, The Giving Spirit. The charity assembles and distributes care packages to homeless men women, children, and families living on the streets of Los Angeles.

The project is the brainchild of Canadian-born Ferdinand Poon, who spent time as a CPA, an attorney and a Wall-Street equity analyst before hitting on the idea for the Leftovercash kiosk.

“I didn’t have any experience in the kiosk industry before embarking on the Leftovercash project,” Poon said. “I was looking for something that was a little more personally satisfying, and as someone who travels frequently this idea just struck me.”

Insert bills here

cash recycling kiosk
Click to see full size image

Poon initially worked with a college professor to develop the software, then contracted with Louisville, Colo.-based Kiosk Information Systems to build the prototype unit. The device is currently operating inside the Vicente Foods supermarket in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles.

The Leftovercash kiosk accepts bills in the form of Euros, British pounds, Canadian dollars, Japanese yen and Swiss francs as well as dollar-equivalent coins in those currencies. The unit features separate slots for bills and coins.

“We initially wanted to go with those currencies that were relatively stable, so there wouldn’t be an issue with fluctuating exchange rates,” Poon said. The company is considering adding Mexican pesos at some point in the future.

recycling kiosk
Click for full size image

To begin the exchange process, users enter their email address and zip code and are prompted to insert their bills and coins in the designated slots. Multiple types of currencies can be inserted in a single session. Once that’s done, they are presented with a total in U.S. dollars minus a $3.99 transaction fee. The user has the option of receiving a gift card and/or donating a portion to The Giving Spirit. Gift cards are exchanged in $10 denominations, with the user having the choice of donating the odd currency or inserting a debit or credit card to round up to the next $10 increment.

Donations are tax deductible, although Poon has found that most users don’t take advantage of that feature. At present, the gift cards can be used at the Vicente Foods where the kiosk is located, although it does have the capability to add gift cards and e-gift codes from other retailers such as Staples, Lowes and Overstock com.

Finding the fit

One of the questions Poon frequently fields is, “Why aren’t you locating Leftovercash kiosks in airports to capture those travelers as they come off international flights?” Although the question is a good one, Poon’s response is equally as good.

Anyone who’s ever tried to do business with their local airport authority knows doing so can be a costly affair in terms of rents and other fees. After all, a captive audience isn’t the only reason a cup of coffee at an airport restaurant costs $7 or more. The cost of placing a Leftovercash kiosk at the airport would likely either make it a money-loser or force Poon to raise transaction fees to a point where it simply wouldn’t be worthwhile

In addition, exchanging their currency for gift cards may not be top-of-mind for someone coming off a 6-hour flight and spending another hour going through customs and collecting their luggage.

“When you’re coming off an international flight, you’re probably not really interested in exchanging your currency and going shopping,” Poon said. “You just want to gather your bags and go home.”

On the other hand, nearly everyone would stop at the grocery store in the weeks following their international trip.
“With the grocery store, there’s a bit more immediacy to the process,” Poon said. “You can exchange your currency and use it right there in the store.”

And because locating a Leftovercash kiosk in a grocery store would likely result in additional sales for that store, a deployer would have leverage in negotiating payments for space, utilities and discounts off the face value of the gift cards.

For now, Poon is concentrating on tweaking the kiosk for maximum performance. Further out, his hope is to partner with an established kiosk company, a foreign exchange company, a travel-related company or other strategic investors on additional deployments.

“At the moment, we’re focusing on building a profitable kiosk,” Poon said.

Contact Leftover Cash for more information

Kiosk FAQ Frequently Asked Questions

Kiosk FAQ is intended to answer those questions that we are asked frequently, no surprise there.

Kiosk Mode
Kiosk Mode
Kiosk Best Practice
  • Report on Usage of USPS kiosks  usps- report.pdf
  • Eliminate admin accounts in the OS.
  • Learn from others
How to Setup Kiosk Mode

Example FAQ for Outdoor Kiosks

Why Outdoor kiosks cost so much

Outdoor kiosks are typically two, sometimes three times the cost of indoor kiosks. The reasons are varied but can best be summarized as follows:

Kiosk Design: An outdoor kiosk needs to be designed from the ground up as a watertight enclosure. It is generally not cost-effective to try to modify an indoor kiosk model to be outdoors compliant. The primary reason for this is that the kiosk needs to have all seams watertight and must be insulated on the inner walls to protect from heat and cold. Outdoor kiosks also need to be much more durable in construction as they will more often than not, be in unsupervised environments. After all is said and done, the outdoor enclosure (the cabinet only) is twice the cost of a comparable indoor unit.

