Don’t Touch That

With the recent change of events and COVID-19 making its way around the world, we are all hyper aware of new topics that likely were not in our vocabulary in our previous life. This new world is making us acutely aware of things like how a virus is transmitted, social distancing protocols, and the classification between a health crisis and a pandemic.

I can imagine that each of us are developing new phobias that will likely stay with us for years to come; this became very clear when I was talking to my pop last night. I was asking him if he was taking this crisis seriously when he began to coach me on wearing gloves at the gas pump, the proper technique for washing my hands, and that I should treat everything like it has cooties (remember “cooties” boys and girls?—he says they are back).

I believe that I was like many Americans who washed my hands a couple times per day, didn’t eat anything that had been on the ground for more than five seconds, and never wiped down the handles of my grocery cart. I have changed this behavior 1,000 percent and think that many of my new and more sanitary habits will stay with me for the rest of my life.

With that being said, I have been thinking and researching businesses that will need to change the way they interact with patrons; more specifically, I have been hyper focused on how many devices exist that we are forced to touch on a daily basis. Over the last 24 months, companies have been working to automate their businesses. They have been using kiosks to do this. Whether you are at a McDonalds, Panera, or WaWa, you have likely interacted with their self-service kiosks. I believe that this pandemic has taught us all the words: “Touchless Experience.” Moving forward we are going to expect this when we place an order. I think that consumers are getting more comfortable with app-based ordering systems and like the fact that they can have products delivered directly to their home or table without exposing themselves to germ-filled touchscreens.

Technology companies are going to find ways to evolve during this health crisis and I believe that we are about to see a huge push to use tools like facial recognition and computer learning to minimize some of the needless interactions we have on a daily basis. After all, why do we still enter our zip code at a gas pump card reader? What level of security is that providing? In the near future, I see that there will be a demand from the public to make businesses offer a Touchless Experience. I know that I will gladly choose that option.

Stay healthy,