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Touch Screens and Coronavirus: What Does This Mean for the Digital Signage Industry?

Touch Screens and Coronavirus: What Does This Mean for the Digital Signage Industry?

Using Touch Screens has become an essential part of everyday life around the world. Both users of Touch Screens and businesses love the simplicity and efficiency they offer. This, however, was beforce the coronavirus pandemic hit hard in early 2020 and attitudes shifted almost overnight. Now some users are reluctant to use such displays in case they catch or pass on the virus. Are these fears well-founded though? Are Touch Screens safe to use during a pandemic? Can they even offer some advantages?

Touch Screens are now an integral part of modern society. How can we survive without them? From the self-service checkout at your local supermarket to ordering your favourite burger at a fast food restaurant, Touch Screens have revolutionised the customer experience over the last decade. The benefits are not just for retail and the QSR sectors though – recently our PCAP Touch Screen Kiosks have been used in projects for in other locations such as galleries and nursing homes; which demonstrates their versatility across all industry sectors.

Coronavirus is a very real and deadly threat to life as we know it. With massive lockdowns across the world slowly starting to lift, there are questions around how we can continue to use Touch Screens in these times. However, although the public have been warned about coming into contact with contaminated surfaces as a means of spreading the virus, many studies have suggested that surface transmission is not as hazardous as initially reported. For example Eugene Chudnovsky, a professor at the City University of New York whose research focuses on airborne infection, states that surfaces are an ineffective means of transmission due to the huge dose needed to infect a person via this method. Furthermore, not touching anything is an unrealistic expectation for everyone, so regular disinfection of frequently touch objects and surfaces such as door handles, bathroom fixtures, counter tops, phones and of course Touch Screens will prevent the spread of the disease. This responsibility of regularly cleaning the screens ultimately falls onto the businesses with Touch Screens. Displays such as our PCAP Touch Screens are super easy to clean thanks to their edge-to-edge glass front, which ensures that unlike button-operated displays such as ATMs, bacteria cannot fester in hidden nooks and crannies.

Utilising the advantages of Touch Screens during this pandemic can actually be beneficial too. With the use of Touch Screens such as our PCAP Self Service Kiosk, you can minimise the amount of face-to-face contact between staff and customers. The quick efficiency of these screens can also help prevent long queues around your business.

The true economic consequences of this pandemic are still yet to be seen, and businesses are eager to reopen safely. To do so, however, will require a change in both how they operate and how they expect customers to behave. Customers need to be more vigilant in how they can prevent the spread of coronavirus via touch by regularly disinfecting their hands. Michael Head, Senior Research Fellow at the University of Southampton, stated in an article about Touch Screen safety that “The most practical advice is for people to make sure they are thoroughly washing and cleaning their hands several times a day, thus reducing the risks of transmission of any infection.”.  Displays such as our Hand Sanitiser Android Advertising Displays can be used to do this. Businesses should be cleaning these screens, along with all other surfaces, regularly to a schedule. To really utilise the benefits of Digital Signage, and help ease users fears, businesses can also display messaging about how regularly the Touch Screen is cleaned or even display a dynamic countdown timer stating when the screen was last cleaned.

These unprecedented times have brought about extraordinary change in every aspect of our lives. The Digital Signage industry is reacting with a host of new solutions, such as contactless temperature and mask checking solutions, the aforementioned Hand Sanitiser Displays and portable Outdoor A-Board Kiosks. Some manufacturers are rapidly developing contactless solutions for Touch Screens. While these solutions may be beneficial in the short term, I struggle to see the viability for these in a post-coronavirus world where I expect the status quo will eventually return in regards to Touch Screens. For now, instead of something to be feared, I believe Touch Screens can provide a host of unique benefits to help many businesses operate with the safety of their staff and customers as their top priority.

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