Kiosks are free-standing information and computing portals consisting of a computer (or kiosk PC,) a monitor, other peripherals like credit card readers or printers, and a cabinet to house them. They have been in use since the 1970s, originally targeted for consumers in multiple industries. One of the first widespread uses of kiosks was in the financial services industry, in the form of the ATM. Resistant at first, consumers became very comfortable with them and now expect to have multiple ATMs available 24/7, conveniently located.
There are many types of kiosks in use today. Some deliver information such as maps or tourist information; many take the form of self-checkout or point-of-sale systems; some are placed in retail stores to promote products or search inventory via a private database or the Internet; vending kiosks can actually dispense products, and other kiosks can process service transactions.
Kiosks are used in a wide range of industries for B2C applications, but are also used for B2B applications such as inventory control and operations. In the world of B2C and especially retail, kiosks provide self-service to consumers. Today, the B2C sectors with heaviest kiosk use include airlines, hospitality/tourism, retail grocery, casinos, vending, event ticketing, DVD rental, and of course, banking. Government agencies (such as DMV offices) use kiosks to process transactions, or to provide information to tourists at parks and recreational areas. In B2B, companies use kiosks to process job applicants and for employee time and attendance; in hospitals kiosks are used for patient registration and pharmacy control systems; and in factories, kiosks are used for process control and testing.
There are many business reasons for deploying kiosks. The most obvious one is reducing labor expense by replacing staff with an information kiosk or point-of-sale system. Another business reason is the opportunity to reduce inventory expense by offering order access to products not currently stocked at physical location via an in-store kiosk. Customer satisfaction is another reason: many consumers prefer self-service because it is faster. In a manufacturing setting, using kiosks can improve productivity and reduce overall computer equipment costs.
Kiosks today are equipped with kiosk PCs that have touch screens, making them easier to use. Originally, the kiosk software had to be installed at each physical location, but once network computing became pervasive, it was possible to update software from a centralized location. When use of the Internet became commonplace (and expected) this became even easier. All these technology advances led to more widespread use of kiosks.
Cybernet’s all-in-one kiosk PCs with touch screens are used in many kiosk applications, and Cybernet also has an all-in-one PC designed for point-of-sale applications, the iPOS-G45. Our success stories provide descriptions of how our customers have deployed Cybernet kiosk PCs for self-service banking (South Jersey Federal Credit Union); in retail point-of-sale (Vin Now); in a medical facility (iMD Health Canada); and in manufacturing systems (Aqueous Technologies.) Read these stories to get more ideas on how kiosks and touch screen all-in-one PCs could enhance your productivity and customer service.