It's hard to remember a day when touchscreens weren't a central fixture of day-to-day life. It seems like one day the technology was strictly for the most cutting-edge tech fanatics and the next day the entire world was carrying it around in their pockets.
But just because touchscreens have been everywhere for a while doesn’t mean that the technology has plateaued. Quite the opposite. Researchers are always continuing to develop the technology and push it forward to find new ways of meeting the needs of both end users and enterprises.
Taking a look at recent developments in this rapidly innovating industry, you can get a feel for what might be hitting the shelves in 2017. And these following predictions don't just speak to what we might see on the products that the stores are stocking, but what we might see used in-store, as part of the shelves themselves -- and the software that delivers the content to our eyes and fingers.
Next-Gen Haptic Touch Technology
Since physical keyboards on smartphones went mostly the way of the dodo, some researchers have been putting effort into figuring out if there's a way to get the sort of satisfying tactile sensation you get out of pressing a button from using the physically featureless, single-pane touch screen we’ve become accustomed to. While everyone has experienced (and probably turned off) the buzzing that you can set your phone to make when you hit an on-screen key – the most rudimentary type of haptic response – the tactile technology now being explored by the industry goes far beyond that. Startups have, for instance, reportedly been coming up with ways to generate physical "keys" that rise out of a touch screen when needed and disappear otherwise.
But will such technologies have implications for touchscreens outside of the smartphone? Absolutely. In whatever form these types of tactile innovations catch on, marketers will no doubt be putting a lot of thought into how they can be used to expand the effectiveness of an interaction with a screen through adding an element of texture and physical feedback.
More Intuitive Content Delivery Software
What drives a good touchscreen-based marketing campaign, a good in-store touch screen implementation, or an integration of both? The software. Cloud-based content delivery tools that make interactions with touchscreens do what we need them to do are what turn blank screens into dynamic signage. The software, then, is as important to imaginative implementations as the hardware. And we're doubtlessly going to see the software become more user-friendly, with more high-end standardized features, as touch screen technology becomes a more common fixture in our day-to-day lives.
Touchscreens Taking Over Tables … And More
There are a few retailers out there making great strides, and having great success, using touch screens for in-store purposes that merge impressive presentation and functionality. In 2017, we'll see new enterprises taking their cues from the most successful implementations and doing their own takes on them. More touchscreen walls, more touchscreen tables, and more comprehensive content strategies involving touch screens will show up throughout the business and retail landscape.
What exactly that will look like, time will only tell. But we’ve already seen touchscreens informing and changing the architecture of the world around us – on scales as big as in-store wall displays and as small as soda machines. Will we see touchscreens built into the arms of chairs in restaurants to facilitate ordering? More touchscreens on in-home smart appliances? Touchscreens strips on shelves that extend the shopping experience? We just might – and 2017 could be the year it happens.
New Technology Behind the Screen
While we're likely to see touchscreens that function differently and are implemented in new ways in the next year, there may also be important changes to the technology that the consumer won’t necessarily notice. For instance, recent research into the use of silver nanowires as the basis for touch screens promises screens that are cheaper and more energy efficient than the ones we now have. That means more savings for the consumer and for businesses as well as better environmental sustainability. Shrinking costs and more efficiency could very well make touch screen walls and other physically large deployments of the technology an even more common sight.
Image via iStock.
/ Casey Dubbs, Marketing Manager for Horizon Display. Casey is a classic over-achiever who likes to get the job done right and can’t stand when things are left unfinished or with unmet potential. She is passionate about implementing others’ vision into reality. When she is not obsessing over marketing, she can be found on Pinterest trying to find recipes everyone in her family will eat.