Trends in mounts, Kiosks, and enclosures
As AV applications increase in variety, scale and number, the demands on manufacturers of mounts, brackets and enclosures are ever increasing. In addition, there are sure signs of growth in the outdoor market, and this will increase as parts become more standardised and there is more choice on the market. Keith Dutch, Managing Director, Peerless-AV EMEA, concurs:
“With our Xtreme High Bright Outdoor Displays, we are ahead of the curve offering easy to install, low maintenance solutions with the highest tech specs to meet the requirements of any professional application, and that allows entry into new niche markets such as electronic vehicle charging stations and smart city kiosks. EV charging stations provide free electricity usage to customers while creating the ultimate revenue generating advertising solution for retail centres,”
“The Smart City kiosk is another exciting niche, that can combine advertising, free Wi-Fi and telephone calls. Current developments will allow these kiosks to also be able to record sensory data such as car fume analysis, or detection of loud sounds (for example, gun fire or blasts), that can then trigger an alert to local authorities or law enforcement.”
Growth in kiosks
I’m not sure why, but I thought the market for kiosks would decline as dedicated outdoor displays became more commonplace. In fact, announcements at recent shows suggest that kiosks are even more popular than ever. Keith Dutch, concurs:
“Kiosks are most definitely increasing in popularity. At RDSE this year nearly every exhibitor’s stand featured a kiosk of some design or other. A kiosk can make digital signage stand out and look distinctive – both in terms of positioning and appearance. It doesn’t have to be a permanent fixture, releasing a display from the constraints of being mounted on a wall and allowing it to be positioned where it will have the most impact.”
“The kiosk body can be customised in a number of different ways to reinforce a customer’s brand or to match surrounding aesthetics, including vinyl logos, custom paint colours and full vinyl wraps. Also, as the kiosk only requires a power cable to operate, there is flexibility in location with it being a simple task to move the unit to a new position either temporarily or permanently.”
There is also an economic argument in favour of kiosks. Dutch continues:
“Back-to-back kiosks can also maximise ROI on every square foot, in high traffic retail environments for example. Showing content both outside and inside the store in window settings effectively doubles the amount of screen ‘real estate’ from the same footprint size. To further save space and make our kiosks as unobtrusive as possible they have been designed with a slim footprint and a sleek low-profile body for a modern aesthetic.”
But the calculation of any economic advantage has to factor in the initial capital cost of the outdoor display versus the cost of the kiosk:
“There isn’t much of a cost difference between a kiosk and an IP-rated display. However, if integrating a non-IP rated display in a kiosk enclosure there are more potential failure points as additional heating and cooling components, filters and fans would be required.”
“Clearly flat panel displays are going to produce heat and when enclosed within a kiosk unit it is important to regulate this to maintain an optimum operating temperature. To achieve this Peerless-AV builds thermostatically controlled fans into each unit to effectively exhaust excess heat and control the internal conditions.”
New kiosk releases
Recently, Peerless-AV announced the availability of the KILH5 Indoor Landscape Kiosk. With its curved edges and shapely enclosure (pictured), the kiosk offers new and improved aesthetics that will open opportunities in a wider range of verticals where an appealing and attractive design is a major requirement. These are said to include museums, retail stores, restaurants, hotel lobbies, corporate receptions and more.
Available in gloss black and silver, the KILH5-EUK models have a premium powder coat finish that protects the unit and extends the product lifespan. A choice of aesthetic options is also offered, including multiple colours, vinyl wraps, logos, and more, to align with end customer brand guidelines or blend into the surrounding environment.
Delivered pre-assembled for a simplified install, the new landscape kiosk fits most 40″-55″ ultra-slim LCD panels and interactive displays less than 89 mm deep, with a maximum load of 34 Kg. Adaptor brackets are attached to the back of a display and hooked onto the internal mount then the display cover is placed on top to protect the display edges. Height adjustment on the mount provides 12.5 mm of up and down post level adjustment to achieve the ideal screen position. An internal component tray in the kiosk body neatly stores a media player and cables for a professional finish, and quick access to power or cabling at the rear enables easy maintenance and servicing.
The kiosk’s unobtrusive flat base can be free standing or bolted to floor, allowing for placement flexibility, safety and security in any indoor setting. If free standing, the kiosk has passed the UL 1667 Dynamic Tip Test to give the installer and end customer peace of mind. For theft protection, the kiosk features hex pin screw locks.
