Multi-Touch technology has been receiving a huge amount of attention recently with the emergence of Multi-touch phones, MP3 players and interactive tablets, all of which offer the user a unique opportunity to interact with touch screens in a manner that is both innovative and intuitive. But what exactly is it and how can markets such as retail and gaming use it to revitalise their existing kiosk solutions?
Multi-touch technology allows one or more users to use multiple finger touches simultaneously. For anyone that owns or has used an Ipad or equivilant Touchscreen tablet, this has meant a massive leap in functionality across the board, from playing digital instruments such as the excellent Synth Station app, to pinch resizing pictures, intuitively browsing the web and playing incredible games with up to 4 players touching the screen at once. When compared to current touchscreen technology which only allows one touch at a time, multi-touch is a revelation and opens up a whole world of new applications and interactive possibilities.
The potential for Multi-touch applications is limitless, with particular interest coming from the gaming industry and retail. Why limit kiosk gaming to an individual player when a group of friends can gather around a large screen and interact simultaneously? Why show your customers a basic image of your product when you can offer them the ability to explore and interact with it via the very latest in touchscreen technology? Multi-touch gives you the power to provide a more engrossing user experience whether promoting a product, providing a gaming solution, offering way-finding services or even presenting a virtual tour or point of information.
Touch and Go
With larger multi-touch screens only just coming to the market, the kiosk industry is playing catch up. 5 years ago when I first got into the industry every kiosk that was sold had a bold “Touch Here” sticker, and was often accompanied for the first couple of weeks by a member of staff inviting people to use the touchscreen facilities. Now however, multi-touch technology is so prevelant in everyday life that not only do people instinctively touch any screen that they see is a public environment, but they also expect to be able to pinch, rotate and use all of the features that they find on their phones and MP3 players.
2011 will clearly be a big year for multi-touch kiosks, with major corporate brands such as Vodafone already getting in on the action by installing the cumbersome Microsoft Touch Table across many of its stores. Now, while the Microsoft solution is incredibly good and with its increased functionality is light years ahead of the game, it is a large bit of kit, and an expensive one too. Here is where I see the potential for Kiosk manufacturers and software developers to win some serious business. Almost all kiosk requirements require far less functionality than the Microsoft Multi-touch table has to offer. All they really need is a reliable and accurate Multi-touch touchscreen, an attractive and attention grabbing housing and a PC powerful enough to support the more intensive graphics that software houses will be looking to throw at such an exciting new project.
An internet search will throw up a whole world of grey marketing and links to youtube videos from expo’s, however surprisingly very few seem to have made the leap of faith from concept to product. Understandably many manufacturers will not develop a product until they have a genuine requirement, often not until they have actually sold the unit, so as to fund any development costs and reduce risk. I can see a great opportunity here though for anyone who is brave enough to lead the way, after all the concept has already been proved, we all know and love the technology already. If you build it, they will come.
Leading the way
Dicoll have solidified their place at the forefront of the interactive touchscreen marketplace with the integration of intelligent Multi-touch technology, upgrading their existing 32” kiosk to suit the demands of the i-generation
What Dicoll are offering is a sub £8,000 Multi-touch ready solution incorporating a 32” Multi-touch touchscreen (sourced from successful US integrators PQ labs) along with a high spec PC into an elegant Glass and Stainless Steel Kiosk design. The kiosk itself seems incredibly robust, which is a must when considering a multi-touch application, yet it also has the LED illuminated glass and logo that offer up a corporate feel making it perfect for installations in reception areas, shopping centres and the retail environment.
Dicoll have integrated multi-touch technology within its latest 32” kiosk to provide a true multi-touch ready kiosk with the ability to recognise up to 32 touch points. The system operates within Windows 7 and will need application specific software to make the most of the multi-touch functions available A call to arms (or at least fingers)
The success or failure of the Multi-touch revolution rests in the hands of software companies and developers now. The applications are already out there, high street retailers are suffering against online trade, as is the gaming industry. People are past one touch touchscreens and they are beginning to feel clunky and old hat when compared with the intuitive feel of a multi-touch application. I don’t know anyone that doesn’t own a multi-touch touchscreen of some variety, as even my technophobe mum has mastered the art of the ipod. Fortune will surely favour those that are brave enough to bring these kiosk applications to market. I guess we will just have to wait and see who will follow Dicoll Ltd and make the move from concept to product
If you would like any further information on our intelligent multi-touch kiosk solutions then please visit www.dicoll.co.uk or call 01189 885522
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