Digital signage and interactive displays are an enterprise staple when it comes to immersive technology, but the technology is evolving as the world adjusts to living with COVID-19.
These displays are serving a critical function by disseminating important information about the novel coronavirus in public spaces, also helping the enterprise return to work effectively by relaying information about productivity metrics and help healthcare workers interact with technology without touching screens.
“Obviously there are some pretty dramatic changes in this space,” says Sean Matthews, president and CEO of digital signage software firm Visix.
In the office
The global pandemic has forced many companies to close their offices, and now many workers are doing their job from their homes.
According to research organizations, about half of those workers want to continue working from home even after the pandemic is over and a safe and effective vaccine is discovered.
Offices will open back up to some workers, but those environments will look very different, Matthews says.
For example, using technology like Visix’ AxisTV Signage Suite software with voice recognition can help reduce points of contact on interactive kiosks and displays in a variety of settings.
The enterprise has now fully embraced remote work technologies like unified communications and collaboration, so meeting and conference rooms will continue to play a vital role in communications. Many of those rooms can be booked with a digital kiosk, but that creates the potential for transmission of the virus.
Employees can use voice-activated displays for office hoteling and scheduling conference and meeting rooms rather than setting it up by touching the display. They can also help relay information about how the spaces are being used and if they adhere to social distancing guidelines.
“I think there’ll just be a greater awareness of how you’re going to utilize the spaces and the guidance that those signs will provide in how you use this space,” Matthews says.
In the warehouse & manufacturing plant
For industrial workers in a warehouse or manufacturing plant, digital signage and touchless displays will be even more important as companies are forced to work with a reduced headcount to comply with distancing measures that were never anticipated in those environments.
COVID-19 has had an impact on bottom lines nearly across the board, so companies are hard pressed to be as productive as possible to soften the blow of those losses. Productivity metrics have always been a use case for digital signage, but that is even more important now, Matthews says.
“You can imagine now it’s even more critical because they’re trying to squeeze as much as they possibly can given the environmental work constraints that they’re operating under,” Matthews says.
Digital signage also allows those environments to post updates on testing information within their own environments.
“It’s multiple people working together, often in very constrained environments,” Matthews says. “They’re trying to flatten their own curves in their own environments, now just in the larger social environments.”
In the healthcare facility
Healthcare workers are on the frontlines of the pandemic, so they need solutions that can help keep themselves and their patients safe.
Touchless technology and voice-activated displays helps them accomplish that, Matthews says.
“The advent of voice activated displays and other technologies associated with that now allows users to interact with the messaging that’s on screen without actually having to touch the screen,” Matthews says.
The technology was already growing in popularity in the healthcare market before 2020, including in working with elderly patients and cancer patients.
Classic use cases of digital signage are even more beneficial now for the healthcare market, like wayfinding, donor boards and creative content about social distancing reminders.
According to Matthews, there is growing interest in electronic paper signs to put patient information outside hospital rooms.
“There are certain pieces of information that can be easily displayed and the data can already be extracted from patient records in the nursing station and delivered to rooms,” Matthews says.