Kiosk Display: The monitor must not be susceptible to .sunlight washout.. The effect is most commonly seen on ATM machines in the sunlight: you cannot read what.s on the screen due to direct or indirect sunlight. The solution is high backlighting and this can only be done on LCD monitors. LCD monitors in themselves are a bit more expensive than CRT monitors, although the cost differences are narrowing. High backlighting more than triples the cost of a LCD. For example, a 15. LCD with touch screen and with high backlighting and will cost about $2,000. The decision to use high backlighting is up to the customer but if they decline, we will want that in writing. Before you ask, we will not deliver outdoor kiosks without the LCD solution. We will never provide a CRT solution. The CRT approach has proven to yield unsatisfactory results and we want no part of that since an unsatisfactory monitor solution is virtually assured.

HVAC: The kiosk may well require a heater/air conditioner installed to maintain an acceptable temperature and humidity inside the kiosk. Depending on the environment, we may have to use various degrees of air treatment methods, which may add up to $3,200 to the cost of the kiosk. There are some areas in the country that may allow outdoor solutions without HVAC or your outdoor installation may be in-wall where you can take advantage of air conditioning in the building for your kiosk. The issue, however, is not only heat but also humidity. Protecting the electronics inside the kiosk is expensive.

UL Testing: Any kiosk that goes outdoors MUST pass the official UL tests for outdoor electronic enclosures. These UL tests ensure that the units are truly waterproof and more importantly, are shockproof in the rain and snow. Liability is the issue here. We will not build an outdoor unit without this testing, so don.t even ask us to do so. If you get an outdoor kiosk from KIOSK or our other sponsors, it will be UL tested. UL testing cost at one time was $1,500 to 3,500 for the first kiosk and $250 to $350 for every kiosk of identical design thereafter.

PC Hardware:  Because of heat generated by the components inside the kiosk (mostly by the LCD and the PC), we recommend the use of a very small form factor, low heat generating PC. This adds to the PC cost a bit but lowers the amount of heat that must be removed by the air treatment/conditioner system. Bigger PCs generate more heat and more heat means more expensive and capable air treatment/conditioning which costs more, etc., etc.

Kiosk installation:  This is an extra and un-calculated cost of outdoor kiosks. Typically, outdoor kiosks need to be bolted to the ground, which implies that they have a level cement slab on which to be mounted. There must be power and whatever other connectivity you will need, delivered to the kiosk (frequently underground and through the cement slab). The power cables and connections must also be watertight and in agreement with local electrical standards which vary from state to state. The site preparation for this could be costly and time-consuming, as you will have building permits, specific guidance from the state or local government, specific subcontractors that must be used and related costs and delays to complete this.

The Do-It-Myself Generation | NACS Online

Newest survey on Millennials shows almost a quarter prefer self-service kiosks to interacting with cashiers.

Source: www.nacsonline.com

May 1, 2015

CHICAGO – A new survey released by location-based mobile platform Retale showed that 20% of Millennial shoppers don’t like interacting with cashiers at checkout. The survey examined consumer self-service checkout adoption and preferences among brick-and-mortar retailers, evaluating convenience, challenges and desired improvements.

Highlights of the survey include:

  • 91% of Millennials have used a self-service kiosk versus 81% of those 35 and older.
  • 33% of consumers overall find that self-checkout is actually inconvenient, with scanning items the hardest part.
  • 26% of Millennials want to use mobile devices (including smartwatches) at self-service kiosks.

Of the 85% of consumers who have used self-service kiosks, the most popular reasons for doing so were: “I have a limited number of items” (72%); “there was no line” (55%); “I prefer to keep my transactions and financial information private” (13%); and “I don’t like interacting with cashiers” (12%). Among Millennials, “I don’t like interacting with cashiers” was eight percentage points higher than the average (20%).

Two-thirds (67%) of all respondents said that self-service kiosks are convenient versus 33% inconvenient. Of the 67%, however, 41% said that, despite its convenience, the experience “could be a lot better.”

Across all respondents, 43% say that they often need help from an associate when using self-service checkout. Millennials were less likely to need support (37%) compared to older customers (47%).

