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> Interactive kiosk


Image:Internet kiosk.jpg An Interactive kiosk is a computer terminal that provides information access via electronic methods. Most kiosks provide unattended access to web applications such as HR, Benefits, Informational and Loyalty.

Early interation interactive kiosks sometimes resembled telephone booths, but can also be used while sitting on a bench or chair. Interactive kiosks are typically placed in high foot traffic settings such as hotel lobbies or airports.

Integration of technology allows kiosks to perform a wide range of functions, evolving into self-service kiosks. For example, kiosks may enable users to enter a public utility bill account number in order to perform an online transaction, or collect cash in exchange for merchandise. Customised components such as coin hoppers, bill acceptors, card readers and thermal printers enable kiosks to meet the owner's specialised needs.



The first self-service, interactive kiosk was developed in 1977 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign by a pre-med student, Murray Lappe. The content was created on the PLATO computer system, and accessible by plasma touch screen interface. The plasma display panel was invented at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign by Donald L. Bitzer. Lappe's kiosk, called The Plato Hotline allowed students and visitors to find movies, maps, directories, bus schedules, extracurricular activities, courses and email student organizations. When it first debuted in the U of Illinois Student Union in April 1977, more than 30,000 students, teachers and visitors stood in line during its first 6 weeks, to try their hand at a "personal computer" for the first time. [1]

In 1991 the first commercial kiosk with internet connection was displayed at Comdex. The application was for locating missing children.Template:Fact

The first true documentation of a kiosk was the 1995 report by Los Alamos National Laboratory which detailed what the interactive kiosk consisted of. This was first announced on comp.infosystems.kiosks by Arthur the original usenet moderator.Template:Fact

The first successful network of interactive kiosk used for commercial purposes was a project developed by the shoe retailer Florsheim Shoe Co.. Template:Fact

Today's kiosks brings together the classic vending machine with high-tech communications and complex robotic and mechanical internals. Such interactive kiosks can include self-checkout lanes, e-ticketing, information and wayfinding, and vending.

Design and Construction

The aesthetic and functional design of interactive kiosks is a key element that drives user adoption, overall up-time and affordability. There are many factors to consider when designing an interactive kiosk including:
• Aesthetic design: The design of the enclosure is often the driving factor in user adoption and brand recognition.
• Manufacturing volume: This will determine which manufacturing processes are appropriate to use (i.e. sheet-metal, thermoformed plastic etc.).
• Graphic messaging: Plays a key role in communicating with potential users.
• Maintenance and thermal design: Critical in order to maximize up-time (the time between failures or crashes).
• Component specification: Typical components include Touch-screen, P.C., pointing device, keyboard, bill acceptor, mag-stripe and/ or bar-code scanner, surge protector, UPS etc.
• Ergonomic: Is important to ensure comfortable and easy user accessibility.
• Regulatory compliance: In the US it is important to design to ADA. Electrical standards include UL in the U.S. and CE in Europe. In the retail space you have PCI certification in the U.S. which is descendant of VISA PED (relative of Chip and Pin over in Europe).
• Interface design: Designing for interactive kiosks typically requires larger buttons and simpler decision trees than designing for a web or computer based interactive. Catchy attract animations and short dwell times are important.

Interactive Kiosks Around The World

Government Usage

Several countries have already implemented nation-wide installation of kiosks for various purposes. One example of such large scale installations can be found in the United Kingdom, where thousands of special-purpose kiosks are now available to aid job-seekers in finding employment.Template:Fact

The United States Department of Homeland Security has created immigration kiosks where visitors register when they enter the United States. There are also Exit kiosks where visitors register when they leave the U.S.

Internally the U.S. government has institutions such as the Postal Service which utilize HR kiosks for their disconnected employees to update their training as well as monitor and maintain their benefits.

Industry Usage

It is estimated that over 131,000 kiosk terminals exist in the U.S. alone.Template:Fact

Groups who use kiosks in their business environment include: Northwest Airlines, JetBlue Airways, GTAA, Future Shop, The Home Depot, and Wal-Mart.

Types of kiosks


The telekiosk can be considered the technical successor to the telephone booth, a publicly accessible set of devices that are used for communication. These can include email, fax, SMS, as well as standard telephone service.

Telekiosks gradually appeared around the United Kingdom in the first years of the 21st century. Some are situated in shopping centres and transport terminals, with the intention of providing detailed local information. Others are in public places, including motorway service areas and airports.

The International Telecommunications Union is promoting the use of the telekiosk in Africa and parts of Asia where local people do not have access to communications technology. In part this work addresses the "digital divide" between rich and poor nations. There are, however, great practical benefits. The scheme in Bhutan aims to provide an E-Post system, whereby messages are relayed by telephone, then delivered by hand to rural areas, easing the problems of transporting letters across the countryside. Health, agricultural and educational information is also available.

Financial Services Kiosk

The financial services kiosk can provide the ability for customers to perform transactions that may normally require a bank teller and may be more complex and longer to perform than desired at an ATM.

These units are generally referred to 'multi-function financial service kiosks' and the first iteration was back in late 90s with the VCOM product deployed in Southland (7-Eleven) convenience stores. Check-cashing, bill-payment and even dispensing cashcards. New multi-function machines have been deployed in "c-store" markets supported by Speedway and others.

