By: Kathy Speers
Digital signage is making an incredible leap into interactive signage with the help of the mobile phone market. While mobile phones have brought awareness to interactivity and its many advantages, they have also brought with them a need for education on the differences between touch available for a phone and that which is available in a touch screen monitor.
Many articles have been written about the different touch technologies available for this new interactive digital signage market, but not many address how these different technologies also differ in the amount of touch points offered. And many touch screen monitors in the market say they are “multi-touch” displays. While this might be true, most touch displays are actually dual touch, meaning they can only support two different points of touch. This is important to understand because some applications for touch require more than two points.
Education has proven to be an early adopter of large format touch screen monitors, whether for K12 or higher ed. The sizes these institutions are looking for are between 55” and 85”. Imagine having a large touch screen display but only two points of touch. Now imagine having an even larger touch screen where multiple students can use the screen at once, in classroom settings. This is just as effective in public spaces where more than one person can access information about the school at one time.
While the type of touch technology available for any given size is important, it is just as important to first identify how the screen will be used. If it is a kiosk-type project where the touch screen monitor will only be used by a single person at any given time, two point touch is sufficient. If you need a 70” touch display for up to two users, you should consider 6pt touch or 12pt touch.
The other thing to remember when considering your touch screen monitor is the kind of content you ask your audience to engage. There are many content providers who still only create content for single or dual touch applications. If your project requires more than one user or if the scope of the project is such that you will need to manipulate several different objects on your touch screen, you’ll require something with 12-32pts of touch. Always work with your content provider and the touch screen monitor manufacturer about the application and any specifics about how you want the screen to be used so that they can recommend the most appropriate touch screens.
Off the shelf touch displays are typically good for small projects and single user applications, but if you have a large project in mind and a customized solution, you should seek out the advice of an integrator or content provider to guide you through the process. You will be much better served going this route, where you will work with professionals who have experience creating these interactive digital environments, than purchasing a touch screen monitor from an internet retailer and later finding out that it does not fit your needs.