The top challenges in using self-service kiosks include: scanning items (35%), entering coupons (24%), understanding the service screen (16%), paying with cash (15%) and entering product codes (14%).

Despite current self-service checkout limitations, nearly half of all respondents (49%) would like to see more kiosks at every retail location to help streamline the checkout process. At the same time, as the number of kiosks increases, a majority of respondents (53%) want at least one store employee overseeing kiosks to ensure devices are used smoothly.

When asked about the retailers that should add more self-service kiosks, 49% picked mass merchandisers, followed by supermarkets (46%), drugstores (42%), convenience stores (27%), department stores (24%) and specialty stores (24%).
Also, as technology advances, 20% of those surveyed wish to have the option to pay via a mobile phone or smartwatch at each kiosk. Among Millennials, 26% want to be able to pay at self-service kiosks using mobile devices versus 16% for those over 34.

“Almost a quarter of all Millennials use self-service kiosks to avoid any sort of interaction with cashiers,” said Pat Dermody, president of Retale. “As a result, there is a growing demand for more automation and innovation throughout the checkout experience, via integrations with smartphones, wearables and other mobile devices. This will add to the convenience factor that already appears to be key to the experience.”

Security kiosk – Olea Anti-Malware Security Kiosk

OLEA’S ANTI-MALWARE SECURITY KIOSK FEATURING OPSWAT TECHNOLOGIES

Cyber security has been at the forefront of the news with major security breaches impacting some of the largest companies in the United States, including JP Morgan Chase, Staples, eBay, Home Depot and more[1].

In addition to traditional online methods of transferring viruses and malware, hackers have now begun to use portable media, such as USB “jump drives,” as a way to infiltrate secure networks.  In 2012, two U.S. power plants were infected by viruses that gained access to the highly secure networks through the use of USB sticks[2].

As a result, it is more important than ever to not only secure the computers and devices that have constant access to a network, but also ensure that any portable media has been thoroughly screened for viruses and malware.

Olea Kiosks has partnered with OPSWAT to provide a highlysecure anti-virus and anti-malware kiosk solution that will run OPSWAT’s Metascan software on portable media to prevent virus attacks that are perpetrated through portable media.

The California Kiosk is the latest kiosk model launched by Olea Kiosks, an award-winning kiosk manufacturer.  The California is a sleek unit with a small footprint that makes it a versatile interactive kiosk solution for any deployment.  The California comes with a universal device reader on the front panel for quick and easy scanning of any portable media, such as a USB drive or a DVD.  The internal components are easily accessed through the front panel, but in order to ensure that the highest security protections are maintained, the entire unit comes outfitted with highly secure locks to deter unintended access.  In addition, the kiosk is fully ADA compliant, so it is a great solution for government agencies.

Like Olea’s California Kiosk, OPSWAT’s Metadefender software is a cutting edge cyber security solution.  Metadefender utilizes OPSWAT’s Metascan security software to detect and prevent both known and unknown security risks based on a complex set of APIs.  Any possibly malicious file is flagged and quarantined to prevent any further access.  Metadefender is easily configured through a web-based interface to allow for multiple security rules based on varying security privileges and access levels within an organization.

The industry leading technology of the Metadefender software and the Olea California kiosk combine to provide a best-in-class cyber security anti-malware solution.  This cyber security kiosk can be deployed both connected to a network or in an offline/air-gap environment.

Contact Olea Kiosks today to find out how Olea’s anti-malware security kiosks can enhance the security of your network.

 


[1] http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/world-report/2014/12/31/after-a-year-of-major-hacks-2015-resolutions-to-bolster-cybersecurity

[2] http://www.power-eng.com/articles/2013/january/two-us-power-plants-fall-victim-to-viruses.html

Kiosk Software – KioWare announces Europe & UK presence.

 KioWare Kiosk Software for Android and Windows Now Has UK Office

Reading, United Kingdom March 16, 2015 – Analytical Design Solutions Inc. (ADSI) dba KioWare, headquartered in York, Pennsylvania, has a new office location based just outside of London offering sales and service for current and prospective EMEA clients.

Kioware Kruper in London
Jim Kruper in London checking out the local communication facilities and quite possibly intergalatic travel.

