Self-service kiosks have become a normal part of society, being used across countless industries and applications as well as both indoor and outdoor environments.
And because their differences go further than simple physical locations, indoor and outdoor digital kiosks are not interchangeable.
Specifically, outdoor digital kiosks have their own requirements for both external and internal structure as well as power sourcing. Below, we detail the features that set outdoor kiosks apart from indoor solutions.
Outdoor kiosks are inherently more vulnerable than indoor kiosks, causing security to be a major factor in design.
To increase security, most outdoor kiosks are designed with special locks to prevent theft or tampering. These can range from simple compression locks that also keep water from getting into the kiosk to special hidden shackles that conceal parts that could be cut with a bolt cutter. There are even door sensors that can be installed to notify someone when the door is opened.
Exposure to the elements is another important factor in designing and building an outdoor kiosk. Stainless steel hardware with an outdoor-rated powder-coating is used to prevent rust from forming, preserving the aesthetic appeal as well as maintaining the structural integrity of the unit.
Most outdoor digital kiosks are fitted with sunlight readable screens for easy use. These screens feature high-brightness LCD displays, anti-glare coatings, and UV-reflective films, preventing the monitor from blacking out in UV ray exposure.
Lastly, Projected Capacitive Touch Screen Panels (PCAPs) prevent water from affecting the unit’s response to touch, and the use of gasketing material behind the bezel serves to make the kiosk watertight – both features only necessary for kiosks that will be outdoors.
One of the biggest differences between indoor and outdoor kiosks goes largely unseen. Unlike indoor kiosks that reside in a controlled environment, outdoor digital kiosks have specific requirements for moisture and internal temperature control.
Kiosks that require moisture and temperature control are most often fitted with heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems (HVAC systems).
Frank Mayer kiosk expert Ben Snider goes more in-depth.
“HVAC systems have a thermostat that can be set to maintain a regulated temperature within the enclosure,” Snider says. “Typically, they’re set to turn on cooling or heating when the temperature exceeds or dips below certain thresholds. Having a regulated environment can help with moisture control and keep electronics within their operating temperature.”
Whether or not an outdoor digital kiosk will require an HVAC system depends on a couple of factors, including electronic operating temperatures within the kiosk, electronic heat output, and enclosure size.
Kiosk placement will also help to determine if an outdoor kiosk requires an HVAC system. How much space does the kiosk have for proper ventilation? Does the kiosk reside under a canopy, or is it in direct sunlight?
Even the general climate of a location comes into play when deciding whether an outdoor kiosk should have an HVAC system, since temperatures and humidity levels can vary drastically from location to location.
Ultimately, a big deciding factor when adding an HVAC system to an outdoor digital kiosk is budget.
Snider puts it simply. “Often an HVAC system is recommended for highest quality and best performance but is not required. So, recognizing the client’s budget can also help determine if an HVAC is needed or if muffin fans or a DIN Rail Heater would suffice.”
Providing power for an outdoor digital kiosk is entirely different than powering an indoor kiosk. One of the first things to consider when powering an outdoor kiosk is where that power feed is coming from.
Some units may be located within easy access to a wall box or underground power supply. Other power sources may require a bit more maintenance.
Outdoor digital kiosks that cannot be positioned near a wall will likely be hard-wired from an electrical enclosure beneath the unit itself. On the other hand, outdoor kiosks that are powered by overhead lines will require additional steps to ensure the lines are mounted and anchored out of the way, leaving room for traffic to safely pass underneath, explains Frank Mayer engineer Steve Duero.
Duero goes on to say that some units may also benefit from uninterrupted power supplies (UPS).
“UPS might be considered when it is important that the kiosk not lose power, as in the case of money transactions where data transfer is critical,” he explains.
Voltage is also important when placing an outdoor kiosk. If the power supplying the unit is not the standard 120vac, some outdoor digital kiosks will also require a power transformer.
From anti-glare screens to HVAC systems to overhead lines and power transformers, outdoor digital kiosks have quite a few requirements that make their placements possible. Work with your kiosk manufacturer to determine the right features to include in your next outdoor program.