The Evolution of Kiosk Technology

Kiosks are specialized computer terminals which provide access to information and applications for education, communication, entertainment, and commerce. Kiosks are usually placed in high foot traffic regions so as to improve customer service. Early versions of kiosks resembled telephone booths and could be found in settings such as hotel lobbies, shops, libraries, and airports. Kiosks allowed users to perform a wide variety of functions such as look into the shop’s catalog to find out if an item is still available, look into the products information, check out of the library, perform an online transaction, look up flight information, and access a public utility.


Over the years kiosks have transformed from oversized telephone booth-like technology. Early kiosks were huge terminals since the developers had to make do with what they have. However, technology has been fast evolving and now computer components are becoming smaller and more powerful. Early kiosks could be customized according to the owner’s special needs. Special components such as card readers, printers, bill acceptors, and coin hoppers could be integrated into the kiosk to add more functionality. The first kiosk was developed at the University of Illinois in 1977. It was a computer system accessible through a touch screen plasma display. This kiosk was called The Plato Hotline and allowed students to find bus schedules, movies, courses, maps, and extracurricular activity within the university. More than 30,000 students, teachers, and visitors at the university stood in line to try out the kiosk during the first six weeks of its introduction.

Florsheim Shoe Co. led the first successful commercial network of interactive kiosks in 1985. Their network had over 600 kiosks which provided images and videos of the products that were not available at the store and wished to purchase them. The size, style and color could be selected and purchased on the kiosk itself. Modern day technological advancements have seen kiosks become smaller and more interactive. Currently kiosks are easing up transactions in stores as they can be easily integrated into the Point of Sale (POS) software and help improve customer service. Kiosks, technology, kiosks stands, iPad kiosks now try and make more convenient for customers to access the complete catalog and pay via Near Field Communication (NFC). Many kiosk manufacturers have turned to the iPad, since it a marvelous piece of hardware offering the interactivity a kiosk needs. The iPad and a variety of other tablets are now mounted on walls, configured with an interactive applications so as to provide users with services they require. Users can now pay securely and anywhere in the world with the help of cryptocurrency such as bitcoins.

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