Outdoor Kiosk Project Deal Breakers and How To Avoid Them

Author Charles Lacasse

Common Obstacles to Watch Out For When Planning Outdoor Digital Signage

Installing an outdoor kiosk on your property or campus seems easy, right? Like any other seemingly simple project, you select a vendor. You put plans into motion. But sometimes, after weeks or months of several back-and-forth emails, project meetings and quote revisions, it happens: A critical detail brings your kiosk project to a screeching halt. You just wish you knew about it before.

The Fine Print About Installing Outdoor Kiosks

Outdoor kiosks have unique needs, being outside and separate from core building infrastructure. There are some important hurdles to clear before you can start planning the “fun stuff,” like content options. Here are some fine-print questions and answers to help you plan your kiosk project.

Questions to Ask

1. Is the site of my future kiosk set up for power and internet?

For any digital sign, whether it’s indoor and outdoor, you’ll need 2 things: power and internet. When installing anything that needs power indoors, the process is simple—either plug in to the nearest outlet, use an extension cord, or have an electrician install a new outlet in the desired location. However, being outdoors is less simple.

Construction Considerations:
Power cables typically run underground. The same goes for internet cables like fiber lines, which are essential to run “live” to-the-minute feeds like news, traffic or transit schedules. Although wireless internet is an option, maintaining a reliable signal on Wi-Fi or cellular depends on the location. The best way to be confident things will run smoothly is to use a hardwired connection. You may need construction to set up power and internet cables underground to the unit. This may require tearing up existing concrete slabs or tile pavers for the install. So, you should estimate options with a contractor beforehand.

2. Can my outdoor kiosk stand up to the elements?

Unlike indoor environments, anything outdoors is always exposed to the forces of nature. Your kiosk and its parts should be properly weatherproofed for the long haul. All outdoor TouchSource systems can withstand anything nature can throw at them—whether harsh winds, snowstorms, hail, extreme heat, or rain and humidity. Our units use weatherproof paints and powder coats, more ventilation, and washable metal filters. Water mitigation channels prevent pooling and rust buildup. Each unit has commercial-grade hardware that enables it to perform will in extreme heat or freezing temperatures.

3. Will on-screen kiosk content be easily readable outside?

Outdoor kiosks differ in brightness compared to indoor units. Their screens need to be read in nearly any amount of sunlight. To achieve this, the screen brightness is over 5x higher than an indoor commercial display—rated at 2,500 nits!

4. Will my kiosk be safe from vandalism or theft?

You may wonder if your kiosk investment will be safe outside. Since these units are usually outdoors 24/7 without the usual protection of locked doors, security guards, or badge access, the threat of theft and vandalism is much higher. To protect your hardware, find out your enclosure has security measures already built in. For example, some kiosks have robust lock cylinders throughout their enclosures. This helps you to rest easy knowing your assets are safe.

5. How can I ensure my kiosk is installed properly?

Even in the worst weather or excess user interaction, your outdoor digital kiosk should not be at risk of tipping over. You’ll want to get a professional engineering analysis on the foundation and installation method. Then, get it approved by local officials. In addition to the foundation drawing, other local experts should be consulted to confirm that all necessary permits are acquired, and that no codes or regulations are violated.

Planning Checklist

Now that we’ve answered some key questions about outdoor kiosk considerations, let’s help you to best plan your project.

1. Confirm the Scope of Your Project. The first step is to have a discussion with a professional that can consult on whether installing, maintaining, and obtaining proper permits and licenses is feasible in your desired installation site. Ask questions such as:

► Can I run power to this location?

► Will there be any disruptions to surrounding locations if any construction is needed to install the power cables?

► Are there any local codes or regulations that could potentially be in violation?

► Do I need to obtain any permits?

► Will wired internet connection be an option, or should we rely on a cellular signal?

► Is the cellular signal strong enough for a reliable internet connection?

2. Determine the Right Hardware & Software. Once you have a clear understanding of what it takes to begin your outdoor digital signage project, a product consultant can help you decide what combination of software and hardware is best to achieve your goals.

3. Decide Your Budget. Due to the protections and features built into the hardware used specifically in outdoor situations, hardware can cost anywhere from 2-3x as much as a similar indoor solution. Costs additional to the initial hardware and software investment, such as infrastructure modification and power cable installation, are roughly 40% of that total investment.

In Conclusion

Outdoor digital signage can offer serious value to your organization. With a kiosk, you’re bound to increase foot traffic, usage, visibility, and customer interactivity. Proper planning and budgeting for these items will lead to a much better experience from conception to implementation.

Need help planning your outdoor kiosk solution? Schedule a free consulting session with a TouchSource expert.

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