Say the word "interactive" and most of us think of touch screens. But interactivity through gesture, motion sensors and personal devices has been around for some time, and the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the development and adoption of these technologies as communal touch points have raised health concerns.
“The hardware, integration, and content creation for interactivity is becoming easier all the time.” – Jenny Hicks, Head of Technology, Midwich
Covid-19 has spurred innovation from manufacturers and integrators, with advancements in interactive signage, touchless room systems and accelerated development of voice control. Even as concern around communal touchpoints lessens, these new ways to interact will provide more varied options for museum and retail applications, as well as allowing meeting space design to be more tailored to users' needs.
One of the best alternatives to physical touch has been moving navigation to the viewer's personal device. People scan a QR code that launches a miniature replica of the signage display on their phone or tablet; they then navigate the menu by touching this, and the main signage display mirrors what they do. Simple and safe. We have all become experts with our personal devices through the pandemic with track and trace apps, video calls and increased use of social media so integrating BYOD is more important than ever.
Aside from the use of interactive displays for kiosk-style navigation, interactive installations can also be controlled via buttons, keyboards, control panels and other peripherals. Historically content has been triggered by contact – the user touches the screen. Now, however, there is an increasing shift to loss of contact, in so-called "lift and learn" applications, where the displayed content changes as shoppers lift a product from a shelf or sales display.
More recently we've seen designs using gesture and touchless sensors or buttons, which can give interactivity a real touch of magic.
Research shows that touchscreens capture the attention of even very young students whilst improving comprehension and basic skills among older students, making the overall learning experience more engaging.
An interactive, multimedia approach is great for engaging students, maintaining their interest, and encouraging them to participate fully in lessons.
“There’s been a significant change in educational psychology since interactive technology was first introduced into schools,” - Richard Bovingdon, General Sales Manager - Business Development at Midwich
Many schools are unaware of the capabilities of modern AV equipment and are only prepared to replace products when they break. During the pandemic, hybrid learning was widely adopted across the nation and schools were forced to upgrade their technology.
The latest interactive flat panels (IFPs) have huge advantages over old, existing interactive displays, from multi-touch capabilities and improved brightness and resolution to longer lifespan and reduced cost of ownership. The pandemic further spurred on advancements in this technology, forcing interactive displays to offer other ways to interact than just touch, as well as the necessity to share and annotate content via video collaboration software.
Touchscreens are now an essential part of everyday life, so why should your work life be any different? Previously, corporate sectors have considered touch screens as large format displays that are used in meeting rooms, however, they come in a variety of sizes from desktop to large screens and can be used in the receptions, meeting spaces of all sizes, workspaces and more.
Collaborative meeting spaces and huddle rooms are becoming more popular, and interactive displays give added functionality with the ability to annotate, collaborate and share information across devices. These displays will be an essential piece of technology in every meeting space in a hybrid working world as collaboration needs to be seamless.
Adding an interactive display to meeting spaces is essential to future-proofing the meeting room technology and increasing the longevity of its capabilities. With the rise in wireless solutions, they’re quickly becoming the expectation. Adding an interactive screen provides a meeting space with a fully wireless solution and means that participants don’t have to touch HDMI cables or fiddle with peripheral devices.
Striking the right balance between technology and personal interaction is essential, but increasingly in hospitality applications touchscreen technology is re-imagining the guest experience both from inside and out.
Interactive displays are here to stay in hospitality. From self-check-in and guest information front of house, through to back-office applications, touchscreens can streamline services, minimise printed matter and seamlessly feed into logistics databases, creating benefits such as real-time room upgrades.
The hospitality industry is one of the more obvious touchscreen markets, where the end goal is the comfort of guests and visitors. Touch-integrated monitors and displays are the perfect solution, they both impress and add value to the customer’s experience. This is an industry that will quickly integrate BYOD into the interactive display experience, guests already anticipate needing their phone for check-in information and BYOD can streamline this process with auto-fill functionalities already installed on the personal device.
In the fast-paced world of healthcare, there’s a significant need for technology that is easy to use, performs effortlessly and smoothly every time and safeguards confidential information. Touch displays can assist with queue and room management, directions, and allow patients to customise information during a visit.
Transmission of diseases is heightened in healthcare environments, so it is paramount that screens are cleaned properly to reduce this risk.
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Retail remains one of the lasting industries where consumers crave personal interaction. Since the coronavirus pandemic, e-commerce has boomed in popularity. Consumers know that shopping online is far cheaper than on the high-street and therefore expect more when shopping offline. Stores have become an extension of their e-commerce counterparts with interactive displays to enhance the shopping experience.
Magic mirrors are increasingly being adopted in changing rooms, allowing shoppers to share their look online and video call a friend or family member to experience an in-shop experience with them.
Interactive kiosks that were previously used for wayfinding and customer information now offer a warehouse extension for instant ordering of items that are out of stock.
The "lift and learn" applications can also provide extra information about the product the shopper has in their hand.
Interactive displays have replaced the reams of printed brochures that were historically found in showrooms. There are many benefits for this switch, paper is limited in its capabilities and isn’t particularly engaging. It’s also costly to produce, store and transport brochures.
This led the way for interactive displays to enter into showrooms. These displays are rich with media and allow showrooms to offer customisation of models, rather than stocking a whole range that can take up precious space.
Rather than homeware showrooms featuring one sofa with 4”x4” colour swatches to represent the different options available, users can customise the product on an interactive display to see how the complete sofa will look. In automotive showrooms, users can customise their car to see the complete product with all their desires features, rather than looking at it through a brochure and trying to imagine these on the car.