The Rocky Mountains of self service

| by Ben Wheeler
The Rocky Mountains of self service

Photo courtesy of iStock.

The greatest barrier to expansion west of the United States came from the challenges on the slopes of the Rocky Mountains. 

As Wikipedia explains, "the Rocky Mountains stretch more than 3,000 miles (4,800 km) from the northernmost part of British Columbia, in western Canada, to New Mexico, in the Southwestern United States." Literally, a 3000 mile barrier of rocks, snow and danger, majestically/ominously, depending on your viewpoint, standing in front of each and every trailblazer who crossed the plains.

Similarly, the rocky slopes of self-service are found within five major obstacles that will need to be climbed and conquered in a very similar way to how the pioneers meticulously conquered the Rockies in the mass migration across the United States in the mid-1800s before the Golden Spike was driven in 1869.

These five obstacles are:

  1. ADA compliance
  2. Section 508
  3. Outdoor enclosures
  4. EMV
  5. Browser control

These five obstacles have cost more money and more unquantifiable loss than any other aspects of doing self service. Here is why.

ADA: it's the law

ADA compliance is not merely a nice thing to do for the end user, it is the law! 

If you miss the boat on ADA, advocacy groups will continue to use kiosk deployments as a way to drive attention and money to their cause. They make their points and their dollars via mistakes or oversights that are being made by people who just didn't bother dealing with the issue. Consider the Redbox lawsuit settlement.

Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 takes the physical aspects of ADA to a higher level: Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. § 794d) requires the federal government to ensure that the electronic and information technology (kiosk software, served websites) that it develops, procures, maintains or uses is accessible to all persons with disabilities. 

The outcome is having ADA issues that will result in lawsuits that can overwhelm a kiosk OEM or deployer. Consider the Southwest Airlines ADA 508 lawsuit

Outdoor enclosures

Although not regulated as law enforceable by the US government, Mother Nature and her elements still pose a great threat to the kiosk deployer. Rain, snow, sunshine, salt and wind all play havoc on the electronics of a kiosk system. Simple things like not enough air and/or too much air are bad for a kiosk.

Here is what I know about the subject. NEMA 4 (x), NEMA 12 and IP 65 are the governing body standards for anything outdoors. These standards are set by American National Standards Institute and National Electrical Manufacturers Association. For more on IP 65 and NEMA 4, check out this overview of standards for outdoor digital signage.

IP 65 is the European standard issued to electronic enclosure manufacturers to indicate the ingress protection the device has. In general, IP 65 is the standard that outdoor digital signage users should be looking for as it protects from falling rainfall, splashes, dust and other elements, but an IP 65 LCD enclosure or TV will still allow air to circulate from underneath (often through a clever filtration system to prevent water getting inside) to prevent over heating.

NEMA 4 (x) is a similar rating system in the US. The NEMA guidelines also dictate the conditions a device can work in, and although the two rating systems use different criteria in their assessment of outdoor enclosures, NEMA 4 (or NEMA 4 x for added corrosion resistance) is the standard that outdoor digital signage should adhere too.

Why EMV matters

As for EMV, Bill Prichard, senior manager for co-op financial services at MasterCard, said, "As of April 2016, EMV-compliant merchants within MasterCard's network reported a 54 percent annual decrease in counterfeit card fraud – while merchants without EMV security saw counterfeit fraud rise by 77 percent year over year." 

Browser control concerns

Regarding browser control, LinkNYC has installed 400 Wi-Fi kiosks across three boroughs in New York City. Lesson learned: If you can't control the access of the self-service device you're serving, it will control you, your project and your destiny.

Now you have some touch points to think about as you identify kiosk companies and self-service solution providers.

Topics: ADA Compliance, ATMs, Commentary, DVD Kiosks, Enclosures / Surrounds, Government

Ben Wheeler

Ben Wheeler, known as The KioskGuy, is a long time kiosk industry executive who assists companies with kiosk solutions.

wwwView Ben Wheeler's profile on LinkedIn

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