To effectively deploy the mobile POS technology, it is imperative that iPad enclosures are secure, easy to use and tastefully incorporated into the business’s marketing and POS strategies. Enter the secure, rugged iPad kiosk enclosure, a long name for a simple framework of containing, mounting and showcasing the iPad’s many apps. The result is customer convenience and the ability for companies to instantly gather data on traffic, satisfaction, sales, interest in products, and more.
The word “kiosk” immediately brings to mind the stand-alone, boxy information stations we’ve all seen in banks, hotel lobbies, airports and malls. When used in a mobile environment, however, think “shrink.” The mobile iPad kiosk enclosures are simply secure frames for iPads that can be mounted to walls and countertops for simple and fast POS applications. These frames become a virtual kiosk, as a self-service point of information, transaction and feedback.
An interesting usage for iPad kiosk enclosures can be found at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, where customized apps help patrons navigate and learn more about the various exhibits. The frame was custom-finished by nClosures to complement the Museum’s exhibits, and offers a secure solution to the specific proprietary app developed by the Museum for specific displays. (Image, right - used with permission from nClosures).
iPad kiosk enclosures are manufactured by many companies, and in general include similar features. For example, most are mountable to counter-tops, floors or walls, incorporate locks for security, and may be customized by tablet choice.
The Lilipad kiosk enclosure has unique features, including a completely integrated magnetic stripe reader. Additionally, the Lilipad tablet enclosure offers a plug-and-go functionality independent of the need for recharging. The product is ADA compliant and has achieved Apple approval.
“The iPad makes a compelling POS and self-service device for many reasons, including price point, compact form-factor, compelling user-interface and flexible software options,” noted Adam Aronson, Principal of Lilipad tablet kiosk enclosures “The key to deploying these systems successfully is to ensure that the user pairs the correct hardware and software. Deploying sub-par products can negatively impact the customer's experience and the company’s brand.”
Aronson noted some “red flags” when selecting a tablet kiosk enclosure:
1). Ensure you source a non-metallic iPad enclosure. Contrary to some claims, all metal enclosures reduce wireless transmission range and data throughput. That's why Apple demands that no case include or be manufactured from metal.
2). All cables should be completely hidden by the enclosure to prevent tampering.
3). A variety of mounting solutions (free-standing, counter-top, wall-mount, swivel etc) will help you deploy into a larger range of site conditions.
4). The mag-stripe reader should be isolated from the dock connector. If your kiosk enclosure provider connects their mag-stripe reader directly to the dock connector on the iPad, you risk damage to the dock connector over time as cards get swiped repeatedly. This is especially true of self-service applications, which are typically subject to more abuse.
5). Your iPad POS device should offer pass-through power so you do not have to take the iPad out at the end of the day to recharge it.
6). Secure anti-tamper screws or a lock with at least 5 pins (to ensure you don't have the same lock as someone else) are a necessity to prevent employee and customer theft or tampering.
7). Clients considering larger deployments (or larger clients with more risk exposure) should consider a solution that provides a secure card reader with encryption and tokenization. An advanced back-end solution is required to support these features, but it will shift the liability for stolen customer credit card information from the deployer to the provider of the back-end system. This is becoming critical for larger retailers with higher risk exposures.
Pictured above is a floor or counter mount ADA-compliant Lilipad iPod enclosure. The company manufactures a variety of framing and mounting options (Image courtesy Lilipad, reprinted by permission)
Another option is the Rhino Elite Services from MMF Kiosk, a lockable, mountable tablet enclosure for iPad 1 or iPad2. It offers a credit card reader, Home button and front and rear camera openings. (Image, right - courtesy of MMF POS, reprinted by permission)
For businesses simply looking for a swipe for a secure POS enclosure, the iPad Kiosk 360 Credit Card Swipe might be the answer. It’s compatible with Magtek’s iDynamo Swipe, and features a range of angles and movements to accommodate iPad design while providing secure protection. (Image, left - courtesy of Magtek, reprinted by permission)
The possibilities for using mobile iPad kiosks are virtually unlimited for businesses and service providers. Expect to find them, securely encasing an iPad, in restaurants, hospitals, retail establishments, universities and more.