Nonprofessionals might refer to any big screen in a public location as a ‘Digital Sign’, but everyone in this industry understands that while digital signage is a concept that combines all the possible usages of public screens, the kiosk is a very specific service that allows users to interact directly with the screen using a dedicated app (Information, forms, location finding, etc.), most likely by touching the screen (There are less popular methods: smart phone connection, a digital pen, gestures, voice). I suppose that an ATM machine can be counted as a sort of kiosk.
So clearly, a generic digital sign is not a kiosk, but what about vice versa? Is a kiosk digital sign? Should it be?
I strongly believe it should! Typically, kiosk serves one person, even in a very public and crowded place (movie theater, mall, hospital), but when unused, it serves no one, and still located in highly visible point in the venue. This is a clear waste of the asset — good location, perfectly operable screen — not monetized (ads, promotions, even infotainment).
We have seen truly great and innovative kiosk apps out there, and we keep seeing that when the kiosk is idle, it presents a simple message (i.e. “touch here to start”), instead of presenting meaningful information. This can be easily solved by combining digital signage software capabilities, especially using the CMS for presenting relevant content, until the kiosk mode is required. This combination can be achieved by adding kiosk features into the classical signage CMS — mainly for simple kiosk needs, or vice versa — this can fit for the more complicated kiosk functionalities — using the classical digital signage, until the kiosk is ‘called’ (usually by a simple trigger event, such as touching the screen), and ‘taking control’ over the screen.
So, to answer the question in the title, kiosk does not have to be more than a kiosk, but given the potential, it is highly recommended, to “upgrade” the simple kiosk into advanced digital signage interactive kiosk, making sure the idle time is not wasted.
With a minor investment, any business that uses kiosk can monetize this important asset, by adding classical signage capabilities to any kiosk.