Kiosk building: still about telling your story

Mercedes BenzWhen you consider who has money to spending on marketing, auto manufacturers seem to have no shortage.

This past February, my brother and I went to the International Auto Show in Toronto for his birthday. Being a communications person more than a car buff, I went to look at marketing, drool over the cars that I will likely never be able to afford.

While I was there, I got looking at marketing messages that various auto manufacturers displaying and how they were displaying them. Things that caught my attention included: 

  • The Subaru Impreza as being “Well equipped” rather than fully loaded or as a base line model. 
  • A geo-location app that gave you a virtual tour of the car’s engine depending on where you stood. But one thing that most every manufacturer had for every car was a kiosk to get the car’s specifications. 

Many of them were using iPads with some sort of app, which makes it easy to build a kiosk considering the cost of kiosk software. We’ve discussed collecting research data using public kiosks, and so I decided some research was in order. 

Kiosk software was much cheaper than I expected. Some apps were free, some were paid, but for my experiment, I finally settled on one called Kiosk Pro, which comes in a free (Kiosk Pro Lite), a $5 version (Kiosk Pro) and a $45 version (Pro Plus). It is essentially a web browser that supports either internet web browsing or will work from a local source. JavaScript in the browser is also modified so that you can store data either to be sent when an internet connection is restored, or that you can grab from the iPad at a given time. 

The software allowed me to have the kiosk pull content and settings configuration, rather than manually configuring multiple iPads individually. This worked well as the Kiosk Pro developers provided the XML template samples, which were set up in the same preference order as the settings screen. Having the content on the device means that you don’t have to worry about a slow or dropped internet connection. 

With these parts figured out, building a kiosk was as easy as building a custom website and rest became easy. For my demonstration, I grabbed some content, and proceeded to do what communicators do: develop content and tell a story.