With features including multibay charge stations and cable-less charging to create the option of customer self-service, mobile devices are equipped to scale between peaks and troughs of demand, without the need to have fixed positions permanently taking up valuable space.
By their very nature, mobile devices are restricted in screen size and can present a range of limitations in terms of both battery life and reliability of connection. So for certain applications, fixed deployments do present some significant advantages.
The first and most obvious is screen size. Without the need to frequently and easily transport the device, it becomes much more feasible to have a 20-inch+ screen. This can be a game changer – literally – with the extra screen real estate changing the way players interact with existing games, as well as increasing the diversity of content with the additional option for larger interfaces and clearer onscreen information.
The benefit of bigger screens don’t stop there, they have the potential to be used as digital signage, contributing to more successful advertising if given a prominent fixed location alongside a much more visible display.
In light of all these advantages, fixed deployments also present challenges already solved by mobile devices. The first and most obvious is installation. Additional costs start to rise with modifications or new furniture required to install the devices. Often connectivity and power doesn’t already exist where fixed positions need them, leading to a significant level of additional deployment costs in wiring infrastructure for both additional mains electric and data cabling. That is, of course, unless a more cost-effective combined solution like Power over Ethernet is employed.
Whilst mobile devices do often get the rough end of the deal from accidental damage given their susceptibility to drops, fixed devices present a much larger screen surface area to get damaged. This makes ensuring durability in terms of hardness and the ability to resist accidental spills and drops key to a terminal’s long-term viability, before they become an expensive overhead.
Being fixed also makes serviceability for when things go wrong an important consideration. Though mobile devices can be switched off, packed up and returned for repair or replacement by venue staff, fixed positions – whilst inherently more reliable with permanent connectivity and power than their mobile equivalents – are typically more complex to service.
For example, all-in-one terminals can require a complete swap-out whenever the computer or display develops a fault or is subject to accidental damage. Ultimately, this leads to an entire player position being out of action for an extended duration waiting for service and repairs.
Whereas terminals using completely separate computing and displays, which at first glance can seem more serviceable, present a more onerous installation requirement. This makes them harder to redeploy too as the computer and wiring is often concealed or integrated into fixed furniture.
In short, both fixed and mobile terminals can be the answer for the vast majority of applications. Through a balanced approach of mixing both deployments with tablet-style devices, varying levels of demand can be accommodated while securing a low cost per position. Complemented by a small number of fixed terminals, additional side benefits can be achieved while enhancing the customer experience.
At Captec, we are due to launch a new portfolio of hardware solutions for the leisure industry, including fixed and mobile terminals for electronic gaming applications.