As digital signage and retail tech sellers continue to tout touchless solutions – using voice, gesture, hover and QR-to-smartphone set-ups – the main buyers out there appear to be opting for screens that get touched.
New research from OMDIA says the Interactive Touch (IFP/Touch) segment actually leads the recovery being seen in the total Public Information Display market.
“This product category showed a slight negative performance of 1% YoY even in the first half of 2020, when the spread of the coronavirus was remarkable,” OMDIA notes in a brief about a paid report. “Then, in the second half of the year, when other product categories were struggling, IFP/Touch displays achieved a growth of 11% compared to the same period in last year. In 2021, the growth rate may slow slightly, but while maintaining steady growth, IFP/Touch displays are expected to play an important role in recovery of the overall public display market to its pre-coronavirus level.”
The reason for growth in IFP/Touch displays during the pandemic is due to the expansion of non-face-to-face systems seen throughout the world. It has widespread use based on various verticals, but are more predominant in the retail (with KIOSK), classroom (with videoconferencing), and conference room (with hotdesking) applications.
As noted in the past, it was reasonable to think, when the pandemic hit, that touchscreens were going to be avoided like, well, the plague. But as information built up about how COVID was primarily spreading, the retail, food and other sectors that do consumer transactions determined touch screen interactions were safer than person-to-person at a cash or service counter.
Some of the touchless applications have, I think, a role in the market, but introducing technology that needs to be learned or is, in some way, fiddly to use, is not going to be on. Business operators are not looking technology that slows lines down, or needs staff around to instruct, fix or correct.