Self-Service Kiosks in Cultural Institutions and Festivals

Self-Service Kiosks in Cultural Institutions and Festivals: Enhancing Visitor Engagement and Experience

Cultural institutions play a pivotal role in society as they perceive, conserve, and disseminate knowledge, values, and information to the public in various ways. Deploying self-service kiosks in cultural institutions such as museums, libraries, festivals, and mosques enhances visitor engagement and experience. Improved visitor experiences lead to enhanced customer engagement. Let us delve into the practicality of creating diverse and engaging visitor experiences in these settings, one by one.

Self-service kiosks for museums

Museums are buildings where objects or artefacts of historic, cultural, or scientific value are stored and displayed. When museums are professionally managed and they feature objects of value, they attract people in large numbers. Museum curators can enhance visitor engagement when the value or importance of the exhibits is properly conveyed to the visitors. A great way to achieve this is by deploying self-service or interactive kiosks. An interactive kiosk can be used for multiple purposes in a museum setting, such as conveying information, museum navigation, managing ticketing, etc. Let’s go through each one of them.

self service kiosk for museum
self-service ticket kiosk in museum

Features of a self-service museum kiosk

Seamless ticketing and entry - Long lines at ticket windows have become a much common sight in today's busy museum scene. The visitors are forced to wait at the counters for several minutes, especially in the peak hours, which ultimately impacts their museum experience. The inclusion of self-service museum kiosks alleviates the discomfort of lengthy line-ups by automating the ticketing procedure and providing customers with a quick and easy way to purchase tickets. Yes, the incorporation of self-service ticketing kiosks has emerged as a revolutionary solution in improving the overall visitor experience.

When visitors approach these intuitive terminals, they are equipped to quickly manage the ticket buying process, hence avoiding the necessity of extended wait times. In a matter of seconds, customers may choose the tickets they want and proceed with payment. This quick transaction maximizes operational efficiency for museum employees while simultaneously improving visitor happiness.

Consequently, visitors are granted additional time to fully engage with the diverse array of displays and events, resulting in an incredibly engaging and unforgettable museum experience for everyone.

Convey useful information - There are multiple ways to enhance the overall museum experience for visitors. And they are listed below.

  • Audio functionality

By integrating an audio functionality into the kiosk machine, the visitors can pick their desired language and listen to the recorded narration of a particular exhibit displayed in the museum.

  • Augmented reality

leveraging the benefits of Augmented Reality (AR) has the potential to enhance visitor experience to the next level. AR can be used to recreate historical events, gain a deep and extensive understanding of the artefacts through immersive learning, access animated video contents etc.

  • Virtual reality in museums

VR in museums is trending right now! Self-service kiosks integrated with VR technology create engaging experiences for visitors by bringing exhibits to life. VR transports visitors to another dimension, location, or time, adding context to an exhibit and allowing them to experience it in its actual scale. Indeed, VR takes storytelling in museums to the next level. Offering virtual tours is another possibility for incorporating VR into museum settings. Virtual tours provide an incredible opportunity for visitors to experience museum exhibits remotely from a different location. Yes, visitors need not physically visit the museum but can experience the wonders from their own location, for example, from another country! Isn’t it brilliant? Virtual Reality also facilitates the 'virtual interaction' experience for visitors, allowing them to feel and inspect artefacts which would otherwise not be possible.

museum kiosk

Museum navigation - Interactive kiosks, with the help of maps, can guide or assist visitors in navigating the entire museum with ease. Finding a specific exhibit can be a daunting task in a large museum. Interactive kiosks loaded with detailed maps of the museum can guide visitors to a specific location or exhibit of interest without seeking help from anyone. Interactive kiosks can also educate visitors about approaching events, special offers, new exhibit information, or any specific facilities offered on the premises of the museum, with much precision.

Collect feedback from visitors - Collecting feedback from visitors helps museum authorities gather valuable data pertaining to the quality of the services offered, the value of the exhibits displayed, and analyse any room for improvement. The authorities can also conduct surveys regarding visitor experience or ask visitors to provide a visitor experience rating via the kiosk interface.

Accept donations - Self-service kiosks can also accept donations from visitors. The museum authorities may run a purpose-oriented donation campaign or collect donations from patrons to meet the running expenses.

Invite visitors for events - If museum authorities want to organize an event, the interactive kiosk can help visitors learn about it. The authorities may invite visitors in the most engaging manner.

Benefits of Self-service Museum Kiosk

The benefits of deploying self-service kiosks in museum settings are many. And they are listed below.

