As I was preparing the articles of the last couple of weeks that included a range of pricing for visitor management kiosks available today around the world I realised it was time to break down the different types of hardware that can be used as visitor management kiosks for your visitor management compliance.
Visitor management kiosks can be as simple as an iPad or as sophisticated as an airport style self-serve kiosk. What are the more popular styles of kiosks that are being used around the world today for visitor and contract management?
The first thing we need to understand is you can use any existing PC in your business as a visitor management kiosk, this option has the lowest cost way to introduce a self-serve kiosk for your visitors or contractors. You can use a PC with a keyboard and mouse or any all in one touchscreen that are commonly available today. The kiosk just needs to be plugged into your network and given access to the Internet for the visitor management system to work. Many customers today start with a laptop. Remember if you install a laptop as a visitor management kiosk in a reception or lobby area that at times could be unmanned you will need to tie down your laptop so it does not disappear.
Some customers don’t install kiosks at all they use existing PCs managed by reception or admin staff or security guards in Gatehouses, using existing PCs from your business is the lowest cost way to introduce the hardware required for visitor management software.
Why would you use a visitor management kiosk
This is a great question, there are a number of reasons why you would put in place a visitor management kiosk I will list the most common below.
1/ Your reception or lobby area is so busy with visitors a self-serve visitor management kiosk will take some pressure off the reception/admin staff
2/ You have had to redesign your reception or lobby area and you are moving your reception/admin staff away from the front desk. We call this an unmanned reception desk . You would put in a visitor management kiosk allowing visitors to self serve when they turn up sending an email or SMS alert to the host.
3/ You would like to introduce a mini induction for visitors to complete before they come onto your location, we call this visitor compliance. A self-serve visitor management kiosk will allow you to create a series of questions or statements that the visitors must acknowledge electronically before continuing into your building.
4/ For evacuation purposes you would like employees to sign in and sign out every time they come and go from the building. A kiosk can be set up allowing the employees to swipe their existing access control cards every time they arrive and leave the building keeping the evacuation reports as accurate as possible.
5/ You have been using visitor management books and just got your annual renewal for more visitor management books!
What are the most popular hardware products for visitor management kiosks?
The iPad visitor management kiosk is limited to signing in and signing out visitors, employees and contractors manually through the kiosk, no USB ports to add USB RFID readers for existing access control cards, USB bar code scanners or USB Label printers. Brother has recently bought out a Bluetooth wireless visitor label printer that will work with iPads. IPads do still have the restriction of no USB ports to add other peripheral devices.
IPads are most popular in schools, back office for employees and for evacuation management tools.
Tablets with USB ports (at least 3 USB ports required)
Tablets can be used for signing in and signing out visitors, employees and contractors manually and with electronic swipe cards to scan through the kiosk, by adding USB RFID readers for existing access control cards, USB bar code scanners to scan bar code on visitor pass, USB Label printers to print visitor passes.
Tablets would be the lowest cost visitor management kiosk that can handle the common peripherals included with visitor management kiosks today including USB RFID readers to read existing access control cards of employees and contractors, USB barcode scanners to read barcodes on visitor passes, employee cards and contractor cards. tablets can also have a USB visitor label printers like DYMO or Brother or the Bluetooth Brother visitor label printer.
All in one touch screens can start as low as 700 dollars today, you can google all in one touch screens and find many to choose from, you may already have a supplier to your company of hardware like IBM or Compaq and you can ask them for a couple of options for an all in one touch screen for visitor management.
Surface Pro 3 has been very popular at the end of 2014
Airport style self serve all included touch screen kiosk
These corporate style visitor kiosks below generally start around $4,640 and go up to as much as $40,000 for fully water and weather proof units. The RFID reader, bar card scanner and visitor label printer are all included and built into the unit. These units can desk mount, wall mount or add a stand and create a free standing kiosk for your foyer.
Brand your kiosk with company branded images or any image you want to give a powerful first impression to visitors when they sign in.