The demise of the touchscreen?

We used to think nothing of repeated use of shared physical touchpoints, whether that’s kiosks, door handles, cash machines or even taps.


One of the biggest social shifts of the COVID-19 pandemic has been around hand hygiene. Washing your hands has been at the forefront of government messaging the world over, and we have never been more conscious of contamination.


Where does this leave us with touchscreen technology? The iPhone is credited with bringing touchscreen technology to the mainstream in 2007. Once pioneered as futuristic, touching keypads and screens now seems incredibly unhygienic, especially shared devices.


Meanwhile voice technology has been growing exponentially. More than half of all smartphone users are engaging with voice search technology in 2020.* Smart speaker technology is cheap, accessible, and penetrates many households the world over. We’ve seen huge increases in digital listening throughout the lockdown period, with many people utilising their Amazon Echo or Google Home to play their radio station of choice.


Where once touchscreen ordering kiosks were introduced at fast food restaurants to be more efficient and less reliant on human interaction, now a member of staff is employed to spray and wipe down a kiosk after every use. In the US prior to the pandemic McDonalds had pioneered voice ordering technology at their drive-thrus, eliminating the need for human staff to take your menu choices. I suspect the increased levels of hygiene awareness across the globe will accelerate the already quick adoption of voice technology like this.


Has the touchscreen seen its day? With voice assistants inbuilt to almost every new smart phone, and voice technology becoming so advanced it can be the size of a button, a cufflink or an earring, will we look back on 2020 as the year that ended touch technology, and supercharged the frictionless journey of voice? Wouldn’t it be great if in public toilets you could wash your hands by asking the taps to turn on so you didn’t have to touch them?


If you want to find out more about how we can help your business utilise voice technology, get in touch.