Concierge and queue management
Kiosks have found a growing application in greeting and managing customers. For example, The Santander WorkCafé, a one of a kind type of bank branch in Chile, turns a common branch into a community space: half bank and half café. It has now been implemented in 20 Santander branches, and is going forward to introduce 20 brand new offices by the end of 2018.
The General Director for the Commercial & Retail Banking Division, Matías Sánchez, stated, “WorkCafé Santander transforms the way we connect with customers, non-clients and the community. It is a reflection of the changes that we are seeing in our relationship with customers and what they expect from their banks. WorkCafé is targeting and encouraging a younger generation of clients, especially entrepreneurs to come and meet us as well as to interact with us online.”
Customers and non-clients sign in using a PX Group D-One kiosk designed to welcome visitors to WorkCafé Santander rather than exposing a tedious barrier to admission. Customers interact with it using a 21” Zytronic multi-touch projective capacitive touch sensor. PX Group uses its Multimodal Biometric Access Profiler (MBAP) to control sign-ins. MBAP is an authentication system that eliminates passwords or secret questions and replaces it with more secure, seamless and convenient biometric data.
An interactive video wall is a fundamental feature of each WorkCafé. The wall consists of four 55” screens presenting information including news, economic statistics, promotional material for Santander and other details. One of these displays features a 55” diagonal Zytronic touch sensor, operating through a protective toughened glass panel.
Additional kiosk functions
Kiosks also have the potential to incorporate additional functionality alongside the display. One of these is ticketing, often combined with a transaction processing facility. Customers of the South China House of Technology (SCHOT) furniture retailer draw numbered tickets for access to customer service agents. The retailer sought to improve customer service by displaying the next customer service number on screens around the relevant department, and reinforcing this with voice announcements in store, so that shoppers could continue to browse whilst waiting to be seen.so improving convenience and hopefully increasing sales.
Delivering this concept involved integrating the ticket printers with the store’s backend server and the sound system and to integrate the customer service announcements with digital signage playback on screens around the store. The global furniture retailer chose SCHOT to deliver a solution. The solution SCHOT developed centered on BrightSign players, due to their quality and reliability as well as the flexibility and I/O to support the many physical interconnections required by this system.
Customers request a ticket from a 10” AVNU PF10H1B-CT all-in-one, multi-touchscreen, which is attached to a ticket printer providing a paper service ticket. The screen has an embedded BrightSign Built-In DSM (digital signage module), which replays the store’s marketing messages when the screens are not being used to issue tickets. The ticket request is routed to the customer service support queue. When the next agent is available, the customer’s number is displayed on all of the 46 32” – 50” digital signage screens located around the store – each one driven by a BrightSign HD223 player. At the same time a voice announcement is played over the audio channel.
This ability to extend the functions of the kiosk has attracted new players into the market. At the recent RDSE show, Unicol partnered with Scan Computers, showcasing their Obelisk Digital Signage System (ODSS). The system comprises a range of kiosk style enclosures for almost any indoor retail installation and includes custom built units built specifically for customers’ screens, players etc, including branded finishes and logos. Built to fit screens from 32” to 80” with many installation configurations; single and double sided, multi-screen, free-standing, bolt down, floor to ceiling, wall mounted, transparent or mirrored; and with and additional option to fit analytics systems.
We expect to see more of these collaborations at future trade shows as innovations like 5G support autonomous data gathering and transaction processing from kiosks. Rather being in decline, it seems that we are at the beginning of the kiosk revolution.
Rental: special requirements
Rental is another growing niche within the mounts, brackets and enclosures sector, but here the suitability of products for this application has some special considerations. Keith Dutch explains:
“For temporary installations it’s most important that AV support solutions are easy to set up and install. Our range of video wall mounting solutions offer a keyhole slot wall plate that facilitates a one-person installation. Our fully-integrated interactive kiosk delivers a quick, plug and play solution straight out of a flight case, and our flat panel trolley line up present a convenient, manoeuvrable solution that can be pre-built and wheeled wherever needed.
Another issue for installer concerns number of components and tools they have to carry ‘in the van’. Keith Dutch is aware of the issue and argues that the best solution is: “Mounts, like ours, that offer tool-less micro adjustment help reduce the number of tools required.”