Touchscreen Options During COVID-19: What Are the Options?

These days, many parts of the economy and day-to-day life begin to come back to normal after the COVID 19 “lockdown”. As a result, we are seeing an increase in requests from property managers to modify their touchscreen kiosks’ functionality. As the world has entered the “new normal” life, property managers are seeking to meet the safety guidelines.

To assist in making the most suitable decision in times of COVID-19 pandemic, this article examines the various touchscreen kiosk alternatives. We will take a look at options available for property managers along with some thoughts on the pros and cons of each.

Maintain Full Interactive Capability of Touchscreen Displays During COVID-19

The first option would involve maintaining the full functionality of touchscreen kiosks. On the bright side, this option allows to provide useful information to the users of the directory. This would also enable property managers to inform clients about the coronavirus transmission prevention rules.

Property managers could also inform clients about new building rules regarding modified building hours of operation, return to work screening protocols, face coverings, elevator use, etc. This approach is supported by the growing body of evidence that COVID 19 is NOT typically contracted by touching hard surfaces.  

However, maintaining touchscreen functionality does provide one additional “touchpoint” for the possible coronavirus transmission. This risk could be mitigated by having hand sanitizer stations located in building lobbies or entrances. Property managers could also increase the frequency of touchscreen cleaning maintenance. 

Person Disinfecting Hands For COVID-19 Touchscreen Safety
Person Disinfecting Hands For COVID-19 Touchscreen Safety

When it comes to touchscreen cleaning, many standard glass cleaners (non-ammonia based are touchscreen safe) will suffice. Yet, both the US EPA and Health Canada have published a list of over 400 products with enhanced virus-killing properties. We scanned the list and can conclude that along with many products that do contain ammonia, many others do not. They are employing active ingredients such as hydrogen peroxide, citric acid, and L-Lactic acid. A good example would be the Windex (Crystal Rain formulation). 

Combine Full Interactive Capability of Touchscreen Displays With a Non-touch Alternative

We have recently begun to deploy interactive directories that will not only provide conventional touch screen usage but also a non-touch alternative. They are working via a QR code scan. 

Person using QR code for touchscreen display during COVID-19 pandemic

To do this, we will be applying a label on the side of a touchscreen kiosk. The label will invite visitors to scan the QR code located on the directory enclosure. This will enable the visitors to download a properly oriented building map and/or tenant guide to their smartphone.

This effectively provides users with a choice. They can use the touchscreen display interactive directory to get full building information or scan the QR code to get just the basic map and/or tenant list. 

The advantage of this touchscreen kiosk alternative is obvious. It allows people to choose between touch and no-touch options. As for the cons, there are none we can think of.

Replace The Touchscreen Display With A Static Directory And Map

This is a variation of the previous alternative, but with the interactive touchscreen display removed as a choice. If we talk about pros, this option provides more safety during COVID 19 pandemic. It does so by removing the opportunity for coronavirus transmission by touching surfaces. This option is also useful for visitors in terms of providing the basic necessary information.

Cons would include the inability of visitors to access the entire directory of potentially useful information.

Static Map on Touchscreen Display for Safety during Covid-19
Static Map on Touchscreen Display for Safety during Covid-19

Only Use the Touchscreen Display for Scrolling Screensavers During Coronavirus

This option would include using touchscreen kiosks only for displaying scrolling screensavers. In this way, visitors will not be able to interact with touchscreen kiosks and it would just automatically display the screensavers.

As for the advantages, this option satisfies the overall purpose of the directory by displaying the relevant information. Yet, one of the cons involves people thinking the display is still working and touching it. Another possible disadvantage is visitors not being able to access the necessary information about the building.

Turn Off Touchscreen Display Directories Completely During COVID 19 Pandemic

The undeniable benefit of this option is that there are zero risks of coronavirus transmission via touching the display. 

Cons would include virtually no return on investment as an inoperational touchscreen display does not provide any benefits. It also increases the risks for security or concierge staff, as visitors are more likely to ask questions about the building. Lastly, it does nothing to remove the other building touchpoints.

Summary of Touchscreen Options

youRhere representatives would be happy to discuss any of these options with you. We could offer any other options that are currently under development. These include downloading the entire interactive directory functionality to a visitor’s smartphone via a QR code to URL solution.

Again, our objective here is to make sure our clients are fully aware of all of the touchscreen display alternatives during COVID 19.  Therefore, we want them to make an informed decision on what is best for their particular property and user profile.