An interactive kiosk is a computer terminal featuring specialized hardware and software designed within a public exhibit that provides access to information and applications for communication, commerce, entertainment, and education. A digital signage is a form of electronic display that shows television programming, menus, information, advertising and other messages.
With the ubiquity of touch-enabled & network-capable devices like iPad, Windows 8/RT, and Android tablets, specialized apps can be used to transform those devices to an interactive kiosk or digital signage.
Why Windows Azure?
To maximize the usefulness of an interactive kiosk and digital signage, we have to be able to communicate with those devices to update their contents (i.e., notification, scheduled update, RSS news, etc.) or to receive input from a user (i.e., interactive kiosk). Hence, we need to build our infrastructure to support those scenarios. With cloud, we can build our infrastructure that is scalable and flexible with minimum start up costs.
Windows Azure provides several services such as Cloud services, Virtual machines, Data management (i.e., SQL Database, BLOB, and Tables), Messaging (i.e., Service Bus, and Queues), Web sites, and Mobile Services, that we can use to build our cloud-based infrastructure quickly. Best of all, Windows Azure supports both IaaS and PaaS models, and it is an open platform that allows you to use any languages, tools, and frameworks.
What am I building?
- Phase 1: Getting Started. Brainstorming and writing this article and apply for the trial account.
- Phase 2: Build a website. Setting up a SPA and Web API site for content creator.
- Phase 3: Using SQL on Azure. Link the site from phase 2 with SQL on Azure.
- Phase 4: Virtual Machines. At this stage, I am not sure if I will need VM capability. I might need only worker roles with messaging and media services to support notification/content updating capability.
- Phase 5: Mobile access. I will build WinRT interactive kiosk & digital signage app that communicates with Azure infrastructure I build in the previous phases.
- May 1st, 2013 : Start writing the article.