Joining the KioWare team & managing the KioWare Europe branch is long time kiosk industry leader & Netshift founder, Nigel Seed.  According to Seed, “KioWare’s expanding reach provides a local presence for EMEA clients interested in KioWare’s reliable & simple lockdown solution.  Of particular value is KioWare’s Android lockdown product line in the face of the growing market for customer facing Android tablets.”

KioWare President Jim Kruper believes, “with the addition of Nigel Seed & Sascha Markham, and the new Reading UK location, KioWare gains regional expertise and a dedicated local presence, highlighting our commitment to supporting KioWare’s valued EMEA clients.”

More Information

All KioWare products are available as a free trial with nag screen here.  Existing clients have the ability to upgrade here.  KioWare has been providing OS, desktop, and browser lockdown security for the kiosk and self-service industry since 2001.

KioWare
About KioWare:
KioWare kiosk software secures your application or website on Windows or Android devices, restricting user access to approved behaviors and protecting user and network data.  KioWare is fully customizable and offers solutions ranging from browser lockdown to full server-based kiosk management.  From simple out of the box configurations to more complex integrations, KioWare is trusted by developers, IT professionals, marketers, Fortune 100 corporations, and small business owners. The KioWare team is based in York, Pennsylvania, with an office located in Reading, UK.  Choose the best KioWare product for your self-service project and download a fully functioning free trial at KioWare.com.

Contact:
Laura Miller
KioWare Kiosk Software
Analytical Design Solutions, Inc.
+1 717 843-4790 x220
[email protected]
http://www.kioware.com
 

Opinion – 50 Shades of Gray Livewire

For the past few years, there’s been a nasty little rumor going around that kiosks are dead. With the rise in popularity of mobile apps, some people are simplifying the picture to conclude that apps will soon replace kiosks completely. To which I say…

If kiosks are dead, we better get ready for the zombie apocalypse. [Tweet this!]

Roles of Kiosks
One reason for the false ‘kiosks are dead’ rumor is that people don’t fully understand all kiosks can do. Yes, they can share information and organize content like mobile apps can, but they also do much more.

Kiosks inspire action. They can give out room keys, tickets, coupons, or maps. They can scan bio-metrics and measure weights or sizes. Self-service kiosk software can even dispense items like soda in the case of the Coca-Cola Freestyle machine.

Kiosks also offer flexibility in relation to customer engagement. With the Blue Zebra interactive kiosks, consumers can search for specific legal information and then choose where that information is sent. They can instantly get a printout, a text message, or an email with useful legal tips and referrals for attorneys and related services. [Read more!]

Purchase Power

The most important functionality that kiosks have over mobile phones deals with the proverbial ka-ching. [Tweet this!]

Unlike mobile apps, kiosk software allows users to insert cash or take out a credit card and swipe it through to make a purchase. Money changes hands with payment kiosks, which is not possible — at least not in an easy way — with mobile apps. The focus of mobile apps is more on researching and information gathering, while kiosks are used to inspire action and fulfill purchases…instantly.

The Stratosphere ticketing kiosk in Las Vegas allows customers to purchase tickets with a credit card or even with cash (and can receive change too.) That’s something a mobile app will never be able to do. [Read more!]

Shades of Gray

People are approaching the kiosk/mobile debate as black and white, when really it’s 50 shades of gray. [Tweet this!]

It’s not a zero-sum game — growth in one doesn’t lead to the downfall of the other. Actually, the two are best used together to create a comprehensive, omni-channel network.

Here’s why. Because of their widespread use, mobile devices can capture lots of information about a consumer’s preferences. When a mobile app passes that information to kiosk software, the kiosk can present relevant content to the user, like a coupon or offer to tip them into making a purchase. Vice versa, connecting mobile to a kiosk allows the mobile phone to learn the actions (read: purchase behaviors) of a consumer, and can tailor future messaging based on those behaviors.

The question becomes, how will you integrate the two? How will you blend the perfect shade of gray to enhance your customer engagement and in turn, build your brand?

For more information visit Livewire Digital

KioWare – Windows and Android Kiosk with Kiosk Remote Monitoring feature on Kiosk Industry

KioWare Analytical Design Solutions Inc. (ADSI), the parent company of KioWare, has been in business since 1991 providing client/server database and web development consulting services. The maturin…

Source: kioskindustry.org

Kioware feature article on kiosk industry.  Along with full Windows versions, Kioware has 3rd gen Android clients with remote monitoring and alerts. Feature support such as ChromeCast.