  • Improved visitor experience – Visitors can fully engage themselves and gain a better understanding of the exhibits, artefacts, historical personalities, events etc. Of course, the overall museum experience can be improved to a great extent.
  • Reduce waiting times – the visitors need not wait in the long lines for tickets; hence reducing the wait times for visitors. Visitors come in large numbers, especially in on-season peak hours.
  • Bring down operational cost – the museum authorities may significantly reduce the staffing requirements. The visitors need not rely anymore on employees for the purpose of navigation or gathering information about an exhibit. This reflects on the operational cost.
  • Gather insights – the authorities can gain valuable insights regarding how visitors make use of the self-service kiosk functionalities. These insights are highly useful to track the preferences of the visitors. Based on these insights, the authorities can analyse the utility of the functionalities and provide the necessary tweaks and refinement, if needed.
  • Improved revenue - In recent years, Virtual Reality has become a crowd-puller for museums, attracting visitors from all over the world through remote access. Museum exhibits can be accessed remotely by a large number of users without confining to local visitors. The more visitors there are, the better the revenue.

Museum of the Future, Dubai – a real world example!

The Museum of the Future, established by the Dubai Future Foundation, is located in Dubai and stands as one of the finest examples of how an immersive experience can transform the conventional museum visit. While traditional museums typically focus on the past, the Museum of the Future takes a different approach, setting its sights firmly on the future. We should appreciate the visionaries behind such a futuristic project!

The five floors of the museum are categorized into specific themes, and exhibits are set accordingly.

The fifth floor signifies the future life in space, the fourth floor is dedicated to replenishing the Earth life, focusing on Biodiversity and Ecology.

The third floor offers therapies of different kind and focusses on connecting with the Self.

The second floor is dedicated to showcase the latest technological innovations. And the first floor is meant for kids under the age of 10 and offers various interactive learning experiences and other engaging, fun-filled activities.

The museum offers top-notch, immersive experiences for people of all ages and some of them are mentioned below.

self-service kiosk machine
  • Exhibits that leverage Virtual Reality – the incorporation of VR into museum settings has revolutionised the overall museum experience by bringing together art, history, and technology, thereby creating an out-of-the-world, virtual world experience for the visitors.
  • Augmented Reality experience – By superimposing digital data and interactive components over physical exhibits, Augmented reality technology creates lively and multi-dimensional experiences for the visitors.
  • Interactive touchscreens – Interactive touchscreens are highly beneficial for museum settings as they offer the advantage of self-learning for visitors. The visitors can select the desired installation or exhibit and understand what it’s all about in no time through interactive touchscreens.
  • Audio-visual installations – a creative and careful amalgamation of audio, light and imagery conveys a story in a more immersive and engaging manner.

Self-service kiosks for libraries

Self-service kiosks for libraries are widely used in colleges, universities, and other educational institutions to manage library operations such as issuing, returning, and renewing books. Library kiosks automate these tasks and are beneficial for both patrons and staff. Patrons can go straight to the self-service kiosk and perform issuance and return tasks without any staff intervention. Staff can avoid the conventional, monotonous tasks of issuing and accepting returns, thereby involving themselves in more productive roles.

Features of library kiosks

  • Interactive touchscreen – The interactive touchscreen guides patrons to perform the routine tasks with ease and confidence.
  • Instant access of the library catalogue - The patrons can easily access the library catalogue and find out the availability status, search for items and pick their desired options via the kiosk screen.
  • Multi-language facility – The multi-language facility helps patrons to select the preferred language and navigate through the various options displayed on the kiosk touchscreen.
  • Real-time updates – The integration with Library Management Systems helps to publish real-time updates regarding the current status, access user records data, information related to previous transactions etc.
  • RFID technology – The use of RFID technology in the form of RFI-enabled kiosk has improved the overall efficiency of operations like faster checkouts and returns, improved inventory management, perform multiple item checkouts, enhanced security etc.

Benefits of library kiosks

  • Reduced waiting time – Library kiosks offer more freedom to patrons as they can manage the entire tasks all by themselves without having to wait for the designated staff.
  • Better utilization of staff – The library staff need not perform the monotonous tasks; instead, the management may reassign them to more productive and engaging roles.
  • Improved utilization of resources - The improved overall user experience urges the patrons to reconsider their existing borrowing and reading patterns and utilize the library resources in a more productive and meaningful manner.
  • Reduced expenses – bringing down the number of staff and automating the tasks reflects in the form of reduced expenses, in the long run.
  • Gather patron insights – the library kiosk gathers valuable data pertaining to borrowing patterns, preferences etc. Based on the collected data, libraries can take impactful decisions pertaining to their operations and services. A fantastic benefit, indeed!
  • Public engagement – If installed at high-traffic locales, the public or the community gets access to the library kiosk. This helps to instil the practice of reading among citizens. Well-informed citizens are an asset to the society, you know!

Self-service kiosks to manage festivals

Self-service kiosk solutions can be deployed to handle entry to festivals or events – both small and big. Big events attract huge crowds and require qualified professionals to handle ticketing and entry-related formalities. This task could be efficiently managed by a self-service ticketing kiosk. Panashi FZCO is actively involved in a ticketing kiosk project as part of the grand and colourful Sheikh Zayed Festival, which is going to be held in Abu Dhabi, this year.

The Sheikh Zayed Festival is a celebration of UAE’s rich and diverse culture by showcasing its traditions, customs, food, handicrafts, and artwork.

