May 30 2012

Businesses Turn to Screens That Engage the Senses

Touch screens and interactive digital signage are helping companies embrace the next wave of computing.

There’s no doubt that the time of the touch screen is upon us. It seems that everywhere I look, an ever-increasing number of businesses are interacting with customers through this technology. For example, recently while running errands, I tapped on the user-friendly screens to pay for gas, buy stamps at the post office and purchase my groceries — all in a single trip.

Even my 6-year-old son is now so used to swiping a finger across a screen to interact with a computing device that when using a good old-fashioned notebook computer, he often reaches for the display when trying to maneuver through a website before realizing that touch is not an option on every computer. And while it frustrates him and amuses me, it shows how much impact touch computing is having on our society.

“Because we’re in the iPad era, everyone is comfortable with a touch screen,” says Steve Duplessie, Enterprise Strategy Group founder and senior analyst. “They’re just showing up everywhere and anywhere.”

And as consumers continue to embrace touch screens (buying more than 3 million new iPads its first weekend on the market), more businesses are adopting the technology. Bonsai Bar & Lounge in Chicago, for example, uses touch-screen kiosks that allow employees to ring up orders, clock in and out, and generate sales reports, saving time and simplifying inventory management.

For more examples of how companies are using touch screens to improve business operations, check out our story on Twistee Treat's iPad deployment and the growing trend of touch-screen kiosks among SMBs.

On Display

From the sense of touch to the sense of sight: Digital sign­age is changing the way companies advertise to customers and present information to employees.

The Tampa Bay Lightning has installed 500 high-definition LED flat-panel displays throughout the concourse, luxury suites and press areas of the Tampa Bay Times Forum to enhance the event experience. Not only will the display system offer real-time action and replays for NHL games and other events, the displays also will provide promotions and advertising to fans at the arena.

To learn more about the arena’s digital displays and how other companies are using the technology to improve the customer experience, check out the full story: "How the Tampa Bay Lightning Is Improving Hockey Games with Digital Signage."

Matthew Gilson