What are Kiosk Systems?

Kiosk systems are small, freestanding enclosures that are usually designed to provide information, products, or services to consumers. Typically, kiosk design entails having an open side of the enclosure or a window cut out so that transactions can be conducted. For example, newspapers or cigarettes are often sold on the street in small kiosks. In a parking lot, a parking fee may be paid to an attendant working in a kiosk booth. A mall kiosk often sells a variety of items, such as jewelry, cell phones, purses, or specialty food items.

Interactive kiosks, which are computerized touch screen kiosk systems, are growing in popularity. In general, an interactive kiosk consists of a physical structure that holds any necessary hardware, such as a touch screen monitor, stereo speakers, a printer, and a central processing unit. In addition, interactive kiosk systems hold software applications that can store data, administer transactions, exchange messages, or dispense products to consumers.

More often than not, interactive kiosks are placed in relatively secure public places. They can provide consumers with immediate electronic access to a broad range of communications, information, and goods. Using computer kiosks, consumers can also conduct basic business and personal transactions. Companies frequently use interactive kiosk systems in order to reduce their staffing costs.

An Internet kiosk is a type of interactive kiosk system that allows members of the public to access the World Wide Web or to check their email. Internet kiosks often look like phone booths, and they are commonly located in public areas, such as airports, hospital waiting rooms, or hotel lobbies. Most Internet kiosks work on a pre-pay model, much like vending machines, and accept bills, coins, or credit card payments.

Other types of kiosk systems include photo, donation, and ticketing kiosks. These kiosks are typically self-service and permit consumers to print photographs from digital images, donate money, or pick up tickets to the theater or a movie. An ATM kiosk can allow customers to conduct basic banking transactions, like withdrawing cash, making account transfers, or depositing money. Telekiosks offer consumers the ability to use a combination of services. They are often equipped with email, fax, text message, and telephone capabilities.

Kiosk systems can be used to provide information directories, such as where an office, department, or store is located within a particular building. Tourist information is also increasingly being provided in a kiosk medium. Entities with restricted access requirements regularly use kiosk systems to help handle their security needs. Security kiosks can be used to conduct criminal background checks, verify a visitor is not blacklisted, or create visitor access badges.