Xpedient Partners to Provide Self-Serve Kiosk Solutions to QuickChek C-Store Foodservice Operation

LOUISVILLE, KY–(Marketwired – January 08, 2015) – Xpedient, a wholly owned subsidiary of Advanced Solutions, Inc., has partnered with QuickChek to provide self-serve kiosk software to their entire convenience store foodservice operation.A market leader in food services, QuickChek is a New Jersey-based convenience store chain, operating 137 retail locations throughout…

Source: www.marketwired.com

Can Outerwall’s new beauty product kiosk help offset declining Redbox sales? – Washington Business Journal

Bellevue-based Outerwall, which is best known for operating Redbox and Coinstar machines, is continuing to add new kiosks to its fleet.

Source: www.bizjournals.com

Writeup on latest from Coinstar and SampleIt. Also at CES 2015. There are more than 40,000 Redbox machines spread across the country, 20,000 Coinstars, 1,500 ecoATMs, 700 Coinstar Exchanges and 50 SAMPLEits.

KIOSK Information Systems MoneyGram Financial Services at 2015 NRF Big Show

KIOSK will feature MoneyGram’s new self-service money transfer and electronic payment kiosk solution at NRF’s 2015 Big Show (booth 4235).

Source: www.businesswire.com

CEO Corner – Mike James with Kiosk Group

CEO Cornerceo-corner

Where we talk to “Big Cheese” and find out a little bit about who they are and what company they are with.

The choice of who you do business may come down to the look in the eye and a simple handshake.


 

Ten Questions for Mike James with Kiosk Group:mike-james

1.  Kiosk Industry Group:  What is your company name, location and your position?

MJ:  To many we are known as the iPad Kiosk company (www.ipadkiosks.com) or the Kiosk Pro company, but we are officially Kiosk Group, Inc.

We are located in beautiful, historic Frederick, Maryland, an hour outside of Washington and Baltimore, home of Francis Scott Key, and just miles from Gettysburg, Harpers Ferry, and Antietam.

I am the founder and president of Kiosk Group, Inc.

2.   Kiosk Industry Group:  How is business these days?

MJ:  Business is great and growing steadily.

In July of 2010, we came out with the first commercial iPad kiosks and decided to invest heavily in this narrow segment of the kiosk industry.

We have developed a modular system of iPad and tablet kiosks that are the true heavyweights in this niche. While there are many manufacturers in this field that go the cheap route, producing low-quality kiosks that are ultimately not durable or secure, we’ve taken a different approach. Our kiosks are “real kiosks” (to take the words of just one of our satisfied customers), made from milled industrial-grade thermoplastics and heavy-duty, welded rolled steel, and made the way kiosks are supposed to be made.

We created the Kiosk Pro line of iPad kiosk software to make sure our customers had something to run on our kiosks. Kiosk Pro is now widely recognized as the best software for this type of application and tops the charts for the term ‘kiosk’ in the iTunes App Store with over 75,000 downloads.

Today we are very busy with both off-the-shelf and custom order kiosks, and our biggest worry is keeping enough product in stock.

3.    Kiosk Industry Group:  What is your most popular product?

MJ:   Our iPad Standalone kiosk is by far our most popular single product.

We’ve been able to create quite a number of accessories for this model, including branding options, credit card readers and even motion-controlled illumination systems for rear camera photos and barcode scanning.

4.  Kiosk Industry Group:  How large a company are you?

MJ:  Believe it or not, we are just 10 people today. We outsource metal bending, painting and plastic work to four nearby fabrication facilities, so we keep our overhead very low and can offer great prices on our products. Our in-house staff is responsible for software development and support, product design and prototyping, branding, minor CNC machining, quality control and order fulfillment.

5.    Kiosk Industry Group:  How many years have you been in business?

MJ:  I started my business with an Apple II, purchased in 1977 (which I still have). I have a background in developing industrial films and programming multi-projector slideshows and saw computers as a better way to deliver media content. I was able to code control of a 12” laserdisc player with the Apple II via RS-232 and, in 1981, hung out my shingle developing interactive content for sales and training.

This small start expanded into a company with 35 software developers — Multimedia Software, Inc. We developed many hundreds of interactive programs, including World’s Fair exhibits, Amtrak’s ticketing kiosks and training programs for Chrysler, IBM and many others.

