Touchscreens are to present day computing what Google has been to the internet as we know it today. On the face of it, a touchscreen may be seen as a cosmetic overlay on a fully functional system, but fact is – no tablet or smartphone is accepted as modern without a touchscreen as its user interface. Touchscreen computers constitute the present, and in all probability the future, of the computing experience.
In the world of enterprise grade computers, user interface is more than just the look and feel of a device, playing a vital role in its usability and efficiency as well. For instance, high performance industrial PCs and tablets are used extensively in business scenarios, where they handle processes at every tier of the system. They are also used by medical personnel handling challenging tasks and critical situations. The chief function of these PCs in both cases is to reduce the time and effort that would be required to conduct the same tasks manually. As such, user interface is integral to how employees and personnel respond to their PCs, making touchscreen computers the clear choice.
An intuitive interface, however, is not the only factor responsible for making touchscreen computers the success that they currently are in industrial setups and the business world. Of course, by eliminating the need for add-ons such as buttons, pointing devices and other peripherals, they make for simpler operation than a legacy machine would have allowed in the past.
But an associated benefit of this elimination of clutter is the fact that touchscreen computers have a smaller footprint than legacy machines. This opens up endless possibilities for them to be used as embedded devices in complex machinery. They can act as the ‘brain’ of an MRI scanner, for instance, serve as the control device in a medical emergency vehicle, or greatly reduce the space requirements of a cash counter in a retail outlet.
The minimal algorithm of the touchscreen technology brings a number of cost benefits to an organization. Besides reducing the time and cost of training personnel to use these computers, it also minimizes the cost of upgrading. Touchscreen computers are software centric – hardware being limited to processing gear and a screen. As such, any new functions and updates can be added to these computers, provided the configuration supports them.
In a medical setting, for example, this attribute has immense value. Thanks to touchscreen technology, hospital beds, emergency vehicles and procedure rooms can be fitted out with standard medical tablets, needing just the occasional software upgrade. Most of these tablets today run on Android, an OS that has evolved hand-in-hand with touch technology. Android programs and applications assume touchscreen to be a device’s default interface, thus adding to the ease with which it can be integrated into an organizational setup – including medical, business, industrial and retail.
Touchscreen computers have already placed information at our fingertips – literally. The stage is now set for more sophisticated developments wherein intuitive, intelligent operation is a given. Capacitive touchscreens are already becoming mainstream, allowing devices to identify different operators and track their usage sessions. Upon perfecting the trifecta of accessibility, adaptability and security, touchscreen computers may very well be destined to become the heart and soul of businesses and medical establishments.