One fierce set of opinions and insights on touch screen and display enhancement technology.

Touchscreens: What’s the latest in the touch screen market?

Curious about what’s happening with touch technology? A lot, as it turns out. If you’ve been in the touch industry for any length of time, you know that there is NO perfect touch technology, so its important to evaluate the application requirements and understand the strengths and limitations of the technologies in question.

Touch International was recently interviewed in Touchscreens: What’s the latest? which provides great insight into the touch screen market. Take a look!

Growth of the touch screen market – Interview

I was recently contacted by a journalist with a few questions about the growth and development of the touch screen market. Below is the list of questions and answers.

Q: How has the growth of touchscreens proceeded across different industry sectors (i.e. consumer electronics, retail, healthcare etc)? 

The growth of touch screens across the board has been prolific. This year, research firm, Display Search estimates that the market will grow by 90 percent to $13.4 billion; by 2017 the market will nearly double again to $23.9 billion. I mention these numbers to illustrate just how fast touch is growing. The demand for touch is greater than what manufacturers are able to supply.

A large portion of the touch market consists of consumer electronics, primarily mobile devices. In the coming years, however, we are going to see significant growth in the vertical markets, including transportation, military, medical, retail, and banking.  Some of the reasons that these markets are taking longer to adopt touch include:

1)      Product design times – design times for medical or transportation devices can be several years out, whereas consumer products are often continuously redesigned.

2)      Product lifecycles – products in some industries are expected to last a decade or more. Considering that the touch “experience” didn’t really start taking off until the iPhone in 2007, some markets like military and aerospace may just now be adopting touch.

3)      Cost – the cost to redesign and test equipment can be terribly expensive depending on the application – it has to be cost-effective for companies to introduce new technologies and products.

4)      The technologies need to be mature – when examining touch for a potential defibrillator, it is important for manufacturers to insure that the technology has all of the “bugs” worked out of it. By waiting until the technologies are mature, product manufacturers can see
what will be best for their application.

Right now there is certainly a strong emergence of touch in the vertical markets, most notably in retail, point of information, banking and hospitality, but not nearly to the degree of consumer electronics. We know that touch is going to continue to grow in non-consumer markets for many reasons, but primarily because 1) users have come to expect touch in everything, and 2) touch screens are a cost-effective tool for all applications because they are intuitive which reduces employee errors and improves efficiency.

Q: What new applications will the technology have in coming years? Are there any areas Touch International is particularly excited about (i.e. novel uses of touchscreen integration)? 

New applications are continuously being discovered for touch, which is one of the reasons adoption is going to continue to grow exponentially. You are going to see touch in everything from gas pumps and automobiles to surgical devices and cockpit navigation systems.

We are particularly excited about new innovations in the aerospace, military and medical industries since those markets makeup over 60 percent of our business. We have a unique position in the marketplace because we are able to design and build touch screens for markets that have a lot of regulatory requirements. Aerospace is especially exciting right now as they are bringing the “touch experience” into airplane cabins through inflight entertainment.

Also, to be able to help soldiers in the field and surgeons in the operating room save lives and do their jobs more effectively is
a great thing.

Q: What does the future hold for the ways in which we use touchscreen technology? What lies beyond touchscreens?

There are a lot of reasons to be excited about the future of touch, and one of the reasons is because touch screen applications are virtually endless. The touch industry follows the display market closely, so 3D and flexible touch screens are most certainly in our future. The concept of flexible touch screens curved into cool shapes and designs is really taking off; manufacturers are even building touch into t-shirts and watches. 3-D touch has the potential to be really incredible for a lot of industries and will very valuable for imaging applications like medical.

Beyond touch, things are going to transition into “touchless gestures” and voice driven programs. There is already a small amount of this in the market – touchless gestures will work similarly to the Microsoft Xbox Kinect where you will simply move your hands. As far as voice driven applications, an early example of this is Siri, the personal assistant app for Apple’s iPhone 4S.

 

Interview on Touch Technology in Medical Applications

Jamie Sewell Interviews Michelle Jones on Touch Technology in the Medical Market

Jamie Sewell Interviews Michelle Jones on Touch Technology in the Medical Market

I recently interviewed Michelle Jones, Touch International’s U.S. Sales Director and talked with her about some aspects of using touch technologyin the medical market. A lot of medical manufacturers are trying to figure out where to take the next generation of their product and how they can integrate touch while still keeping the functionality and ease of basic buttons.

While touch expands the opportunities to take a product to the next level, there are still numerous issues that manufacturers have to take into consideration when adopting touch into their product – they have to consider the environment, input type (glove, finger, stylus), cost, availability, compatibility, and interference issues. Click the link below to watch the video and learn more.

Touch Technology in Medical Applications