Touchscreens are a regular part of our daily lives. We use them on our phones, tablets, computers, and everything in between. But not all touchscreens are the same, which is why indoor touchscreen monitors should not be used for outdoor kiosks.
Indoor touchscreens are in temperature-controlled spaces with no exposure to outside elements. Thus, these monitors cost less because they don’t require the extra features that protect from those risks. On the other hand, outdoor kiosks need to have more robust touchscreens that can withstand an outdoor environment.
The key to understanding the necessity for outdoor touchscreens is knowing what they can do in comparison to their indoor counterparts.
When we think of “the elements,” we often think of rain and snow. But the truth is that an outdoor kiosk’s location is going to determine what elements need to be considered during the design phase.
For instance, an outdoor kiosk in a high desert climate will need a touchscreen that can withstand extreme heat for long periods of time as well as offer protection from the surrounding dirt and sand particles.
Depending on the needed protection, different gasketing materials will be used. Gasketing material is what creates the seal between two conjoining objects. These materials are often made from types of rubber, cork, fiber, or sometimes metal, depending on the situation and what kind of protection is required.
In the case of a high desert environment, the gasketing material will need to create a protective barrier against extreme temperatures as well as form a seal to keep fine particles from penetrating the inner workings of the touchscreen. A gasket made of silicone or rubber is likely to be implemented.
Temperature control is also a factor to consider. While outdoor kiosks are already equipped with fans, outdoor touchscreens will require fans of their own. The benefits of this are twofold because not only does increasing the number of fans mean double the effects of combating extreme heat, but both sets of fans serve different purposes. The touchscreen’s internal fan keeps it cool, while the kiosk’s internal fan keeps the air moving throughout the enclosure.
Something else to consider about outdoor touchscreens is glare. Regular monitors will produce a glare when sunlight bounces off the screens. Outdoor touchscreens are high brightness displays and have components that increase the internal lighting to reduce the glare, making them more effective for use outside.
Additional filters can also be added on top on the screen, but keep in mind the more layers that are added, whether for anti-glare, privacy protection, or something else, the darker the screen can appear, which can impact visibility.
Surprisingly, while outdoor monitors are pricier than their indoor counterparts, it’s not by much. On average, an outdoor touchscreen is only about 15 percent more expensive than a higher-end indoor monitor.
This cost increase is due to the additional necessary parts, such as the gaskets, that make the screens more durable, rigid, and secure from water and dust intrusion. These parts can range in pricing, depending on the materials needed for the project.
The most important thing to know about putting a touchscreen into an outdoor kiosk is to only use outdoor-rated ones. An indoor touchscreen will fail. Even though outdoor kiosks are built to withstand elements, the enclosure is not a substitution for the protection an outdoor monitor is equipped with.
While it’s tempting to save money by cutting corners and using indoor displays, it’s likely you’ll pay more in the end when replacing a failing indoor touchscreen that’s been exposed to the elements. In the end, investing in the right hardware for the outdoor job will save you time and money and keep your kiosks working smoothly.