After selling MSI in 2001, I studied the market, determined that the kiosk industry was where everything was heading and launched Kiosk Group, Inc. We’ve been designing and selling kiosk hardware and software ever since.

6.  Kiosk Industry Group:   What is your biggest market(s) or skills focus, or do you have multiple?

MJ:  In terms of markets, our kiosks are used in every discipline. It should be easier to name the markets we are not in, but I can’t think of any. Seriously.

We focus on creating the best interactive touch-screen kiosks available. Whether that means taking on a new software feature request or building out a custom hardware configuration, we do what it takes to make each project a success.

7.    Kiosk Industry Group:  What are the strengths of your company?

MJ:  Innovation. Innovation. Innovation. We focus on coming up with the right products, and having the right solution already designed when a new customer calls us with a tough requirement. No other iPad/tablet kiosk seller does this.

I’ve also got a great team of people working with me. Each and every person has multi-disciplinary talents and is driven to grow and succeed.

Having metal-bending and other fabrication out of house has been a terrific asset. Most traditional kiosk companies mark up their cost of touchscreens, computers and peripherals at 100% to cover the cost of a large crew. With our low overhead, our average markup from wholesale is just 28%.

8.    Kiosk Industry Group:  What market trends can you share with us?

MJ:  The next step in the small form-factor kiosk world is the addition of peripherals beyond basic card readers and keyboard trays. Look for the integration of thermal receipt printers, card-stock ticket printers, barcode scanners, RFID readers, ApplePay, EMV SmartCard readers, PIN pads – the list goes on and on.

This is where you’ll see a separation of the serious kiosk manufacturers from the quick-buck, plastic-injection-molded iPad kiosk sellers.

We’re also going to see an end to the made-in-China housings offered by many iPad kiosk sellers. The tablet market is changing so fast, you need a system for managing hardware change. With the introduction of the smaller-sized Apple Air tablets, we’re already seeing a large number of sellers dropping out of the business, and leaving their customers without support.

9.  Kiosk Industry Group:  What new products might we see in the next year or two from your company?

MJ:  In the short-term, look for Bluetooth printer integration for all of Custom America’s thermal kiosk printers (http://www.customamerica.com/) into our Kiosk Pro Enterprise iOS app.

We have been hard at work on a new system for kiosk customization and delivery for the past two years.

Imagine placing an order for custom kiosks with your own branding and a wide choice of screen sizes and peripherals – previously this meant weeks or months of lead time and a price tag to match. With our new system, you can have this type of custom kiosk at low cost and delivered within a week!

We’re going to deliver this new development in early 2015. Prepare yourself for the next industry revolution!

10.  Kiosk Industry Group:   For more information who should people contact?

MJ:  I’m always available at [email protected] or you can call me at 888-569-5467 x101.

Thanks Mike!

Simon and eBay ‘connect’ for new mall experience | RetailingToday.com

Unveiled this week the “Connected Mall” experience in Palo Alto, Calif. The installation features a “smart” directory developed by eBay for the Simon Innovation Group that elevates the shopping experience by providing consumers with a suite of services, including point-to-point navigation and personalized offers and deals.

Source: www.retailingtoday.com

Features of the new digital directory include:

  • A 72″ LCD, full HD, all-weather touchscreen viewable in direct sunlight
  • Mall maps available in 3D view, with accurate orientation of the shopper within the mall to their exact location, including the direction he/she is facing
  • The option to browse through the interactive map, events, services and store deals, also allowing a shopper to search for what they are looking for by touching multiple categories (food, services, retail, restroom, etc.) Upon selection of a specific store or service needed, the interactive map will highlight its location and the best route
  • The shopper can then push the directions to their mobile phone and follow the recommended path to their selected store (international mobile numbers are accepted)
  • A “today” button that highlights events and deals happening on that specific day
  • Handicap feature allows the shopper to shift the orientation of the map and menu, creating a more easily accessible experience

Kiosk Software Basics – Part 2 Kiosk Security

Kiosk Software Basics – Part 2 Kiosk Security

 Welcome to the second article in my series on kiosk softwareRedswimmer development. My goal for this series of articles is to give an overview on the basics of developing kiosk software that’s both a joy for your customers to use and adheres to the guidelines of PCI-Compliance. This is more of a series of general guidelines and tips based on my 7+ years of experience developing and dealing with other people’s kiosk
software not a comprehensive how-to guide. When I use the term “kiosk software” I’m referring to any  software running on a kiosk in a self-service (unattended) environment regardless of the technology  used.

