There’s never been a more opportune time to deploy kiosks. Revenue opportunities abound and industry research indicates that consumers often prefer self-service over the traditional option of speaking to an employee. Cinemark Theaters, the third-largest chain in the U.S., has attributed its record-setting concession sales to self-service kiosks.
But, what’s the downside to deploying kiosks? Well, machines break and, unless they’ve been outfitted with some way of communicating their broken state, kiosk owners lose out on revenue if they don’t realize what’s happening. Moreover, customers get frustrated and even your brand can suffer due to the sight of an out-of-order kiosk.
The good news is that thanks to the technology wrought by the Internet of Things, kiosks that once went out into the field to operate autonomously, can now come to life communicating all types of information and data about their state, their usage and even their health.
When kiosks do go down, it’s typically due to one of three major causes. Here’s a rundown:
In the case of hardware, it’s a problem caused by components that break or wear-out. In certain environmental conditions, sensors may become blocked or otherwise inoperable.
Ramifications: This can result in expensive repairs and extensive downtime due to waiting for new parts to come in, scheduling service calls and time to repair the machine. Consequently, this can be very disruptive to the business and the customer experience.
Remedy: Preventative maintenance can be deployed to minimize these failures, but the real cost saver is predictive maintenance – using the right part or service at the right time to avoid any downtime.
In the case of software, new deployments or software updates can introduce bugs, performance issues or failure.
Ramifications: Failed software deployments can shut down entire kiosk fleets, resulting in lost revenue.
Remedy: Monitoring software like any other device component is critical to prevent unnecessary downtime. Having robust software deployment and rollback capabilities are essential to effective fleet management.
In case of a network problem, any number of issues could arise. There may be times when a network is unavailable due to a situation at a carrier, extreme weather conditions or natural disasters.
Ramifications: Whether the kiosk is wired, on WiFi or connected via wireless carrier, a network is likely to be involved and if any of the above problem arise, it could result in downtime for the kiosk. Naturally, downtime equals lost revenue opportunities.
Remedy: The ability to store and forward messages during network outages, manage offline payment scenarios and to respond to queries with locally cached data will drastically reduce the dependency of a kiosk on the network connection and provide a seamless experience to the user and operator.
Downtime affects businesses large and small. But, the Internet of Things is transforming how industries — especially the kiosk industry – will respond to downtime. Thanks to the IoT’s ability to communicate back and forth between a device in the field and the enterprise, operators can easily stay abreast of events taking place in remote locations.
Broken hardware, software failures and network disruptions will happen but the Internet of Things will help operators proactively manage downtime to minimize the impact to the business and its customers.
Don’t let downtime be the downfall of your operations. Find out how an IoT platform like Canopy can give you real-time visibility and help keep your devices up and running.