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Technical Articles & Industry Trends
This is it! The time has finally come for you to elevate your customer experience game and set up a kiosk for your customers to interact with directly. The workflow will be streamlined as customers make selections for themselves, which will also free up your staff to work on other tasks. Now you must tackle the first big question: What hardware and/or software will you need to purchase in order to make this new reality a possibility?
While doing research on this topic, you may have come across articles about using a tablet pc set in Kiosk Mode. In this article we’ll examine the pros and cons of using a tablet in Kiosk Mode vs. using a full-fledged kiosk computer like one of the products in Teguar’s TA-5540 Series.
A kiosk is a free-standing touchscreen device used to display information or accept data inputs. Kiosks are typically designed for unsupervised use by the public, positioned inside stores or placed in high traffic areas. There are many applications for kiosk stations including interactive map displays, menu ordering systems, self-assessment quizzes, and much more.
Though it has many names, Kiosk Mode is a setting you can activate on a portable computing device such as a tablet that makes the device act like a kiosk. On a Chromebook or any device using a Google Chrome web browser, this can be done with a kiosk application browser extension. The Windows 10 Kiosk Mode is known as “Assigned Access”, and Apple calls this mode “Guided Access” for iPads. But regardless of the name, the concept is the same across all devices and operating systems.
Kiosk Mode will allow a single application on your device to run in fullscreen, eliminating all overlay data typically seen on a tablet like the taskbar, Windows button, bookmarks, or any other distracting icons. This allows the customer to focus on the task you want them to complete, like selecting a product or interacting with a map. This also prevents people from closing out the application you’ve selected (whether that be intentional or accidental) which would disrupt automation and require an employee to correct. Sleep Mode will also be disabled so the desired program will be displayed at all times.
While there are plenty of options out there for specialized kiosk software systems, it should be noted that you may still choose to use a browser or OS-based Kiosk Mode setting on a kiosk computer in order to serve up the desired application to your customers. So we’re not really comparing Kiosk Mode vs. a kiosk computer; we’re actually comparing the use of a mounted tablet vs. an actual kiosk computer as your kiosk workstation.
One immediately apparent difference between a tablet and a kiosk computer is size. A tablet is much smaller and lighter than a kiosk computer and could reasonably be mounted just about anywhere: on a podium-style stand, on a wall, on a desk or countertop—the list goes on. Just don’t forget to research tablet mounting options and budget for them.
A kiosk computer, one that is specifically designed to look and act as a customer kiosk, sends a message to your customers. It tells them that you’re serious about streamlining the customer experience and you’ve invested in a solution to simplify things for them. A mounted iPad, on the other hand, could come across as a temporary or half-hearted fix to a problem.
Screen size should also be considered. While tablet screens typically range from 8 to 12 inches, a kiosk computer comes in much larger sizes. Teguar’s TA-5540 Series offers screen sizes ranging from 12 to 21.5 inches. They can also be set to landscape or portrait orientation to provide for tall, scroll-friendly displays.
Choosing between a mounted tablet and a kiosk computer may also depend on the specific tasks you need your kiosk to accomplish. While many tablet attachments do exist, they may need to be connected via USB cables, which can look unseemly and expose the entire system to additional points of failure.
Teguar’s kiosk computers have optional modular attachments including barcode scanners, credit card readers (MSR), NFC readers, and other modules that can help facilitate customer inputs..
Both cybersecurity and loss prevention should be strongly considered when deciding between a tablet or a kiosk computer.
Tablets have a wide array of uses in both the commercial and private sectors, making them prime targets for theft. Even when employing tethers and other locks, a tablet is much easier to dislodge from its mount and steal than a full-fledged kiosk computer. Plus, kiosk computers are not typically seen as useful enough to steal, which also helps with loss prevention.
While Kiosk Mode and kiosk softwares are good for limiting users to a single application, they can be bypassed. Kiosk Modes specifically can be circumvented if a particularly tech-savvy user knows or researches online how to disable the mode.
On the topic of cybersecurity, Teguar’s TA-5540 series of kiosk computers is also available with TPM 2.0 hardware security, which provides an extra level of security against brute force attacks, physical theft and malware.
If your planned kiosk is to be located outside, subjected to the elements or extreme temperatures, a kiosk computer or rugged tablet may be a better choice as a permanent fixture than a mounted consumer-grade tablet. While you could store the tablet indoors when not in use, this will add an extra task for staff, and it also won’t help with the exposure the device is subjected to during business hours.
If you do decide to use a mounted tablet, and your kiosk station is going to see high usage, be sure to consider a rugged tablet with a strong screen. Most consumer-grade tablets are not rated for constant daily use and may be subject to touch sensitivity degradation and cracking over time, but Teguar’s rugged tablets made with scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass are built to withstand the elements.
Whether you choose to go with a mounted rugged tablet or a kiosk computer for your project, Teguar has you covered. Still not sure which way you should go? Give us a call—our product experts will be happy to help you weigh the pros and cons specific to your project.
Matt Nadolny is the Marketing Manager for Teguar Computers. Though he has always had an interest in technology, joining the team in 2020 marked the beginning of his pursuit to understand more about the industrial and medical hardware offered at Teguar, which he now researches and writes about with the help of Teguar's Product Management and Sales teams.
Outside of Teguar-related topics like the one above, Matt enjoys spending time with his family, playing games, making music, and getting lost down Internet rabbit holes of niche information.