Braving the great outdoors: Part 3 Basic checklist for protecting your outdoor investment

Jan. 24, 2012 | by Michael Ionescu

s you may have already gathered from my previous blogs about outdoor kiosks, I'm a huge proponent of keeping kiosks simple but effective. This week, I wanted to spend some time on some basic recommendations for protection. Let's face it; the kiosk is going outside. It's going to get dirty and rained on, and that usually doesn't mean anything good. As sensitive as some of the equipment can be, I wanted to review some of the most important precautions for protection.

One-year warranty: Most manufacturers offer at most a one-year warranty on outdoor kiosks. If you can't get a one-year warranty or some kind of guarantee against manufacturer defect, you really want to rethink your purchase. There is no guarantee how your kiosks will react to all environmental conditions. Some of the first outdoor kiosks I bought rusted within the first month of being outdoors despite its "rust-proof" coating. Either the manufacturer didn't know what they were doing(which is completely possible), or despite the manufacturer's precautions and coatings, the kiosks still rusted because of the high humidity and rain in the area, which means the design needs to be rethought. Protect yourself as much as possible. Warranties that are longer than a year don't exist yet for any outdoor kiosks, but I'm hoping that as hardware becomes more robust, two- and three-year warranties might become available.

Electrical protection: I think this goes without saying, but protect the electrical cords. There are two main ways that I would suggest. The first is by buying industrial strength steel mesh wire casing that goes around the sensitive wires to protect them against the elements and vandalism. An even better solution, which takes a bit more pre-planning is manufacturing a space at the bottom of the kiosk for the wires to enter. This solution provides virtually no exposure of the wires to the public. Protecting the wires is key, especially if you have a kiosk in city environments where rats will pretty much chew through anything, even steel mesh if given enough time.

Kiosk canopies: It really doesn't matter how fortified your outdoor kiosk is against the elements. I would sincerely recommend building some kind of canopy or providing the kiosk some kind of overhead protection from the elements. Why, you ask, if you spend the money to build a kiosk to withstand rain, snow, humidity, etc? Because if it's pouring down rain, no one is going to want to use a kiosk while being rained on. People are mostly motivated to use something by ease of accessibility. If there's already a barrier to using the device, then you're losing part of your potential audience.

Topics: Outdoor Kiosks

Michael Ionescu / Since 2004, Ionescu has built a proprietary software/hardware package for state tourism and hotels. Ionescu believes successful kiosk networks are built upon ongoing collaboration between the client and provider to develop flexible systems that clients and users are happy with for years.
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