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It is no secret that the world was undergoing many changes before the Covid-19 pandemic. Some of these changes were hard to see, but the pandemic has now made them visible. The rise of a contactless future is one of these changes. Even as you read this, the world is moving from a physical touch-based world to a contactless one.
In one way or another, the future is contactless. You might be wondering what this all means and how it will impact your life and your business. In this post, we answer these questions and give you an idea about some of the HiTech technological innovations that will take place in order for the future to be contactless.
What exactly are we referring to when we talk about a contactless world? It is hard to say exactly, but in general, imagine a world where physical contact is reduced to a minimum. You can also think of it as a world of no-touch technology. This does not refer specifically to human contact. Instead, it refers mostly to physical contact with all sorts of devices manipulated by humans.
No matter how contactless the future might be, human interactions will not disappear. Part of being human is to interact with others in a physical way. What we imagine when we talk about a contactless future is a world where there is no need to touch things around us. In other words, it is a world in which physical interfaces are replaced with new non-physical ones.
Imagine you are on your way to work and you need to take public transport. Whether a bus or a train, you would need to pay somehow. You would probably take out your public transport card and put it in front of a reader which will debit the ticket price from your account. You can think of this as a first-generation contactless world. What we are talking about here is one step ahead.
In the contactless future, we imagine there is no need to even take out a card to register in public transport. Thanks to various technologies, it will soon be possible to perform certain tasks without the need for the minimum physical contact of taking out your card.
The word contactless sounds as if it were something bad but, although it does imply certain societal changes, it does not necessarily have to be. Don’t think of contactless technology as part of a post-pandemic dystopian future straight out from a Hollywood movie; however, we do believe that taking it to an extreme can be too much, given that humans are inherently motivated by all sorts of physical stimuli. Instead, picture a contactless future as the next step in a long series of technological developments that have benefited society as a whole.
Contactless technologies are not only useful because of pandemics. They go beyond that. Thanks to contactless technologies, many activities will be able to be performed in a more efficient, secure, and accessible way. In general, everyone will benefit from this. In particular, people with disabilities or handicaps will benefit the most as they will be able to perform certain tasks more easily. Most importantly, the contactless possibilities can open up a whole new world of experiences that may benefit all sorts of users.
There are various contactless technologies already available in the market. They work in different ways, so there’s not a single answer as to how each one can be implemented. Overall, these technologies replace traditional touch interfaces with different mediums of interacting with devices.
These are some of the most popular ones. Aside from IoT, they all depend heavily on some form of artificial intelligence (AI).
Voice technology is taking over the digital world. A revolution made popular a couple of years ago with Apple’s Siri is now at the forefront of innovative devices. Speech has become a practical way in which users communicate with devices, making it easier to interact with machines. Although there are many things this technology needs to perfect, it has come a long way and is now functional for a variety of purposes. Just take a look at recent voice assistants in cars and Amazon’s famous Alexa.
Contactless face technologies are on the rise. Thanks to powerful AI algorithms, it is possible for users to interact with machines just by using face gestures. This is the case with mobile phones’ face recognition. The current pandemic has accelerated the need to improve this technology and its accessibility due to the need to wear protective masks. A major concern with this is how governments will use it to monitor citizens.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of interconnected devices that allows users to perform tasks easily and at a distance. A number of tasks can be performed directly from a mobile device.
We’ve written a lot about how IoT can be beneficial for enterprises, and also about how it can help improve many products and services. Paired up with powerful software, IoT can expand human capabilities while at the same time leaving aside the burdens of physical limitations.
One of the most interesting aspects of the contactless future is the possibility of creating new experiences for users. The future of retail seems to be headed this way.
New payment methods fall under these new experiences. Offering users contactless payments to shop without having to interact with cashiers, thus saving time, will be a growing trend. Similarly, cashless payments will become more common for a whole set of activities beyond retail, even for more informal purchases. Experiences like these will require designers to think in terms of non-physical touchpoints.
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