Photo Kiosk

An interactive kiosk which allows users to print pictures from their digital images. The imaging industry's DIMA (a part of the Photo Marketing Association) judges photo kiosks each year in its annual Photo Kiosk Shootout where expert and consumer panels evaluate the competing systems. Two major classes of photo kiosks exist:

Digital Order Stations -- This type of photo kiosk exists within retail locations and allows users to place orders for prints and photographic products. Products typically get produced instore by a digital minilab, or at another location to be shipped directly to the consumer, or back to the store to be picked up at a later time. Digital Order Stations may or may not support instant printing, and typically do not handle payments.

Instant Print Stations - This type of photo kiosk uses internal printers to instantly create photographic prints for a self serve paying customer. Often located in public locations (hotels, schools, airports), Instant Print Stations handle payments. Often such systems will only print 4x6 inch prints although popular dye sublimation photo printers as of 2008 allow for 4x6, 5x7, 8x10, 8x12. It's more a matter of resupply labour economics and chassis size.

Internet Kiosk

An Internet kiosk is a terminal that provides public Internet access. Internet kiosks sometimes resemble telephone booths, and are typically placed in settings such as hotel lobbies, long-term care facilities, medical waiting rooms, apartment complex offices, or airports for fast access to e-mail or web pages. Internet kiosks sometimes have a bill acceptor or a credit card swipe, and nearly always have a computer keyboard, a mouse (or a fixed trackball which is more robust), and a monitor.

Some Internet kiosks are based on a payment model similar to vending machines or Internet cafés, while others are free. A common arrangement with pay-for-use kiosks has the owner of the Internet kiosk enter into a partnership with the owner of its location, paying either a flat rate for rental of the floor space or a percentage of the monthly revenue generated by the machine.

Internet Kiosks have been the subject of hacker activity. Hackers will download spyware and catch user activity via keystroke logging. Other hacker have installed hardware keystroke logging devices that capture user activity.

Businesses that provide Internet Kiosks are encouraged to utilize special Internet Kiosk software and management procedures to reduce exposure to liability.

Ticketing Kiosk

Many amusement parks such Disney have unattended outdoor ticketing kiosks. Amtrak has automated self-service ticketing kiosks. Check-in Kiosks for auto rental companies such as Alamo and National have had national deployments.

Movie Ticket Kiosk

Many movie theater chains have specialized ticket machines that allow their customers to purchase tickets and/or pick up tickets that were purchased online.

Vending Kiosk

An example of a vending kiosk is that of the DVD rental kiosks manufactured by several manufacturers, where a user can rent a DVD, secured by credit card for $1 per day.

Beginning in 2002 new vending kiosks have started to be deployed which dispense a variety of items including electronic device and cosmetics.

Visitor Management and Security Kiosk

A visitor management and security kiosk can facilitate the visitor check in process at businesses, schools, and other controlled access environments. These systems can check against blacklists, run criminal background checks, and print access badges for visitors. School security concerns in the United States have led to an increase in these types of kiosks to screen and track visitors.

Building Directory & Wayfinding Kiosk

Many hospitals today utilize interactive kiosks to allow visitors to find doctor's offices, departments and patient rooms. This use of the kiosk alleviates some of the mundane tasks of the hospital staff and allows them to focus on the more important ones. Harris County Hospital District, Baptist Hospital of Miami, the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the Cayuga Medical Center are but a few medical centers utilizing interactive touch screen kiosks with a building directory and wayfinding solution.

Kiosk Reliability

Reliability is an important consideration, and as a result many specialised kiosk software applications have been developed for the industry. These applications interface with the bill acceptor and credit card swipe, meter time, prevent users from changing the configuration of software or downloading computer viruses and allow the kiosk owner to see revenue remotely.

Kiosk Manufacturing Industry

Historically electronic kiosks though are standalone enclosures which accept user input, integrate many devices, include a software GUI application and remote monitoring and are deployed widely across all industry verticals.

In this mainstream conventional physical kiosk market, KIOSK Information Systems is the largest US manufacturer according to Frost & Sullivan 2008 report. In Europe the largest install base is likely NeoProducts with the UK Job Stations. North America and Europe have seen a surge of high-quality, low-cost kiosks coming from Mainland China and Taiwanese companies, such as KMYAmerica with facilities in Shenzhen near Hong Kong and KT Technology located in both USA, Europe and manufacturing in Hong Kong.

POS-related "kiosks" are "lane busting" check-outs such as seen at large retailers like Home Depot and Kroger. Fujitsu, NCR and IBM are the major players in that segment. Optimal Robotics pioneered this segment before being acquired by Fujitsu.

Simple touchscreen terminals or panel-pcs are another segment and enjoy most of their footprint in POS retail applications and typically facing the employee. Terminals include NCR Advantage (740x terminal) and the IBM Anyplace computer terminal. These units are considered "kiosks" only in functionality delivered and typically only incorporate touchscreen, bar code scanner and/or magnetic stripe reader.

Market segments for kiosk and self-service terminal manufacturers include photo kiosks (Kodak has largest installed base), government, airlines, internet, music, retail loyalty, HR and financial services (TIO is one example), just to name some.

See also



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