Interactive Multi-Touch Displays – An $8 Billion Opportunity at Your Fingertips
Global Industry Analytics projects the global multi-touch screen market to reach $8 billion by 2020. Not only is the growth being spurred by recent advances in hardware technology, but interactive display software development, the growth of Big Data, and improvements in Rich content creation have merged to redefine what a touch screen is. Touch screens are nothing new. They have been around in various forms for decades. What is new is how advancements in touchscreen technology, processing power, and display size have given interactive multi-touch displays broad market appeal. From intelligent kiosks to surgical imaging monitors, new markets for multi-touch displays seem to emerge almost daily. When an information-hungry society can not only see data, but interact with using the most intuitive of all human behaviors — touch, big things are bound to happen.
Uses of Interactive DisplaysInteractive multi-touch display technology is rapidly penetrating a broad range of markets, with a great number more in its crosshairs. Rarely does such a market opportunity emerge with such broad appeal as we see here. Let us look a just a few of the markets that are being impacted:
AirportsEngaging and empowering passengers in today’s busy airports is more important than ever. With an increasing emphasis on security, travelers are already challenged to enjoy their flying experience. Interactive displays, strategically located throughout the airport, can help passengers regain some sense of control by putting the information they need at their fingertips. And passengers who feel in control are less likely to demonstrate their frustration on weary airport staff members. How can interactive displays help? The possibilities are numerous, from interactive searches of arrival and departure times to finding help navigating through the airport, multi-touch screens lend themselves well to keeping passengers informed and moving in the right direction. Even the ability to track their baggage can greatly reduce the stress levels of travelers.
Broadcast MediaWhether on the set or in the production room, broadcast outlets are increasingly finding interactive multi-touch displays important to their operation. From CNN to Fox News, the interactive video wall is becoming the de facto way graphics are shown on live TV. Moreover, the intuitive power that touch displays provide production staff is making such displays a welcomed piece of their production arsenal. As price points drop, the opportunity to reach medium and even small broadcast markets could be enormous.
Business ApplicationsBusinesses know data. They do not always know how to present it. The once-thrilling PowerPoint presentation has, for many, reached its limitations. While digital projectors can help make a presentation more dynamic, they offer nothing in terms of viewer interaction. Multi-touch displays solve the problems of static presentations, low visitor participation, and a few others, as well. Interactive multi-touch display panels bring a fresh and exciting approach to business data presentation, and to any business setting where presentations are given. Since most displays are Windows driven, standard business desktop publishing applications can be used, but that is only the beginning of what multi-touch panels can do. Displays can be configured to display content from any device, desktop or mobile, and through the multi-touch feature, the audience can actively explore the data being presented. Larger displays designed for the boardroom are available, as are smaller displays tailored for the meeting room.
Educational ToolsWell into the 21st century, teachers and professors had only one way to present written information to their students in real-time: the chalkboard. It was, as it were, the best interactive display technology of the day. Then, along came the dry-erase board, which was little more than Chalkboard 2.0. Now, a truly revolutionary change change has come to the classroom in the form of interactive multi-touch displays. Forward-thinking educational institutions are already embracing interactive multi-touch displays as a powerful new way to interact with their students. Unlike chalkboards and white boards, which only allow instructors to laboriously transcribe their notes and hand-drawn diagrams, multi-touch displays allow instructors to display high-resolution images, 3D models, and videos. Data can be updated from the instructor’s desktop computer, portable device, or through multi-touch interaction.
Engineering and DesignEngineers, draftsmen, and other designers readily embrace any technology that allows them a greater degree of interaction with their designs. While Virtual Reality and other high-tech solutions certainly have their niche marks, interactive display technology provides PC-based solutions, which appeals to many users. Interactive multi-touch drafting tables provide the designer with a powerful, high-resolution display that responds to multi-point interaction — great for CAD, simulations, and other semi-immersive design platforms. With design tables available with integrated Windows-based computers and multi-touch displays, software development costs can be significantly lower than that for proprietary systems.
Entertainment and GamingDisplay manufacturers, such as 3M, have already penetrated the gaming industry with multi-touch display technology. Casino gaming and multiplayer game tables offer excellent opportunities for the innovative developer willing to take a chance. The power of multi-touch displays to facilitate interactive visualization lends itself perfectly to gaming applications old and new.
