The Rise of the Tablet Kiosk

Posted on April 21, 2013 by

The tablet has revolutionised the world in a lot of ways. Even though the smart phone came first; the tablet offers a different and in some ways, a more user friendly experience than its little brother.

Tablets are relatively affordable, intuitive, have a variety of software and have fantastic quality touch screens. So, what are we getting at? Well, tablets are perfect for use in the kiosks industry.

Kiosks are there to automate processes, provide information and offer people better service. However, they are often quite pricey. However, when companies decide to use a tablet as the main hardware and software, the price of the whole device comes spiralling downwards. In essence, aside from the tablet, users really only have to purchase the enclosure. This allows for transformation into an affordable and also powerful kiosk.

Tablet

There are a whole host of tablets out there to choose from, however the iPad is generally the most lauded and also the most used of all tablets. Even though Android tablets and the likes of Kindle Fire and Microsoft Surface do challenge it for supremacy, it still is the by word in tablets. One other thing to consider is that the iPad is a far more expensive beast than many of its competitors, so weighing up cost against the experience is a necessity.

microsoft_surface

The other important consideration is security. You need a kiosk or device that securely mounts the iPad and prevents it becoming a target for thieves. As many kiosk manufacturers see the iPad as the number one device in this field, there are often better options for its aesthetic.

Software

In a lot of ways, a kiosk is only as good as its software. This means that developing a customised interface or app is often the best way to leave a positive impression. Web apps are often preferred over traditional apps, simply because there is no submission process to Apple.

The software design will need to be both visually appealing and also intuitive and a reflection of your own business and the purpose of the kiosk. Of course, there are a number of other tweaks required to turn the tablet into a fully function kiosk, but most developers will give you what you require.

Kiosk

The kiosk itself takes up the largest part of the footprint and choosing one that is both practical for your situation and also attractive is where the line needs to be drawn. The iPad or tablet only takes up the screen area and so the larger part of the visual aspect is down to the kiosks shape. Once more this is down to choosing a style of tablet kiosk that reflects your brand, style and also practical needs such as security and space concerns.

Payment

Another thing to consider is whether you want to add payment options to the device. There are currently all sorts of options from the likes of PayPal, iZettle and Square that allow you to take card payments via iPad. There are also a range of NFC compatible add-ons that could potentially allow a tablet of this kind to offer contactless payments. In fact, the sheer array of software and also hardware add-ons means that most tablets can be used for any variety of practices.

Tablet kiosks offer amazing potential in the marketplace. They provide a lower costing and often more elegant and versatile solution to traditional kiosks in a lot of ways. To a degree, what you use them for is only limited by imagination.

Tom Pryor writes and  has written for a variety of business technology blogs.