Kiosks are defined as small self-contained structures that are utilized to sell specific goods. Traditional kiosk solutions include newsstands and hot dog stands. In recent years, the concept of the kiosk has taken on a new meaning, referring to the interactive kiosks used in settings such as airports, banks, and supermarkets.
Perhaps the most easily recognized form of new interactive kiosk solutions is the ATM kiosk. Usually found at banks, this type of automated teller machine is often found in the entry to the bank, or is located on the exterior of the bank building. In some cases, an ATM is designed to allow customers to drive up and conduct banking business.
Another example of modern kiosk solutions is found in the supermarket. Equipped with a touch screen and scanner, the supermarket version allows consumers to scan their grocery items, place them in bags, and pay for the selections without having to go through a traditional supermarket checkout line. This convenience is ideal for people who only have a few items and would rather bag the items themselves rather than wait in a queue.
The mall kiosk works in a manner similar to the supermarket variety. Usually located in the main walking areas of shopping malls, these self-contained kiosk solutions allow consumers to purchase everything from insurance to stuffed animals without having to enter a shop. The kiosks are structured to allow the consumer to select the items desired, then pay for them using cash, debit card, or credit card. Once the payment is accepted, the kiosk releases the purchased goods, sometimes through a chute located near the touch screen control panel. The consumer can bag the purchases and continue with his or her shopping.
Airline kiosks are a common sight at many airports today. Some of these are designed to allow passengers to purchase tickets for various flights, as well as to expedite the check-in process for upcoming flights. Certain designs allow the passenger to print labels for luggage that must be checked in for the flight, as well as to generate boarding passes for the flight itself. Kiosk solutions of this type make it possible to complete the check-in process quickly, a convenience many air travelers welcome.
Internet kiosks are also used in many settings. Visitor centers increasingly provide kiosks of this type for tourists and others visiting a given area. Libraries also feature kiosks with Internet access. Some are available at no charge, while others require the payment of a small fee. This same approach has led to the creation of Internet cafes, where customers can pay a fixed rate per hour and perform all the usual tasks associated with the Internet, such as sending and receiving mail, browsing different web sites, and watching online videos.