Touch Screens have been around in some form since the 60’s however public interest in the technology continues to escalate; both in domestic and commercial markets. The significant drop in LCD panel price over the past decade has led to sharp increase in the popularity of Digital Signage in general but more specifically, Touch Screen Displays.
The last decade has seen a revolution in the world of Touch Screen technology with the ascension of smart phones and tablets. It has become second nature for people to interact with their mobile devices via a Touch Screen; this has had a direct impact on the commercial screen market as more businesses start to consider the benefits that using Touch Screens can bring. Touch Screens can give retailers the opportunity to connect with their customers in ways and settings that have never before been possible, allowing them to make the shopping experience more customer-centric. Instant tactile interaction keeps the customer’s ever dwindling attention span for longer, establishing a stronger communicational connection therefore making for a more likely return on investment. As well as having its place at the point of sale and the point of purchase, Touch Screens can also be used as a promotional tool for products and services, both in store and in more open retail environments. For example, a pharmacy could have Touch Screens promoting products from their toiletry range or you could have a Touch Screen in a shopping centre promoting products at a nearby store, helping them to bring in more customers. Touch Screens used in retail environments can also offer information on products such as reviews, extended product details and recommend complimentary products, much like the online shopping model most consumers are already familiar with.
Another common use for Touch Screens in a commercial setting is for wayfinding applications. Maps in public spaces can often be very large without presenting any additional information about the featured locations. In contrast wayfinding Touch Screens provide the potential to navigate and direct as well as inform the user on an interactive level. In a similar way, Touch Screens are being implemented at tourism and transportation environments to efficiently deliver targeted information.
Increasingly Touch Screens are being used for infotainment in public spaces. Hospitality venues such as hotels, concert halls and theatres can use Touch Screens to display seasonal, weekly and up to the minute event information in an engaging manner. According to Thomas Fraser-Bacon at Allsee Technologies Ltd Similarly businesses aimed at children, such as a toy store, can use Touch Screens to engage with multiple children at the same time, helping to deliver a message in a highly sensory and captivating fashion.
The largest emerging market for Touch Screens is the Interactive Whiteboard market. Once again, driven mainly by the constantly falling cost of LCD panels many schools and offices are replacing their outdated interactive projector systems with much more cost effective Touch Screen technology. Not only are Touch Screens much cheaper initially when compared with projector systems but there is also the other major financial benefit of not having to replace the extremely expensive projector bulbs, as there are practically no maintenance costs for a Touch Screen. Another major difference is the image quality; as Touch Screens are rear projection none of the colour is washed out of the display and no shadows are created like with projectors. Interactive Touch Screen Whiteboards can now come with built in PC’s that support multiple operating systems and even can feature an integrated camera and microphone; ideal for recording meetings and training sessions for future reference.
Touch Screens will undoubtedly continue to play a large part in many facets of our lives; from personal entertainment to corporate communication. Any business that fails to consider the huge upside that Touch Screens can offer could soon be left behind.