Operating Systems for Self Ordering and Self Service Kiosks

Despite it being a very commonly overlooked part of a self ordering and self service kiosk decision, let’s start by establishing that your Operating System(OS) should be a critical part of your decision in how you build any software technology. So then what is the best operating system? That question is like asking, what’s the best shoe? I’d respond by saying, “For what?” Every operating system is designed for a purpose and those purposes are often very different. For shoes, if you’re hiking up Mt. Everest you’d want climbing shoes. If you’re racing on a track you’d want track spikes. If you’re on the beach you’d want sandals. If you’re going to a wedding, you’d want dress shoes. Same principle applies for operating systems. Some are designed for mobile. Some are for desktop. Some are for both. Some are designed for security. Some are designed for simplicity. Some are designed for complexity. Some are designed for consumers. Some are designed for experts. In this article we’re going to go over the differences in how operating systems can affect self ordering kiosks and self service kiosks.

What I’d like to do for you is to go over different operating systems and list out for you the pros and cons of those operating systems in terms of self ordering kiosks and self service kiosks.

Microsoft Windows

Windows is the most mature operating system when it comes to self ordering kiosk and self service kiosks technologies. Microsoft released the first version of windows back in 1983. Through all the iterations of windows one thing has always remained and that’s a very large development community, support community, and driver support. Because of how broad the adoption of Windows has been throughout the history of computers, it’s no surprise that the same applies for self ordering kiosks. Windows is the dominant operating system when it comes to self ordering kiosk and self service kiosk solutions.

Pros and Cons of Microsoft Windows for Self Ordering and Service Kiosks

Pros

  • Mature and Ubiquitous – Windows is everywhere and the operating system has a very mature software, support, and services community.
  • Designed for Enterprise – Has decent scalability and mass installation, setup, management capabilities.
  • Massive Hardware Options – Windows has the most commercial grade hardware options in the market.
  • Massive Kiosk Software Solutions – Windows has the most software options for self ordering kiosk and self service kiosks in the market today.

Cons

  • Update/Upgrades – Updates and Upgrades can break the functionality of your self ordering kiosk and self service kiosks increasing your Total Cost of Ownership(TCO).
  • Complex – The flexibility of windows naturally makes it complex. This means you need trained professionals to install, maintain, and manage your windows based self ordering kiosk and self service kiosks.
  • Maintenance and Reliability – Windows is a maintenance heavy OS and will be unreliable if it’s not regularly maintained. This means you need trained professionals to install, maintain, and manage your windows based self ordering kiosk and self service kiosks.
  • Security – Windows is still one of the most heavily hacked operating systems in the world. There are more viruses, malware, ransomware, and hack tools for windows than any other OS. This OS probably requires the most time and money to properly secure and lock down for a self ordering kiosk and self service kiosk environment.

Apple iOS

iOS is a robust and reliable mobile operating system that was developed by Apple, Inc. It’s main purpose was originally for smartphone and tablets. iOS has a design and interface that is simple to use and easy to learn. These are some of the major strengths that iOS brings to the table. Many iOS based point of sale companies are starting to develop self ordering and self service kiosk solutions for iOS. The variety of solutions are certainly nowhere near Windows, but the community is definitely growing with the demand of self ordering kiosks and self service kiosks.

Pros and Cons of Apple iOS for Self Ordering Kiosk

Pros

  • Simple and Easy – iOS by design is a very simple and easy operating system for anyone to use. User Friendly.
  • Relatively Low Maintenance – iOS doesn’t require the same kind of maintenance and technical support staff as Windows
  • Low Cost – iOS doesn’t have a license cost it comes with the devices.
  • Generally Reliable – iOS is a stable and reliable operating system.
  • Security – Generally more secure than most operating systems.

Cons

  • Consumer Grade – iOS was made for consumers not enterprise. Apple has been adding features to make iOS a more enterprise friendly platform. Apple at it’s core is a consumer focused company and barely makes technologies geared for enterprise or commercial applications.
  • Limited Hardware – iOS can only run on iPads, iPods, and iPhones. This greatly limits the size of your screen and the mounting solutions you can have. Consumer grade hardware is not as reliable or rugged as commercial grade. Consumer grade warranty and support.
  • Updates – iOS updates/upgrades have been notorious for breaking POS and Self Ordering Kiosk and self service kiosk applications. iOS does not have the ability to update the software in real time.
  • Limited Software – there are not nearly as many self ordering kiosk and self service kiosk solutions available on iOS
  • Mobile OS – iOS is purely designed for mobile which it does very well. However it was not originally designed for the needs of a self ordering kiosk and self service kiosk.

