It shouldn’t be surprising that when most people think about touch screen technology, the first thing that comes to mind is their smartphone or tablet. The wide availability of personal electronics devices equipped with multi-touch projective capacitive touch screens has revolutionized how North Americans read, stay in touch, do their banking, and spend their leisure time. However, this technology has also had far reaching impacts on a range of other industries as well.
In fact, while some of the latest uses for touch screen technology are highly visible, others may surprise you. Customers are getting used to seeing sophisticated capacitive touch screens in kiosks, but these are only the tip of the iceberg: durable, responsive touch screen technology is changing everything from retail to healthcare to industry.
Retail businesses have long been dogged by the problem of high payroll costs. Even well run companies can expect to spend 10-20% of sales on payroll, which is why it is common for even high-traffic businesses like grocery stores to minimize the number of staff working at a given time. This is why shoppers during peak hours can spend just as much time standing in long lines as they do actually picking out the items they need.
Self-serve kiosks equipped with touch screen technology have made it much easier for businesses to reduce wait times by letting customers check out their own groceries, saving the business money — and shaving valuable time of the shopping experience for the customer.
Those who don’t work in hospitals or clinics may not be aware of just how large an impact touch screen technology is having on healthcare, but everything from patient intake to monitoring to complicated medical procedures is being improved by the introduction of more sensitive and sophisticated touch screen technology.
Because high quality capacitive touch screens allow multi-touch options, healthcare kiosks are taking some of the burden off of intake nurses by making it possible for patients to enter their own information directly into the system. And with cutting edge medical technology revolutionizing how patients are treated, touch screens allow doctors to access and send information more seamlessly than ever.
One of the most surprising areas in which touch screen technology is making inroads is the industrial sector. As the advances of Industry 4.0 create ever-more integrated production lines and processes, the need for sophisticated, durable interface solutions is quickly becoming apparent, which is why touch screens are now the technology of choice for everything from control panels and monitors to all-in-one PCs.
A range of new interface solutions capable of maintaining a high level of performance despite the stresses of the shop floor are now available, like A D Metro’s ULTRA Resistive screens, industrial design is moving away from systems operated through the traditional means of buttons, dials, switches, and gauges, and toward intuitive touch screen options. This allows manufacturers to continue pushing the envelope in terms of production line integration, while making it easy for workers to interface with the machines.
It would have been difficult to imagine, even a few decades ago, how quickly technological advancements would change just about every aspect of modern life. Since the 1980s, touch screen technology has already vastly outperformed even the most optimistic predictions. As this technology becomes even more seamless and intuitive, it will be interesting to see what new applications are found for it.