When building a kiosk, determining the internal components that help it operate as intended is key. This process can be complex, resulting in numerous questions. What kind of PC will work best? Does it matter what operating system is used? How can a company be sure they’re making the right choices when it comes to their kiosk PC options? Let’s dive into the answers of these common inquiries.
One of the first selections a company will make when choosing a kiosk PC will be whether they want an all-in-one or a small form factor PC.
An all-in-one (AiO) PC includes the touchscreen, PC, network connectivity, and all the ports together in a single package. This is often used for indoor kiosks because it can be mounted externally, which means the kiosk doesn’t fully encase it. This makes for a cleaner installation and has a sleek look.
The term “small form factor” refers to a compact version of a traditional PC. Many of the commercial or industrial grade PCs used in kiosks are considered ultra-small form factor (USFF) or small form factor (SFF).
As opposed to the all-in-one, these types of PCs run separately from other components, meaning the SFF needs to be connected to a touchscreen through cords that run within the kiosk enclosure. The touchscreen attached to an SFF is mounted within the kiosk’s shell, making it perfect for outdoor use.
Small form factor PCs can provide more capabilities for software or other kiosk electronics and offer more flexibility on specs, such as processor type and amount of memory.
While less common in the industry, some companies do opt for a single board computer (SBC). These PCs are smaller and lighter as well as being low-cost. However, due to their low processing power, they are limited to single function use. This lack of practicality makes them a less popular choice for use in kiosks.
The decision to go with an AiO or SFF PC ultimately comes down to aesthetics, cost, and integration. That being said, your kiosk manufacturer will make recommendations for the right kiosk PC based on your needs.
Once a decision is made on the type of computer for a kiosk, it’s time to decide the internal software of the PC. While there are many operating system options, some of the most common operating systems for kiosks are Windows, Android, and Linux. Each option comes with its own pros and cons, so it’s important to choose the one that will best suit the intended functions of the kiosk.
Windows is a popular OS choice due to its compatibility with a wide variety of hardware and software. It’s also an operating system that can be deployed in large volumes. Keep in mind, though, Microsoft requires a licensing fee per kiosk, which can add up quickly, especially for larger-scale deployments.
Android is known for working well with touchscreens, making it a great fit for interactive experiences. And because Android systems don’t have licensing fees, costs are more budget-friendly for large rollouts. A challenge to consider with Android is compatibility. Because Windows is so popular, many devices have a Windows compatible driver, while fewer options exist to work with an Android system.
Linux is a free, open-source operating system with a high degree of customization, allowing for a tailored user interface and unique functionality. Linux has a good reputation for strong security, making it less susceptible to viruses or malware. However, it requires more extensive technical knowledge to use than either Windows or Android.
There are even more operating systems out there, so how does a company know which one is right for their needs? The good news is they don’t frequently have to make that decision. It’s the software developer that will often determine which OS they want to build, and which will serve its purpose best.
Choosing the right kiosk PC and operating system is a decision that has an impact on its functionality and user experience.
Whether opting for the easy integration of an all-in-one or the versatile performance of a small form factor, each option delivers their own set of benefits for different environments and needs.
Coupled with the selection of an operating system – whether it’s the widely compatible Windows, touchscreen-friendly Android, or highly customizable Linux – the choice must align with the specific demands of the kiosk.
Ultimately, these decisions should be made in collaboration with the kiosk manufacturer and software developer, who can provide valuable insights and recommendations to ensure the kiosk functions effectively.
With consideration and expert guidance, companies can equip their kiosks with the right combination of hardware and software, setting the stage for a successful deployment and seamless user experience.