The Role of Touchscreens at COVID-Secure Events
When events re-open with social distancing in place, we need to think carefully about how we interact with our key audiences, particularly at exhibitions and conferences. COVID-secure events will probably mean less representatives on an exhibition stand and less facilitators at conferences. Of course, hygiene will be of paramount importance. It’s also likely, at least in the short-term, that there will be less attendees. But that doesn’t mean there has to be less opportunity. The question is how can we make sure that we still give delegates an experience to remember? How do we deliver a safe environment without making the whole event sterile?
Event tech will have an important role to play and touchscreens with interactive software are one of the fastest growing event technologies. Since 2015 we’ve seen Google searches for touchscreen hire in the UK increase ten-fold and our enquiries for large-scale touchscreen projects for conferences and exhibitions increase by 500%. The global digital signage industry is worth over £15bn and predicted to double by 2026, with touchscreens accounting for 25% of all products. Although touchscreens remain part of our everyday lives, from supermarkets tills to hospital check-ins, we must reassess what role they will play at future events and how they can help meet Covid-secure guidelines.
The most obvious benefit to touchscreens with interactive software is that they deliver information and create memorable user experiences without the need for close-up, face-to-face contact.
At conferences and meetings touchscreens with digital activities facilitate innovative group exercises, meaning there is less need for hands-on facilitators or physical objects that can’t be kept clean.
At exhibitions large-format touchscreens are an increasingly common feature on the exhibition floor, displaying sponsor adverts and key event information, such as floorplans and timetables. They give event organisers new revenue streams, sponsors an innovative way to activate their brand, and delegates an easy way to get live information. In the future, clear, up-to-date messaging will be a key part of a safe event. From traffic-flow instructions to hygiene reminders, touchscreens offer dynamic digital signage to keep attendees informed. Touchscreens can also be integrated with hand sanitisers to create all-in-one information and hygiene stations.
Meanwhile, with less representatives on the stand, exhibitors will need additional channels to get their message across and capture leads. Multiple touchscreens with interactive software, whether it be mini-games or product demos, offer a proven method of engaging delegates that don’t require a big sales team.
If touchscreens are part of the solution in the world of social distancing, they have to be Covid-secure themselves. The best commercial grade touchscreens typically have a 7H hardness glass panel that can be regularly wiped with alcohol-based disinfectant by event staff or onsite support engineers. If hand sanitisers are integrated into the touchscreen station, messaging can be displayed encouraging users to sanitise their hands before touching the screen. Finally, the most sensitive touchscreens use P-Cap screens, which can be used with compatible stylus pens. For organisers and exhibitors who want to take that extra safety precaution, branded stylus pens for every delegate also make the perfect giveaway.
Touchscreens and interactive software already provide innovative solutions for customer engagement. With the right safety planning, they may have an even bigger role to play in COVID-secure events.
By Mark Worger