We can’t be cooped up inside and at home forever. We will eventually return to work, travel and visit tourist attractions, but there will be some new technology that will help us adjust to this new way of living.
That’s according to audiovisual technology experts that I heard during sessions of InfoComm 2020 Connected, the virtual version of the largest pro AV trade show in the U.S. One of my main takeaways was how pro AV will help make that adjustment easier and create more immersive environments to draw us out of our homes and back into the workplace and public.
According to a session called “Designing Contact-Free Building Experiences,” contact-free audiovisual technologies like access control, digital signage, voice activation and more can help the workforce and public enter the new normal.
The demand for new technology that influences our behavior to keep us healthy is creating an opportunity for AV to deliver those solutions, says Michael Schneider, director of media architecture at design and architecture firm Gensler.
“We’re seeing changes that would have taken five to eight years to happen … happen in two or three months,” says Schneider.
Immersive, contact-free AV solutions can not only help keep employees and visitors healthy, but can also give them a reason to leave the safety of their home.
“If you’re going to leave your house and you’re going to go to the office, they better make it worth it,” Schneider says.
He used an example of an airport in the Middle East that uses facial recognition as a biometric scanning solution in an innovative and immersive way. Passengers walk through the aquarium and their faces are scanned as they look at the animals.
“I think it’s a great example of how designing a security experience like that all of a sudden elevates it to a better experience than having to look at a bunch of cameras and people standing behind glass windows staring at you,” Schneider says.
However, that requires a level of transparency that technology like digital signage can provide both now and, in the future, once a vaccine is developed and social distancing guidelines are no longer enforced.
Voice-activation could also come into play so users won’t have to actually touch touchscreens. Digital assistants familiar to us like Siri and Alexa could be integrated into the technology.
“The reality is a lot of these technologies we’re going to look to support – both contactless experiences but also mixed reality or mixed locality experiences – they’re all tools that our teenage kids are totally fluent in whether it’s talking to us or playing multiplayer online games,” Schneider says. “These are tools that solve all of a lot of the challenges that are presented by taking people out of a common space.”