Since the development of the first interactive kiosk in 1977, the kiosk technology has come a long way and made many technological and software advancements. It is this evolution that has seen the rise of self-service kiosks, and more recently the rise of tablet kiosks. Tablet kiosks are simply tablets which have had kiosk software installed on for the purpose of use in business.
There are many reasons why some industries are turning to tablets over kiosks. The first, and most obvious, is the price disparity. Tablets can cost anywhere between five and ten times less than a kiosk, making it an ideal choice for start-ups or companies with a low turnover. They are also less physically demanding than kiosks and take up far less space which can be desirable in retail where floor space is valuable. The portability of tablets is also a desirable quality, particularly in the food industry where service is required in multiple areas.
Although tablets do offer convenience which kiosks don’t, there are downfalls to using a tablet. While its small size is one of its desirable qualities, it is also one of its downfalls. Stationary tablets can be hard for customers to find, particularly in busy shops where they can get lost between stands and customers. The screen size itself can also be problematic; it can often be hard to read the various options and customers may hit the wrong option multiple times due to the limited space in between.
Tablets are not particularly durable which can be problematic in high traffic areas, which negates the low cost as they need to be replaced more frequently. In contrast, traditional interactive kiosks can last for years due to their strong physical casing. Kiosks also come with any external hardware needed, such as card readers, USB readers and so on. These components are not readily available in tablets, meaning they may need several attachments in order to be fully functional. This can dramatically reduce the visual appeal of tablets and make them less portable, as well as increase their cost, making it near pointless using a tablet kiosk over a traditional one.
Tablets are turned into kiosks by installing kiosk software. This doesn’t detract from the fact that the device itself uses a mobile operating system. This means tablet kiosks are prone to pop up messages, such as operating system upgrades, and also enables customers to access apps relatively easily. This makes these tablets a target for thieves, which limits the option of leaving them unattended. Obviously, this limits their potential use, particularly as a way of reducing the need for staff onsite.
Tablet kiosks are popular due to their small size and sleek appearance; however these are also their downfalls. While traditional self-service kiosks can appear bulky, this is desirable in attracting the attention needed for customers to use them. They are also far less hardy and functional than kiosks. Rather than used as standalone products, tablet kiosks are best used to supplement kiosks. For example, tablets are much more convenient for finding and ordering stock, product catalogues or surveys than traditional kiosks, but when it comes to self-service kiosks are able to pull together everything from finding the product desired, placing and paying for an order, and printing off a receipt.