Features of the Sheikh Zayed Festival Ticketing Kiosk

  • Perform ticketing tasks – the ticketing kiosk performs the ticketing task in connection with the Sheikh Zayed Festival with utmost efficiency.
  • Handles single or bulk ticketing – The ticketing kiosk handles both single and bulk-ticketing requirements catering to the needs of the visitors.
  • Handles ticketing for multiple category - The ticketing kiosk is equipped to issue tickets for multiple categories, comprising children, adults, the aged, and visitors with disabilities.
  • Flexible payment options – the ticketing kiosk provides multiple payment options for visitors like cash, card, contactless, and QR code payments.

Benefits

  • Reduced wait times – Ticketing kiosk automates ticketing process efficiently, and therefore reduces wait times. Efficient ticketing process means added convenience for the visitors.
  • 24/7 ticketing – Unlike conventional ticketing counters that are managed by ticketing staff, a self-service ticketing kiosk remains operational 24/7.
  • Reduced expenses - self-service ticketing kiosk manages the repetitive, less-productive, ticketing task of the ticketing staff and serves as the perfect alternative, which in turn, brings down expenses.
  • Fast and smooth transactions – the user reads the information displayed on the kiosk screen, selects the number of tickets and does the payment. The ticket issuance or the booking confirmation receipt is received in few minutes.
  • Collect user data and insights – the ticketing authority gets access to the valuable insights related to user/visitor preferences and patterns like number of visitors during peak time, preferred ticket category, demographical insights etc.

Self-service kiosks for mosques

A self-service kiosk is a feasible investment for mosques, as the machine handles multiple tasks pertaining to charity fundraising and information dissemination. According to information published on Statista, in 2020, the United Arab Emirates had more than 9,000 mosques, with the majority located in the Emirates of Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, and Dubai.

Features of a mosque kiosk

  • Collect donations – The features of a donation kiosk/ charity kiosk can be well-integrated into a mosque kiosk. In today’s cashless world, the donations received through the conventional donation boxes are rapidly decreasing. A self-service kiosk can effectively manage purpose-oriented donation campaigns in the mosque premises and collect donations from the attendees with ease. A significant advantage is that mosque kiosks offer multiple payment options, allowing donors to make offerings conveniently. With a simple swipe or tap of a credit/debit card, or by using digital wallets, participants can make their offerings in a secure and reliable manner. Yes, a self-service donation kiosk is an indispensable solution for all modern mosques or masjids.
  • Organise fundraising initiatives – The mosque can effectively organise fundraising initiatives at special events and occasions.
  • Information Dissemination - The mosque kiosk is ideal for the purpose of information dissemination. The mosque can publish information regarding prayer details, special programs or events, student interactive sessions, parent meetings, and establish effective communication with the members. Moreover, the mosque can request participants to sign up for the regular newsletters published by the mosque. Isn’t it a great way to connect with the members?
  • Advertise events – mosques can make use of the kiosk to advertise events by providing all the necessary information via the kiosk screen like event venue, date and time, supporting images, interactive videos etc. This gives the most-wanted visibility to the events and ensures member participation too.
  • Multiple language facility – The multi-language feature serves as an exceptional functionality, especially if the mosque is a reputed pilgrimage centre and attracts a large number of visitors or pilgrims.
  • A feedback portal – The members can offer feedbacks or suggestions via the self-service mosque kiosk.

Benefits of a mosque kiosk

Both the members and the mosque authorities benefit from the deployment of self-service masjid kiosks. The major benefits are listed below.

  • Streamline donations – the mosque can collect donations at the time of Friday Jum’ah service and also collect Zakat from the attendees.
  • Reduce human intervention in connection with administration, operations etc.
  • Simplify administrative operations
  • Improved communication with the members.
  • The members remain well-informed about the activities and events organised by the mosque.
  • Establish a feeling of connection or sense of community with members.
  • Make members feel heard.

Conclusion

Self-service kiosks have become indispensable resources for cultural institutions enhancing user experience in ways that were earlier unthinkable. When it comes to improving the overall visitor or user experience, self-service kiosks can be a valuable investment. These kiosks connect tradition with innovation by utilizing creativity along with technology.

Looking ahead, there is no limit to how technology can be improved and integrated into cultural settings, offering visitors even more engaging, and memorable experiences. The integration of technology within cultural establishments has been significant in shaping the cultural landscape through several improvements in accessibility and engagement. Let’s not forget, Customer Experience (CX) has a pivotal role in cultural settings. It has serious implications on several important factors like reputation and publicity of the institution, Customer loyalty, visitor satisfaction etc.

Improved visitor experience manifests in the form of improved revenue for the organisers or authorities. Customer or user experiences have huge implications in branding and marketing. Organisations and businesses, irrespective of their domains and sizes, are constantly on the lookout to enhance user experience. And self-service kiosks help to achieve the same. It’s mutually beneficial for both the customers and businesses, without a doubt.