The way we interact with businesses, products and people is changing drastically. How will technology help us adapt and how can entrepreneurs leverage this opportunity?
COVID-19 has forever changed the way we shop, interact with each other and most importantly, the way we do business. This fact is becoming more and more apparent as local businesses start to re-open and governments around the world are creating new guidelines and regulations to protect their citizens, and to make sure the economy regains momentum in a safe, smooth and controlled manner.
As a business owner, or entrepreneur you’re probably asking yourself how you can leverage this opportunity to get more business, make customers feel safe when using your service or shopping at your store and increase their satisfaction.
If I had to choose one technology/innovation that will be the most useful and important in the next few years, as the economy adapts to the new ‘’normal’’, I would say touchless technology.
Think about it: COVID-19 is transferred from one human to another usually by either direct or indirect contact. As we start going to work, malls and public spaces again, we will inevitably mindlessly touch door knobs, table surfaces, toilet sinks, and many other surfaces prone to transmitting the diseases.
Well, modern problems require modern solutions: This is why mobile, bluetooth and touchless technology will inevitably gain much more importance in the coming months and years.
Let’s take a look at all the areas of our daily lives that require physical contact and see how we could replace them with touchless mobile technology.
The most common object we touch during a day at the office or any public place for that matter is door knobs. Opening a door physically can be changed to automatic doors (a feature that already exists in the market since decades).
Huge cities like New York, and Toronto are already talking about getting rid of rotating door systems and replacing them with automatic glass sliders.
Another very common point of transmission is elevators, since everyone who goes through it has to use the same buttons as everyone else. For example, lift maker “Fujitec” launched the ‘elevators of enhanced public hygiene’, on April 1st. This model includes an add-on contactless panel feature that taps infrared sensor technology to detect the person’s destination floor when they hover their hands over the dashboard.
It also comes with basic functions like a congestion indicator that displays how congested the elevator is to consider social distancing and anti-bacterial lift buttons. Other companies are trying to develop voice controlled elevators to reduce touching and using buttons to a minimum.
Many other startups are working on ways to check into appointments without having to touch screens or talk to people. A good example of this is NEC, a japanese firm which is creating and installing security gates that work without requiring people to touch their faces, remove their masks or sunglasses.
After door knobs and elevators, public bathrooms are probably the most important place of disease transmission that we encounter daily. There are many opportunities and ways to implement touchless technology in washrooms, for example Kohler has reported an important surge in the sale of “intelligent toilets,” which are equipped with bidets and toilet seats that open and close automatically. Also, public bathrooms should and will eventually all have automated faucets and soap dispensers, and self-flushing toilets.
Another way in which Touchless technology will surely be implemented is for fingerprint authentication at workplaces and police stations. Facial recognition is a much safer option for organisations worried about the cleanliness of shared fingerprint scanners.
Touchless technology will save the service industry
Japan more than any other country is investing heavily into touchless technology in order to re-open its economy safely. For example, they plan to commercialise a new multi-biometric authentication technology which will include age verification systems so that products like alcohol and tobacco can still be sold in such stores without requiring contact between the cashier and the customer.
In a similar fashion, the travel industry will start eliminating walk-in customer services and instead have call centres set up to assist customers online. Online customer services will be enabled to perform all functions through their system or the customer will be able to manage their booking online. All types of payment will be enabled through electronic payment.
Another great example of using technology to reduce the need for unnecessary human contact is the sensor-based tabletop restaurant menu that was designed by Toshiba Tec in 2019: Menu items, in their real serving size, are projected directly onto the table, and orders are taken via sensors. Further, the cooking process can be shown on the screen while the customers are waiting for their meal. This type of touchless technology can and will be adapted sooner than later by most restaurant chains around the world.
Every type of educational institution, schools, private courses and colleges are also moving online to provide ongoing learning opportunities as physical classrooms shut down.
Even though liquid cash has been replaced by credit cards, transactions initiated by a tap or the wave of a cell phone often require customers to punch in a security code or sign a screen/receipt to complete the sale, as a protection against fraud. This needs to change and is already being implemented more and more by apps such as BillMaster, WeChat, AliPay, and many more.
How to get ahead as an entrepreneur in the post-covid economy:
Contactless is the new norm for digital technologies. Customers are expecting rapid adoption of contactless technology in public spaces and even private ones.
Any technology that can reduce cost, time spent and potential human mistakes in cleaning contaminated surfaces will be of great value in the coming months and years.
Wireless communication protocols such as Bluetooth, NFC and UWB allow for a richer contactless experience: data can be sent in both directions in real-time, allowing for an interactive, secure and personalized experience.
For example, an app could remember your favorite burger recipe at McDonald’s or Harvey’s, and next time you order at the drive-through or with the giant display, it would securely connect to their system, pull up your preferences so that you’d only have to select it from your personal phone and it would add it to your order touchlessly.
At Yamm Software, we have been working with bluetooth, motion sensing and touchless technology for almost a decade, but never we would’ve thought or imagined that it would’ve grown so fast in the recent months.
We are excited about all the possibilities to use contactless and motion sensing products in new ways to make the world safer, more efficient and fun.
Do you have an app idea that could benefit the world right now? Our experts at Yamm Software can help you develop your idea into a prototype, and eventually into a fully functional mobile app, ready to launch. We offer solutions customized to your needs, your budgets, and your goals!
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