7 Tips for Selling Custom Kiosk Software

Selling custom software can be tricky in any industry and finding the right clients to build a long-term relationship with is always a challenge.

Custom software is typically expensive due to the lack of reuse (by definition, its custom) and potential clients often have a hard time grasping why their complex solution, with no off-the-shelf alternative, is so expensive.

When you deal with the self-service kiosk industry you add the complexities of integrating your kiosk software with kiosk hardware (payment devices, biometrics, etc…).

My goal for this article is to share some valuable insights on the process of selling custom kiosk software.  Craig Keefner @craigkeefner of Kiosk Industry was kind enough to collaborate with me on this article and together we came up with the following list.


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How to Create a DIY Kiosk on the Cheap For Your Small Business

As a small business owner you recognize the value of self-service because it allows you to serve more customers with minimal staffing overhead.

In this article I’m going to give you the components to piece together a very economical do-it-yourself kiosk for your small business or startup for under $1000.

This example will cover a single DIY kiosk deployment, but could certainly be scaled to support a handful of kiosks.

Cheap kiosk for small business

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The Biggest Mistake I Made While Launching My First Software Product

Honestly I had trouble coming up with the biggest mistake I made, because I made so many of them while launching our first software product in 2014.  Perhaps I’ll do another article with all the mistakes I made if I’m in the mood to relive the pain.

To give you a little background on our company, we specialize in custom software development for kiosks and self-service applications.  Our niche is retail and bill-payment kiosk applications.

A common part of the custom solutions we deliver include kiosk lockdown software which is essentially a security product to prevent malicious users from tampering with Windows and ensure the correct content is always displayed on the kiosk screen.

We’d been using the “other guys” kiosk lockdown software since about 2007 and I had the brilliant idea to create our own product which we’d bundle with our projects.  Aside from the fact that I didn’t correctly anticipate the amount of development work involved (it took us about three years to code) I made what I’d consider to be my biggest mistake.


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How to Start Your WPF Application In Kiosk Mode

Start Your WPF Application In Kiosk ModeIn this article I’m going to cover a very simple example for creating a WPF application that runs in “kiosk mode.”

When running a WPF app on a kiosk the goal is to ensure that our application is running at all times and prevent malicious user tampering.  This includes filtering out system keystrokes like CTRL-ALT-DEL, gracefully handling reboots and providing a touchscreen keyboard.

The easiest way to accomplish this is to employ a capable kiosk software with support for locking down a native WPF app.  At the time of this writing KioskSimple is the only kiosk software to support securing a native WPF application and consuming it via MEF (.NET Managed Extensibility Framework).

WPF Kiosk ModeThere are several advantages to developing your kiosk application as a native application which include:

  • Employ robust retry logic for sensitive transactions and to account for a flakey internet connection
  • Design a responsive touchscreen UI and animations
  • Low bandwidth usage and minimal load on the central server because much of the processing can be performed on the kiosk
  • Deploy updates to a single kiosk without impacting other kiosks
  • Direct access to kiosk hardware devices
  • “Offline mode” can be supported for internet outages by caching data locally

In this article we’re going to cover how to create a simple .NET C# WPF “Hello World” kiosk application which can be locked down by KioskSimple. Continue reading “How to Start Your WPF Application In Kiosk Mode”