Rise and Need for Contactless Technology

Covid-19 has forced us to think differently about how we touch interfaces in public places.

Fortunately, a multitude of options are available that not only keep everyone safe from spreading germs but can enhance an experience and make it easier to navigate. As we continue to fight our way out of the pandemic and in-person conferences start to reemerge, contactless technologies will be the standard that clients and patrons will look to until we are confident that touching with our hands can be the primarymechanism of control.

Benefits of Contactless Technology

 

  • Safe - Reduce the spread of germs by not having to touch any surfaces.
  • Dependable - Contactless technologies are proven to add to the consumer experience by cutting down on cumbersome mouse controls and increasing the comfort level by eliminating exposure.
  • Intuitive - The technology is easily understood and has a small learning curve. Natural hand gestures and the simple act of being present are the key components to starting and navigating an experience.

 

Types of Contactless Experiences

 

When we talk about contactless experiences, a few technologies may come to mind including QR codes and virtual assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. However, there are lesser-known features and a variety of other technologies to consider that bring greater value and maintain hygienic spaces.

Some contactless experiences include (but are not limited to):

Contactless Scanners (QR codes and NFC)

NFC and QR codes are prevalent technologies and powerful CTAs for a healthcare experience by being embedded in print or through the screen. The benefit of NFC over QR codes are the identification codes that make each chip unique. These IDs extend the option to personalize the user experience and can log and retrieve healthcare data.

Proximity Sensors

If a conference booth is what your client desires, consider proximity sensors. These component sensors can detect if a user is walking by and determine where they are standing to trigger events that gain the attention of passers-by. For example, Creative Engineering created a client demo where moving closer to the screen would cause plants and other vegetation to part, revealing the interface of the experience. This was all guided by a sonar sensor that could detect how close the user was to the screen and created the illusion of entering a forest.

Gesture Technology

Now that you have the user’s attention and they are standing in front of your kiosk, gesture technology allows them to interact with your interface without getting their hands exposed to germs. Infrared technologies, such as the Ultraleap, can read hand gestures to control a virtual version to be displayed on the screen. Use these virtual hands to interact with custom experiences where objects can be picked up, thrown, and manipulated as if using your natural hands.

You can also use Touchfree, a contactless interface where you navigate with your hand without touching a surface. Use your hand as you would any mouse or track pad to click, pan, zoom, and use special gestures that are customized to the experience.

Personal Controllers

Companies like Freetouch turn phones into remote controls by simply using a QR code present in a display. This is a clever solution to make a user’s personal item their control device. Controls retain all the functionality from a displayed interface. Users can zoom, pan, and scroll without having to touch a public screen.

Voice Controllers

Why use your hands at all when you can simply use your voice to navigate an experience? Voice devices have creeped into our everyday culture, so interacting with Alexa or Google feels like an ordinary interaction. But what about public spaces? Alexa is great at making the determination between a request being made and ambient noise. Think about how you talk to Alexa while your music is playing. You can also lock your Alexa in one skill during conferences so users don’t use Alexa for a different use.

Telemedicine Tools

Telemedicine became a necessity in 2020 and might be a preference for some in the future. Keeping that in mind, new technologies will be needed to facilitate interactions between patients and physicians to track and diagnose conditions.

Sound Recognition via Machine Learning

Analyzing sound is becoming an efficient way to diagnose disease compared to hands-on tests. Diagnostic tools such as Canary Speech use machine learning to determine the likelihood of depression, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and other cognitive diseases, while Vocalis Health uses biomarkers to predict diseases like COVID-19 and COPD.

Medical Analysis

Forward uses notable contactless technologies that are a part of self-service health check-ins. The health visit starts with their “body scanner,”which is like a Swiss Army knife of technologies that measures biometrics. The scanner can take your temperature by using infrared cameras and your weight and BMI by rotating you on its mini platform. From there, you meet with a doctor through a 60” touch screen where you discuss the analytics of your body via visualized data. The experience isn’t totally contactless, since a nurse assists with blood collection and some sensors are tactile, but it is private, easy, intuitive, sterile, and shortens the time for everyone trying to see a doctor.

This says a lot about how future technologies will be used for early detection and accessibility. Detecting skin cancers, measuring mental health, and taking your own biometrics might become an all-in-one experience that can be performed in the comfort of your own home. Our clients should be participants in this movement.

Ambient Computing

 

Ambient computing is the integration of IoT devices that analyze and respond to passive user activity. Common examples are automatic doors, escalators, and lights that come on when you enter a room. In terms of healthcare, there are devices that can report aspects of your health without you actively interfacing with them.

NVIDIA CLARA

Nvidia Clara is a platform that combines these technologies in healthcare facilities. Below are a couple examples of technological applications that show this platform’s capabilities.

Cameras

  • Detect if there are people not wearing masks, gloves, or other PPE and if people are social distancing
  • Determine who is a doctor, patient, or visitor in a healthcare facility
  • Detect if a person needs assistance based on posture and is a great silent alarm for elderly or handicap patients

 

Auditing

  • Auditing is another feature of ambient computing that allows us to see how human behavior correlates with the spread of disease. In hospitals, by measuring when doctors wash their hands, we can reduce the frequency of nosocomial infections, which are infections that occur within a healthcare service

 

Future Ambient Tech

 

Smart Toilets

Can analyze your waste and determine if you have possible cancers, irritable bowel syndrome, prostate cancer, or kidney failure.

6 Immediate Use Cases for Brands

  • Reactive Conferences - Grabs users’ attention as they come in proximity of a sensor. The sensor can trigger any type of experience you can think of, whether it’s audio, video, or a customized experience.
  • Natural Conversations - A good voice experience is designed to feel like a natural conversation where education, easy use, and accessing information all feel like a part of the process without being overwhelming. This is especially true for users with physical limitations.
  • Customize Connections- Make custom devices like rings and bracelets embedded with NFC technology that can be used as a gateway to a personalized experience.
  • Personal Device Use- Create an experience for home use by using hand recognition APIs to control interfaces from the comfort of a user’s home.
  • Print to Digital- Using print is an effective way to lead users to digital experiences with the help of QR codes and NFC. Keep in mind that printing a simple invocation in print or web can lead users to a voice experience and expand brand opportunities. “Alexa, open my brand.”
  • Cool and Niche - Contactless experiences are novel since they aren’t commonplace and can make an experience memorable.

 

Please contact your account leads or ross.quinn@fcb.com if you have any questions or would like to discuss any of the above.