AURES KIOSK Solutions: where do we stand in terms of Innovation?

29 August 2023

By Jean-Christophe CALVEZ – Director of Kiosk Engineering and Industrialisation – AURES Group

As you know, AURES Technologies started designing, developing and manufacturing interactive ordering and Self-Check-Out kiosks in 2018.

To achieve this, the Group has set up and commissioned a dedicated KIOSK team and entered into exclusive agreements with an industrial partner that owns and operates several factories in the Paris region (specialising in sheet metal work in particular); all AURES kiosk solutions are thus designed and manufactured in France.

AURES dedicated kiosk R&D team, made up of mechanical and electronic designers, as well as test and support technicians, is capable of handling the entire product development cycle. This ranges from the design of technical solutions, their specifications, development and prototyping, functional qualification tests, industrialisation; this with a view to series production, approval to the various standards, drawing up technical documentation – and support for production sites in the development of assembly/integration methods and final inspection and control.

Where are we today?

Our range of KIOSK solutions – including KRYSTAL, KOSMOS, MINI-KOMET, KOMET, KOLARIS, KALEA, KYRA -and now KWARTZ* – has expanded considerably; we now cover all segments of the retail and point-of-sale (and service) sectors (ordering kiosks, SCO (self-service self-check-out) kiosks, Click & Collect kiosks, reception, check-in and check-out kiosks (hotels, hospitals and medical services, etc).

Given the current economic climate and the specific constraints of our international KIOSK markets, our Research & Development teams have done everything they can to rapidly define and launch a number of ideas for optimising these solutions.

  • 1st line of approach and development: universal kiosks for international deployment

In the KIOSK sector, we are faced with specific local and regional constraints in terms of standards and approvals. Obligations and required standards in terms of electrical safety, consumption, operating voltages, etc. differ from one continent and sometimes even from one region or country to another.

At AURES, we take extreme care to comply with these standards. Over time, this has meant that power distribution wiring harnesses have become more complex in order to meet the requirements of different countries’ standards. As a result, it became difficult to anticipate the installation of kiosks when we didn’t know in advance in which country they would be installed.

To overcome this constraint and enable differentiation (for localisation) at the “latest, we rethought the design of our kiosks towards ever greater adaptability in order to rationalise our production. This has resulted in a reduction in assembly time and component stock management, which will benefit our customers both in terms of production lead times and product costs; while offering features that will help limit intervention budgets and therefore the TCO (total cost of ownership) of the equipment.

  • New exclusive AURES Controlled Power Supply Module

The major innovation in terms of international adaptability and compatibility of our kiosks has been the development of an exclusive AURES multi-voltage Controlled Power Supply Module, for which a patent is pending.

Thanks to this configurable and communicating Power Supply Module, the new AURES kiosks will be immediately adaptable, simply and quickly, to the rules and standards in force in most countries and regions of the world.

AURES will be able to supply a type of kiosk adapted to virtually any geographical area, with minimal differentiation; and above all, it will become possible to make certain adjustments at the last minute, just before delivery to the customer, particularly with regard to wiring aspects (without having to suffer, for example, from changes in the form factors and characteristics of regular power supplies).

Connected to the kiosk’s central unit via a USB link, the Controlled Power Supply Module provides status feedback and manages the power supply voltages of the various peripherals connected to it.

  • Remote control of sub-systems and peripherals

As well as being almost immediately adaptable to the local standards, this Module allows you to take remote control of the kiosks, especially of the sub-systems and integrated peripherals: a significant advantage for unattended kiosk equipment!

Turning a peripheral off or on remotely is thus child’s play. The kiosk operator will no longer have to call in a maintenance technician on site to reset the device: it can be controlled and put back into service from a distance, simply by switching the peripheral’s power supply off and on again, without even having to restart the entire kiosk. This is because we can selectively control the different supply voltages of the concerned peripherals.

  • Quick and easy installation and maintenance

Optimising the design of these new kiosks also implied reducing their weight.

On the KRYSTAL and KWARTZ models, this is achieved by virtually eliminating the door structure(s) and using lightweight sheet metal 1.5mm thick. The result is a significant reduction in the weight of the hardware (less than 30kg for the new KWARTZ for example). As a result, a single trained technician is now capable of installing or dismantling a complete kiosk (free-standing or wall-mounted), with a significant impact on the cost of deploying solutions.

AURES has also reduced the number of tools needed to remove the associated devices from its kiosks, with a positive impact on maintenance times. For example, we have opted for Torx* screws, which are widely spread in the automotive industry. They are easier for operators to use and more durable than ordinary screws, which can be damaged by repeated unscrewing and screwing.

* Torx is the registered trademark of a type of screw and spanner, characterised by a six-pointed star-shaped head. Some people prefer to call these screws ‘star screws’, without mentioning the brand name.

  •   Optimised flexibility, modularity and customisation

In addition to adaptability to the electrical constraints of different regions of the world, thanks to the Controlled Power Supply Module mentioned above, AURES has developed a non-supporting front panel for its new KWARTZ kiosk, that can be easily customised and replaced on site.

This is an obvious advantage when it comes to maintaining a ‘clean’ appearance in the event of damage or vandalism, or when it comes to easily modifying the client’s and/or operator’s graphic and brand identity.

This modularity and flexibility in the design of new-generation AURES kiosk solutions allow operators to fully customise this part of the kiosk front panel (with their logo, their colours, with a specific, made-to-measure decoration, etc). This is possible thanks to the possibility of printing the front of the kiosks in quadrichromy (four colour process) – and avoid the constraints of traditional silk-screen printing and its tools – or of sticking, whose durability and imperfections linked to the installation do not always offer a satisfactory result to the eye.

KWARTZ kiosks (like the others in the range) also have a dedicated area designed to accommodate and easily integrate the vast majority of electronic payment terminals on the market, in compliance with current CB electronic payment standards.

The payment terminal is no longer fixed directly to the metal sheet of the front panel, but is housed in a removable support niche, attached to the front panel from the inside.

This means that AURES can support every family of electronic payment terminal and easily adapt when new payment systems come out, or when a customer wants to upgrade a terminal on one of its kiosks.

This scalability is true not only from a mechanical point of view, but also from an electrical one: the cable harnesses are pre-positioned in the EFTPOS zone –  in the same way as they are in the automotive industry, so there’s no need to run specific strands depending on the electronic payment system; this is achieved thanks to dedicated adapters covering most EFTPOS ranges and to the capabilities of the AURES Controlled Power Supply Module with its configurable voltages.

  • Conclusion: rationalising costs and IT asset management

Thanks to these various innovations and a few adjustments between essential design requirements and cost considerations, AURES has succeeded – in just a few months – in developing a new concept of quality kiosks at the best possible price for its clients.

By streamlining its design, R&D and manufacturing programmes, AURES has been in a position to meet markets’ demands for high-performance, reliable KIOSK solutions that are easy to adapt and maintain over time – whatever the region concerned – and offer truly optimised value for money and TCO.

Ps: the KWARTZ* kiosk solution will be available for sale from next October and the 4th quarter of 2023.

Jean-Christophe CALVEZ – Director of Kiosk Engineering and Industrialisation – AURES Group