Are digital signage and kiosks ideal partners?

2016-11-03 15:36:12

Are digital signage and kiosks ideal partners?

 

Sept. 7, 2016 | by Bradley Cooper

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Digital signage and kiosks at first glance appear to be completely different devices. The kiosk is primarily an interactive device meant to offer a service or a product, while digital signage is meant to offer advertisements or information. There are, however, many new crossover uses of digital signage and kiosks, and some companies are even combining digital signage with kiosks. Could this be the ideal partnership?

Paul Stahl, director of government sales at DynaTouch, believes that digital signage can provide additional brand awareness and information when integrated into a kiosk.

"Kiosks that have good attract loops and serve content, beyond just the application that they’re providing, should be more useful to the end user by adding brand awareness capability," Stahl said in an email. Laura Miller, director of marketing for KioWarementions that digital signage can give some clarity to the true purpose of a kiosk.

"Digital signage can provide branding, messaging and communication to attract users to the kiosk or a better (and always visible) understanding of the kiosk's purpose or intended use," Miller said. "Kiosk software can also perform many of these functions, particularly if a secondary monitor is supported."

A LCD screen could be placed on top of a ticketing kiosk to advertise particular games for sale at the kiosk now or in the future. It could also advertise local restaurants in the area, according to Stahl.

The Field Museum in Chicago is one of many companies combining the technologies. It uses ticketing kiosks with integrated digital signage. Users use the kiosk to buy tickets and look up information about upcoming events, while the digital signage displayed advertisements and messages about new exhibits and events. The kiosk provided the main service while the digital signage offers additional information.

The challenges

There are some challenges with integrating the two technologies, however. If the signage is non-interactive it might confuse users if it is paired with an interactive kiosk, according to Miller. You don't want users poking at an expensive screen that doesn't have a touch overlay.

Stahl believes, on the other hand, that kiosks work best when paired with a non-interactive kiosk. He thinks kiosks are primary meant to provide one-on-one interaction and digital signage is designed to provide one-to-many.

 "Using touch screens with One-To-One applications on a digital signage application turns it into a kiosk, and on some level Digital Signage needs to enhance or attract and not slow-down and be throttled back to a one-to-one interaction," Stahl said. "In other words, if you have a digital signage display, one person can manipulate the broader reach that digital signage generally is used for in the first place and defeat to One-To-Many paradigm of digital signage."

You also need to make sure that the digital signage is actually enhancing the kiosk rather than distracting from its primary purpose. If the signage prevents someone else from using the kiosk, it has a parasitic rather than helpful relationship with the kiosk.

"If one person can buy tickets on the kiosk and do five other things before someone else can get a turn on the kiosk, then it is NOT an enhancement," Stahl said.

It is also important to keep in mind the various capabilities and limitations of kiosks and digital signage. Digital signage can provide content, but it needs to have good software and network infrastructure to keep that content updated, according to Miller.

"Kiosks know how to handle transactional security. DS is now becoming interactive, so they need to catch up on security/data handling, particularly with relation to external devices/input devices, EMV compliance, and other supported activities or transactional support," Miller said. "This includes support for dispensing, printing, and scanning."

The same principles of good partnerships apply to digital signage and kiosks. They need to move in one direction towards the same goal of an improved customer experience. If they move in opposing directions, then the partnership will fail.