Consumers Get in Touch With New Technology

No matter who you are or where you are, you are likely feeling the growth of touchscreen technology. Today, frequent fliers often enter flight information using self-serve kiosks and soar through airport check-in, skipping the otherwise long lines. Busy moms may use car touchscreen systems to find directions, control air temperature and more. And businesspeople who require communication access at all times invest in advanced communication devices to stay in touch.

Whether it's used by people stopping by the ATM to get some quick cash or casting a vote, touchscreen technology is taking off, converting everyday tasks into fast and convenient experiences.

The technology appeals to all ages and in a variety of industries. Retail outlet store merchandisers are using touchscreen as a new marketing strategy to engage consumers while delivering product information at the touch of a finger.

FAO Schwarz, for example, has installed 17-inch Planar touchscreens as part of a consumer design center for the Hot Wheels Custom Car Factory in its New York store. Using the Planar touchscreen kiosk, shoppers can customize their own Hot Wheels car with special colors, designs, wheels and rims.

Other toy manufacturers are taking advantage of touch technology to provide entertaining and educational toys for children who are too young to have developed the motor skills required for a regular computer.

The restaurant industry also is seeing the benefits of touch-integrated point-of-sale systems to improve order-processing time. Easy-to-use touchscreen devices enable servers to enter food orders faster and more accurately, enhancing the overall dining experience.

Tableside units in restaurants provide customers with a variety of entertainment and information options, such as playing video games or surfing the Web.

Other industries embracing touchscreen technology include automotive (car rental information portals, GPS systems), industrial (ATMs, gas station service pumps) and health care (outpatient information kiosks).

Receptive consumers and falling prices have enabled touch technology to spread its reach across a wide range of markets. As a result, it is making strong inroads as a primary way for consumers to get more "in touch" with products, services and information.  - NU