Kiosks and SignageWhether providing store locations inside a shopping mall, or visitor information in resort hotel lobbies, kiosks provide customers with a valuable commodity: information. Unfortunately, the standard kiosks is limited in how much information it can provide and how much interaction it allows the user. Interactive touch screen kiosks, in contrast, give property managers the ability to put a virtually unlimited amount of information at the user’s fingertips. Since the user can interact with the display, he or she can access the information most important to them at that time. In the morning, the most important information may be where to get breakfast. In the afternoon, the same user may need a listing of car rental agencies or a map showing the fastest route to the airport, complete with to-the-minute traffic conditions. Interactive display technology can do all this and more.
MedicineAlways on the forefront of relevant technologies, the medical field has already proved itself a receptive market for multi-touch displays. Medical-grade multi-touch monitors provide the size needed to make even endoscopic camera images visible to the entire OR team, while allowing multi-touch capability for precise control over image elements. Additional clinical color and grayscale calibration give the surgeon confidence in the fidelity of the image shown.
Museums and ExhibitsMuseums and exhibits are discovering the power of large multi-touch displays to engage and educate visitors. Interactive multi-touch display technology provides a dynamic platform for image-based storytelling, educational displays, and interactive exhibits for all ages.
Music CompositionWhile development of multi-touch screen technology in the music production space has been modest, knobless production consoles are already emerging. Opportunities are abundant for the developer who can merge music software with multi-touch technology. And the best part? The engineer can spill his coffee on the controls without a dime’s worth of damage.
Real Estate AgenciesPerceptive real estate agencies learned to embrace mobile technology to make their services available to a public on the move — pun intended. Many are also taking advantage of interactive multi-touch display technology to better serve their clients in their local office.
RestaurantsInteractive displays are finding a place on restaurant walls as customers browse the menu and order on their own. Multi-touch displays embedded in dining tables allow customers to do more than browse the menu and place their orders. While they wait, they can play games, engage in social media, or read the latest news. Third-party advertising can also be used to earn extra revenue for the establishment.
Sales PresentationsSlick sales brochures are giving way to dynamic, engaging content through the use of interactive displays. Interactive displays allow sales representatives to create powerful presentations that invite interaction from the prospect. And the more prospects can interact with the presentation, the more likely they are to buy into it.
ShoppingRetail stores must make the most of every square foot of their retail space. With online retailers offering larger inventories and lower price points, stores are looking for new ways to engage customers and retain their loyalty. Interactive multi-touch touch displays may well be the solution that helps them to do so. By adding multi-user interactive displays into their retail space, brick-and-mortar stores can compete with online vendors on variety and, often, price. In fact, unlike online retailers, traditional retailers can offer a level of customer service not possible with online shopping. In addition to offering a broader array of products than the store can have in inventory, interactive multi-touch displays can provide the shopper with a personalized shopping experience that reflects the customer’s previous buying habits.
Trade ShowsInteractive displays are bringing the power of visual attraction to trade shows and expos. The vivid images shown on these high-resolution panels attracts the interests of visitors to a degree not possible with posters or even conventional computer displays. As visitors are invited to interact with the presentation through the multi-touch feature, more and more passers-by are attracted to the presentation.
Multitouch TechnologyOne of the remarkable advantages of multi-touch display technology is that solutions are surprisingly easy to implement. Although the advances in technology have primarily been related to improving the accuracy and reliability of the touch screen technology, the processing and software platforms are standard fare and easy to work with.
HardwareCapacitive touch screens, resistive touch screens, surface acoustic wave touch screens, and optical touch screens comprise the majority of touch screen methodologies, though a few more esoteric ones exists. No particular standardization for multi-touch displays exists, but, till now, anyway, it didn’t have to. Displays readily accommodate one or more of the following standard conventions: DP (HDCP), DVI, HDMI, VGA, Display Port, or USB. Like flatscreen televisions and monitors, both LCD and LED displays available. Further, a few LED-LCD combination units are also on the market. Whether the controller is integrated into the display or provided via personal computer, hardware specs are surprisingly consistent with those of any business-class PC. Typical PC hardware requirements may include:
- OS: Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10
- PC: Recommended Intel i3, i5, or i7 CPU with DirectX11 Nvidia / ATI Graphics card (although other combinations of hardware will work)
- Touchscreen: Most devices which provide Native Windows Multi-touch screen driver support