Android

Android is a mobile operating system that is owned and developed by Google, Inc. It’s primary purpose was for smartphones and tablets. However Android now powers smart watches, smart glasses, home appliances, cars, homes, cameras, smart tv’s, game consoles, and many more. Android currently powers over over 2 billion devices which is exponentially greater than any of it’s competitors. The flexibility and low cost for adoption of this operating system makes it a great choice for companies to build technologies around it. The user base, development community, and low cost make it an excellent choice. When it comes to self ordering kiosks and self service kiosks, Android doesn’t shine as brightly. The self ordering kiosk and self service kiosk community has created some Android based technologies, but they are not as powerful, robust, or dynamic as your Windows self ordering and self service kiosk technologies. One of the reasons for this is also because Android adoption for the point of sale industry has not been as wide spread as Windows or iOS.

Pros and Cons of Google Android for Self Ordering Kiosk

Pros

  • Low cost – Android is open source so there are no license fees to use Android.
  • Large Community and Adoption – Android is used on over 1.4 billion devices
  • Robust Hardware Options – Android is available on Commercial grade self ordering kiosk and self service kiosk hardware. There is a lot of driver support for peripherals and devices for Android.
  • Relatively Low Maintenance – Android doesn’t require the same kind of maintenance and technical support staff as Windows

Cons

  • Fragmentation – Android OS ecosystem is notorious for having many devices that have so many different OS versions. It can make maintaining a self ordering kiosk and self service kiosk software application difficult to support on a variety of Android OS versions. This can also limit the amount of bleeding edge features that come with the latest OS because of the need for backwards compatibility.
  • Updates – Android updates/upgrades POS and Self Ordering Kiosk and self service kiosk applications. Android does not have the ability to update the software in real time.
  • Management – Android can be difficult to manage remotely and mass deploy.
  • Lockdown – Android can be difficult to completely lockdown similar as iOS
  • Mobile OS – Android OS is really designed to be a mobile operating system so their original focus was definitely not for self ordering kiosks and self service kiosks.

ChromeOS

ChromeOS is a linux based operating system developed by Google, Inc. This operating system is quite different than its counterparts in that this is a cloud-first type of operating system. This really means that this OS is very much dependent on cloud technologies. ChromeOS brings with it a wide range of benefits because of its cloud-first design and makes it a very powerful operating system especially for use with self ordering and self service kiosks. ChromeOS has the lowest adoption when comparing it to Windows, iOS, or Android however, it is also the newest out of the group. ChromeOS also has the least amount of self ordering kiosk and self service solutions available today. This is mainly due to the fact that the point of sale industry hasn’t adopted ChromeOS which has limited the software, integrations, and hardware devices that are supported with ChromeOS. Despite these limitations when it comes to self ordering and self service kiosks, ChromeOS has capabilities that are better suited for self ordering and self service kiosks that are far superior to other operating systems.

Pros and Cons of Google ChromeOS for Self Ordering Kiosk

Pros

  • Simplicity – The easiest operating system to use. With Kiosk mode the system automatically boots into the kiosk application and stays locked in a single application.
  • Maintenance – Lowest cost to maintain. Easiest to maintain. Updates and upgrades are automatically managed and requires zero user input.
  • Fast and Smooth Operation – Light operating system requires minimum resources so the memory and processor can be utilized for the performance of the kiosk application.
  • Cloud-Centric – ChromeOS is designed to be on the cloud. This means that it’s the only true cloud operating system for self ordering kiosks and self service kiosks.
  • Security – ChromeOS has the most advanced technology for blocking against malware and viruses. It’s better protected against security threats than any other self ordering kiosk and self service kiosk operating system in the industry.
  • Single Application – Designed for single applications which means it’s better at running one application better than all other operating systems because most operating systems are designed to run multiple applications at once.
  • Scalability – ChromeOS is designed for scalability which means that it can be just as easy to deploy and manage 1 or a million ChromeOS systems.

Cons

  • Unique – ChromeOS is not a very commonly used operating system for self ordering kiosk and self service kiosks. This means that there are very few self ordering kiosk and self service kiosk solutions built for this operating system.
  • Hardware – ChromeOS has limited driver support which means that there is not as broad range of self ordering kiosk and self service kiosk hardware choices as you would have with Windows.

Conclusion

There are many differences in each operating system. Every Operating System is designed for a different focus and purpose. However none of the were specifically designed for self ordering kiosks and self service kiosks. We believe that some operating systems will be better suited for self ordering kiosk and self service kiosks vs. others. We hope the information in this article is helpful for learning about those differences.

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