By now, we're all used to touching our screens. We thumb our phones, fondle our tablet devices, and increasingly poke at our laptops. If you've ever found yourself trying to reach out and touch the screen of your desktop PC out of habit, you're not alone.
Some desktop PC monitors are touch-sensitive, often supporting multi-touch interactions so that you can use multiple fingers for gesture support. You'll pay extra for that functionality, so what kinds of scenarios are they useful for? Here are some suggestions.
Presentation is a common application for touch-sensitive displays. These large-format screens can live in the boardroom, but also in the lobby or in kitchen areas where employees often congregate. They allow people to poke and swipe their way through discussions with colleagues. Just so long as someone tells Joe from accounts to stop drawing rude pictures with his finger when no one is looking.
Education is another fruitful market for large-format touchscreen monitors. These displays, which can extend to 70 inches or more, are making their way into classrooms. They merge the traditional whiteboard with multimedia displays that give teachers limitless options to inspire and inform young minds.
Many self-service applications in non-desktop environments cry out for touch displays. There is a strong need in these environments for intuitive interfaces that make transactions faster. We see this in point-of-sale systems like Square that use touch screens to interact with customers, although many retailers adopting that system use tablet computers.
Any kiosk environment is a great candidate for a touch-capable display, as long as it includes a well-designed user interface.
The caveat here is that thanks to the pandemic, hygiene has become a major factor when creating interfaces in public spaces. Companies must consider how to regularly disinfect touch interfaces in a world beset by the novel coronavirus. Perhaps now is the time to move toward mobile apps and voice interfaces?
Paper has been with us in its modern form for two millennia. Isn't it about time for a change? Professional services companies can differentiate themselves by offering digital document management. Everyone from financial advisors to lawyers can present customers with touch displays for document signing, either with a finger or stylus. Cutting paper out of the loop entirely makes document management more secure and efficient, taking up less space, building in encryption, and reducing the chance of misplacing documents.
Touch screen monitors can be a useful design tool, but beware of fixed screens here that require designers to reach over and draw on a perpendicular screen. That quickly grows tiresome for someone using a hands-on design tool for extended periods.
Microsoft's Surface Studio 2 folds downwards into a drafting board format that is far more workable, but it's also more expensive because it has a high-end PC with a discrete graphics card built into an all-in-one display. An alternative for designers with smaller budgets is a graphics tablet.
Finally, as with all shiny computing toys, C-suite executives are good candidates for touch screen monitors. They might enjoy the ability to point and swipe their way around documents with their colleagues.
These last four use cases for touch screen monitors are becoming increasingly problematic thanks to the popularity of tablet devices. Professional services businesses are higher-margin use cases that often make an iPad, Android, or Windows tablet feasible with the added benefit of portability. Designers can scribble far more easily on a large format tablet, and senior executives are a primary target for higher-end tablets that enable them to swipe and sign documents with the flourish of a stylus.
As tablets and touch-sensitive laptops encroach increasingly into business scenarios, the market for touch screen monitors in desktop or all-in-one PCs is questionable and likely to shrink further. That doesn't mean that embedded touch displays will become obsolete, though. With everything from bank machines and petrol pumps offering touch input, the market for those will run and run.
Check out the popular touch screen monitors below - limited stock available