How to find a software platform for your kiosk & digital signage needs
By Paul Burden, Director of Software – Meridian
Choosing the right software platform is crucial to a successful kiosk or digital signage deployment. The software platform determines everything from security to monitoring to integration – and ultimately, to user experience.
There are inexpensive and simple solutions for displaying web content securely on a kiosk, like Chrome’s Kiosk mode or mKiosk by Firefox. However, these do not fall under the category of a software platform. Instead, these options simply lock down web content in a secure browser. They will not control port access, USB access or report on component functionality. For this, a more advanced, true software platform is required.
A true self-service software platform enables you to integrate multiple peripheral components, customize security and monitor devices remotely. While these features might seem overwhelming, a proper software platform is created with the end user in mind and should be easy to manage no matter the deployer’s technical experience. Here are some key things to think about when deciding on a software platform for your kiosk or digital signage deployment:
User Interface: A true software platform can secure web content, but also has the ability to display a high-spec user interface, be it web-based or a local application.The platform should provide a rich tool-based environment which enables users to easily navigate and consume content. A custom kiosk or digital signage interface is best for user experience because it leverages responsive design. Rather than using a website which assumes the use of a keyboard and mouse, a high-spec user interface will allow the user to have a more fulfilling experience with the responsive touchscreen.
Component Integration: A proper software platform can integrate with hundreds of optional components to enhance the kiosk or digital signage for a variety of use cases – bill payment, patient/visitor check-in, print-on-demand, self-ordering, etc. A platform should integrate multiple devices at deep system states. For example, the platform should know the difference between low cash in a cash dispenser and an issue with the touch screen, and then possess the granularity to send different alerts appropriately. While a low paper alarm might go to the local store manager who has a key to change the paper, an issue with the touch screen monitor alert might go to the IT department of that company or a service entity who possess the technical skill necessary to resolve the problem.
Security: Your software platform should give you the option to whitelist and blacklist particular websites. Whitelisting enables businesses and organizations to create a specific list of web pages or URLs users are allowed to view. Blacklisting allows businesses and organizations to create a list of URLs users are specifically denied. For instance, if a kiosk is being used by internal employees for HR purposes, the employer might blacklist social media websites or simply whitelist the specific web pages employees are supposed to use.
Depending on your kiosk or digital signage goals, these key features will be fundamental to achieving them. Next week we’ll dive a bit deeper and discuss how remote monitoring can enhance the software platform and drive ROI for your kiosk deployment.