By: Briana Taylor

Touchscreen technologies are sweeping the nation.  The most popular touchscreen, carried in the pockets of millions of people, is the smart phone.  Living in an age of constant change, developers also successfully incorporated touchscreen technology to revolutionize the computer into a portable device known as the Tablet PC.  But have you ever stopped to realize just how many touchscreens you use on a daily basis?  Checking in at the airport is faster and easier with touchscreen kiosks.  Even a grocery shopping trip or a movie rental can be completed with a touchscreen.  Touchscreen technologies can save time and money by making transactions faster, more accurate, and by making connections to the Internet portable and possible with the touch of a finger.

Why are medical industries, transportation departments, retail, computer, and phone companies investing in touchscreen technologies?  Companies building touchscreens have realized the demand for touchscreen systems.  Consumers prefer to use touchscreens to the old keyboard and mouse system; plus touchscreens systems save space, time, and money.  Rather than waiting in line at the bank for the next available teller, consumers simply drive up to the ATM touchscreen to get their money fast.  The touchscreen systems communicate with computer technology to record data directly to an electronic database, which saves time that the teller would take manually entering the transaction.

The busy lifestyle of most consumers has created this idea that we need to get in, get out, and on our way.  Touchscreen companies aim to meet consumer demands by creating these touchscreen systems you see at the bank, airport, grocery store, gas station, fast food restaurants, and service providers including hospitals, fitness centers, and activity centers.  Even senior activity centers are using a touchscreen system called Copilot to have seniors electronically sign in for lunch, the fitness center, bingo, and center events.

Not limited by age, the touchscreen market seems endless. In fact, baby boomers have shown an increasing interest in touchscreens.  Many seniors prefer using the Copilot Touchscreen system to sign in at the activity center rather than using a paper and pencil.  When the effects of arthritis make it difficult to write clearly, the Copilot Touchscreen system benefits both the consumers signing in and the center managers by saving them time that they previously had to spend deciphering signatures and manually entering data in the computer every day.

For many people who previously had fears of technology, touchscreens have created a simplified way for people to use a computer.  Many people, including baby boomers, can intuitively pick up a Tablet PC or iPad and start using their finger to navigate the computer.  The touchscreens on Tablet PCs and iPads have a simplistic layout that makes accessing Email, Facebook, Twitter, Games, and various Apps fast, easy, and portable.  Some parents and grandparents who never owned a computer now own and use Tablet PCs and iPads every day.  Touchscreen technologies are providing ways for everyone to access technology, the Internet, and virtual communication.

Touchscreen use is predicted to continue growing exponentially.  Many people do not realize that touchscreen development began in the 1960s and emerged for public use in the 1980’s.  Today, touchscreen technology has already been incorporated into millions of smart phones and is expected to double in the next five years.  Every major cell phone carrier offers a touchscreen cell phone.  Android phones and iPhones are becoming products that people cannot live without.  New studies are researching the addictive features of these touchscreen smart phones and have coined the new term nomophobia for the fear of losing or forgetting one’s cell phone.  Regardless of what causes the feelings to need touchscreen smartphones, iPhones, Tablet PCs, iPads, or to be drawn to use touchscreen systems in everyday life, the benefits of touchscreen technologies are inarguable.  Touchscreen technology systems are meeting the demands for consumers and companies across the world.

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Briana Taylor works at Information Age Technologies, Inc. in western Pennsylvania installing Copilot Touchscreen Systems, conducting technology trainings and webinars.  She has a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Saint Vincent College and will finish her Master’s degree in Instructional Technology in August 2012.  She hopes to continue to teach people that learning technology does not depend on age, only on having a positive attitude.