Touchless business technology: Reduce COVID-19 exposure risk, maximize your operations

As Colorado businesses adapt to the continuing pandemic, expect touchless technologies to become an integral part of the "new normal" to create a strong workplace safety culture for both your staff and customers. 

Most people use similar smart technology devices daily. Any time you walk through an automatic door, put your hands under an automatic drier or tap your phone to make a purchase, you’re utilizing touchless technology. 

Smart, touchless technology often uses advanced sensors, vocal recognition software, facial recognition tools and personal device connectivity to eliminate the need to touch common surfaces.

As businesses look to maintain safe spaces, technologies that reduce or eliminate the need to touch common surfaces will become more essential to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.

Common surfaces introduce unnecessary workplace COVID-19 risks

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), "a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it, and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes." 

The CDC explains that direct person-to-person spread is still the most common avenue of viral transmission. However, touching common surfaces still pose a risk for your employees and customers. In fact, some studies suggest that the coronavirus could live for days on common surfaces.

As a result of health and safety concerns, only 12% of consumers in the U.K. and U.S. remain comfortable using public touchscreens, while 82% would prefer a touchless alternative, according to a survey by touchless technology maker Ultraleap.

By reducing or eliminating the need to touch common surfaces, Colorado business owners can offer their staff and customers a greater sense of security and peace of mind. 

Types of smart touchless technologies for your business

While their primary purpose is the same, not all touchless technologies are created equal. 

Different touchless products use different tools to create a more efficient customer experience while reducing the need for physical interaction 

Even after the pandemic no longer dictates business operations, these touchless tools will make workplaces more convenient for staff by automating simple processes like making a purchase, opening doors, turning on faucets and entering codes into keypads.

Contactless credit and debit card readers: touch-free customer transactions

The easiest way to spread germs and the coronavirus in the workplace is through customer transactions during a purchase.

Luckily, modern touchless technology has made it easy to remove the contact aspect from customer payments.

Many contactless card readers and virtual cashier terminals, such as Square’s suite of products, allow customers to complete their transactions without physically interacting with your staff or touching a common surface.

Customers simply insert their cards into the technology or tap the surface with their card chip so they never have to risk touching the device or spreading their own germs to the device.

Motion Sensors: safer and more automated workplace functions

Motion sensors are among the oldest touchless technologies, and the most common. 

This touchless technology detects movement using radar, infrared, ultrasonic sound waves, laser beams and other tools. 

The information motion sensors  provide is limited to whether a person is occupying a certain space in your establishment, but that's enough to trigger automatic doors, hand dryers, taps, lights and other common touchless technologies. 

Motion sensors are among the most affordable touchless workplace technologies. As a result, we expect to see more and more businesses utilize motion sensors for a safe work environment and customer experience.

Gesture recognition: eliminate common surfaces while saving energy

Gesture-recognition technologies are the next link in the motion-sensing evolutionary chain. 

Their advanced technology doesn’t just detect whether or not someone is occupying a specific space, but it can also decipher simple movements and gestures, most commonly hand motions and sometimes facial motions as well. 

Gesture recognition’s touchless technology allows users to interact with a more complex technology system without physical interaction.

Any time you’ve used a public bathroom with motion-activated (and energy-saving) lighting or a video game system where your body’s movement controls the game, you’ve utilized gesture recognition technology. Neat, right?

While this advanced form of motion-sensing often comes with a higher price tag it is expected to become more in-demand for workplace and business environments with ultra-high safety standards, such as manufacturing plants and the healthcare industry. 

In the future, gesture recognition technology is predicted to become more widely deployed in corporate offices and other places where staff and consumers interact with public computers and shared utilities such as elevators, ticket dispensing machines, and even coffee makers.

Voice recognition: reduce shared surfaces and save time

Technologies that understand vocal instructions have become more commonplace for businesses and commercial operations in the past few years.

Voice recognition and activated technology was first pioneered by IBM in the 1960s. Since the creation of tablets, smartphones, and voice recognition products for the home, the technology’s popularity has skyrocketed.

As a result of it’s rapidly growing demand, voice-activated technology is now more easily and affordably deployed when linked with household voice-recognition programs, like Amazon Alexa, Google Home or Apple's Siri. 

Smaller competitors are developing voice-recognition technology focused on more niche usage for the public and businesses, such as voice-controlled ATM machines and voice-enabled train ticketing machines. 

Smart and touch-free, voice-activated products allow businesses to be more efficient by cutting  typing time, eliminating the need for manually kept records or by allowing users to verbally input items into calendars and to-do lists with their smart capabilities. 

More advanced voice recognition solutions can also be utilized for customer service purposes, assisting customers after hours or when no representative is available.

Facial recognition: touch-free security

Though controversial for its use in policing and by governments, facial recognition can be highly valuable for small businesses.

Facial recognition technology offers a solution for identity authentication and secure access for classified and restricted entries that have traditionally relied on touch keypads and padlocks for security. 

Organizations looking to restrict access and maintain high-security will find facial recognition software and technology will meet their security needs while helping to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and any other harmful germs.

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