This second article will focus on the security aspects of “hardening” your kiosk software to ensure that your kiosk is always running smoothly and your customer’s information is safe from malicious users.

Prevent the kiosk user from tampering with the Operating System

One malicious user can screw up your entire kiosk experience for all your other customers by tampering with the operating system (OS) or simply by shutting down your kiosk software. Protecting the OS requires that you ensure that your kiosk software is always running and that the user cannot do anything but use your kiosk exactly as intended. There’s many different ways the user can tamper with the OS including but not limited to pressing system hotkeys (i.e. ctrl-alt-del, alt-tab. etc…) or just plain shutting down your kiosk software. Follow along as I elaborate on one of the most challenging aspects of kiosk software development which is securing your kiosk software.

Filter the keyboard

You must block all system hotkeys like ctrl-alt-del, alt-tab, etc… otherwise it will be very easy for users to shutdown your kiosk software and tamper with the OS. This was probably the most difficult challenge we faced across all of our kiosk software projects. To accomplish this we ended up creating a kernel mode keyboard filter driver that can block any undesirable keystrokes. Microsoft has created a great example C++ project here to get you started http://code.msdn.microsoft.com/windowshardware/Kbfiltr-WDF-Version-685ff5c4.

Why must I create a kernel mode driver you ask? Because your kiosk software does not have the authority to block keystrokes like ctrl-alt-del. In order to overcome this limitation there needs to be a “partnership” between your kiosk software and the keyboard filter driver. Here is what a typical use scenario looks like:

    1. The kiosk software provides a way for the kiosk admin to define which keystrokes should be blocked
    2. The kiosk software stores these blocked keystrokes in the registry
    3. The keyboard filer driver checks the registry to see which keystrokes should be blocked and filters them from the keyboard buffer

Run your kiosk software under a Windows limited user account

As a general precaution it makes sense to run your kiosk software under a Windows limited user account NOT AS ADMINISTRATOR. This way it limits the likely hood that your kiosk software will do something naughty and mess with the OS. This may seem like overkill since it’s your kiosk software that’s running but it’s just a good precaution especially when dealing with 3rd party websites or dlls. This is not required but it is a good idea so don’t be lazy and run your kiosk software as Administrator.

Restrict the web browser’s surfing area

Assuming that your kiosk software allows the customer to view web pages you’ll want to restrict the web browser’s “surfing area” so the customer can only view the websites that you intend them to.

The easiest way to do this is by allowing the kiosk admin to define a whitelist in your kiosk software of acceptable URLs. Adding support for regular expressions can make the URL whitelist much more powerful. You’ll also want to make sure to configure the appropriate settings in the web browser to ensure that users cannot do things like download files or run ActiveX controls. Internet Explorer and other web browsers have built in support for “crippling” the web browser so check these out.

Block pop-up dialogs from 3rd party software

When most people think of pop-up windows they think of web browser popups. I’m actually referring to dialog windows that popup up from 3rd party software (i.e. it is time to update software X).  Dialog windows can interrupt the operation of your kiosk software or worse allow the user to perform operations that could compromise the security of your kiosk (i.e. launching explorer, task manager, etc).   In short your kiosk software should act as a police officer and shutdown all pop-up dialogs from 3rd party software running on your kiosk.

Summary

Securing your kiosk software is probably one of the most daunting tasks for beginners but is absolutely necessary in order to ensure that your kiosk software is always running smoothly and that your customer’s information is protected. Securing your kiosk requires getting out of the comfort zone of your own kiosk software and creating a partnership between your kiosk software and kernel mode drivers, Windows services, etc… If writing kernel mode drivers in C++ is not for you then please check out an off-the-shelf kiosk lockdown solution like our product KioskSimple (www.KioskSimple.com). This way you can focus on developing your kiosk software and leave the security of your kiosk to us.

The next article in my series will focus on PCI-Compliance and accepting payments from your kiosk software. Please follow me on Facebook at facebook.com/kiosksimple or Twitter @kiosksimple

Panera kiosk – More Kiosks, Fewer Cashiers Coming Soon to Panera

panera kiosk tablet

In the new system, customers order and sit, and Panera’s servers bring their orders to them

 

Craig Keefner‘s insight:

Nice graphic of new store layout and flow for traffic.

See on www.businessweek.com